Spartanburg, SC

6 Stunning Art Projects That Are Making Cities Healthier

These public pieces aren’t just about making communities more beautiful — they’re rebuilding neighborhoods.

Communities coast to coast have added artistic flourishes to troubled or abandoned neighborhoods. But revitalizing areas takes additional finesse — and, oftentimes, creative placemaking projects capable of connecting segregated communities. Here are some of the public art efforts that have helped do just that.

Inspired by Spartanburg’s textile past, an artist used the worn brick surface of a smokestack as a canvas for a high-powered LED light display.
[Steven Stinson/NationSwell]

Spartanburg, S.C.

“Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light,” a dynamic public art project built as part of the annual National Night Out, promoted crime prevention, strengthened police-community relations and fostered neighborhood camaraderie. Funded by a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, “Seeing Spartanburg” brought temporary LED-light installations, including “Glow,” which transformed two of the city’s towering smokestacks into multicolored beacons, and “Benchmark Spartanburg,” a long public bench backed by pulsating lights, to 10 local neighborhoods. According to Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center, the project began to “cultivate relationships between local residents and law enforcement officers, which is a step towards reducing crime.”

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