Ken May to retire from S.C. Arts Commission

33-year tenure comes to an end this June

May at S.C. Arts Awards Day in May 2018. Photo by Zan Maddox/Social Design House Ken May will retire from leading the South Carolina Arts Commission in 2019 after 33 years working to improve equity in and access to the state’s arts, culture, and traditions. May, executive director for the past nine years, carved out his niche by leading the arts commission’s efforts to provide equal access to publicly funded grants and programs. Under his leadership, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) earned bipartisan support, and it is widely considered a driver of the state’s $9.7 billion creative economy. With a new legislative session just beginning, May is to remain in place to shepherd the SCAC’s legislative agenda before stepping away at the end of June. “Early in my working life, after a few years in for-profit business, I became sure of two things: that I wanted to work in the arts, which have always been my passion, and that I wanted to be of service—to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Working at the South Carolina Arts Commission has given me an extraordinary opportunity to do both of those things, and I am deeply grateful for that,” May said.
When May became director of the Commission in 2010, the agency faced significant challenges from a severe economic downturn and a hostile political climate. Under his leadership, the agency rallied its supporters, weathered the political storm, and emerged leaner and better-funded to meet its mandate of service to all South Carolinians. In the most recent fiscal year, the SCAC distributed more than $4 million in grants to 44 of 46 counties. Through staff assistance, partnerships, programs, and grants, the agency served all 46 counties in the areas of community arts development, artist career development, and arts education initiatives. “Ken has served our state admirably during a distinguished career, and he cares deeply and works tirelessly to advance the arts in South Carolina,” SCAC Board of Directors Chairman Henry Horowitz of Greenville said. “This is a loss for the statewide arts community, but it has advanced to lofty places and serves more citizens and visitors because of Ken’s hard, diligent work. He’s leaving the agency in a great position with a terrific reputation on state and national levels.”
Throughout his long tenure at the Arts Commission, May played a key role in shaping the agency’s signature programs and initiatives. He was one of the principal architects of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which has driven statewide improvement in arts education for all students for more than 30 years, and he continues as the longest-serving member of that project’s coordinating committee. As primary grant writer for the commission, May designed and secured funding for major initiatives to use the arts for rural community development, enhance community design, build public participation in the arts, and help artists build sustainable working lives in South Carolina. He also led long range planning and directed agency efforts to bring grantmaking into the digital age and to make grant processes more transparent and equitable. Presently, May is expanding the SCAC’s national profile by serving on nationwide boards for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Grantmakers in the Arts. He also serves on the board for South Arts, a consortium of nine southern state arts agencies based in Atlanta. His recent focus on those boards has been to help funders work toward equity in the distributions of grant funds and other resources.
Incoming SCAC Board Chairwoman Delores "Dee" Crawford of Aiken will assume leadership on July 1. She praised May’s work. “Ken guided the Arts Commission to make significant progress in several rural South Carolina communities. The ‘Art of Community: Rural S.C.’ program is a national model for others to find success using the arts to revitalize places where other solutions failed. Our artists are turning into entrepreneurs, helping themselves make sustainable careers and changing the outlook in their communities,” Crawford said. “We, the commissioners, appreciate Ken’s dedication and leadership.” A nationwide search is underway to fill the executive director position, which has been posted with a full job description. Crawford hopes a new executive director is in place by the time May leaves. She is hopeful the next executive director expands on the work in rural communities and makes it a goal to develop more leaders in the arts statewide.

Full Statements

KEN MAY

Executive Director | South Carolina Arts Commission

“Early in my working life, after a few years in for-profit business, I became sure of two things: that I wanted to work in the arts, which have always been my passion, and that I wanted to be of service—to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Working at the South Carolina Arts Commission has given me an extraordinary opportunity to do both of those things, and I am deeply grateful for that.”  

Henry HorowitzHENRY HOROWITZ

Chairman | South Carolina Arts Commission

“On behalf of SCAC board of directors, we greatly appreciate Ken’s service to our agency and outstanding job in managing the agency over the course of 33 years. Ken has served our state admirably during a distinguished career and he cares deeply and works tirelessly to advance the arts in South Carolina. This is a loss for the statewide arts community, but it has advanced to lofty places and serves more citizens and visitors because of Ken’s hard, diligent work. He’s leaving the agency in a great position with a terrific reputation on a state and national level. We wish him the best of success in his retirement and new endeavors.”  

DELORES "DEE" CRAWFORD

Incoming Chairwoman | South Carolina Arts Commission

“Ken guided the Arts Commission to make significant progress in several rural South Carolina communities. The ‘Art of Community: Rural S.C.’ program is a national model for others to find success using the arts to revitalize places where other solutions failed. Our artists are turning into entrepreneurs, helping themselves make sustainable careers and changing the outlook in their communities. We, the commissioners, appreciate Ken’s dedication and leadership.”

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Wrapping up 2018

'Tis the season, after all.

The South Carolina Arts Commission had a notable 2018:
  • Through staff consultation, grants, and direct programs, our work impacted all 46 South Carolina counties.
  • Our grantees were able to provide more than EIGHT MILLION arts experiences for residents and visitors as a direct result of SCAC grants.
  • "Art of Community: Rural S.C." furthered its reputation as a national model for rural creative placemaking – addressing ongoing challenges in those unique communities with arts and culture-based solutions.
And there's plenty more. Today, we're making public a brief annual report that sheds light on FY18's accomplishments and outlines what and where grants and programs were put to use, from the three “corner” counties of Oconee, Horry, and Beaufort to the 43 arranged inside. You're invited to have a look.

Holiday Schedule at the SCAC

Many of the SCAC staff have already exited stage left for well-deserved annual leave, but others remain and constituents can still expect service with some exceptions: the office will close with other state agencies on weekends, from Dec. 24 to 26, and on Jan. 1. You can expect content on The Hub and Facebook to continue, though it will be less frequent. Whatever you celebrate this season (and even if you don't), the board and staff of the Arts Commission wish you the happiest, merriest, most festive time and peace and prosperity in the New Year!

Liked what you saw in the annual report? 

The South Carolina Arts Foundation would like to hear from you.  

S.C. Arts Commission seeks agency head

Application deadline: Continuous (until filled)


As you might have heard, the S.C. Arts Commission is seeking a passionate, imaginative, and resourceful executive director with a successful record of arts management, leadership, collaboration, cultural competency, a love of the arts, and a commitment to public service for the citizens of South Carolina.  The primary purpose of the position is to provide the leadership, development, direction and management of the South Carolina Arts Commission.  There are multiple keys areas of focus for the agency director that are outlined below:
  • Arts Planning, Development, and Positioning
  • Arts Policy and Resource Development
  • Grant Allocations
  • Legislative Relations:
  • Financial Management
  • Board Relations
  • Partnership Relations
  • Communications
  • Evaluation
  • Staffing
  • Administration
Preferred qualifications include a master's degree with a major in arts administration or an arts-related field, business or public administration, or educational leadership and policies from an accredited higher-education institution*.  Prefer eight or more years of proven professional management and supervisory experience in state, federal or local arts development, arts program administration, or a related field. Note: an equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered.

*Degree must be from an institution of higher learning recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Experience using Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access) in developing advanced presentations, layouts, spreadsheets, and databases. Fluency in Spanish is a plus.

This is a full-time, salaried position. Salary details may be found at link below. Responsibilities will require additional working hours, nights, and/or weekends with travel in and out of state. The South Carolina Arts Commission is an Equal Opportunity Employer actively committed to ensuring diversity. View the complete list of requirements and job duties and find out how to apply here.

Tuning Up: Unique youth art contest + new exhibitions

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


  • The U.S. Golf Association and MUSC Children’s Health are conducting an art contest for Charleston (and South Carolina) youth to design the junior tickets for the U.S. Women’s Open that will be played May 27-June 2 in Charleston. Three winners will be chosen. Their designs will be featured on tickets for all juniors who attend the U.S. Women’s Open and will be displayed on site at the Country Club of Charleston during the event. The entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Feb. 15. (USGA.org)
  • Some new exhibitions that caught The Hub's eyes:
    • A reception to unveil the annual Bailey Gallery Art Exhibition at Presbyterian College will be 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Mary Bailey Vance Suitt Rotunda of the school's Neville Hall. It includes eight artists and a variety of media. (Greenwood Index-Journal)
    • South Carolina's reigning South Arts fellow, Kate Hooray Osmond of Charleston, opened Light Shine Down, an exhibition on display through April 28, 2019 at the Franklin G. Burroughs - Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach. (Link)

Atlantic Stage premieres SCAC playwriting fellow’s production

Maggie has a big decision to make

World Premiere Jan. 31 through Feb. 17 in Myrtle Beach
Last June, the S.C. Arts Commission awarded Kevin D. Ferguson an individual artist fellowship for theatre (playwriting). Fellowships are unrestricted awards that reward artistic merit and provide a financial boost that helps free up creators to create. Ferguson did just that. Early next week, Atlantic Stage in Horry County is giving the world premiere of his The Other Side of The Sky. It features Maggie, a protagonist with some decisions to make, and we're not talking about the yogurt or oatmeal debate at breakfast:

Maggie struggles to deal with love and loss while she searches for her purpose in life. She’s graduating from college and figuring out what comes next. Will she stick with her boyfriend Troy? Will she go to grad school? Will she join the Peace Corps? Or does she hear a higher call? With boyfriend Troy, best friend Adam, and perhaps a heavenly advisor all weighing in, Maggie has a big decision to make.

How do you know what you’re supposed to do?

"The Other Side of the Sky explores faith, friendship, and relationships in the modern world with four young people  asking themselves 'what comes next?'" Ferguson said. That's certainly a relatable theme to many.

Guest submission

South Carolina’s arts need you!

It's time to rally in support of the arts.

The budget process is getting underway, and advocates are invited to the Statehouse on Wednesday, Feb. 13 to join the SC Arts Alliance in encouraging increased support for the arts. There are 17 new members of the legislature, and new members for almost every committee – and each of them need to hear from constituents about the impact the arts have on our state. Join the SCAA for their annual Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 13, and come down the day before to help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary! And join the SCAA throughout the week of February 11 for Arts Advocacy Week - with daily advocacy actions emailed directly to your inbox and toolkits to raise the profile of the arts in your community. Details are below! GP McLeer Executive Director SC Arts Alliance
The S.C. Arts Alliances invites you to join them for their 40th anniversary and Arts Advocacy Day. Registration for each of the featured Advocacy Week events is now open. Changes for 2019: The first Advocacy Days started with breakfast followed by meetings with legislators and then a rally? The SCAA is going back to those roots in 2019. Arrive in Columbia on Tuesday, Feb. 12 for an evening reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of the S.C. Arts Alliance, and join us Wednesday morning (February 13) for a Legislative Breakfast followed by scheduled meetings with your legislator in their office! End the day with our usual Rally at the Statehouse featuring student performances and lots of excitement! Register today!
40TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION Tuesday, February 12  |  5:30-7:30 p.m. Lula Drake Wine Parlour (Upstairs) 1635 Main St., Columbia Tickets: $40/person Beer/Wine + Light Apps Provided
LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST + STATEHOUSE RALLY Wednesday, February 13 | 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. South Carolina Statehouse 1100 Gervais St., Columbia 7:45-9 a.m.: Annual Meeting Breakfast & Legislative Briefing 9-11 a.m.: Meetings with Legislators (Organized by Regional Captains**) 11 a.m.: Student Performances 11:30 a.m.: Rally in Statehouse Lobby Registration is required. Registration Fee: $30/person* *Contact SCAA for student discounts. **Regional Captains recevie free registration. Click to learn more.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Jan. 21

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays (and sometimes Tuesdays that are like Mondays! - Ed.) with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders to finish in-progress applications. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

Next 30(ish)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

New Governor’s School event to cultivate S.C.’s young dancers

Master classes, cash prizes part of student ballet competition

Ballet students ages 10-19 are invited to participate in master classes and compete for cash prizes in the inaugural "Grand Jeté" student dance competition, hosted by the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. The competition will be held at the Governor’s School in Greenville on March 2, 2019, and students can now register online to participate at www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 1. “We are thrilled to offer an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge South Carolina’s young dancers, and we want to applaud them for their hard work as they pursue and study this beautiful, yet demanding, art form,” said Josée Garant, Governor’s School Dance Department chair. “Grand Jeté is a venue for dance students from across the state to get to know each other and share their common passion for dance. It is a venue where, in its competitive environment, they can take the stage, support each other, learn and grow, while receiving feedback from out-of-state, internationally-recognized dance professionals.” Approximately 60 students will have the opportunity to attend master classes taught by S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities’ dance faculty and compete, by division, for the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling $7,500. They may also qualify for scholarships and opportunities such as summer dance intensives and college dance programs. Grand Jeté will be adjudicated by out-of-state, world-renowned dance professionals Lorna Feijóo, Francie Huber, and Olivier Pardina. For more information about Grand Jeté and to register, visit www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The registration deadline is February 1, 2019. However, registration may close early if the maximum number of 60 solos is reached prior to this date. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact the S.C Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation at 864.282.1570 for more details.

About SCGSAH

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students, and SCGSAH serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org
All photos provided.

Submitted material

So you want to be in an art show…

West Main Artists Co-op and Converse College partner for workshop

West Main Artist Co-op and Converse College are partnering to provide a free workshop on what it takes to be in a juried art show Saturday, Feb. 16, 1-3 p.m. at the Co-op on West Main Street in Spartanburg. The workshop – “Jury Ready: Preparing to Enter a Juried Show” – will be led by Converse students, most of whom are majoring in fine art or studio art. The lead student will be Jillian Stelow, an art history major minoring in arts management. This workshop is also part of the Co-op’s first four-state juried show – WMAC 2019 – scheduled for the fall. Neither tickets nor registration are required to attend this workshop. “As the Co-op began to organize for WMAC 2019, we quickly realized that many artists don’t understand the process of being in a juried art show,” chairperson Beth Regula said. “To help artists understand what needs to be done for this show and any other, we partnered with Converse College to create this workshop. It will be ideal for any artist who has ever considered applying to be in a juried show. The students will cover the entire process, all of the nuts and bolts, such as ‘What does juried mean?’ Not everyone understands that ‘juried’ means to be judged for inclusion into the show. Of course, there’s a lot more to being in a juried show, and this workshop should answer all the questions.” Other topics to be discussed include meeting deadlines, how to photograph your work, how to register online, how to price your work, how to hang your work, how to transport and insure your work, promotions including social media, art talks, and collaboration with other artists. The workshop will also allow participants to ask questions. Leading the students in this workshop will be Assistant Professor of Art Mary E. Carlisle, who holds a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in studio art and arts administration. “Our goal in the Department of Art and Design is to provide exceptional visual arts programs and dynamic educational and artistic experiences to our students,” she said. “Collaborations such as this one allow them to go out into the field and share their knowledge with a community of artists, while gaining hands-on experience. Projects like this also serve as an excellent example of our School of the Arts initiative, 'Creativity That Works,' through which we prepare passionate young artists for productive careers in the arts. “Students in our arts management minor program study the importance of a community to the mission of arts nonprofits and the potential impact such organizations can have in their community as a result,” she continued. “I am thrilled that this collaboration with West Main Artists Co-op provides an opportunity to support WMAC's mission to create a community of artists and provide opportunities for artists at various stages in their careers. Age is not always indicator of experience, and I hope that this program encourages artists who have never applied to participate in a juried show, or responded to a call for entries, to use this as an opportunity to learn the essentials so that they feel confident in taking that next step to get their work out there.”
The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone. This workshop is one of the first steps in the Co-op’s juried show that will run Saturday, Sept. 14, to Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The show is open to any visual artists over the age of 18 in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Online registration and application will begin on Sunday, July 7, and will end on Saturday, Aug. 3. After the entries have been juried/judged, applicants will be notified by Saturday, Aug. 17. Applicants will pay a $35 non-refundable entry fee to enter as many as three pieces of visual art, including both 2- and 3-dimensional. Cash prizes will include first-place, $2,500; second-place, $1,000; third-place, $500; and merit awards totaling $500. For complete details, please visit WestMainArtists.org. Brochures for WMAC 2019 are available at West Main Artists Co-op, 578 West Main Street, Spartanburg. The Co-op is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
West Main Artists Co-op is one of the leading arts agencies in Spartanburg, with a membership of more than 50 juried artists. It is housed in a converted church and includes studio space for about 30 artists. It also has three galleries, a printery, a pottery studio, two stages for performances, and the county’s largest rotating collection of for-sale artwork made by local artists. Each month, the nonprofit agency hosts three free art exhibitions of work by its members and guest artists.

20 years of family nights: Clover School District Auditorium

Clover School District Auditorium announced that Doug Berky will join them for the 20th Annual Family Night, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 at 7 p.m.  Doug Berky has been creating and evolving his own brand of physical theater for over 30 years. His original performances are an intricately woven fabric of Commedia dell'arte, physical comedy, mime, mask theatre, clowning, circus arts, and storytelling. Weaving together masks, puppets, mime, drama, comedy, music, and storytelling, Doug Berky presents stories from around the world. "GEMS: The World’s Wisdom Stories" is a visual feast filled with fanciful characters, dramatic and comic twists and turns, and “Gems” of wisdom passed down to us from many people around the world. From Aesop’s "Fables," Jataka Tales, and stories of Hans Christian Anderson to stories from lesser known collections of folklore and mythology from Asian, African, the Middle Eastern, and Native American peoples, these stories have inspired and educated the world’s young and young at heart for years. CSDA’s 20th Annual Family Night is an opportunity for the entire community to come together for an outstanding evening of quality family entertainment.


$5 for individuals and $10 for families of two or more: 803.222.8018.

Hub City Press, Charles Frazier partner on new book series

'Extraordinary' Southern writers to be put in spotlight

National Book Award winner Charles Frazier and Hub City Press are teaming up on a new series of books spotlighting extraordinary writers from the American South. Beginning in spring 2019, the Cold Mountain Fund Series will publish literary fiction in hardback. Frazier, best-selling author of “Cold Mountain,” “Thirteen Moons," “Nightwoods," and “Varina,” will provide financial support through the Frazier family’s Cold Mountain Fund at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Frazier also will assist in book promotion and make occasional appearances with the Cold Mountain Fund Series authors. “I have long considered Hub City Press to be one of the very finest independent publishers in the country and am excited to help foster their already excellent offerings of literary fiction,” Frazier said. Hub City Hub City Press, now in its 24th year, is the South’s premier independent literary press. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Hub City is focused on finding and publishing new and extraordinary voices from the South. Among its recent successes are an NPR Book of the Year, a Kirkus Book of the Year, a book longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and coverage in “The Los Angeles Times” and “The New York Times.” “I couldn't be more thrilled at this new partnership,” said Meg Reid, director of Hub City Press. “Charles Frazier has long been one of the South’s greatest writers, as well as one of Hub City’s most ardent supporters. This series will be vital in helping us continue our mission to find and champion the finest fiction the South has to offer.” The first three books in the series will be:
  • “The Magnetic Girl” by Jessica Handler of Atlanta (April 2019),
  • “Watershed” by Mark Barr of Little Rock, Ark. (October 2019),
  • and “The Prettiest Star” by Carter Sickels of Lexington, Ky. (April 2020).
“Finding an audience has never been easy for writers of literary fiction,” Frazier said, “so in working with Hub City, my hope is to help amplify distinctive Southern voices and connect them with curious readers.” Cold Mountain funds primarily will be targeted for more substantial book advances and for book marketing. Hub City Press titles are distributed by Publishers Group West. Among its published authors are Leesa Cross-Smith, Ron Rash, Michel Stone, Julia Franks, Ashley Jones and others. Hub City annually sponsors the $10,000 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize (judged this year by Lauren Groff), the biennial New Southern Voices Poetry Prize, and the biennial South Carolina Novel Prize.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Jan. 14

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders to finish in-progress applications. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.