As Mauldin continues to grow, so does the Mauldin Cultural Center’s programming. Between arts classes, music and food festivals, the Mauldin Market, live performances by nationally recognized comedians, and more, Mauldin residents don’t have to go far to have a great time.
A variety of classes are offered throughout the year at the Cultural Center. The Art Haven offers classes in pottery, watercolor, sketching, ink and pencil drawing and other multimedia arts to youth and adults alike. In addition to visual arts, the Cultural Center continues to host lessons in vocal arts, guitar, woodworking, youth theater and more.
In 2011, the Mauldin Cultural Center built an outdoor amphitheater. In 2012, The Railroad Concert Series officially launched as part of the summer amphitheater programming with a performance by Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues. Since then, more than 5,000 music lovers have attended the Railroad Concerts, traveling from as far as the Northeast to as close as our neighbors behind the Cultural Center.
In 2019, the series will transform into a weekend festival featuring live performances by musicians offering up a heady mix of bluegrass, country, rhythm and blues and more.
For those who prefer tunes that fit well to a hot summer day on the sand, Beachin’ Fridays offers live performances by local beach bands. Since 2015, Beachin’ Fridays people have come from all over the Upstate to converge on the outdoor amphitheater for evenings of shag dancing, food trucks and craft beverages. The final night always features a special performance and fireworks. As with the Railroad Concerts, all shows are free of charge, so grab your dancing shoes and bring your energy.
From June through August, residents and guests enjoy shopping at the Mauldin Market located at the Cultural Center’s outdoor amphitheater. The market features a variety of vendors from around the Upstate selling locally sourced and produced items including dairy, eggs, produce, honey, gifts, clothing, accessories, treats and pastries, as well as live music, food trucks, craft beverages and family fun.
Each year, the Cultural Center invites nationally recognized comedians to hit the stage. In fall 2017, Henry Cho had the audience roaring with laughter with his clean comedy. In spring 2018, hilarity will ensue as James Gregory returns to the Cultural Center for an evening of down-home storytelling at its best.
While Mauldin pulls talent from across the country, the city also showcases local talent. Mauldin is home to the Mauldin Public Art Trail, an annual program in which a new art work is selected each year by the Mauldin Cultural Council, a nonprofit arts organization that supports artistic efforts around the community and at the Mauldin Cultural Center, to fill one of nine predetermined slots around the outdoor amphitheater.
December 2016 saw the addition of “Palmetto with Flowers” by Jamie von Herndon, a blue palmetto sculpture laden with metal flowers. The sculpture embraces the resilience, strength, and unity of South Carolinians during the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and the 2015 statewide flooding. “We Are All One” by Yelitza Díaz Muzzarelli was installed in December 2017. The piece features beings climbing a concrete wall, exalting the spirit of struggle, equality and reciprocity among humans regardless of their differences.
To support budding talent, the Cultural Center partnered with director Tim St. Clair II to start the Mauldin Youth Theatre, giving youth from the community the opportunity to perform on stage. In November 2017, after countless rehearsals and plenty of hard work, the troupe proudly presented their inaugural play, “The Lion King Jr.” The Mauldin Youth Theatre holds open auditions for anyone in the community who is interested in acting. No prior experience is necessary to audition and there are no fees to audition or participate in productions. Mauldin Youth Theatre’s second production will be James and the Giant Peach, coming spring 2018.
The Cultural Center supports its established talent with Broadway Under the Stars, which features local theater professionals performing Broadway favorites live under a blanket of stars in the outdoor amphitheater.
The outdoor amphitheater is also home to SOOIE, Mauldin’s Annual BBQ cook-off. For its seventh consecutive year, the Cultural Center has partnered with the SC Barbecue Association and the Mauldin recreation, public works, police and fire departments to host the annual competition. More than 25 cookers come from all over South Carolina to show off their barbecue skills each fall. Friday evening kicks off the event with live music and an “Anything Butt” competition, where cookers can serve anything but pulled pork. The event continues Saturday afternoon with more live music, a kid’s zone and a sanctioned pulled-pork competition. Visitors can purchase a tasting pass for the event, allowing them to taste samples from each cooker and vote on their favorite; they can also purchase pints of barbecue to enjoy later.
Every fall, the Cultural Center partners with the Greater Mauldin Chamber of Commerce for the ever-popular train show, Trains, Trains and More Trains. Thousands of guests from across the region visit the Cultural Center for the two-weekend event where they can interact with model trains.
Continuing their partnership, the Chamber and Cultural Center ring in the holiday season with nearly two weeks of festivities during Mauldin’s 12 Days of Christmas. Running Dec. 1-12, this annual program is jam-packed with events including breakfast with Santa, holiday arts classes, Christmas tree lighting, a parade, a holiday movie and musical performances.
The future continues to shine bright for the Mauldin Cultural Center, with new and exciting changes on the horizon. One of those changes is the renovation of the Cultural Center’s auditorium, beginning in 2018. The renovations will be funded through a $125,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, which will be matched by Mauldin City Council. Changes will include a green room for performers, new lighting and sound systems, stadium-style seating, new flooring and a new ceiling. These new renovations come shortly after construction on the Cultural Center’s side parking lot, resulting in 64 new spaces, a new handicapped-accessible entrance to the building and better lot flow.
To learn more about classes, performances, festivals, and more held at the Mauldin Cultural Center, visit mauldinculturalcenter.org or call (864) 335-4862.