Tuesday, March 09, 2021
A collection of eclectic, colorful murals around the Hub City is helping put the art in SpARTanburg.
Displays of Spartanburg’s artistic talent can be found on walls across the county, honoring well-known Spartanburgers, commemorating important events or adding a little bit of color to a revitalized area. A few of Spartanburg County’s murals have become popular spots for locals and visitors alike. It makes sense, since the murals make for an ideal selfie spot to chronicle your trip.
Perhaps the most well-known of the Hub City’s murals is the Love Where You Live mural on Spring Street in Downtown Spartanburg. The mural, inspired by Hub Bub’s Love Where You Live campaign, sits prominently across the street from the Daniel Morgan Clock Tower, emblazoned on the side of the building that’s now home to Le Spice Bakery’s downtown location.
The colorful mural features key aspects of Spartanburg’s identity. The 864-area code and 1831, the year Spartanburg was founded, can be seen along with one of the city’s several nicknames, Sparkle City. The mural, which was finished with the help of several other local artists, has helped fuel the ongoing growth of Downtown Spartanburg.
In June 2020, the newest piece of public art in Downtown Spartanburg came to life as 16 creative, dedicated artists came together to paint the message Black Lives Matter on Broad Street in front of City Hall to show support for the Black residents and businesses of Spartanburg.
The Creative Crosswalks – a partnership of the Chapman Cultural Center, OneSpartanburg, and USC Upstate – brought colorful, geometric designs to the street at the intersections of: Main and King streets, Main and Spring streets, and Main and Magnolia streets.
The vivid crosswalks were painted by local artists Michael Webster, Matthew Donaldson, Frankie Page (aka Frankie Zombie) and Adrian Meadows (aka Alias to Inspire).
The newest addition to Spartanburg’s mural collection, the Hold Onto HOPE Mural was completed in October 2021 on Dunbar Street. The project came together as a sign of encouragement, organized by Christian churches in Spartanburg, for believers and anyone needing a bit of hope.
Local artists Stephen Long and Jeremy Kemp, part of the team behind the Love Where You Live Mural, kickstarted the project along with 75 community members painting bricks.
Another eye-catching mural sits on the side of one of Spartanburg’s best-known hangout spots. The Yonder mural is the focal point of the patio area just outside the NuWay Restaurant & Lounge.
The mural, a collaborative project with Russell Bannan, Eli Blasko and Aimee Wise, was funded by a grant from the Chapman Cultural Center. The piece evokes lyrics from the classic hymnal, “Amazing Grace.” The phrase, “I once was lost, but now I’m yonder,” sit in orange and blue lettering over a rough outline of blue and white mountains.
Just a stone’s throw from the Love Where You Live Mural is the Lucy Boland’s 100 Women Mural, brought to life by local artist and cofounder of Shelley Art Co., Lucy Boland.
Boland, who has a studio space at 146 E. Main St., gave new life to a space along West Broad Street across from Spartanburg City Hall, bringing a white background and retro, colorful lines that lead to sketches of three women.
Maybe the most colorful mural Spartanburg has to offer is the Ishmael mural by artists Ishmael, originally from Spartanburg, and Rob Yamabushi.
Inspired by the book, “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn, the mural features a colorful, psychedelic-like design with a mustachioed, top hat-wearing head accompanied by a collage various colors and patterns. A white bird flying under a rainbow leads to Yamabushi’s name in red letters on one side, while another white bird sits under a message stating “please read Ishmael.”
Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County and local artists Nancy Corbin, Stephen Long and Jeremy Kemp comes “Determined: A Tribute to Angelina and Sarah Grimke.”
The mural celebrates the South Carolina sisters who were suffragists and abolitionists on the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The mural is on a wall of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Henry Street in Spartanburg.
The Offering mural is a hidden gem of sorts in Downtown Spartanburg, tucked along the stairwell of a parking garage off Hall Street.
The piece, by artist Peter Ferrari, features colorful, cascading lines of blue and green flowing into a hand holding outstretched a red flower, peaking just above the stairwell’s handrail. The mural breathes life into an otherwise unnoticeable concrete wall.
Not far from its campus, a mural commemorating the golden anniversary of USC Upstate sits along one of Spartanburg’s busiest stretches.
The USC Upstate 50th Anniversary Mural, designed and painted by Bannan Blasko, showcases the university’s signature green color with images and numbers that have been significant to USC Upstate over the years. The dome of the administration building is displayed in the center, surrounded by the iconic Spartan helmet logo and a nurse’s hat, honoring the university’s significant presence teaching and training nurses.
Driving past the colorful Union Street mural honoring J.C. Stroble, you can almost hear him shouting, “call it!”
Stroble, the longtime order-caller at iconic Spartanburg restaurant The Beacon, is immortalized in the “Call It” Mural just outside Downtown Spartanburg.
The mural, depicting words and colors flowing from Stoble, was designed by Abe Titus of ABE ART, a commissioned art company, and local artist Aimee Wise, as part a Hub-Bub effort to add more color to Spartanburg’s Union Street corridor.
Back in Downtown Spartanburg, the There’s Only One. Spartanburg. mural gave new life to a boarded-up property.
The mural, featuring a bright blue background with white letters, sits beside Lime Leaf Thai Restaurant at the corner of Main and Church Streets. The mural was designed by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce to express Spartanburg’s unique qualities and promote the #OneSpartanburg campaign.
Several businesses in Downtown Spartanburg have transformed their storefronts into vibrant murals.
Speaking of Maggie and The Kindred Spirits, her talents are on full display at the arts shop’s location at 151 Spring St. The storefront features bright blues and a series of vines, which give a welcoming feel to the shop, which is a marketplace for all things handmade and one-of-a-kind in Spartanburg.