Nominate a traditional artist or advocate for a Folk Heritage Award!

Nomination are due December 15. The South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum invite nominations for the 2016 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Guidelines and nomination forms are available online. Nominations are due by Dec. 15, 2015.

Created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. Nominations are accepted in two categories:

  • Artists: South Carolina artists who have dedicated their lives to the practice of art forms that have been passed down through their families and communities and who have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive. Past awards have recognized art forms such as basket making, gospel singing, fiddling, hammock making and boat building.
  • Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups that have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.
The Folk Heritage Awards are named for the late Rep. Jean Laney Harris, who was an outspoken advocate for South Carolina’s arts and cultural resources. The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum to administer the awards, which will be presented in May at the Statehouse. Image: 2012 Folk Heritage Award recipient Ashley Carder


Arts Education Project grants available for after-school programs, artist residencies, camps, etc.

Application deadline is January 15, 2016, for funding beginning July 1, 2016. The South Carolina Arts Commission invites applications for a second round of Arts Education Project Grants (AEP) to support well-developed arts education programs and projects in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that use the arts to advance learning (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). Funded projects and programs can take place in school, after school or over the summer. Grants of up to $15,000 are available (grantees must match their grant 1:1). Most S.C. schools, nonprofit organizations (arts and non-arts), colleges and universities, and units of government are eligible to apply. (ABC sites are not eligible.) Partnerships are especially encouraged. Individual artists wishing to implement K-12 arts projects should partner with an eligible school or organization that will serve as the applicant and project administrator. Examples of eligible activities include, but are not limited to:

  • After-school classes
  • Workshops
  • Camps
  • Artist residencies
  • Public art projects
  • Performances
  • Exhibitions
  • Acquisition of critical equipment or supplies
  • Program planning
  • Professional development for instructors, artists and/or administrators
This grant program was developed based on the work by the 2014 Arts Education Task Force, which was created to respond to new research and a new climate for education and arts education reform in South Carolina. One of the opportunities identified by the task force is to offer new arts education funding and join with new community partners and afterschool/summer program providers to extend the reach of arts education funding. Read the complete guidelines and application instructions online. Your county coordinator is available to answer additional questions. The application deadline is January 15, 2016.


USC student wins $5,000 in 2015 Ignite! Ideas Contest

From Article by Rachel Ham; photo by Kelly Petty

An idea launched in 2013 at the University of South Carolina took home the top prize at Wednesday's Ignite! Ideas Contest. University of South Carolina student Vincent Felix won $5,000 to support his startup, Mr. Penguin Designs, over two other finalists. The big reveal was made Wednesday night during the annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation at the new USC Alumni Center. Local business and education leaders attended, tweeted about the startups' presentations and voted for their favorite throughout the evening. Mr. Penguin Designs gives cellphone users a unique way to express themselves with one-of-a-kind protective cases. Felix partners with local artists who create fresh designs, and he found a retail partner in Comporium. "We've been working incredibly hard for the last two and a half years," Felix said. "This shows if you don't give up ... something good will happen." Felix said the concept of Mr. Penguin Designs — to help student artists gain exposure to their work while also providing them with residual income — began in 2013. Felix was a sophomore at USC and noticed the lack of different and individualized options for phone cases. After seeing the creative potential in his artistic friends, Felix got to work on his startup. Ten percent of the proceeds from each case sold now go back to the artist. "It's about giving back to them," Felix said of the artists. Felix plans to use the $5,000 Ignite! award to boost his marketing campaign. The company will collaborate with USC student media to reach more students and people beyond the Midlands. Though not everyone went home with a novelty-size check, people were inspired by the story of another Columbia entrepreneur. Ramone Dickerson and Corey Simmons of 2 Fat 2 Fly were among the guest speakers and shared their story from the first stuffed chicken wing to the restaurant they now own. Simmons and Dickerson said support from the community played a significant role in their success. Simmons recalled the early days were tough but said "as long as we had wings in the cooler, we were OK." EngenuitySC Executive Director Meghan Hickman said businesses like those represented at Ignite! are what makes the Midlands a force in economic competitiveness. "We have incredible things to come ahead of us," she said. The next Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report from EngenuitySC is due out soon.


Artist entrepreneurs invited to apply for Artists’ Venture Initiatives grants

Letters of intent due Dec. 15, 2015 The South Carolina Arts Commission invites artists to apply for the next round of S.C. Artists' Ventures Initiative grants. AVI grants encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for S.C. artists. S.C. artists (individuals and collaboratives) may use AVI funding to help launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture. A one-time project/single purchase may be awarded up to $3,500. An ongoing business venture may be awarded up to $5,000. The AVI grant program is a two-part process, with letters of intent due Dec. 15, 2015. Selected applicants will be invited to develop a full grant proposal. Read the complete guidelines online.  


Peace Center celebrates 25 years

From WYFF Greenville Click here to see the video version of this report.

On November 19, 1990, what is now South Carolina's largest art center opened its doors. Peace Center transformed downtown Greenville in the 90s. On Thursday night, a woman who made it all possible was honored in a special way. “In honor of Betty Stall for a vision that transformed Greenville,” said Peace Center President Megan Riegel. Peace Center butterfliesTwo hundred stainless steel butterflies now shine on the south side of Peace Center Concert Hall, all to honor Betty Peace Stall, who Riegel said made the performing arts center possible. “She truly went every step of the way developing the Peace Center,” said Riegel. Riegel said much like the transformation of a butterfly, Betty's vision transformed Greenville. “It's so exciting to see what it has done for Greenville and to look around us and to see the beautiful things that have sprung up, and the Peace Center being at the heart of it,” said Stall. Before the development of Peace Center, Stall said that area of town was not a place you'd want to go. “It was a neglected part of town where you didn't want to be caught after dark,” said Stall. This section of South Main was littered with rundown buildings, but after Peace Center opened its doors restaurants, shops and hotels started popping up. “Across the river here was nothing but fields of kudzu and look at it now.  You've got million-dollar condominiums across the street,” said Riegel. Riegel said in the last 25 years, Peace Center has become the hub of cultural life in the Upstate. “It is a magnificent, magical place,” said Riegel. Riegel said you can expect even more in the next 25 years.


Columbia artist Susan Lenz creating ornaments for national display

Susan LenzColumbia fiber artist Susan Lenz has been selected to create South Carolina’s ornaments for the 2015 America Celebrates: Ornaments from Across the USA display at President’s Park (White House) in Washington, D.C. Lenz joins artists from each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia in designing ornaments inspired by America’s national parks and their programs, paying tribute to the upcoming National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Lenz created double-sided ornaments using image transfers of South Carolina’s flora and fauna, historic monuments, recreational areas, and her favorite boardwalks at Congaree National Park. Each ornament is machine-quilted. The back of each ornament (pictured below) features the outline of the state along with the flag’s palmetto tree and crescent moon. Images include a box turtle, a summer tanager, the Carolina wren, several unique insects, and a spotted orb weaver spider. Susan Lenz, National Ornament, reversed The ornament display honors the holiday season and celebrates the National Christmas Tree Lighting, a national event presented by the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service. Lenz plans to attend the 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting, taking place Thursday, December 3, 2015, at 5 p.m. “I am excited to be part of the America Celebrates display for many reasons,” says Lenz. “I’m passionate about conservation and environmental issues. I’ve been an artist-in-residence at Hot Springs National Park and have visited several other national parks. I have very fond memories of kayaking at Congaree National Park and simply adore walking the raised boardwalks there.” “Art can be an incredible way for people to connect with national parks, and we’re thrilled to carry on the time-honored tradition of debuting ornaments from all over the country,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We’re honored to have Susan Lenz represent South Carolina in this year’s America Celebrates display.” As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition. In addition to the America Celebrates display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, including nightly holiday performances, and model train display. For more information, visit and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2015. Image above: Ornament examples About the National Park Service More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961. Visit us at About the National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at


Exhibition spotlights artist Carl Blair and his students

From the Greenville News Article by Paul Hyde (Note: Three of Carl Blair's earlier works are in the South Carolina Arts Commission's State Art Collection, including Feeling Free – Appalachia.)

Carl Blair, Elation Carl Blair, Elation, 2006 (acrylic on canvas) 54" x 64" In a career of more than 60 years, Carl Blair has influenced many a younger South Carolina artist. Several of Blair’s works will be exhibited in Taylors along with paintings by four of his former students who are now successful artists themselves. “Carl Blair and Students” opens Thursday, Nov. 19 at the Hampton III Gallery and runs through Dec. 31. Today, Blair, 82, is a pillar of the South Carolina visual arts community but it took a while for the public to fully appreciate the artist’s abstract landscapes that he began painting in the 1950s. “At the time, everybody wanted realism,” said Sandy Rupp, owner of the Hampton III Gallery. “He was a pioneer of abstract art in South Carolina. People eventually came around and embraced him. I think it’s the spirit of his work that appeals to people.” Blair’s paintings are informed by an overwhelming optimistic vision, Rupp said. “He paints toward the light, seeing an atmosphere of hope and restoration,” Rupp wrote in a catalog accompanying the exhibition. “He sees the coming day and transfers that vision to his fellow man.” The exhibition features about 15 Blair works, including paintings and several of his fanciful animal sculptures. Also on display are 15 other pieces by artists Kevin Isgett, Nancy Jaramillo, Diane Kilgore Condon and John Pendarvis. Isgett and Condon took classes with Blair at Bob Jones University, and Jaramillo and Pendarvis studied with Blair at the Greenville County Museum of Art. Sharon Campbell curated the Hampton III exhibition. Blair, a native of Atchison, Kansas, served on the faculty of Bob Jones University for more than 40 years. He was known as a teacher who would help each student discover his or her individual vision, Rupp said. “He wasn’t someone who wanted to be cloned,” she said. “He always wanted his students to find their unique voices.” Not surprisingly, the four artists featured with Blair are stylistically diverse. “I see four unique artists,” Rupp said. “More than anything else, he encouraged their spirit.” Blair earned a bachelor’s degree in art at the University of Kansas and an MFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, although his studies were postponed by his service in the Korean conflict from 1953-55. Blair arrived in Greenville in the late 1950s. In 1970, Blair founded the Hampton III Gallery with Rupp’s father and two other artists. Sandy Rupp became sole owner of the gallery a few years ago. Blair has been a prominent leader in South Carolina arts circles. He was a member of the South Carolina Arts Commission for 12 years, serving as chairman of the commission for two years. In 2005 Blair was awarded the Verner Award for Lifetime Achievement, the highest award given by the state of South Carolina in the arts. The exhibition’s opening reception is Thursday, Nov. 19, 7-9 p.m. There will be two Coffee and Conversations throughout the run of the show. On Saturday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m.-noon, Blair will be joined by curator Campbell, and artists Isgett and Jaramillo. On Saturday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-noon, Blair will be joined by Campbell and artists Condon and Pendarvis. All programs are free and open to the public. Hampton III Gallery is located at 3110 Wade Hampton Blvd., in Gallery Centre, Taylors. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. and on Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 864-268-2771, or e-mail:  


Public arts charter school plans to open in Columbia

MIdlands Arts ConservatoryA committee of arts professionals, educators, parents and community members plans to open an arts charter school in Columbia. The Midlands Arts Conservatory (MAC) will have a focus on the visual arts, theater, dance and music. MAC will provide a free, public education that combines arts and academics. The school will be open to any South Carolina resident student in the appropriate grade level who has an interest in the arts and is willing to meet the high academic expectations of the school. The first informational meeting for parents and the community will be held on Nov. 29 from 3 - 4 p.m. in the USC School of Music Recital Hall at 813 Assembly Street, Columbia. Parking is available in the garage behind the School of Music. If approved, the school will open in the fall of 2017 with sixth and seventh grades and will add a grade level each year, reaching 12th grade in 2022. The school will launch with a total of 120 students -- three classes of 20 students at each grade level. The school will be staffed with highly qualified arts and academic instructors in an environment that provides training, exposure and practical application in the arts and the integration of arts into academics. The student-teacher ratio in classes will be no higher than 20-to-1 and lower in specialized arts areas. MAC will have small group and individualized instruction in the arts with a wide spectrum of academic support, including online instruction and individualized academic instruction on a needs basis. For more information, visit the website or contact Dr. Robert Jesselson at (803) 777-2033. Via: Midland Arts Conservatory


Beaufort Arts Council opens Mather Academy, seeks teaching artists

From the Beaufort Gazette Article by Mindy Lucas (Note: The Beaufort Arts Council accepts teaching artists applications on a rolling basis in these areas: visual and craft (painting, drawing, glass work, metal work, wood work, chalk and oil pastel, photography), Lowcountry art, and culinary arts. Find out more online.)

The Beaufort Arts Council has opened an arts and crafts school designed for "people of all ages and skill levels." Called the Mather Academy, the school is housed within the nonprofit's Boundary Street office in Beaufort where it currently has four classrooms though the council is working to "refine" those spaces and has plans to expand into a space it is renting next door, executive director Kim Sullivan said by phone recently. The opening of the school comes after the arts council, which rebranded itself in September, changed the scope of its mission to focus more on educational offerings. Sullivan, who has more than 25 years of combined experience in arts education and studio work, was brought on board in August to help with the restructuring efforts. An artist herself, Sullivan is charged with expanding the academy's program offerings, recruiting area artists to lead the classes, designing curriculums and seeking out donors to "sponsor" or fund courses and scholarships. Both Sullivan and council board president Dick Stewart pointed to the successes of similar arts and crafts schools that have capitalized on their region's offerings -- schools such as the Penland School of Crafts in Asheville, N.C., and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn. -- and hope to use those programs as the model for the Mather Academy. Beaufort's unique blend of history and culture and pre-existing arts community, they say, is a "natural draw" for those interested in attending such a school. "... Not just for visual arts but for the performing arts and media arts as well," Sullivan said. "Artists like to study from other artists, so providing an area where people can come in and learn from these instructors is what we want to do." Already, Sullivan has designed curriculums for such coursework as drawing and painting, but said the council is "working in phases" to create additional programming for both children and adults and aims to offer advance programs of study that build on introductory coursework. "As we hire teachers, we will be adding additional classes," she said. A website for the academy listed eleven classes including "Beginner Figure Drawing" taught by Janet Horton to "Paintin de Gullah Story," an acrylic painting course led by Dianne Britton-Dunham. Class costs range from $40 to $60 for a one-day course to $120 to $170 for a three-day course.Other areas Sullivan said the academy would eventually like to offer include glass, metal working, pottery and culinary arts. "And our goal is that eventually we would have these classes accredited," she said. In addition to receiving accreditation, the council is working to build partnerships with the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry with the hopes of offering "support classes" or classes the colleges do not currently offer. The council is already working with the technical college to collect and archive memories and materials related to the Mather School, for which the academy is named. Founded in 1867 to educate the daughters of liberated slaves, the Mather School taught reading and writing as well as domestic arts such as sewing and cooking. Over the next half century, the school grew and eventually became Mather Industrial School in the 1930s and a junior college in the 1950s. Eventually, the trade school was absorbed into the state's technical college system where it found new life as Beaufort Technical College and then the Technical College of the Lowcountry. As part of its "Mather Memories" initiative, the arts council is working to videotape interviews with anyone affiliated with the school -- whether alumni, former faculty or a relation to someone -- and to collect photos and items such as journals. In fact, an exhibit on Mather School, which the council hopes to add to, is currently on display at its Boundary Street location. "This is a story that needs to be told," Sullivan said. The new Mather Academy, she said, will work to build on the legacy of the Mather School and highlight the arts and crafts traditions of the Lowcountry. "We wanted to continue the name but with those same core values -- that everyone deserves an education," Sullivan said,

Call for Art

Call to artists: South Carolina Arts Foundation 2016 Art Sale

Submission deadline: December 31, 2015 The South Carolina Arts Foundation seeks South Carolina artists to participate in the 2016 Art Sale. The sale will be held in conjunction with the South Carolina Arts Awards, including the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The 2016 Art Sale is the centerpiece of the South Carolina Arts Gala, an evening celebration of the South Carolina Arts Awards, on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The gala will be held in the Grand Hall at 701 Whaley in the historic Olympia Mills neighborhood. The project was originally conceived as a sales opportunity for artists and as an opportunity to build and promote arts patronage. Artists included in the 2016 Art Sale will be selected by a panel composed of members of the South Carolina Arts Foundation. Works included in the sale must be original and of high artistic quality; have a broad appeal; be representative of the artist's style and framed with appropriate hanging devices. In general, 2-D work should be in the size range of 24" height and 36" width (inclusive of frame), and 3-D work should be freestanding or should fit on a pedestal that is 24" x 24." The parameters for dimensions are provided as a guide and should not be interpreted as absolute dimensions. The price of works included in the sale is provided by the artist. If sold, the price will be split 75/25 (artist/SCAF). Artists are requested to provide high-quality digital images of the work(s) selected to be included in print and online promotional materials. To be considered for the art sale, please submit the following materials by December 31, 2015 to: 2016 Art Sale, South Carolina Arts Foundation, 1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200, Columbia, SC, 29201:

  • DVD, CD or thumb drive containing up to 10 images in a jpeg format with a maximum resolution at or less than 1024 x 768 pixels of representative or available works. Please indicate if the work is available (A) or representative (R).
  • Checklist including title (to correspond with file title on submitted DVD, CD or thumb drive), date, medium, size (h x w x d), price;
  • Resume or bio;
  • Artist statement (not to exceed 250 words);
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope for return of materials.
For more information, contact Harriett Green, S.C. Arts Commission,1026 Sumter St., Suite 200, Columbia, SC 29201; phone 803.734.8762; fax: 803.734.8526; or e-mail Images: Left to right - works by Cindy Saad, Steve Hazard and Alicia Leeke.


First Novel prize winner named to Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Books of 2015″

jamesmcteer2Lexington, S.C., writer James E. McTeer II's novel Minnow has been named to Kirkus Reviews' "Best Books of 2015." The novel was included on a list of Best Debut Fiction of 2015 along with 17 other titles. Kirkus Reviews is one of the leading book review publications in the nation, reviewing more than 7,000 books annually. Its reviews are aimed at publishing insiders: bookstore and library buyers, literary agents, newspaper and magazine editors, as well as film industry rights people. Published in May 2015 by Hub City Press, Minnow was the 2014 winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize. Since publication it has been the recipient of the following honors: Longlisted for the 2016 Crook’s Corner Book Prize, included on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Ten Southern Summer Books That Sizzle,” Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Book Sellers Association, as well as being reviewed favorably in trade magazines including Publisher's Weekly, Foreword, and Library Journal (Starred Review). Related: Unpublished novelists! Submit your manuscript for the First Novel Prize! The South Carolina First Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and the Phifer/Johnson Foundation of Spartanburg, SC. The Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina State Library are founding partners.