Get to know AiR (Artists-In-Residence)

Esther-Irene Egan
Staff Writer

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Spartanburg may seem to be a small town that has nothing going for it, but if you explore the quaint downtown area you will discover an oasis of culture, creativity, and coffee.  HUB-BUB is home to a local venue, The Showroom, a coffee shop, The Coffee Bar, and a book store that promotes local writers. A growth is occurring in Spartanburg and one way HUB-BUB is promoting that growth is through a program called Artists-In-Residence (AiR). AiR offers housing with free utilities and a bi-monthly stipend of $600 for six months to four lucky artists. The residents enjoy a large apartment above The Showroom where they nurture their craft and work with HUB-BUB through the bookstore, The Coffee Bar, and The Showroom. To promote community based art, each resident will work with a local non-profit of their choice, using their own designs.  The program helps to foster an artist’s creativity, while promoting community involvement and allowing Spartanburg to make a nationwide name in the creative field.

AiR just received four new residents for the new six month period. They were kind enough to be interviewed before a group meeting that morning. Walking into the space one can sense a friendly community among the four residents and the staff of the AiR program. Each resident is excited to be in Spartanburg and given this amazing opportunity.  Jonathan Ade is a filmmaker from Los Angeles whose  Senior Thesis film Through and Away, received the Jury Prize for Best Feature in 2008 from the National Film Festival for Talented Youth.  Lauren Ferebee is a theatre artist hailing from New York City where she writes and performs as an actor.  In 2013 her play Somewhere Safer premiered at NYC’s International Fringe Festival.  Amber Hanson is a visual artist from Kansas where she worked as lead assistant under David Loewenstien for community based mural projects in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, Hastings, Nebraska, and Joplin, Missouri.   Eli Blasko is another visual artist who specializes in Printmaking, Sculpture, video performance, and interactive works.  When asked how they like the program they each had nothing but praise for the opportunity to work in Spartanburg, SC.  Lauren was all smiles as she explained how the program “changed her life” because “ [she] never lived anywhere else [other than NYC] and has been given this time to really work, while being able to work on some really amazing projects within the community, and being able to have [her] friends from New York share their work down here.”  There was laughter mixed with fun chatter throughout the conversation and it was lovely to see a program that fosters this type of friendship along with a creative space for passionate individuals to work.

To learn more about each artist please visit

Here are the websites to view the talented work of each artist:

Jonathan Ade

Lauren Ferebee

Amber Hanson

Eli Blasko