Arts District

Emerald Loop

Greenville was designated a SmART City by the NC Arts Council in 2018. The SmART Resource Team was formed including City staff and community leaders from the public and private sector. The Emerald Loop was chosen to be the project that would transform our Center City through the arts. In 2019, Haddad/Drugan was chosen from nearly 50 national applicants to create the Emerald Loop Vision Plan. With nearly a year of community engagement, meetings, and research, this plan is one that is unique to Greenville, defining our identity and will impact our economy in a much needed way. The Emerald Loop is a conceptual necklace connecting Greenville’s existing and envisioned cultural gems. The “Loop” is a multimodal circuit encouraging pedestrian traffic within the inner loop, and vehicular traffic within the outer loop. The goal is to connect our artistic and cultural gems, while simultaneously bringing together our neighborhoods and community.

The Pitt County Arts Council is the project manager for the Emerald Loop planning process, but this is truly a partnership between both the public and private sector. Representatives on the SmART Resource Team and major stakeholders have included representatives from the City of Greenville, Pitt County, Pitt County Arts Council, East Carolina University, Vidant, GUC, Uptown Greenville, Pitt-Greenville Chamber of Commerce, NC Civil, Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville-ENC Alliance, African American Cultural Trail Committee, and multiple private developers and community members.

Timeline of the Emerald Loop Project

Year One:

  • Gateway Street Paving Treatment (Evans St. & Reade Circle Intersection)
  • RFQ for Lighting Standards and Specs for the Emerald Loop


Years Two:

  • Lighting of Municipal and Stakeholder Buildings
  • Gateway Street Paving Treatment (5th & Pitt, Evans & 5th., and E. 5th & Reade and Culvert Connector Crosswalk)
  • 10th Street Underpass Murals
  • Potential Relocation of a Venue for Black Creatives & African American Trail
  • Planning for Emerald Loop Trolley
  • Planning for Trolley Signs and Shelters


Years Three - Four:

  • Emerald Loop Trolley, Signs, and Shelters
  • Gateway Light Poles and Underpass Lighting
  • Planning for Five Points Plaza

Year Five:

  • Five Points Plaza with integrated iconic sculpture and other art elements

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Throughout this plan, the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge will continue acting as the Civic Arts Facilitator for the City of Greenville, with the support from the Civic Arts Committee and the Greenville Mural Group, and will continue encouraging murals and public art throughout the area. There will be a Secret Squirrel Scavenger Hunt including micro-murals on the ArtWalk venues. We are also working with the African American Cultural Trail Committee to combine efforts and include stops like the Sycamore Hill Gateway and Roxy Theatre on the Loop.

The Pitt County Arts Council and the City of Greenville are applying for the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant for $75,000, and have already received $30,000 from the North Carolina Arts Council. We have five-year commitments from the City, Pitt County, as well as the North Carolina Arts Council as partners in this project. The Pitt County Arts Council is fundraising for the outstanding amounts for this leading capital project.

Check out the full Emerald Loop Vision Plan Here

The Emerald Arts District was designated and approved by the Greenville City Council in November 2019. Because of the pandemic, the release of branding and marketing of the Arts District will now occur in fall of 2021.