In the mid 1980’s, a group of performing arts enthusiasts established an organization with an undeniably exciting dream – a dream to embolden the revitalization of downtown Greenville, and the arts, by creating a cultural hub where people of all ages, incomes, and interests would be welcome to gather, and experience the creative world. With their leadership and a $10 million pledge of support from the Peace family, the organization set out to make this dream a reality.
Situated along the Reedy River, at the heart of the city, stood what remained of Greenville’s once-booming industrial complex: a long-abandoned coach factory, textile plant, mayonnaise factory, and turn-of-the-century retail store. Drawing on a shared desire to see Greenville flourish, the organization strategically selected this centrally located property and restored some of the 19th-century buildings it housed, incorporating them into their master plans – which included the construction of the Peace Concert Hall and Gunter Theatre.
Soon enough, the organization raised the $42 million needed to bring their plans to life – and worked to anchor what would become Greenville’s epicenter for entertainment, arts, culture, and education. In November of 1990, construction was complete, and the Peace Center stood as an architectural homage to the people and history of Greenville.
The Peace Center grew and changed in step with the world around it and its impact on Greenville’s downtown revitalization is well documented. The streets that were once marred by abandoned buildings were beginning to fill with retail, hotels, award-winning restaurants, art galleries, and people. Through the decades, the Peace Center has entertained millions while supporting Greenville’s status as a sought destination.
In 2010, the Peace Center embarked on a $21.5 million capital campaign, the first since its inception, that would amplify its mission. The renovation was completed in 2012 allowing the Peace Center to better serve the community with an expanded Peace Concert Hall lobby, the addition of Genevieve’s, Ramsaur Studio, the Huguenot Mill Loft, and an airy outdoor amphitheater, TD Stage. Continuous improvements have bolstered the Peace Center’s presence in the community and set a firm foundation for the future.
Today, as the vibrant city of Greenville thrives around it, the Peace Center continues to thrive, too. And as an ever-growing center for culture in the Upstate, we’re proud to invite new people to experience the arts in new ways every day. Just as our founders wanted.