Call for Artists

The City of Sumter’s Downtown Development department, in partnership with the Main Street Society, is excited to announce an art installation for the Central Business District of downtown Sumter featuring original art by local artists on fiberglass butterflies. The butteries represent the revitalization and transformation that has taken place downtown and celebrate the growing partnerships between citizens, artists, businesses and local government.


During the first round of the project, a small number of 3 foot by 3 foot fiberglass butterflies (8-10) will be decorated by local artists and pole-mounted at varying heights along Main Street from Calhoun to Bartlett and along Liberty Street from Harvin to Washington. Butterflies will be purchased by the City of Sumter and the Main Street Society, but opportunities to sponsor a butterfly will be made available to Main Street Society members and then the general public.

The suggested material for decorating the butterflies is acrylic paint, but if an artist would like to use a medium other than acrylic paint, the manufacturer offers an artists’ hotline to assist with any technical questions or issues. Artists should contact to ensure that their medium is appropriate for use and include information related to the process (if using something other than acrylic) in their proposal. Artists are responsible for providing their own supplies, but a stipend of $50 will be provided. Example photos of undecorated butterflies can be found on the garden section of the cow painters website at The butterflies are tentatively scheduled to be available to artists by August 2019 and will be due for installation in November 2019. Dates are subject to change.

The manufacturer recommends an annual wash to remove any pollution and a coat of automotive grade urethane clear coat at least once every five years. The City of Sumter and the Main Street Society will assume the responsibility of maintaining the butterflies. In the event that the butterflies are removed, the City of Sumter or the butterfly’s sponsor will retain the butterfly.

Submitting artists must:

  • be over 18-years of age or be represented by someone who is 18-years of age or older;
  • reside in Sumter County, South Carolina;
  • have the space to accommodate a 3 foot by 3 foot butterfly for at least 3 months; and
  • complete the submission process in its entirety as outlined below.

Submission Process:

Artists must submit a drawing of how they would decorate a butterfly and a completed copy of the attached proposal page. Entries must be submitted to the Opera House, 21 N. Main St, Sumter, SC 29150 by June 1, 2019. Please place all documents in an envelope and label the envelope with “Butterfly Project, Attn: Leigh Newman”.

Selection Process & Notification:

All submitted works will be considered by a jury made up of Main Street Society committee members, City of Sumter Downtown Development employees and select outside viewers from the Sumter community. The winning proposals are also subject to approval by the Historic Preservation Design Review Committee. Artists will be notified by July 1, 2019 if they have been chosen to participate in the project.


  • All decisions of the jurors are final.
  • If you are accepted, by submitting your entry you give the City of Sumter and/or the
  • Main Street Society the right to publish your images for publicity purposes.
  • Butterflies will be the property of the City of Sumter, artist is responsible for keeping
  • the butterfly from being damaged while in their care.
  • Artists may be responsible for picking up and delivering the butterflies.

Questions? Please contact Leigh Newman at

If interested, click here to download and complete the Downtown Butterfly Project Artist Proposal form.