Introducing the first Innovation Village!

Tim and Robyn Farrell at Innovation Village at The Bethlehem Center

Yesterday, White Elephant launched “Innovation Village” at The Bethlehem Center of Spartanburg, in collaboration with the City of Spartanburg, Spartanburg Art Museum, Hub-Ology nonprofit and Hub City Bees. 

Thanks to a capacity-building grant received from the Spartanburg County Foundation, the team that built Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light’s “Video Village” in Highland will transform the highly acclaimed work of public art into a technology hub where the residents of Highland as well as others from Spartanburg County will learn 21st Century job skills, video storytelling, digital editing, data entry and other computer skills. The team includes: The Bethlehem Center, Highland Neighborhood Association, White Elephant Enterprises, Hub-Ology, Hub City Bees, Spartanburg Art Museum, USC Upstate, Wofford College and Chapman Cultural Center.

Troy Hanna, President of Spartanburg County Foundation, at Innovation Village opening in Highland.
As reported in the Herald-Journal, 16 year old Sonny Cheeks said, “It feels like I’m some type of tech genius,” said Sonny Cheeks, 16, a student at​ Spartanburg High School who helped put one of the computers together. “I’ve never felt this way before with a computer and it’s nice to see everything new. I’ll probably use the computers for school research.”
Tim Farrell and Robyn Hussa Farrell (of White Elephant Enterprises and SHARPEN technologies), co-Directed the “Video Village” installation, and are thrilled to lead the team to launch Innovation Village.

“This is a great opportunity to continue the positive momentum created by the other projects in the area, and it fulfills the promise made to the residents of Highland – that the computer system that drove the “Video Village” film series would be converted into computers for all residents to use. This effort to merge art and innovation will help increase capacity for Highland residents and we are thrilled to be a part of it!” says Tim Farrell.

Patrena Mims, Executive Director of The Bethlehem Center said “This is a fulfillment of a long-term goal to bring vital life skills, job training and other partner resources to the Highland community. The team met over the course of 8 months to create a plan for success in the implementation of the Innovation Village. The initial plan includes three phases of workshops that will unfold in the Innovation Village at Bethlehem Center starting in July, 2017.

Robyn Hussa Farrell, Betsy Neely Sikma, Patrena Mims and Elizabeth Goddard at the opening of Innovation Village at The Bethlehem Center, 2017

White Elephant and the team aspires to open additional “Innovation Village” locations in Spartanburg in 2018.  Stay tuned for more information!

View press release here.
Watch Coverage of the opening on Channel 7 News (top story):