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Community Art Comes to the Northside

Northside Artlets Project

Northside Artlets Now Open!

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159 Pearl Street - The Nest

The many Carolina Wrens’ nests found while gathering reclaim material around the Northside served as the inspiration for Nest.

While brainstorming designs for the Artlets, I began to think about these prevalent local birds, specifically the way that they take assortments of materials from their surroundings to make homes and shelters. It dawned on me that this concept was the perfect parallel for an Artlet: a safe space made from bits and pieces of its neighborhood and its history. On a physical level, Nest is literally made from siding salvaged from historic Northside homes, and on a psychological level, its form was designed via intense collaboration with community members who shared bits and pieces of stories and memories about the neighborhood.  The finished Artlet is based on the hive-like nests that the Wrens often construct. In building an organic, curvilinear shape, I intend this Artlet to be a celebration of nature; something that looks as if it almost grew into this space rather than being built.  

530 Brawley Street - The Neighborhood Porch

This Artlet was designed to function specifically as an extension of the front porch. The form was kept uncomplicated and is directly in line with the National Style of architecture that many of the Northside’s former mill homes fall within. In keeping the design simple, the focus was given to the surroundings of the Artlet. The remnants of a community garden on the lot were revamped, pulling them forward and placing plants all around the Arlet to create an oasis to draw people in. Many edible plants such as vegetables and herbs were planted, along with decorative annuals and Morning glory which, in time, will climb the Artlet’s pergola adding a shady nook to the porch.


297 Farley Street

The Butterfly Theatres

These Artlets get their name from both their vicinity to Butterfly Creek and the shape of their roofs, which are designed to evoke the feeling of wings taking flight. Each was created with the idea of performances in mind, and their form may cater to anything from spoken word, to music, to theatrical events. Each structure features one entirely open side that functions as an impromptu, open air stage. On each respective site, this stage faces a grassy knoll to be used as natural seating for an audience. In addition to this arrangement, roughly 20 wooden crates and four wooden cable reels are located at each site that may be moved about freely to make a customized area to lounge, or as props during performances. The idea to include moveable wooden objects came about in conversations with Northside residents about memories of spending time on their porches growing up. The crates are a nod to what many of them fondly recalled spending countless summer hours relaxing upon, many times in conversation with dear friends and family. To me, the crates also function as a metaphor for individuality. Much like people, the nature of wood necessitates a uniqueness to every wooden object created. No two trees ever grow exactly the same, and thus, no two pieces of wood ever have the same grain, texture, tone, or character. Crates also have rich individual histories akin to the people that utilize them. Used for shipping, many of them have traveled around the country and back more than many of us will do in a lifetime. I like to think that this contributes to a sort of “material memory” in each object that further sets them apart as individualistic relics. Finally, on one side of each

Butterfly Theatre

 is a poem by Northside Voyager Debby Moore hidden within a wooden lattice reminiscent of some of the historic porch railing designs found in the Northside. Debby and I worked together to decide which of her poems would best capture the spirit of the Artlets, and I was honored to include her words in the final forms.

The Northside Artlets are now open! Check out what the Spartanburg Herald Journal had to say about the Artlets!

The Artlets are Free + Open to All. No scheduled or appointment needed. They are first come, first serve. Hashtag #NorthsideArtlets and show us how you're using the artlets!

The Artlets:

A resident-inspired Cultural Arts


Artlets_3_2017.jpgThe Artlets were the brainchild of the Voyagers, who wanted public art in their neighborhood that would help them show off the prolific talents of the Northside residents. They wanted places to play music, stage plays and poetry readings, sing, dance, and just simply be creative with their families and neighbors. 

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and from many generous community partners, the Northside neighborhood will soon be home to four unique sites that will help them express themselves. 

“I cannot think of a better way to collaborate with a community than to design a literal platform for them to spring from, allowing them to spread their own creative ideas, passions, and interests to the rest of the neighborhood and Spartanburg as a whole.” - Artist, Eli Blasko



What kinds of creative activities are you planning to do at the Artlets? Here are some ideas:

- Hold a concert 
- Color with your children
- Read a book
- Practice your selfie skills
- Meditate
- Paint a masterpiece
- Have band practice
- Put on a play for your parents
- Meet your friends for a poetry reading
- Tell a story

Northside Artlets made possible with generous inkind and financial support.

  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Chapman Cultural Center
  • Art-Force Incorporated
  • City of Spartanburg
  • Northside Development Group
  • The Voyagers
  • Spartanburg Community College Corporate + Community Education
  • Spartanburg Housing Authority Youth Build Program
  • Leadership Spartanburg Alumni Association Led by Crystal Pace
  • Stephen M Poole Builders Inc
  • Northside Neighborhood Association
  • Eagle Metals Manufacturing
  • Duke Energy
  • Milliken
  • Creative Development LLC 
  • Anonymous Donor
  • Dellfrio
  • Inman Mills
  • Bob Burnett’s Inc
  • Jethro Waters
  • Constance Jones
  • Contributions of Time Generously Donated by Residents
  • Bannan Blasko LLC