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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

The City of Greenville, South Carolina

2016 Government Award

 

City of GreenvilleFrom the public art on nearly every corner to the many museums and galleries that call the city home, Greenville is a haven for the arts.

 

However, as recently as the mid-1980s, Greenville was a far cry from its current status as the Upstate region’s cultural epicenter. The city’s Main Street was a four-lane road that bisected a tired downtown district. As business after business along Main Street either closed or fled to the suburbs, demolition crews moved in to raze the vacant buildings left behind. Realizing the future of its urban core was in jeopardy, the city launched an ambitious downtown revitalization project. In addition to narrowing Main Street, planting trees, and establishing commercial anchors, the project emphasized the arts.

 

It was this focused effort to revitalize downtown that fostered the public-private partnership responsible for creating the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 1999. Since then, the arts have been thoroughly integrated into multiple facets of the community fostering an environment that, today, abounds with public art installations, performing and visual arts venues, festivals celebrating nearly every arts discipline, and strong community-based arts organizations. Though this booming arts scene is exceptional in and of itself, the crux of the achievement is how the City of Greenville used the arts not only to help reverse the city’s downward trajectory but to nurture its unique sense of place.

 

This video features many of Greenville’s arts attractions and its revitalized downtown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZqj5FrbyJY

About the Verner Awards

 

For more information about the Verner Awards, please contact Victoria McCurry, 803-734-8315.