Laurel & Milly

Add your event to Arts Daily!

The South Carolina Arts Commission's arts calendar, Arts Daily, has joined forces with The Hub. Now you can visit one place to view or submit arts news AND events! Long-time Arts Daily users will notice that the revamped event submission process is simpler. You can also add your arts venue (if you haven't already) to The Hub's venue list through the Arts Daily submission process. Online readers of Arts Daily can search and sort events to find activities based on location, art form or type of event. Is your event or opportunity right for Arts Daily? If it's arts-related, open to the public, and of interest to people in South Carolina, then yes! Event types include auditions, calls for entries & contests, classes, conferences, exhibitions, fellowships & residencies, openings, book signings, performances, screenings and more. You'll choose the type when you submit your event or opportunity. To submit arts events to Arts Daily, use the Submit Events button. (Be sure to submit your event at least one month in advance.) If your event has an interesting news element, you can also send it to The Hub through the Submit Story button. Arts events submitted at least one month in advance will appear on the Arts Daily website, and some will be recorded for radio.

How to decide what to submit where

Submit Event to Arts Daily: Arts Daily listings and radio announcements are limited to the key details and a brief description of your event and will direct readers to your website or organization for a lengthier description. Arts events submitted at least one month before the event will be posted to the online Arts Daily calendar. Not all events are recorded for the radio. The earlier you submit, the longer it will appear on the Arts Daily site for readers to find and the better chance the event will be recorded for radio. You can even submit an entire season at once! Submit Story to The Hub: If your event has a news component, you can also submit a lengthier article or news release through The Hub's Submit Story button. Story submissions, if accepted, appear as articles on The Hub's main page and "roll off" the page as other articles are posted -- the lifespan of a Hub article is much shorter than an Arts Daily entry. Hub articles will direct readers to your website or organization for more information. What makes an event newsworthy? A few questions to ask: Does the event relate to a larger purpose (e.g., an artist's studio or gallery opening is a result of the arts reviving a downtown, a celebrity S.C. artist is participating to raise awareness and/or funds, a student exhibition illustrates the benefit of arts education, etc.)? Is this a first time for the event, or a milestone anniversary? Did the project break an attendance or fundraising record? Sometimes the news element occurs after an event when you're ready to share results and photos. Bottom line: Submit ALL arts events to Arts Daily, at least one month in advance. Submit more info about your event to The Hub ONLY if there is an extra news element. Remember, you may also use the Submit Story button to send your feature articles, blog posts, stories, etc. about arts topics other than events.

Writing your Arts Daily Event Description

Arts Daily web listings and radio announcements are designed to provide the most vital pieces of information about your event or opportunity and refer users to and/or to your website or organization for details. We encourage you to use your Event Description space to provide a self-contained, factual summary of your event or opportunity. ONLY the text in the Event Description field will be used in your radio announcement, should your submission be chosen for broadcast. What to include in the Event Description:
  • The name of the event or opportunity and a brief description of it
  • Who is responsible for it (hosting or presenting organization)
  • Where (venue and city)
  • When (date and time)
  • Cost to participate
  • Deadline for the public to participate (e.g., registration, submission), if applicable. (Note: This is not a deadline for posting on Arts Daily.)
What not to include in the Event Description:
  • Contact information. Radio announcements will direct listeners to the Arts Daily website where you have entered this information.
  • Superlatives (such as “the best,” “beautiful,” “a great achievement,” etc.) will be excluded from the final listing.
Want a template? Try this: (Name of the presenting or host organization) presents (name of the event), (event date) at (event time), at (event venue) in (city, and state if not South Carolina). (Provide a description of the event, so that Arts Daily users will understand what it is and whether or not they would like to attend.) Tickets are (cost). (Provide registration and/or submission requirements and/or deadline, if applicable.) Questions? We're happy to help. Contact us here. About Arts Daily Arts Daily is a partnership between the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina ETV Radio, and the College of Charleston.


Fine Arts Center of Greenville County draws out what is unique

Congratulations to The Fine Arts Center of Greenville County as it celebrates 40 years! This opinion piece by Dr. Roy Fluhrer and Charles Ratterree (below, left to right) also ran in The Greenville News.

RoyFluhrerandCharlesRatterreeWhat is the one place in Greenville that brings together architecture, creative writing, dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts? A place where emerging artists practice their skills and experiment with their talents? A place where imagination is only the beginning and where the embodiment of that imagination can transform into a life lived fully, richly and deeply. This place is called the Fine Arts Center – a school whose very being celebrates the individuality of each student and what they can offer to an ever changing culture of excellence. The Fine Arts Center was established in 1974 as the first specialized arts school in South Carolina and with the original mission of creating a place where gifted students in the arts could receive advanced professional training from accomplished artist-teachers in professional level studio classrooms and theatre. Today, 40 years later, we celebrate our anniversary and also reflect back on our history and major milestones. The purpose of the school has very much remained the same – to provide advanced comprehensive arts instruction to students who are artistically talented and who wish to take an intensive pre-professional program of study – but we have also grown so much throughout the years. Every student who has ever entered the doors of the Fine Arts Center has left a mark at the school and has helped shape our culture of professionalism and dedication to what we believe in. The Fine Arts Center is not just a school; it is a place where dreams become a reality and where the next generation of artists is born. It is a place where the daily struggle to DO requires a commitment that cannot be found in a textbook, but only in the Self. The Fine Arts Center operates within the Greenville County’s public school system and students attend classes five days a week in the morning or afternoon for 110 minutes of instruction, spending the remainder of their time in other academic work at the home high school. Each year, approximately 400 students attend the Fine Arts Center, and, of that number, some ninety percent go on to higher education. Our 2013-2014 graduating class of 88 students earned over 10.8 million dollars in scholarship opportunities to attend over 40 different institutions. We are now excited to announce the beginning of the application process for the 2015-2016 school year and to meet the next group of emerging talented and committed Greenville artists. We started accepting online applications on November 1st and the application process will remain open until January 16th. Students are selected on the basis of talent, interest, motivation and commitment to their discipline and can choose between architecture, theatre, dance, visual arts, music, creative writing or digital filmmaking. They can apply in as many areas as they like, but once accepted, they will need to choose one area to study. We have a diverse student body representing numerous Greenville County Schools, Charter schools and home schools, and we encourage all students who are interested in the arts to apply regardless of their background and previous training. The audition and interview will assess previous experience, yes, but we also evaluate and put a heavy emphasis on the applicant’s talent, creativity and motivation. Here, at the Fine Arts Center, we believe in empowering our students and allowing them to realize their maximum potential. Aristotle once said that “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” This is what we strive to achieve day after day and practice after practice. We want students to learn to solve problems their way, not someone else’s way, and in doing so, to rediscover themselves in new ways that allow them to shine and to showcase their talents to the rest of the world. That’s what education is: the drawing out of what is unique inside you. Charles E. Ratterree is chairman of the Metropolitan Arts Council and the assistant director of the Fine Arts Center. Dr. Roy S. Fluhrer is the past president of the Art Schools Network and the South Carolina Arts Alliance and is director of the Fine Arts Center.


African American Voice exhibition travels to Florence, S.C.

Citizens in the Pee Dee and surrounding areas have the opportunity to view works by African-American artists who are among the state’s best-known and widely celebrated practitioners. The African-American Voice exhibition runs January 13 through February 12, 2015, at the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery, located on Patriot Drive on the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. Coordinated by Harriett Green, visual arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, the exhibition includes 40 pieces of artwork in all media from the State Art Collection. The pieces are by 25 African-American artists who range from self-taught, outsider artists such as Richard Burnside, Leroy Marshall and Dan Robert Miller, to academically trained artists with established careers such as Leo Twiggs, Arthur Rose and Tarleton Blackwell. “A number of these artists are legendary as arts educators as well. Their influences and contributions extend beyond image and object making,” said Green, who sees the show as an opportunity for area residents to learn more about the contribution of African-American artists in South Carolina. A preview of The African-American Voice artwork is available online. The exhibition is free to the public. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (843) 661-1385. Organizations and businesses interested in hosting an exhibition or displaying works from the State Art Collection should contact Harriett Green at (803) 734-8696. In addition to The African American Voice, two other traveling exhibitions are available: Contemporary Conversations and Points of Departure: Vessel Forms from the State Art Collection. (Images are works from the exhibition. Click on each image for more information.) About the State Art Collection The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 489 works in a variety of media and styles by 283 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company.


Studies: Students exposed to cultural field trips and live theatre gain educational benefits

Jay Greene, endowed chair of the Department of Education at the University of Arkansas, has released two studies on the educational benefits of engagement with the arts. One study is the first large-scale examination of field trips to understand the impact of cultural enrichment through the arts on students’ learning outcomes. The second study assessed a group of students’ knowledge about theater—and interest in watching or participating in theater—after attending a live performance. (Image: dress rehearsal for Guys and Dolls Jr. at Columbia Children's Theatre)

From The Daily Signal:
New research into humanities education suggests student learning outcomes increase with exposure to the arts. Few empirical studies have been conducted on the benefits of arts education for students. Jay Greene, endowed chair of the Department of Education at the University of Arkansas, and his team have released two studies on the educational benefits of engagement with the arts. Last year, Greene, along with researchers Brian Kisida and Daniel Bowen, conducted the first large-scale study of field trips to understand the impact of cultural enrichment through the arts on students’ learning outcomes. In “The Educational Value of Field Trips,” Greene and his team applied “gold standard” methodology to measure the educational value associated with students who toured an art museum during a field trip. They found that students who attended the tour could recall historical and sociological information about particular works of art at higher rates than students who did not visit the museum. For example, 88 percent of the students who saw civil-war era painter Eastman Johnson’s work, At the Camp— Spinning Yarns and Whittling, remembered the cultural context of the painting as depicting “abolitionists making maple syrup to undermine the sugar industry, which relied on slave labor.” According to the report, the students’ high rate of recall compared to that of students who did not attend a museum suggests that art could be used to increase the learning capacity of students for traditional classroom content. They also found students who attended the field trip experienced a large gain in critical-thinking skills, which was observed in their essays regarding particular works of art. Students who attended the museum also showed higher measures of historical empathy, tolerance and a desire to visit more art museums than students who did not tour the museum. Their findings underscore the value of cultural field trips, which have a long history in American education (although they have been on the decline in recent years, or replaced with non-cultural field trips, such as outings to amusement parks): Schools gladly endured the expense and disruption of providing field trips because they saw these experiences as central to their educational mission: chools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture. More-advantaged families may take their children to these cultural institutions outside of school hours, but less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if schools do not provide them. With field trips, public schools viewed themselves as the great equalizer in terms of access to our cultural heritage. Students from rural or high-poverty areas had the largest gains in historical recall of information and critical thinking and reported higher levels of empathy, tolerance and desire to return to the museum. Greene found similar results in his newest study, “Learning from Live Theater.” Using the same research design, Greene, with coauthors Collin Hitt, Anne Kraybill and Cari Bogulski, assessed a group of students’ knowledge about theater—and interest in watching or participating in theater—after attending a live performance. The researchers used a sample of students who applied for, and won, tickets to either A Christmas Carol or Hamlet, compared to a control group who lost the lottery. The study showed students who saw live theater significantly improved their knowledge of the plot and vocabulary related to the play by 63 percent of a standard deviation. The students also showed significantly higher degrees of tolerance and empathy through the “Reading the Mind through the Eyes” test than the control group. The researchers used the RMET measure because it tracks feelings of empathy, and prior research has found that reading literature or engaging in theater enhances one’s ability to read emotions. Both studies suggest that culturally enriching experiences produce important educational benefits, which in turn could contribute to overall student achievement. Greene’s findings come at a time of concentrated focus on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics—education. In 2009, the Obama administration published its “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which included $260 million in partnerships involving the federal government and industry to prepare more than 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade But at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic asked thought leaders in academia (Harvard, Yale, and Cal-Berkley) and the private sector, what letter— if any— should be added to STEM education. They all agreed that they would add the letter “A” for the arts and humanities. “To me, mathematics, computer science and the arts are insanely related,” said Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Udacity and Founder of GoogleX. “They’re all creative expressions.” “ seem to me such an important dimension of educating students about what science, technology, engineering and math are for,” said Harvard President Drew Gilpin. Greene’s studies and advocates of STEAM both suggest the arts could enhance learning in reading, math and the hard sciences. Student engagement of the arts, through field trips and live performances, also provides positive reinforcement for cultural institutions within communities to contribute to students’ overall education. As the authors concluded, “Schools produce important educational outcomes other than those captured by math and reading test scores, and it is possible for researchers to collect measures of those other outcomes. If what’s measured is what matters, then we need to measure more outcomes to expand the definition of what matters in education.”

Call for Art

Florence Library seeks authors for expo

The Florence County Library is accepting applications from local and regional authors to appear at the Fourth Pee Dee Local Author Expo. The Expo takes place Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library, 509 South Dargan St., Florence. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 22 for the 17 available slots. Applicants will be notified of the selections before January 10. The application form is available online. The Pee Dee Local Author Expo features a variety of works including poetry, plays, romance, inspirational works, children’s books, ghost stories, instructional nonfiction and historical fiction. The books will be available for sale, and authors will sign their works and answer questions. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call (843) 413-7074. Via: Florence County Library


Artist spotlight: Claire Bryant – cellist, teacher, advocate

clairebryantSouth Carolina is well-represented by successful artists who were born or raised here but who now live beyond the state's borders. Cellist Claire Bryant, based in New York City, is one artist who maintains close ties with her birthplace as a musician and educator. Bryant performs Nov. 20 in a homecoming recital at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (details available on the FAC website.) Here's an excerpt from Bryant's bio. Find out more about her on her website.

New York City-based cellist Claire Bryant enjoys an active and diverse career as a leading performer of chamber music, contemporary music, and the solo cello repertoire in premiere venues such as Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Suntory Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Barbican Centre. Bryant is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber music collective, Decoda - an Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, and is the principal cellist of Trinity Wall Street’s chamber orchestra, Novus N.Y. Bryant is a frequent guest artist with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Band and Ensemble ACJW, of which she is an alumna. Bryant has appeared as a soloist with orchestras from South Carolina to California and from Honduras to Finland performing concertos of Haydn, Elgar, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Vivaldi, among others, and appears frequently at festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Bryant is equally engaged as an educator and advocate for inclusive arts in society. Her international body of work in these areas was recognized in 2010 with The Robert Sherman Award for outstanding innovation in community outreach and music education by the McGraw Hill Companies.  In 2009, she founded a community residency project through chamber music in her native South Carolina called “"Claire Bryant and Friends.”" This endeavor brings world-class artists to communities for weeklong residencies which go beyond the concert hall - bringing engaging pedagogy and performances into the public schools, advocacy forums supporting arts education, and community concerts and creative projects in diverse and innovative venues including hospitals, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.

She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was in the pilot class of The Academy -- A Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and Weill Music Institute and served as an assistant faculty for Professor Bonnie Hampton at The Juilliard School from 2007 –to 2012.

Photo of Claire Bryant by Caroline Bittencourt Fotografia


Nickelodeon begins renovation of second theater

From The Free Times:

The Nickelodeon, which moved to its new home on Main Street in 2012, is forging ahead with construction of an upstairs screening space, scheduled to be completed by spring 2015.With 125 seats, the upstairs theater will be both larger and more upscale than the current screening space downstairs, which has 100 seats.The seats will also be nicer and more comfortable, says Executive Director Andy Smith, and plans call for restoring all the Art Deco flourishes from the refurbished theater’s Depression-era heritage.The theater will be equipped with projection systems that will accommodate both digital and 35 mm formats.After completing the $3 million Phase 1 construction of the Main Street theater in 2012, The Nick started raising $2 million for Phase 2, which covers the upstairs screening space.This final phase is still just shy of raising $180,000, which is needed both to cover construction costs and to establish a facility reserve fund.The facility reserve fund is both a rainy day account to cover emergencies and to prepare for any expensive format changes to film projection standards that may be on the horizon.The Nickelodeon is hoping to raise the $180,000 remainder through the Save Your Seat campaign, wherein donors can buy a seat at the new theater for $1,500. For Smith, having two screens not only doubles viewer choices but reduces programming conflicts. The Nickelodeon would not have to choose between indie films that open on the same weekend, as was the case this past summer with Boyhood and Magic in the Moonlight. Also, having two screens keeps the theater from being tied up with a single movie for an extended period. “If we’re showing Birdman for two weeks, we’ll have the opportunity to bring in some of the smaller films that, when you only have one screen, are tougher to program,” Smith says. Another consideration is The Nick’s core audience, some of whom were there from the beginning in 1979, and never missed a show at the old Pendleton and Main location. “We have audiences, especially from the old space, that are used to coming to us every week to see what we were showing. If we show the same film for four weeks in a row, we don’t see them three other times during the month. That’s what’s so exciting to us, is that it allows us to bring more to our potential customers.” Also, it allows for more risk, which has always been a Nickelodeon trademark. “When you’re only one screen, your revenue for the night is 100 percent dependent on what you’re showing,” Smith says. “If you’re showing something kind of obscure, and you only have six people come, that’s kind of expensive.” Having one screen showing a well-known or popular film shoulders the financial burden of a lesser-known foreign import or documentary. “What multiplexes figured out a long time ago is the more screens you have, the better chance you have that you’re showing something that someone wants to see,” Smith says. “And your overhead doesn’t really go up when you add a screen. You’re still selling tickets and concessions at the same place." On average, Smith says, theaters across the country have seen a 110 percent increase in ticket sales by adding a second screen. “Your audience more than doubles, and that’s going to have a real impact on us and really let us grow.” Smith expects the added revenue will also help support the theater’s Helen Hills Media Education Center, which teaches filmmaking and cinema appreciation to students, as well as the annual Indie Grits Festival. The construction plans will put staff offices upstairs, freeing downstairs space for the Media Education Lab for afterschool and summer camp programs. Smith says keeping a 35 mm projection system is important to show films that are not available digitally. That would include the bulk of material stored at the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections, which uses the Nickelodeon for its annual Home Movie Day and other events. Once construction is complete next year, Smith says the Nick’s immediate focus will be on the film program. “Our big goals are going to be to grow the education programs a lot,” he says. Besides the annual Indie Grits Festival — which has become an annual institution for new and struggling filmmakers around the South — the Nick is expanding its focus both high (New York Film Critics Series) and low (First Friday Lowbrow Cinema Explosion). “We want to foster the artistic community here in Columbia,” Smith says. “We’ve still got work to do, but I think we’re really making strides.” Image: rendering of the upstairs second screen


Kidney transplant connects theatre alums for a lifetime

Monica and Erin at fundraiser Monica Wyche, left, and Erin Wilson at a fundraiser held in their honor Two South Carolina actors, Erin Wilson and Monica Wyche, already connected through the arts, are now bonded in a life-altering way. Wyche recently donated a kidney to Wilson, who was diagnosed with acute kidney failure in 2013. The transplant operation took place in early November, and both women are doing well. This blog post, written by Sheryl McAlister and reprinted on Jasper Magazine's website, is a synopsis of their story, their connections through the arts, and the arts community that embraces all of us.  

Part 1, Erin’s Story: “Let’s get this Show on the Road” The first time I saw Erin Thigpen Wilson was March, 2014, in Charleston, SC. She was playing a sadistic human trafficker in PURE Theatre’s production of Russian Transport. She was the matriarch of a group of equally sadistic family members. She scared the shit out of me. “Art…,” Edgar Degas said, after all “… is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Meeting her, mercifully, was altogether different. She’s groovy in an old school, hippy sort of way. Laid back with a been-there, done-that attitude. Funny. Quick wit. Seemingly carefree. She grew up in community theatre in Columbia, SC, the child of a father who was a community theatre actor and high school drama teacher and a mother who ran the box office of the local theatre out of her living room. She performed in too many plays to count, starting at the age of 5 as “Rabbit #3” in Workshop Theatre’s production of Winnie the Pooh. Long ago, she learned how to play make believe. Seemingly…. carefree. Early in the summer of 2013, she nearly died. Her kidneys were destroyed. Doctors still don’t know why. “I was having trouble breathing, but that’s normal for me,” Wilson, an asthma sufferer, said. “The first doctor told me I had bronchitis and gave me an antibiotic. But a week later, I had this incredible body pain. My bones hurt. I didn’t sleep for days.” A second opinion led to tests that revealed elevated creatinine levels. As the doctor ran yet another set of tests to verify her assumptions, she told Wilson to decide which hospital she wanted to go to in the meantime. And she told her to decide quickly. Wilson’s husband Laurens had met her at the doctor’s office. “We just looked at each other and were like ‘WHAT?’ The doctor told us we could go by ambulance or drive ourselves but if we decided to drive ourselves, we had to drive straight there. No stops.” They called her parents – Sally Boyd & Les Wilson and Jim & Kay Thigpen. And her in-laws, Hank & Sue Wilson. She spent two days in the ICU and was diagnosed with acute kidney failure. Her only option was dialysis. And just like that… Life, as she knew it, had changed forever. Read the rest of the post on Jasper Magazine's site.

Call for Art

Greensboro, N.C. seeks artists for public art design and installation

Action Greensboro seeks submissions of interest and qualifications from professional artists residing in the United States who will work with their own artist-led team to design, fabricate and install the third of four major public art cornerstones to be commissioned for the Downtown Greenway in Greensboro, N.C. This project also requires that the artist and their team design an artwork that incorporates inclusive play into the overall public art concept, as well as a comprehensive plan for the site itself. Individual artists are also welcome to apply. Their work will be considered as a part of an overall plan that would be developed in collaboration with a larger team of city planners, local designers and landscape architects. The budget for the design, fabrication and installation of this cornerstone and the surrounding site is $430,000. The submission deadline is Dec. 5. Find complete project guidelines and application instructions online. Via: Greensboro Downtown Greenway  


New S.C. education superintendent says the arts are a priority

From The Greenville News Story by Paul Hyde

Her predecessor tried to cut funding for arts education, but newly elected state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman is offering a sharply contrasting message to arts supporters: "You've got my ear and my support." Spearman, a former state legislature who spent 18 years as a choral music teacher in public schools, is pledging to be a staunch advocate for arts education in South Carolina schools. "I hope my friends in the arts community realize that they've got a friend, someone who understands the importance of the arts as a state superintendent," Spearman said. Spearman said she's a strong supporter of two state arts-education programs that in the past have been targeted for elimination by some of her fellow Republicans, including outgoing state Superintendent Mick Zais and Gov. Nikki Haley. Spearman's election is being widely praised by advocates for arts education in the public schools. "I think it's great that the state's lead educator is someone who has an understanding that the arts are an integral part of all children's education, not just something extra they do between math and English," said Braxton Ballew, education director for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. Ellen Westkaemper, who oversees education programs for the Greenville Art Museum, said Spearman's election is good news particularly for students in rural South Carolina schools who may have less exposure to the arts. "I was very happy when I saw her name on the ballot because I've known her for many years as a fantastic arts educator," Westkaemper said. "South Carolina has a lot of great things happening in the field of arts education and I think Molly is really going to be able to make sure things are equally distributed to all parts of the state, guaranteeing access in some of the rural and remote parts of the state." Spearman said she would support the state Department of Education's primary funding stream for the arts, the Arts Curricula Innovation Grants Program. Arts educators can use the grants in a variety of ways to enhance a school's arts programs, from professional development to designing an arts curriculum with consultants. "In 2013-14, 73 grants benefited 105,890 students throughout South Carolina," said Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, an umbrella organization of arts groups in the state. Zais provoked the wrath of arts advocates by twice recommending that the $1.5 million program be eliminated. Attempts to reach Zais for comment were unsuccessful. Ensuring access Spearman said she's committed to making sure all South Carolina students have access to arts education, particularly in the state's poorer rural districts. "I've seen the disparities of school districts that exist side by side," Spearman said. In the 1980s as a choral teacher, Spearman moved from the well-funded Chapin Elementary School to the then-struggling Saluda High School. "I moved 18 miles and I went from having everything possible at my fingertips — a keyboard lab, a guitar lab, a beautiful auditorium — to working in an old portable with an upright piano," Spearman said. "I still understand those disparities and I'm going to be speaking up for those children across the state," she added. Spearman said a state arts education program, the Arts in Basic Curriculum project, dramatically transformed Saluda High School's arts curriculum for the better. "I wrote a grant and Saluda was one of the first sites in the Arts in Basic Curriculum project," she said. "Because of that support, we were able to bring in resources, buy instruments and bring in artists-in-residence. We totally changed the arts program in Saluda. I'm a huge supporter of the Arts in Basic Curriculum." The ABC program is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, an agency that Haley sought to eliminate three years in a row. Her vetoes, however, were overturned by the Legislature. This year, Haley chose not to veto funding for the agency. "In South Carolina, the arts are under constant scrutiny, and in recent years, our state arts commission has come very close to extinction," said Alan Ethridge, executive director of Greenville's Metropolitan Arts Council. "Ms. Spearman will be an excellent advocate for arts education and ultimately the arts throughout the state." Plumb said the ABC program funds initiatives to enhance arts programs already in existence in a school. "It might be paying for a dance or theater teacher for a year if a district's finances can't cover those things," Plumb said. "It might be for other programs or to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) project." Lifelong commitment Spearman's involvement with the arts extends back to her childhood. She began playing piano and organ at her small country church when she was 12 years old. She and her family still attend the same church today, and she continues to serve as the music director and organist. Spearman majored in music education at Lander College (now University) and was elected student body president. She later earned a master of education supervision from George Washington University and an education specialist degree from the University of South Carolina. Her first teaching job was as a choral teacher at Gilbert High School in Lexington School District 1. She taught for a few years in Maryland before returning with her family to South Carolina. Spearman continued to teach choral music before becoming a principal. In 1993, Spearman was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives, serving four terms. In 1998, Spearman was appointed deputy superintendent of education for governmental relations at the state Department of Education. For the past nine years, Spearman has led the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. "I'm excited about having a former arts educator with such a range of experience as our superintendent of education," said Anne Tromsness, director of education for the Warehouse Theatre. Spearman said the arts enhance — rather than detract from — a school's other academic subjects. "I know the importance of the arts," Spearman said. "It's not just about teaching an appreciation of the beautiful things in this world. It's part of the basic curriculum. You can learn math and science and teach all of the curriculum through the arts. I understand and appreciate that and I'm going to be pushing that." The arts also play a crucial role in keeping students interested in school and from dropping out, Spearman said. "We're going to be pushing the idea that the way to increase the graduation rate is to engage them while they're in school, and the arts do that for most every student," Spearman said. An emphasis nationwide on standardized testing has negatively impacted the arts, but that may be changing, Spearman said. "South Carolina used to be a leader in arts education and we still have some very strong programs, but it's true that, because of high-stakes testing, a lot of the funding for arts has been reduced in all states," Spearman said. "But I see that pendulum swinging back. I think people have realized that was a mistake. If we're going to teach the whole child and individualize and engage students in their learning, there's no content area for that better than the arts."
Image: Arts in the Basic Curriculum presentation, South Florence High School (2013)


Furman University English professor wins Pushcart Prize

joni-tevisDr. Joni Tevis, associate professor of English at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., has been awarded a Pushcart Prize for her essay, “What the Body Knows,” which was published in the November/December 2013 issue of Orion magazine. Tevis’ essay appears in the just-published 2015 Pushcart Prize XXXIX: Best of the Small Presses. The Pushcart Prize is a major literary award that honors the best poetry, short fiction, essays and other works that appear in small presses during the previous year. The series has been published every year since 1976. “What The Body Knows” is about a river rafting trip that Tevis and her husband, David, took through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the summer of 2009. With a guide, the two spent two weeks paddling the Canning River 140 miles north to the Arctic Ocean.

“We were above the Arctic Circle in midsummer, so the sun never set the whole time we were there,” Tevis said. “We saw herds of caribou and muskoxen, lots of interesting lichen species, migratory birds. It was an amazing time.” Tevis joined the Furman English faculty in 2008, where she teaches literature and creative writing. Her first collection of essays, The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory, was published in 2007.  A new essay collection, The World Is On Fire, is slated for publication in April 2015 and will include the award-winning “What the Body Knows.” Tevis’ writing has also appeared in Oxford American, Shenandoah, Conjunctions, AGNI, The Bellingham Review, North Dakota Quarterly and Barrelhouse.  She is a graduate of Florida State University, and holds M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Houston. For more information, visit the Pushcart Prize website or call Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.