Daniel Zongrone Awarded the First ArtsXcelerator Grant from Chapman Cultural Center

Spartanburg, SC - October 12th, 2017 - Chapman Cultural Center is excited to announce that Spartanburg artist, Daniel Zongrone, has been awarded the first $10,000 ArtsXcelerator Grant. This is a brand new grant from Chapman Cultural Center and it is the largest grant ever to be given to a single local artist from the non-profit. The ArtsXcelerator Grant was inspired by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge that Spartanburg won in 2015.

The ArtsXcelerator Grant is unprecedented because it is an arts grant directly linked to the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project. The Indicators Project is a collaboration of local Spartanburg organizations who report on the progress of key indicators around critical issues facing Spartanburg County. Their goal is to inspire dialogue and strategy that will lead to changes in the community and ultimately improve the quality of life for all Spartanburg Country residents.

Jennifer Evins President/CEO of Chapman Cultural Center says, "ArtsX was originally a giving society founded in 1997 to encourage young leaders to support local arts through the annual United Arts Campaig. Over the years, they have raised over $100,000. Now twenty years later, ArtsX is a grant making panel made up of young donors who are given the opportunity to read all the applications and select the winning local artist and project. Research shows that millennials and younger generations want to have direct involvement in how their funds are being used to improve their community and this is one way we do that in Spartanburg County."

Melissa Earley, Impact and Outreach Director for Chapman Cultural Center says, "We know that artists are big thinkers and creative problem solvers. We wanted to tap into that by offering a substantial grant to an individual artist that would allow them to make the largest impact possible in Spartanburg County. Linking up artists, non-profits, and other stakeholders will help us to move the needle forward on real issues here locally in our community."

Zongrone submitted and won the grant with his idea of installing a STEAM Garden on the City of Spartanburg's Southside, which is currently identified as a "food desert." He is aligning his project to six of the seven indicators: civic health, education, public health, natural environment, social environment, and cultural vitality. Zongrone is partnering with Project Hub, School District 7, Spartanburg Science Center, Hub City Farmers Market and other collaborators for the planning and execution of the project.

Grant recipient and artist, Daniel Zongrone, says: "For me art is functional through education and inspiration. It should also reach across generations to touch both children and adults. Art is Magic! This project incorporates my three main objectives, 1.Education 2. Art 3. Inspiration"

The STEAM Garden will be located on land that belongs to District 7, at the former site of the City of Spartanburg's Swim Center. This location will serve as a bridge between the Downtown and Southside areas of Spartanburg, improving the vitality of both neighborhoods by creating connections between individuals, schools, and organizations.

STEAM is an educational approach that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in a collaborative way to guide student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The STEAM Garden will work closely with Carver Middle and Mary H. Wright Elementary to further their STEAM educational programs.

Carver Middle School Principle, Nicole Thompson, says: "The STEAM garden will provide our students with a unique learning experience and help them develop a sense of pride for their community. The garden will bring students and community members together and afford each person the opportunity to foster new relationships."

The main structure on the site will be a large gazebo that will collect rain water via an inverted roof, diverting the water to a reservoir under the structure. Project Hub will be heavily involved in the construction process of the garden. It will be surrounded by five to six areas to install different types of vertical edible gardens. Adopt-a-plots for individuals or groups to maintain will also be available on the site.

The project is set to begin construction in the next couple of months with a completion goal of Summer 2018. Learn more about the project on Project Hub's website and sign up to receive updates. Visit: http://projecthubspartanburg.com/steam-garden/

About Chapman Cultural Center
Chapman Cultural Center provides cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community and all of its citizens.

The Chapman Cultural Center is located on East Saint John St in downtown Spartanburg, SC. Please visit www.ChapmanCulturalCenter.org for more information.