Union’s Environmental Art and Music Festival Celebrates Art and Nature

    Union’s Environmental Art and Music Festival Celebrates Art and Nature

    In 2018, Union’s Piedmont Physic Garden applied for an Elevate Upstate grant to help pay for a unique kind of festival: an art and music festival, but one that focuses on conservation and environmental awareness. For the first time in the five years that Hughes Investments had been awarding the grants, in addition to the winning projects, the PCC was awarded a matching grant of $3000 for the festival—and that was the impetus for raising the remaining funds ($1500 each from Union City Council and Union County Council) and getting the community behind the project.

    Coie Switzer, director of the Piedmont Physic Garden, says, “We want to thank Ten at the Top and Hughes Investments for giving The Environmental Art and Music Festival its start. The $3,000 matching grant gave us the boost we needed to start this positive community vibrancy initiative in Union.”

    In addition to the Piedmont Physic Garden, six other groups have come alongside to partner in this endeavor: USC-Union, Union County Tourism, Union County Arts Council, Union County Historical Society, Union Carnegie Library, and Union County Chamber of Commerce. The fruits of their labor will be realized this weekend, with the first-ever Environmental Art and Music Festival.

    The festival celebrates Union County’s natural beauty and culture. It will take place in the heart of historic downtown Union, SC. The Vendor Village will take place on the campus of USC-Union’s Patrons Park, including food trucks and a mix of craftsmen, artists, and others whose works are based on sustaining natural products and resources. Click here to read more about it, from Linda Wilburn Weber of the PCC.

    The festival will also include art exhibits at USC-Union’s Main Building, the Union County Museum, the Piedmont Physic Garden, the Union County Arts Council gallery and the Union Carnegie Library in addition to a Main Street Arts Stroll.

    FREE outdoor music concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday nights at USC-Union’s Patron’s Park.

    Schedule of Events

    THURSDAY, SEPT. 26th Union County Arts Council 2019 Annual Art Exhibition Award Ceremony & Opening Reception @USC-Union Main Building 6 PM

    Vendor Village @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 10 AM – 5 PM
    UCAC 2019 Annual Art Exhibition @ USC-Union’s Main Building 10 AM – 5 PM
    Sculpture Exhibit @ Piedmont Physic Garden 10 AM – 5 PM
    Children and Teen Art Exhibit @ Union Carnegie Library 10 AM – 5 PM
    Art Exhibit featuring Eola Dent at Union County Museum 10 AM – 5 PM
    Art Exhibit featuring Thomas A. Tucker at UCAC Gallery 10 AM – 5 PM
    Main Street Art Stroll 10 AM – 5 PM
    Free Family-Friendly Bluegrass Concert featuring Tri County Express @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 5 PM – 7 PM
    Free Rock Concert featuring Dazed Renegade @USC-Union’s Patrons Park 7 PM – 9 PM

    Vendor Village @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 10 AM – 5 PM
    UCAC 2019 Annual Art Exhibition @ USC-Union’s Main Building 10 AM – 5 PM
    Sculpture Exhibit @ Piedmont Physic Garden 10 AM – 5 PM
    Children and Teen Art Exhibit @ Union Carnegie Library 10 AM – 5 PM
    Art Exhibit featuring Eola Dent at Union County Museum 10 AM – 5 PM
    Art Exhibit featuring Thomas A. Tucker at UCAC Gallery 10 AM – 5 PM
    Main Street Art Stroll 10 AM – 5 PM
    Live Music featuring Jordan Lawson 12 PM – 2 PM
    Free concert featuring Nashville musician and Grammy nominated songwriter, Robert Arthur and Union band, QUEST @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 7 PM – 9 PM


    Ten at the Top Announces Date, Keynote Speaker and Topic for 2020 Upstate Regional Summit

    Ten at the Top Announces Date, Keynote Speaker and Topic for 2020 Upstate Regional Summit


    Best-Selling Author Richard Florida to Serve as Keynote Speaker of Summit Focused on the “The New Urban Crisis”

    September 23, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) has announced that the 2020 Upstate Regional Summit will take place on September 23, 2020 focusing on the theme of “The New Urban Crisis.” Highlighting the event will be a keynote address from best-selling author and noted urban studies theorist Richard Florida.

    In his book The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation and Failing the Middle Class – and What We Can Do About It, Florida looks at the recent trend of the young, educated, and affluent surging back to live in American cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. He anticipates that this back-to-the-city movement demonstrates how the forces that drive urban growth also generate significant challenges for cities, including gentrification, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities and towns remain stagnate while middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Florida contends that we must rebuild cities and suburbs by empowering those communities to address their challenges.

    During the Upstate Regional Summit we will explore how this “New Urban Crisis” is impacting both urban and rural communities within the Upstate. The morning session will set the context around some of the Upstate challenges and then a series of breakout sessions will dive deeper into specific areas of concern and opportunity. The event will culminate with a keynote address by Florida where he will outline some of the challenges and opportunities for all communities to overcome the trend and grow in a manner that promotes success and the ability for all residents to thrive.  The full Summit program agenda is available on the Ten at the Top web site.

    About the Upstate Regional Summit

    The mission of Ten at the Top is to encourage collaboration and partnerships on cross-sector and cross-jurisdiction issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life in the Upstate region. Held every other year, the Upstate Regional Summit is an opportunity for nearly 1,000 leaders and interested stakeholder from across the Upstate to gather together in one location to reaffirm the value of “thinking regionally” as a component of regional success while discussing key issues facing the region.

    Become a Summit Sponsor

    The best way to be engaged in the Summit and connect your business or organization to the 1,000 expected attendees is through a Summit Sponsorship. There is a full complement of event and table sponsorships available. Again in 2020 we will begin the event with the Partner Expo, which is a great way to showcase your business to leaders from across the region. Many sponsorships are limited in number to provide exclusivity and are available on a first-come first-served manner, so be sure and secure your involvement early. The sponsorship deadline is June 30, 2020 and individual tickets will go on sale July 1, 2020. Sponsorship details are available here.

    Special Thanks

    We would like to thank BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina for their continued commitment to Ten at the Top, including serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2020 Upstate Regional Summit. We also want to thank Hughes Investments and the Upstate Orate Speaker Series for helping us bring Richard Florida to the Upstate.


    Ten at the Top to Hold Connectivity Workshop in Pickens County

    Ten at the Top to Hold Connectivity Workshop in Pickens County

    September 17, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) invites members of the Pickens County community to participate in a community workshop focused on “Next Steps for County Connectivity: Messaging, Marketing, and Mobility.” The workshop will be held on September 30th from 12:00–2:00 p.m.

    The workshop is one of 10 county workshops TATT is holding across the Upstate in 2019 as part of the 10th anniversary year for the organization.

    “We’re very excited about the response we’ve had to the ten county workshops so far,” said Ten at the Top executive director Dean Hybl.

    “Connectivity can have several different meanings, and that’s reflected in the content of this workshop, from different municipalities within the county working collaboratively to crafting a cohesive message to transportation and mobility,” Hybl continued.

    Pickens County Council Chair Roy Costner said, ““We are excited to see local business leaders, elected officials, and county residents come together to talk about the future of Pickens County.  Our county has exceptional people in each community who help to make Pickens County a natural destination for education, business, entertainment, and exploring the outdoors. This event will open a dialog on preserving what we have while planning for our growing future.”

    The workshop will touch on various meanings of connectivity, from a unified county identity and message to aspects of transportation and mobility. State Representative Neal Collins and Costner will set the context for the need for connectivity, talking about the Pickens United initiative. Janet Hartman, interim Executive Director of the Oconee Economic Alliance, will then talk about how to craft a cohesive county message; and Keith Moody, general manager of Clemson Area Transit/CATBUS, and Keith Brockington, Transportation Planning Manager with GPATS, will address connectivity from a transportation/mobility focus.

    The Pickens County Workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Lunch will be served starting at 11:45 a.m., with the meeting starting at noon. You can register for the event here.

    About Ten at the Top

    Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.

    The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, Where Every Quilt Tells a Story

    The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, Where Every Quilt Tells a Story

    It all started in 2009 with one quilt square mounted on the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla.

    The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce had a ribbon cutting for their new quilt square on September 13th.

    Today, the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has more than 250 quilt panels mounted on barns, businesses, homes, and public buildings across Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. One of the most recent squares was mounted on the building of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce on September 13th—a replica of a mid-19th century quilt pattern known as Noon Day Lilies.

    The idea was based on similar quilt trails in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Oconee County was the first county in South Carolina to embrace the quilt trail concept after a group of dedicated citizens came together to establish the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail in an effort to promote Oconee County. The first quilt square was sponsored by the Wynward Point Ladies Group and was mounted on the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla in the fall of 2009.

    The quilts are unique designs and each painted quilt panel is a copy of an existing quilt that usually has some historical connection with the sponsoring family or organization. The quilt panels are painted by volunteers on weather-resistant wooden panels using quality outdoor paint.

    The tagline of the project is, “Every Quilt Tells a Story, and Every Story Leads to a Discovery”—and the stories of each quilt can be found on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail website. The current owner of the quilt that is replicated on the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce comes from several generations of Pickens County residents; the quilt was a prized possession of her grandmother, the daughter of a circuit rider preacher who established several churches in the area.

    Resting Place, by Gail Sexton, is at 306 Main Street in Pickens

    Another quilt, called “Resting Place,” is the design of Gail Sexton, who made her first quilt in 1971 but did not begin quilting in earnest until the mid-1980s. So, while many of the quilt squares have a historical significance, others are the creations of contemporary quilters who have taken an interest in keeping the art form alive.

    A pdf map of the quilt trail, along with GPS coordinates, can also be found on the website. Please keep in mind that these quilt squares are on private property and should be viewed and photographed from public roads. Many owners may allow a closer look if you ask their permission.

    A festival celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail—called the Airing of the Quilts—will be held in downtown Westminster on October 5th.

    Article by Sherry Jackson, with updates by Sharon Purvis

    Revolutionary War Sites in the Upstate

    Revolutionary War Sites in the Upstate

    Did you know that there were more battles and skirmishes fought right here in South Carolina than in any other colony during the Revolutionary War? And you can visit the sites, immersing yourself in our state’s—and our country’s—history.

    Kings Mountain National Military Park

    Dubbed “the turn of the tide of success” by Jefferson Davis, the battle of Kings Mountain was the first major patriot triumph after the British invasion of Charleston and was an important American victory. The significant battle took place on October 7, 1780 and although only an hour long, it changed the course of the Revolutionary War.

    The 4000-acre park is one of the largest revolutionary war sites in the country. Located near Blacksburg in Cherokee County, the park features a 1.5 mile battle trail, an exhibit area, and a 26-minute film that shows every 45 minutes.

    The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (it stays open until 6:00 p.m. on weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day).

    Cowpens National Battlefield

    The battle at Cowpens was a major victory for colonial forces and was key to the surrender of British Commander Cornwallis that ultimately led to the end of the war in 1783.

    The 845-acre park features a Visitor’s Center, the battlefield area, a walking trail, and an auto loop trail.

    Check the web site for fees, hours of operation, special events, and park holidays.

    Ninety Six National Historic Site

    This site actually is home to two Revolutionary War battle sites that claimed the lives of over one hundred settlers. The first Southern battle of the war was fought here. The Visitor’s Center has a twenty minutes film which depicts the battles and an exhibit gallery.

    The Visitor’s Center is free and open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. except for New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day. The grounds are open daylight to dusk.

    Check the web site for fees, hours of operation, special events, and park holidays.

    Historic Brattonsville

    This is considered to be one of the most important and heavily visited historical sites in South Carolina. With over 775 acres and 30 buildings, it’s steeped in Revolutionary history.

    The Battle of Huck’s Defeat was an important event in the Revolutionary War and was fought at Brattonsville. In 1780, a British Legion under the command of Captain Christian Huck was dispatched by loyalist Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull to destroy Whig militia camps in the area. Huck was also given instruction by Turnbull to capture Colonel William Bratton (and others) who had just returned home to enlist more recruits for the war. The Whigs heard of this plan, rallied against the British soldiers and won the battle, killing Captain Huck in the process. This battle is believed to have revived the morale of the people in South Carolina and was the beginning of a series of victories including battles at Kings Mountain and Cowpens, which eventually led to the British surrendering at Yorktown in 1781.

    Historic Brattonsville, located in York County, is open Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Keep in mind, though, if you are going on a Saturday, the interpreters usually leave around 3 p.m. Check the web site for admission prices and special events.

    Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

    The battle that took place at Musgrove Mill on August 19, 1780 was a short (about 30 minutes) but very bloody battle. In fact, Isaac Shelby, a Colonel who fought both at Musgrove Mill and Kings Mountain stated in his memoirs that the battle at Musgrove Mill was the fiercest battle in which he ever fought. The brief battle was between a small detachment of Colonial Patriots and a larger group of British Loyalists. But despite the odds, the Patriots were victorious and the battle was considered an important turning point in the war.

    The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

    Oconee Station State Historic Site

    There were no revolutionary battles fought at Oconee Station, but its claim to fame is that it served as a military compound and trading post. The stone blockhouse was used as an outpost by the South Carolina State Militia from 1792 until 1799 as is the only remaining building of the fort Oconee Station.

    Walnut Grove Plantation

    Located near Roebuck, this plantation was established in 1765 from a 550-acre land grant. The Moore family, who owned Walnut Grove Plantation, were active Patriot supporters and allowed the militia to muster there during the war. Loyalist William Cunningham killed three Patriot soldiers sheltered at the plantation in 1781.

    Walnut Grove is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. They are closed Mondays and holidays and hours change November through March so it’s best to check their website for hours and admission fees before you visit.

    Also, as you are driving around, be on the lookout for historical markers. There are 495 U.S. Revolutionary War historical markers in South Carolina alone. For a complete list, visit the Historical Marker Database.

    by Sherry Jackson