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.

Read the 2014 legislation

Goals of the program

  • ATTRACT artists, creative entrepreneurs, and cultural enterprises
  • ENCOURAGE economic development
  • FOSTER local arts and cultural development
  • CELEBRATE unique arts and cultural identity

Outcomes of the program

  • Tourism benefits and geographic visibility
  • Historic property preservation and reuse development
  • Creative placemaking and strategic arts planning and cultural programming
  • Arts and cultural growth and vitality

Is your city or town ready to become a cultural district*? This page provides guidelines and eligibility for the certification process.

*If you’re looking to become a historic district, we are glad to know it—but we can’t help you. We suggest you check out the information provided by our colleagues at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History or check in with your local historic preservation organization.

What makes a cultural district?
  • They are areas of concentrated arts and culture which contribute to the creative economic vitality of a place.
  • Applications are accepted from cities or towns anywhere in South Carolina.
  • The accessible area should have artistic and creative assets within a concentrated geographic range.
  • Creative placemaking, public art programming, artist + designer studios, installations, buskers, and performance venues are just some of the resources that draw visitors and residents to a cultural district.
  • Dedication to community, economic, and cultural development within the designated area confirms the city or town’s ongoing commitment to the district’s overall success.


Application Process

After creating and working with your steering committee and passing a resolution in your local council. You will review these steps towards making a full application.

Reporting Requirements


Every five (5) years, SCAC staff will evaluate the annual reports, action plans, goals, and outcomes of designated cultural districts to assess the district’s impact and continued viability for state designation. Each district that is up for recertification should prepare a new five-year plan including desired outcomes, goals, and objectives. Prior to submitting this, the district representatives will be required to have a meeting to discuss the evaluation and new plan with SCAC staff.

Districts demonstrating substantial progress or success at accomplishing goals and outcomes, and that demonstrate a continued local commitment to management and promotion of the district, will be recertified for another five-year period.

I’m here to help!

To discuss the program and ask any questions you might have, please contact Public Art Coordinator Margot Lane Strasburger (803.734.8253 | mstrasburger@arts.sc.gov).