Every year Artisphere breaks its own attendance record. With consistent growth in attendance, we are able to bring arts, culture, and a unique experience to the Upstate year after year.
The Story of Artisphere
Founded in 2003, the mission of Artisphere is to create a nationally recognized Fine Arts festival that enhances the quality of life and economic vitality in South Carolina. The 2018 Artisphere festival was a huge success. Applications reached 1,163, average artists’ sales were over $7,000, attendance neared 90,000 and economic impact grossed an astounding $5,810,394.
The 15th Anniversary festival in 2019 is scheduled for May 10-12, with programming throughout the West End of downtown Greenville and beyond for three full days that will present a diverse range of art-centric options targeting families, casual art lovers, and serious collectors.
Partnerships are a core element of Artisphere’s success, and the festival has a history of collaborating with a host of Greenville’s performance groups and venues. In 2009, we inaugurated special performance awards, underwritten by the Fred Collins Foundation, and have since distributed $120,000 to arts groups participating in our Local Performing Arts Showcase. Artisphere recruits local non-profit arts organizations to volunteer during the festival weekend and provides them with a portion of festival proceeds. Since 2005, Artisphere has donated over $250,000 to local groups like SCCT, Greenville Chorale, SCGSA&H and more.
Other key components of festival programming are educational collaborations that reach a diverse age range from young children to young adults and budding arts professionals. Kidsphere pairs students from SCGSA&H with festival children to create free crafts. The Greenville County High School Juried Exhibition engages student artists from the 14 Greenville County Public Schools (sponsored in 2018 by Furman University). Clemson University’s STEAM Exhibit and the University of South Carolina’s Art of Healthy Living Exhibit instruct young festival goers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics as well as Health Sciences. The Emerging Festival Artist Scholarship program underwrites costs for Greenville artists without festival exhibition experience to be a part of Artist Row.
Artisphere has grown into a centerpiece of Greenville’s cultural calendar and has distinguished itself as both a national and regional destination while generating a total economic impact of nearly $5.8 million in 2018. The festival is one of the country’s top art shows. It has been named the Best Overall Arts Fair by ArtFairCalendar.com (the #1 website for art fair event listings) and landed at the #3 spot in USA Today’s 10BEST Reader’s Choice Contest for Best Art Festival in 2015. Greg Lawler’s Art Fair Sourcebook consistently ranks Artisphere in the TOP10 out of 600 festivals across the country, and readers of Sunshine Artists magazine regularly put Artisphere among the 100 Best Fine Arts Shows in the country.