Downtown Sumter Wins 2021 Inspiration Award for Outstanding Partnership

Outstanding Partnership: Butterfly Project, Downtown Sumter

Aiming to add new public art projects —an element that was lacking in the growing downtown district — Downtown Sumter partnered with the Main Street Society, a City of Sumter committee, to beautify and promote downtown. They created the Butterfly project, a series of professionally created fiberglass sculptures, painted by local artists and placed around downtown.  

The project chose butterflies as a symbol of growth and change — themes that connect to the revitalization that downtown Sumter has now experienced for two decades. The initial installation featured seven butterflies, with $500 sponsorships that covered the cost of the sculptures and an artist stipend for each sculpture. The partnership sought out artists through an application process and invited children to join in the painting of a butterfly during a special event. The city had the sculptures professionally clear-coated before hanging them on light poles. When the city removes the sculptures for replacement, it will give those sculptures to their original sponsors.  
The butterflies have drawn news media and social media attention, and have become an attraction drawing people downtown. The partnership behind the project hopes to create more butterfly installations and is working toward a mural project in 2021.  
Contact Leigh Newman at [email protected] or 803.436.2635.