The Mauldin Art Trail continues to expand

By Scott Crosby – –

Have you ever visited the Mauldin Cultural Center? Have you ever walked along the Art Trail?

If not, you are missing something really worth seeing.

The Art Trail was commissioned by Mauldin’s City Council in December of 2014. Since then, each year the Mauldin Cultural Council selects an artistic theme, and local artists are asked to submit their proposals for a sculpture for that year. The best entry is selected for addition to the Art Trail.

The Art Trail will ultimately hold a total of ten sculptures. Beginning with the eleventh year, the oldest sculpture will be replaced with the latest addition. Annual updates will offer a changing vista for visitors to the Cultural Center’s grounds.

Since 2015, four sculptures have been added to the Art Trail. Each has a distinctive style all its own. A walk along the Art Trail allows you to transition from one to the next, providing an interesting and absorbing experience.

2015 – “Crossroads”

Joey Manson’s striking sculpture definitely attracts your attention. Entitled “The Depot,” it embraces the 2015 theme “Crossroads,” celebrating the history of Mauldin as a train depot — the intersection of road and railway that first gave rise to Mauldin’s modern industry and development that encircles the city and drives its economy today.

2016 – “South Carolina Strong”

Jamie von Herndon’s sculpture for 2016 is entitled “Palmetto with Flowers”. The sculpture embraces the theme “South Carolina Strong,” symbolizing the resilience, strength, and unity of South Carolinians during the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and the 2015 statewide flooding.

The rust running from the sculpture on the concrete base is deliberate: the nine Magnolias symbolize the nine who died at the Church, and the stream of rust symbolizes their blood.

2017 – “Appreciation of Diversity”

Yelitza Díaz’s sculpture entitled “We Are All One” embraces the theme “Appreciation of Diversity,” exalting the spirit of struggle, equality, and reciprocity among humans regardless of their differences.

Ms. Diaz moved to the United States from Venezuela, where she and her family experienced first-hand the decline and depredations under the socialist government of the past two decades. That experience is clearly suffused through the nuances of her sculpture.

2018 – “Industry of the Upstate”

Mauldin Fireman Arrington Matthews of Lyman, SC was chosen for 2018’s theme “Industry of the Upstate.” His sculpture, entitled “The Groundbreaking,” exemplifies that theme by portraying the ever-changing face of industry — from where we began to where we are heading.

2019 – “Youth: Passion for Change”

Artist Aldo Muzzarelli’s sculpture, “The Big Cocoon”, exemplifies the 2019 theme, “Youth: Passion for Change” celebrating youth as our future and driving force behind positive change across the globe.

Details from the cocoon in the boy’s left hand to that of the various butterflies make this sculpture a fascinating focus for thoughts.

Coming up Next: “Heroes and Leaders”

Historically, each year’s sculpture has been unveiled in December, which made for some chilly events, held in winter’s evening darkness. That will change this year: sculptures will now be unveiled in June. The extra six months will also give future artists more time to complete their work.

The current theme for this year’s artists’ submissions will be “Heroes and Leaders”, and this year’s best of the best will be unveiled in June of 2021. Don’t miss it!

Foster Creativity

While walking the grounds, don’t miss the mural painted on the west wall of the Cultural Center, painted about six years ago by a group of art students from Mauldin High School. Thanks to a lot of careful design work and planning by the team’s lead student, Celine Crum, each student was given a rectangle of wall and a layout for his or her part of the mural. The entire mural was completed in just a few hours.

The design was modeled after Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It is meant to highlight and encourage the creative nature of children. “I would like the mural to serve as a statement that creativity should be fostered during childhood, the most impressionable time of one’s life. Children are the most creative members of the community, and it is the adults’ job to encourage this creativity throughout their lives,” Crum says.

That is a beautiful thought. As one philosopher put it, “Art is the selective recreation of reality, according to the artist’s metaphysical value judgements.” In other words, Art symbolizes what the artist sees as important in life. The same is true for how much and in what way each of us appreciates Art. Children are no exception, and when encouraged towards personal achievement and happiness will also have a much greater interest in Art. Art is an intimate, necessary part of being a person, and reflects a person’s well-being.

Mauldin – A Center for the Arts!

If you happen to visit while the Cultural Center is open, go inside and check out the paintings, wall murals, and other art works.

The Mauldin Cultural Center has it all: sculpture, paintings, murals, wood-carvings, pottery and clay, musical instruments and voice, musical concerts, plays, and more – and it is just getting started.

For more information, visit . Better yet, visit the beautiful grounds of the Mauldin Cultural Center and take a walk along the Mauldin Art Trail.

Mauldin is truly a leading Center for the Arts in the Upstate!■

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