At our recent Momentum lunch series, a dynamic group of business leaders, interested community members and artists discussed the importance of arts in Greenville. The good news is that the groups believes that Greenville is VERY supportive of its artists – but there is still more to be done. During our hour-long discussion, we considered the importance of cultivating a creative community, the role of art in economic development and how we can better support a thriving arts community. Here is a short recap.
First of all, what is art? Succinctly, art is “stuff people create.” But more importantly, why is it important for us to be a creative community that supports the arts? According the group attending, art defines a sense of place and community. It is a “shared experience” that brings people together whether in a coffee shop, art galley, monster truck rally or concert hall. The great thing about art is that it is inherently communal, but also personal because it allow individual expression and interpretation. Based on the discussion, creative communities, such as Greenville, are forward-thinking and welcoming because they cultivate community through the arts, no matter the medium.
In Greenville, it is very clear the role of arts in economic development. The Peace Center, Flour Field, and Poinsett and Hyatt Regency hotels are hallmarks of downtown’s revitalization and each intimately connected to the arts. On the other hand, arts provide an intangible benefit because they provide a means of communication through the shared experience and emotional connection. Whether it’s through community gardens, First Fridays, street performers or flash mobs, creative communities are more vibrant and successful not just because of the economic development impact but because of the stronger social connections among residents.
Greenville is often recognized as one of the top small arts towns in the country with many popular festivals such as Artisphere, Euphoria and Fall for Greenville. One attendee described Greenville’s image as “creatively corporate,” reflecting the balance between industry and arts in town. But what can we do to further arts in Greenville? Suggestions include:
- A community theater
- Better marketing for the Far West Wend
- Better arts education in public schools
- An avant garde art scene
- Help artists find multiple jobs
If you have an idea, let us know at whatifgreenville.com No matter your art form, we are excited you call Greenville home. We hope you will continue the conversation on cultivating a creative and artistic community in Greenville. And don’t forget to join us at our monthly Momentum lunch discussion series.