They are accessible areas that are easily identifiable to visitors and residents; and they often serve as a center of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They may have festivals, galleries, live performance venues, theaters, artist studios, museums, arts centers, arts schools, cultural infrastructure, buskers or outdoor music series, and public artworks. Cultural districts may also contain businesses or locations like restaurants, banks, or parks whose primary purpose is not creative, but that regularly make their spaces available to artists or create opportunities for the public to encounter the arts.
More than tourism: the goal of this program is to highlight places dedicated to arts and culture and to support these communities to increase jobs, tourism, and investments in the creative economy. Cultural districts attract creative entrepreneurship and encourage innovation enhancing economic, social, and civic livability throughout the state.
Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly authorizes the S.C. Arts Commission to grant official state designation to cultural districts in the Palmetto State. Not every city or town will want to be or meet the criteria of an officially designated cultural district. If yours is interested, visit the “Becoming a Cultural District” page for additional information and next steps!
Several of the cultural districts are located along or near major arteries making them convenient places for sightseeing, to take a break, or a deeper dive: