Lighten Up, Spartanburg!

Spartanburg Art Museum’s newest idea – a large scale public art program - promises to be unlike anything it, or Spartanburg, has done before.  The ambitious project, dubbed Lighten Up Spartanburg!, builds on public art methods and ideas pioneered in growing American cities like Houston, Chicago, and Alberquerque.  It aims to build up the cultural vitality of Spartanburg while expanding the local economy through tourism, fostering connections between local business and the arts, and supporting regional artists.  Lighten Up Spartanburg!  will usher Spartanburg into the ranks of growing, nationally recognized cities across America.  The symbol for this new public art program is the light bulb, a universal metaphor for creativity, invention, and achievement – embodying the spirit of contemporary Spartanburg.

For the project, 25 six-foot tall fiberglass light bulb sculptures have been commissioned by the Museum and will be given to local and regional artists, architects, and designers to paint, sculpt, or otherwise decorate or re-imagine.  Once the bulb sculptures have been turned into works of art, they will be installed in outdoor spaces throughout Spartanburg, particularly in the Downtown Cultural District, where they’ll impress and inspire visitors and residents alike.  The program has garnered the full support of Spartanburg’s city government and chamber of commerce, who are excited for the project to begin.  But Lighten Up Spartanburg! aims to accomplish more than just changing the visual landscape of South Carolina’s newest Cultural District, it aims to become a symbol of the hotbed of innovation that 21st century Spartanburg has become.  The core of Lighten Up Spartanburg! is 20 local businesses which have made the entire project a reality by sponsoring the construction and decoration of individual bulbs.  Their names will accompany the names of the artists they’ve sponsored on each one. 

Lighten Up Spartanburg! will be unveiled with the work of the other participating artists for the first time at a special museum event in September, and installed in downtown Spartanburg and its environs by March of 2017.  The first three completed bulbs will be revealed at the September event, along with the artist’s renderings of the remaining 22 bulbs.  All of the bulbs will be completed and installed by March of 2017.  In the meantime, locals and visitors can share their thoughts and experiences related to the project directly with the museum and participating sponsors and artists by using the hashtag #artbulbs on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. 














featured class

Spring Break Art Camp (ages 7-11)
Monday - Friday; 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
April 3rd - April 7th, 2017
Tuition: SAM members $100; non-members $110 - 1 week

about us

SAM is funded in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg and its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from The National Endowment for the Arts.



Chapman Cultural Center
200 E. St. John Street
Spartanburg, SC 29306
(864) 582-7616

Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
Sundays 1-5pm