Beth Sparks Batson
Beth Sparks Batson (project director) is a marketing professional and writer who has made Anderson her home since 1982. A graduate of Clemson University, her career experience includes executive management and strategic planning first, in the newspaper business and now in municipal government. Working for the City of Anderson over the past decade, she has found delight in discovering ways to explore, promote and define what makes Anderson special.
Beth became enamored with the Church Street Heritage Project in 2007. The City had received funding from the South Carolina Heritage Corridor to conduct oral interviews with “The Black Pioneers” who remember the Church Street era. A few interviews had been done and the raw footage sat idle. Beth adopted the project, completed the interviews and expanded the scope of the effort in partnership with videographer Paul Brown and Dead Horse Productions. This effort became the full length documentary film “Trading Church Street: Pride, Prejudice and a Parking Lot,” chronicling the memories of African Americans in Anderson during the Church Street era, which Beth directed and researched.
With inspiration from Dr. Beatrice Thompson Beth began collaboration with Scott Foster, fine artist and architectural illustrator, who designed a park as a palette for public art to continue telling the Church Street story. With the support of the Anderson City Council, she secured funding from the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant program and the Duke Energy Foundation. From there, she built a team in partnership with the Anderson Arts Center to bring this unique installation to the City of Anderson. Based on her years of research and attention to the anecdotes of “The Black Pioneers,” she also wrote the project descriptions and prose that appear along with the artwork on the site.
Beth is the author of the book “Little Wren Lost and the Teakettle Call,” featuring the art installation of bronze wrens by Zan Wells in downtown Anderson. The book is illustrated by Scott Foster, whom she met working on designs for Church Street. Beth has received numerous local and national awards for a myriad of projects and her play “The Dog Park,” has been produced at three Upstate theatres. She and her husband Phil have been married for 30 years and are each active in the Anderson community.