Call for Art

First Novel Prize submission process is now online!

First Novel Prize submissions due March 15 Submitting your manuscript for the 2016 South Carolina First Novel Prize is now an easy (we promise) online process. The application is streamlined and requires only two document uploads: your manuscript and your resume. The competition recognizes one of South Carolina’s exceptional writers by providing a book contract with Hub City Press. Eligible applicants are writers who have not published a novel. A submitted manuscript must be an original work, and self-published books are ineligible, including e-books. Bridgett DavisApplicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make selections based on artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by nationally recognized novelist Bridgett M. Davis (pictured right). Davis’ second novel, Into The Go-Slow, was selected as a best book of 2014 by Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, BookRiot, Bustle and The Root. Her debut novel, Shifting Through Neutral, published by Amistad/Harper Collins in 2004, was a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award and was featured in national media, including NPR’s News & Notes. Davis is a professor at Baruch College, CUNY, where she teaches creative writing and journalism, and is Director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence ProgramShe lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Upon successful execution of the contract with Hub City, the winner will receive a $1,000 advance against royalties. Hub City will publish at least 2,000 copies of the book, which includes a book for every public library branch in the state. James McTeer’s 2014 winning novel, Minnow, received starred reviews in Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and favorable reviews in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The book is now in its second printing. The South Carolina First Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and the Phifer-Johnson Foundation of Spartanburg, S.C. The Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina State Library are founding partners. Submission deadline is March 15, 2016. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. Images, left to right: First Novel winners Through the Pale Door by Brian Ray (2008), Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (2010), In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (2012), and Minnow (2014) by James McTeer.


Greenwood student named Doodle 4 Google SC winner

The public is invited to vote for Khalil's entry: From the Greenwood Index Journal Article by Ariel Gilreath, photo by Joshua S. Kelley

Khalil LakeEarly Friday morning, Emerald High School student Khalil Lake, 20, woke up with no idea it would be different than any other day -- he didn't know he had won an art contest competing with students from across South Carolina. The Doodle 4 Google competition has students from every state as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam draw a Google Doodle that is then judged by six celebrities picked by Google. Khalil, who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, is one of those 53. Representatives from Google kept the award under wraps, only letting Khalil's mom -- Sheree Lake -- and some of his teachers in on the excitement. Sheree got the call from Google about three and a half weeks ago. "She was like, 'Well, Khalil won for the state of South Carolina,' so I go to screaming," she said. "I know I probably scared the poor lady." This year's Doodle 4 Google judges were actress Julie Bowen, astronaut and professor Yvonne Cagle, professional basketball player Stephen Curry, director and animator Glen Keane, professional soccer player Alex Morgan and writer, director and producer B.J. Novak. Khalil was born two months premature and is restricted in what he can do and see, Sheree said. His special education teacher, Stacy White, works with him every day and said he has limited use of his hands. "This was created with an iPad app," White said. "He has one hand that he works with, and so that was created with Finger Paint app." White said Khalil spent about an hour on the doodle, which shows swirling lines and wisps of color coming off each letter in "Google" set in front of a background of wrinkled, wheat-colored paper. When Khalil's wheelchair rolled to the middle of the gym where he could be recognized for his work, students filling Emerald's bleachers erupted into cheers. "It's just so fabulous for Khalil to be able to show the world that even though he is limited by his body, that he is still able to produce so much beauty, and I'm glad the world gets to see that and to celebrate that and to celebrate Khalil," White said. Marsha McKee, special education assistant at the school, said Khalil has a lot going on inside of him that not everyone gets to see. "There's so much trapped inside of his head," McKee said. "When you've got this body that, you've got this in your head, but you can't really, truly see, you can't carry on a big, long conversation, you can't tell anybody what's going on, you can't use your arms and your legs -- to be able to use this and do some kind of communication -- it's just amazing." White said Khalil has surpassed physical and mental tasks his doctors assumed he would never be able to do. "He is very smart," White said. "Since he's come here, he has learned to read 125 words, so if you spelled them to him, he can tell you what those words are. He's learned to add and subtract using manipulatives. He's learned to verbalize his feelings -- things that they said when he came to me that he would not be able to do. So he's grown like, 500 percent. He is, he's a very intelligent kid. He's just precious to me." Khalil was presented with an Android tablet from Google at the celebration, where he was congratulated by local officials, including Mayor Welborn Adams, Sen. Floyd Nicholson and Councilman Gonza Bryant. Voting for Khalil's artwork will be open until Feb. 22 and is open to everyone, and votes can be placed once every day to help Khalil become one of five finalists in the contest. If Khalil wins the national competition, he will receive a $30,000 scholarship and Emerald will receive a $50,000 grant for its art department, along with his artwork being depicted on Google's website for a day. "It would just be a blessing if he actually won the entire thing and could actually go to college, because he loves school," Sheree said. "Even on the weekends he says, 'Mom, is my bus coming?'" To vote for Khalil's entry, visit:


Free workshop for middle school and high school drama teachers

Challenge yourself artistically and develop practical classroom strategies Middle and high school drama teachers from across South Carolina are invited to the Voice for the Actor workshop taking place Friday, March 11, from 6 - 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Participants will  join Candace Dickinson (SCGSAH Drama Department Voice faculty member and professional opera singer) in exploring lessons learned from Patsy Rodenburg’s Shakespeare’s Heightened Language workshop series. This professional development opportunity will address each participant’s vocal strengths and needs through individual and ensemble work while offering practical resources to share with students. Continuing education credits are offered. Hotel and meal accommodations are provided. There is no cost to attend, however a $50 refundable deposit is required to secure your reservation. Your deposit will be refunded once you successfully complete the program. To register, contact Carol Baker at or 864.282.3729. This workshop is supported by the ABC Project, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Cable Television Association.


Healing Arts program in Blythewood strives to help soldiers find relief from PTSD

From WIS-TV Reported by Allie Spillyards Follow this link to view the video that accompanies this story.

Jim Dukes photography A horse at Big Red Barn Retreat. Photo by Jim Dukes A soon-to-launch program in Blythewood aims to help soldiers cope with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder through a creative outlet. Jim Dukes became a photographer after years of dealing with combat-related traumatic brain injuries and alcoholism. With no money to spend, he turned to his cell phone to teach himself photography, finally finding relief from the stress he’d lived with for years. “It provided me another vision in the world around me. You know, I’m trained to find all the things in the world that could harm me: the trip wires and pressure plates. Looking through the lens of my camera allowed me to take that hyper vigilance and attention to detail, but try to focus my mind on the beauty of the world around me as opposed to the danger, so it was both a therapeutic outlet and a physical outlet,” Dukes said. Now he wants to help others do the same. After starting a Healing Arts Program at Tapp’s Art Center in Columbia, he’s bringing the program to Blythewood’s Big Red Barn Retreat. “It’s magical. The Healing Arts programs are more about comraderie. It’s not as much about art as it is people that’ve been through similar experiences sitting around a table in a safe environment,” Dukes said. Participants will use photography, drawing, and writing to fully understand their feelings and find a way to cope. “The ability to create and use those experiences as a source of inspiration to go back and look at and say, ‘Wow I created that,’ or ‘I put that negative energy into this really ugly, red angry…’ Wow that’s how I was feeling, so let’s start talking about what was the genesis of the feelings that created that,” said Dukes. His first session is called Screw You Trauma, and Dukes says it will be real talk about real problems among a group of people dealing with the same thing. It will be held at the Big Red Barn on Feb. 27, and it’s free for active duty military, veterans and their spouses. The session runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes lunch. For more information, visit the Big Red Barn Retreat.


Nine high schools students advancing to Poetry Out Loud state finals

Congratulations to the nine high school students who are advancing to the state finals in the South Carolina Arts Commission's Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest! The students will compete for South Carolina's spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. State finals take place March 12 at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C.

Poetry Out LoudRegion 1: Upstate
  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Daniella Ramirez, Indian Land High School, Lancaster County
  • Wade Wright, South Pointe High School, York County
Region 2: Midlands
  • Destiny Lewis, Spring Valley High School, Richland County
  • Dasha Miller, Westwood High School, Richland County
  • Javonte Waters, Ridge View High School, Richland County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Janae Claxton, First Baptist Church School, Charleston County
  • Nicole Sadek, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • James Mayo, James Island Charter High School, Charleston County
Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year, advancing from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Blythewood and Charleston in January. The state champion will compete in the national finals May 2-4 in Washington, D.C. The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library. Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship. Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1, the town of Blythewood and Bravo Blythewood in partnership with the University of South Carolina in Region 2, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.

For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at


Engaging Creative Minds seeks executive assistant

Engaging Creative MindsEngaging Creative Minds, located in Charleston, S.C., is hiring an executive assistant. Job duties:

  • Provide daily administrative support to Engaging Creative Minds executive director (ED)
  • Manage ED’s calendar, coordinate meetings, and emails
  • Support ED with board and committee meetings, scheduling, sending documents and other duties as needed
  • Assist lead instructional coach and director of operations with Engaged Learning Experiences (ELEs) in school, summer camp and outreach events throughout the community
  • Other administrative duties as needed such as manage outgoing and incoming mail, answer and direct incoming calls, greet office guests, invoice art partners and creating PowerPoint and other marketing materials
  • Provide clerical support including filing, faxing, copying, scanning, mailing and data entry primarily to the executive director, but also to other staff as needed
  • Assist Summer STEAM Institute camp director with registration, parent communication, camp packets, daily morning and afternoon carpool, student groupings and summer payroll
  • College degree preferred
  • Minimum one to two+ years administrative experience
  • Skilled in Mac and MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Excellent organizational skills and detail oriented
  • Ability to complete tasks accurately and efficiently, prioritize, meet deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills -- both verbally and written -- with professional phone manner
  • Ability to anticipate needs, be proactive, resourceful and flexible
  • Strong people skills, including the ability to work effectively with ECM partners, principals and schools
  • Team player with positive/easy-going manner to handle varied personalities, responsibilities and assignments
Essential responsibilities:
  • Manage phones, calendars, schedules and conference calls
  • Organize meetings and appointments
  • Organize project implementation goals (status reports and confirmation of tasks completed)
  • Promote teamwork and work well with entire staff
  • Handle other miscellaneous duties, special events and projects assigned
  • Be available some weekends and evenings
Please send letter of interest and resume to: Position will be posted until filled. About Engaging Creative Minds The mission of Engaging Creative Minds is to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce.  

Grantee Spotlight

Charleston County Public Library hosts Kiran Singh Sirah for “Telling Stories That Matter”

International speaker offers ideas to help residents address issues of social justice, race relations Kiran Singh Sirah To explore the role of storytelling as a tool for conflict prevention, community development and social change, the Charleston County Public Library will host Kiran Singh Sirah for “Telling Stories that Matter: Cultivating Community through Story,” a public presentation at the Main Library, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston, S.C., at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5. Through examples of social justice, race relations and community cooperation, Sirah will explain how personal relations developed through storytelling can help residents better discuss and work through these difficult conversations. Sirah's visit to Charleston also will include a three-hour workshop with juniors and seniors at Burke High School during the afternoon of Feb. 5. The workshop will give students the opportunity to work under Sirah's direction to craft and tell their own stories that can be shared March 12 at the Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival. Whether to entertain, educate, heal, or resolve conflict, stories are the most fundamental way that people connect. The power of storytelling is unquestionable, and recognizing stories as creative expression helps to better understand the anxieties, dreams and aspirations that link humanity with community building. This program is part of a CCPL series that explores race, identity and civic engagement in response to recent tragic events in the Charleston area, most notably the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, which tragically took the lives of nine Charleston residents, including long-time CCPL staff member, Cynthia Graham Hurd. This series is intended to promote healing, dialogue and collaboration in Charleston. Program partners include the College of Charleston, The Women’s Resource Center, and the City of Charleston Housing Authority. Sirah is president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn., a UNESCO advisory member, a Rotary Peace Fellow, storyteller and slam poet. A proven peace builder and advocate for the arts, Sirah has spoken about the power of story at the United Nations Headquarters, where he delivered the keynote address at Rotary International U.N. Day in 2012. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, he has worked with homeless populations, marginalized high school students, gang members and conflict-wracked communities from Northern Ireland, Colombia, Palestine and Israel. Through his international background and perspective, Sirah explains that sharing stories is “more than a human right, it’s an act of love that can change the world.” This presentation is funded by the International Storytelling Center, The Humanities CouncilSC, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Charleston Friends of the Library, and Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival, a production of the Charleston County Public Library.  For more information, contact the Charleston County Public Library, (843) 805-6930.

Call for Art

Spoleto Festival USA holding Porgy and Bess auditions for classically trained African-American singers

Spoleto Festival USA will hold auditions in accordance with the terms established by the Gershwin Estate, for experienced, classically trained African-American singers in all voice categories who seek positions in the opera’s choral ensemble for the 2016 season production of The Gershwins®' Porgy and BessSM. These auditions will take place in Charleston, SC on Friday, February 19 from noon to 5 p.m. Production period: Rehearsals for this production will begin on May 16, 2016. The production will have six performances and the contract period will end no later than June 12, 2016. Auditions: To be considered for an audition, singers should submit a current resume, headshot, and cover letter to Assistant Producer Sara Bennett at the email address provided below. Once your materials are received, we will contact you to set up an audition time. Hard copies of materials may also be sent to the address below: Sara Bennett | Assistant Producer SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA 14 George Street, Charleston, SC 29401 o: 843.720.1107 | e: Audition requirements: • Please have two memorized selections to offer; at least one must be an operatic aria, the other should be a selection from the opera Porgy and Bess. • Please bring copies of your headshot and bio during your scheduled audition time. • Prove United States citizenship; permanent residency; or possess, at the time of the audition, legal permission to work in the United States of America during the rehearsal and performance period. Auditions will be held at Second Presbyterian Church Education Building located at 342 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403. For more information, please email


Downtown Beaufort named SC Cultural District


Remembering Winthrop University professor and artist Paul Martyka

Winthrop University Fine Arts Associate Professor Paul Martyka passed away Wednesday, Jan. 27. Martyka was an award-winning artist and faculty member whose service at the university spanned nearly 40 years. Three of Martyka's works are in the South Carolina Arts Commission's State Art Collection. Pictured above, left to right:

  • Second Set VII: Hope and the Reddened Core, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 65" x 48.5"
  • Second Set: Beyond the Triple Cross: Redux, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 66" x 49.5"
From Winthrop University
PaulMarytkaLong-time Winthrop University Fine Arts Associate Professor Paul Martyka passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The Detroit, Michigan, native taught drawing, painting and printmaking in the Department of Fine Arts. Funeral arrangements have not been completed. At a prayer vigil held Tuesday night at Rutledge Building in the printmaking studio, students and friends came together for a powerful display of love for their professor. As Martyka spent his last hours in intensive care, his students recalled a man who ordered his life so that nothing was wasted, always put the students’ interests first and displayed a quiet compassion and concern for their well-being. One of his favorite sayings was: “Now, get to work.” His admirers said Martyka had a knack for taking materials, redefining them as sculpture and changing their meaning. His printmaking abilities were equally gifted and were laden with icons and symbolism. “Paul Martyka brought an unusual perspective to our art students,” said Tom Stanley, department chair. “They regarded him fondly and with respect because of his influence and generosity as he urged others to become passionate about their work. As alum Joey Hays pointed out, ‘He was such an amazing artist, teacher, mentor, and friend.’   Paul was all about his students.” Chad Dresbach, chair of the Department of Design, said Martyka was a major factor in his decision to work at Winthrop. “His loss will be felt profoundly, and the gleam of the institution is slightly dimmed by this loss,” Dresbach said. “A great man will be missed.” Before coming to Winthrop in 1979, Martyka worked as master printer at the Michigan Workshop of Fine Prints and completed a staff assistantship at the University of Michigan. In addition, his art has been displayed in many private, institutional, and corporate art collections and exhibitions. At Winthrop, Martyka was the fourth recipient of Winthrop's Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Faculty Grant, a grant established to further new work, research or collaboration by faculty culminating in an exhibition project in the Patrick Gallery. An exhibition of his hand-printed cut paper collages, called Conversations with an Echo, ran in fall 2009 in the Patrick Gallery. One of the collages still hangs in the DiGiorgio Campus Center classroom across from the lobby desk. In the intricate details of this work, Martyka references cultural identities or art historical pieces as inspiration for color and form. The collages attracted regional attention and accolades poured in. In fall 2008, Martyka's collage Totemic Talk, was featured in the S.C. State Museum’s 20th Anniversary Juried Exhibition, and won Best in Show and the museum’s Purchase Award. His collages also have been featured in an Arts Council of York County exhibition. Martyka earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, respectively. For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or

Grantee Spotlight

Arts Council of Chester County assisting schools with grant funds

The Arts Council of Chester County received a South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Education Project Grant to expand art classes, exhibits and performances, with some of the funds dedicated to buying arts materials for teachers. In this video, Chester Middle School teacher Lane Wallace talks about the importance of arts education and how she'll use the Arts Council's donation. Video from CN2 News