As Mauldin continues to grow, so does the Mauldin Cultural Center’s programming. Between arts classes, music and food festivals, the Mauldin Farmers 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. The Cultural Center also hosts lessons in vocal arts, guitar, woodworking, youth theater and more.
In 2011, the Mauldin Cultural Center built an outdoor amphitheater, which hosted performances by musicians of all styles, from the Greenville Concert Band’s holiday performances to “My Girl,” “My Whiskey” and “Me’s” folksy tunes.
For those who enjoy music that recalls hot summer day on the sand, Beachin’ Fridays offer live performances by well-known beach bands. Since 2015, Beachin’ Fridays have drawn people from all over the Upstate to the outdoor amphitheater for evenings of shag dancing, food trucks and craft beverages. The final night features a special performance, and this year’s series will feature a patriotic performance and fireworks for Independence Day. All shows are free, so grab your dancing shoes and bring your energy!
Tuesday evenings from June through August, residents and guests enjoy shopping at the Mauldin Farmers Market at the Cultural Center’s outdoor amphitheater. The market features a variety of Upstate vendors 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. Well-known names such as Henry Cho and James Gregory have brought their clean comedy to the Cultural Center. In May 2019, the ladies of Country Cool will come to Mauldin, finding humor in everything life dishes out during their straight-shootin’, no-holds-barred comedy show.
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 2018 saw the fourth addition to the trail, “The Groundbreaking” by Arrington Matthews. The steel sculpture exemplifies the theme “Industry of the Upstate” by portraying the ever-changing face of industry – from where we began to where we are heading. This piece follows Yelitza Díaz Muzzarelli’s 2017 installation, “We Are All One.” A new work will be commissioned each year to fill the nine sites along the perimeter, with the goal that all nine sites will be filled within 10 years. For each year after the first 10 years, the oldest installation will be replaced, resulting in a new slate of nine pieces of artwork every 10 years. Retired artworks will be relocated to other areas around the community.
To support budding talent, the Cultural Center partnered with director Tim St. Clair II to start the Mauldin Youth Theatre, giving community youth the opportunity to perform on stage. In November 2017, after countless rehearsals and plenty of hard work, the troupe presented their inaugural play, “Disney’s The Lion King, JR.,” and have since performed two more shows, drawing greater interest from the public. The Mauldin Youth Theatre holds open auditions for all community youth interested in acting. Prior experience is not necessary, and there are no fees to audition or participate in productions. Mauldin Youth Theatre’s fourth production will be “Disney’s Aladdin JR.” coming spring 2019.
Meanwhile, local theater and music professionals will perform much beloved classics with “The Greatest Show: Songs of Pasek and Paul.” The show will feature music from the Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known for their work for “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Dogfight,” “La La Land,” “Trolls” and “The Greatest Showman.”
The outdoor amphitheater is also home to SOOIE, Mauldin’s Annual BBQ Cook-off. For its eighth 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 to taste samples from each cooker and vote on their favorite.
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 holiday events for all ages during Mauldin’s 12 Days of Christmas. This annual program is jam-packed with events including a Holiday Market, breakfast with Santa, a Christmas tree lighting, a parade and musical performances. In 2019, Mauldin will announce an exciting new addition to the 12 Days festivities.
The future continues to shine bright for the Mauldin Cultural Center, with new and exciting changes on the horizon. The Cultural Center’s auditorium is set for renovation, beginning in 2019. It will be funded through grants from the Graham Foundation, USDA and Hollingsworth Funds, as well as 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 renovations follow construction on the Cultural Center’s side parking lot, resulting in 64 new spaces, new handicap accessible entrance to the building and better lot flow.
To learn more about the Mauldin Cultural Center, visit www.mauldinculturalcenter.org or call (864) 335‑4862.