Celebrating 50 years!

From April 2017 through June 2018, the South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. The 50th anniversary celebration includes kick-off events in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, plus 15 months of exhibitions and performances showcasing the arts around the state.  Check out the calendar of events and stay tuned for updates! Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission. Also shown, Nick Zeigler, left and Marvin Trapp. Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission. Also shown, Nick Zeigler, left and Marvin Trapp. On June 7, 1967, Governor Robert E. McNair signed legislation creating the South Carolina Arts Commission, beginning a new era of public support for the arts in the Palmetto State. The legislation declared that the State of South Carolina would ensure that the arts “continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens." For 50 years, the Arts Commission has joined with individuals, institutions and professional organizations to advance the state’s commitment to create a thriving arts environment that benefits all citizens. “The Arts Commission’s longevity is due in part to years of bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Executive Director Ken May. “Our state legislature recognizes that the people and communities they serve benefit in many ways from their investment in the arts, and they understand that the return includes a creative industry with a core impact of $9.2 billion and 78,682 jobs. That represents approximately $400 million in tax revenue.” Artists and arts professionals are the workforce of the South Carolina’s creative industries.  “The artists and organizations providing arts experiences in cities, towns and rural communities enhance the quality of life and produce economic activity,” said May. “They also attract visitors and tourists who shop, eat and stay overnight.” State support for the arts has also paid off in the classroom. “Since 1987, the Arts Commission has strategically invested in arts education, providing grants and leadership through the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, to enable schools to implement the arts as part of the core curriculum,” said May. “Research shows that the arts help young people learn critical thinking, communication, creativity and perseverance -- skills they need to be successful in work and life. The state’s commitment to arts education pays dividends in the form of our state’s future workforce.” The future of the arts will be a theme throughout the anniversary. “The anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished with 50 years of uninterrupted state support for the arts, and we have a great deal to celebrate,” said May. “The anniversary year is also an opportunity to plan for the future. The Arts Commission’s ongoing work, along with upcoming new programs, will help connect artists to additional sources of small business capital, establish the arts as economic drivers in rural communities, and assist arts organizations with professional development needs as a wave of baby boomers retires. We are poised to make the most of the next 50 years of public support for the arts.” For more information about the 50th anniversary, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com/50.

Art of Community: Rural SC recognized with Power of Rural award

The South Carolina Arts Commission's initiative, The Art of Community: Rural S.C., received the first Power of Rural award October 11 from the South Carolina Office of Rural Health at the 21st annual Rural Health Conference, which was attended by health and medical professionals dedicated to providing access to quality healthcare in rural communities. Program Director Susan DuPlessis also led a conversation of Art of Community team members around using the arts as a different approach to building healthy communities. The Art of Community: Rural S.C. advances the Arts Commission’s commitment to rural development through the arts, culture and creative placemaking and is supported by funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The initiative has led to national attention and new connections for the Arts Commission — from the White House to national thought leaders to significant organizations inside and outside of the state. In addition, the agency has been invited to take part in regional and national conferences and webinars to present the program as a model for building community, economic opportunity and local infrastructure for growth and development in rural and high-poverty communities. “Through this initiative, we have created a new framework for building local connections, community engagement and capacity,” DuPlessis said. “It was born out of our participation in the Promise Zone’s strategic planning process in the fall of 2015. In all of the sessions, I heard how arts and culture were important, whether we were talking about healthcare or workforce development. The arts were clearly identified as key to community pride, attachment and new possibilities.” Over the past year, The Art of Community: Rural SC resulted in six creative peacemaking projects being designed and implemented by local teams in the six counties in South Carolina’s federally designated Promise Zone . The Arts Commission provided small grants to assist with these projects. Six mavens are working closely with the Arts Commission to drive and sustain the work of each local team. Mavens and the communities they represent are Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel, Denmark (Bamberg County); Evelyn Coker, Blackville (Barnwell County); Gary Brightwell, Walterboro (Colleton County); Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Estill (Hampton County); and Johnny Davis, Jasper County Twenty-three national and state leaders representing expansive thinking in the world of arts, culture and community development serve on the Art of Community Advisory Council, which is co-chaired by two native South Carolinians, Union native Dr. Ann Carmichael, dean of USC Salkehatchie, and Bob Reeder, program director for Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and a Rock Hill native. For more information about The Art of Community, contact Susan DuPlessis, 803.734.8693. Image: First row, left to right: team member LaShandra Morgan, maven Dr. Yvette McDaniel, Susan DuPlessis, maven Evelyn Coker. Back row, left to right: team members Ashley Jordan and Myron Brooker, Dr. Graham Adams, executive director, S.C. Office of Rural Health, and team member Brenda Hughes. Missing from photo: mavens Gary Brightwell, Johnny Davis, Audrey Hopkins-Williams, and Lottie Lewis.  

First Novel Prize is now the S.C. Novel Prize

Prize competition now open to all South Carolina writers - published and unpublished The First Novel Prize is now the South Carolina Novel Prize and is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. We also welcome a new partner - the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, led by novelist and English professor Bret Lott. Submissions will open January 2, 2018 and close March 15, 2018. South Carolina Novel Prize entries are submitted online through the Submittable system. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by a nationally recognized judge to be announced at a later date. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Brock Adams of Spartanburg won the 2016 First Novel Prize. His novel, Ember, was published by Hub City Press in September 2017. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694. 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), Minnow (2014) by James McTeer, and Ember (2016) by Brock Adams.

Artwork by eight award-winning Upstate women on display at Lee Gallery

Article by Meredith Mims McTigue, Center for Visual Arts "13th level of the 13th Pit," art by Linda McCune, is included in the exhibit. Linda McCune, 13th level of the 13th Pit. Image Credit: Linda McCune CLEMSON — An exhibit celebrating the artwork of eight award-winning Upstate women is being presented at the Lee Gallery at the Clemson University Center for Visual Arts through Nov. 8. The “Upstate 8: SC Fellowship Women Exhibit” is part of a larger endeavor to highlight artists during a yearlong 50th anniversary celebration of the South Carolina Arts Commission. On June 7, 1967, Gov. Robert E. McNair signed legislation that established the South Carolina Arts Commission. This historic moment signaled a new era of public support for the arts. The exhibition highlights the work of artists who were direct beneficiaries of this historic legislation through the support they received from competitive fellowships awarded to them by the South Carolina Arts Commission. These eight women are leaders in the arts, mentors through their creative research and contributors to the thriving cultural climate that the state of South Carolina now enjoys. Students enrolled in an undergraduate Creative Inquiry program called Clemson Curates were charged to develop an exhibit that showcased the fellowship program. The students, advised by Lee Gallery director Denise Woodward-Detrich, reviewed all of the artists and made the final selections. “We are honored to be chosen to curate such an important collection of women artists from the Upstate,” said Woodward-Detrich.

This piece by Patti Brady is in the exhibit. This piece by Patti Brady is in the exhibit. The participating artists are Alice Ballard, Patti Brady, Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Ellen Kochansky, Linda Williams McCune, Jane Allen Nodine and Susan Wooten. Intersecting subject matter presented in the exhibition includes connections to nature through materiality, imagery and the capacity for symbolic meaning. Other related content includes the exploration of feminine forms and sensibilities associated with nature as an embodiment of the female, traditional feminine materials and processes through textiles, connections to family, place, the personal and the emotional. This innovative art collaboration is part of the commitment of the Lee Gallery at the Clemson University Center for Visual Arts to support the university’s ClemsonForward strategic plan to provide educational activities that expose students to research through artistic means. There will be an exhibit reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, and an artist panel discussion at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. The public is invited to attend the reception and the panel discussion exploring the artists’ creative processes, methodologies, work as women artists and the roles they embraced as mentors and educators. The exhibition, reception and panel discussion are free to the public. This project is funded by First Citizens Bank, the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nominate your arts hero for a Verner Award!

Recognize South Carolina innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts with a nomination for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts — the state’s highest arts award! The nomination process is now a simple online process  — just upload a letter of nomination by Nov. 1. Verner Award StatueThe nomination letter should describe the nominee’s exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina and address any characteristics included in the category descriptions (see below). It should include specific examples and relevant data wherever possible. The letter should be structured to answer the following questions:

  • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
  • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
  • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state’s highest award in the arts?
Note: a nomination letter is different from a support letter. Letters of support are not required as part of the nomination process. Nominations are accepted in these categories:
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION – open to S.C. individuals and institutions whose primary function is arts education. May include arts educators (teachers, consultants, principals, administrators), schools, school districts, college/university arts departments, etc.
  • ORGANIZATION – open to S.C. organizations that contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts. May include arts discipline organizations, arts councils, arts advocacy groups, guilds, arts departments of organizations, educational institutions, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT – open to S.C. agencies and institutions generally described as units of state, county or municipal governments that have served their communities in outstanding ways through the arts, OR elected or appointed officials who, in their official capacities, have demonstrated notable support for the arts through leadership and public policy.
  • BUSINESS/FOUNDATION – open to SC individuals, or companies and foundations whose participation, support, and/or contributions have benefited the maintenance and growth of the arts.
  • INDIVIDUAL – open to S.C. individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through their leadership, support, and advancement of the arts. May include arts professionals such as managers, administrators; or arts supporters such as patrons, promoters, donors, etc.
  • INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – open to S.C. artists of exceptional talent and creativity, in any discipline, whose contribution to the arts has helped guide and influence directions, trends and aesthetic practices across the state or to national or international levels
Find complete nomination guidelines and submission instructions online.

FOLKFabulous moves to the State Fair

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum's signature festival, FOLKFabulous, has an expanded time frame at a new venue, moving from a one-day event at the museum to a 10-day extravaganza at the South Carolina State Fair October 11 - 22. Drawing on the yearlong exhibition “WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s® Treme”, FOLKFabulous@theFair 2017 celebrates the traditions and spirit of Mardi Gras—in New Orleans and South Carolina. Also featured are Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative artists, highlighting the Folklife & Traditional Arts Program of McKissick Museum and the South Carolina Arts Commission. This folklife festival brings together outstanding tradition bearers in an immersive atmosphere to help visitors better understand our region’s unique cultural heritage. Each day of FOLKFabulous brings a new opportunity to learn and engage with narrative stages, concerts, hands-on-activities for the whole family, and even a King Cake Contest. Visit www.artsandsciences.sc.edu/mckissickmuseum for details, including a complete calendar of events.

Theatre and literary artists – it’s your turn to apply for fellowships

Application deadline is November 1. The South Carolina Arts Commission is accepting applications for the next round of Individual Artist Fellowships. South Carolina artists working in prose, poetry, acting or playwriting are invited to apply for the 2019 awards. Each fellow receives an unrestricted $5,000 award. Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists. Fellowship awards are made through a highly competitive, anonymous process by out-of-state panelists and are based on artistic excellence only. The awards bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. Fellowships are awarded in four disciplines each year. Find complete guidelines and application instructions online. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2017. Related: Who won the most recent round of fellowships?

ArtsGrowSC offers savings and loan programs for artists

The South Carolina Arts Commission and CommunityWorks, a community development finance institution based in Greenville, are collaborating on a program designed to increase opportunities for artisans to develop and grow arts-based business ventures that contribute to the $9.2 billion generated by the state’s core creative industries. The ArtsGrowSC program will combine the strengths of both organizations to offer resources for qualifying artists, including a savings program, micro-loans, business venture loans, matching grants, personalized coaching and workshops. ArtsGrowSC is comprised of three components targeted to artists based upon their locale and business readiness: Individual Development Account (IDA) for Artisans – This matched savings program will initially focus on Spartanburg-area artisans. Those who qualify will commit to saving an agreed-upon amount of money over six months. CommunityWorks will then match the savings at a 3:1 rate; an artisan who saves $1,000 will receive a match of $3,000. Funds may be used to purchase long-term assets such as equipment or to open a small business. The Chapman Cultural Center is a partner in the IDA program.  IDA to Artists Ventures Initiative (AVI) – Artisans who take part in the initial IDA program may then qualify for the IDA to AVI program. Artisans receive personalized coaching from the Arts Commission and may apply for an Arts Commission matching quarterly grant to receive business training from a recognized business development source. Additionally, the Arts Commission will help in preparing the Artists Ventures Initiative grant application. Artists Ventures Initiative Business Builder Loan Program – Artists are invited to expand their ventures with a business loan of up to $15,000 from CommunityWorks. The micro-loan could be leveraged with an IDA account. Previous Artists Ventures Initiative grantees receive priority; however, any artist may apply. (Previous AVI grantees may apply for an Arts Commission AVI-Expansion matching grant of up to $1,500 to help with application and closing costs.) Find out more online or contact Joy Young, 803.734.8203.

Resources for disaster preparedness and recovery

Being prepared for any type of emergency, whether it's a storm, a fire, or a manmade disaster, means having a plan BEFORE a crisis strikes. With an active hurricane season upon us, it's possible to be in preparedness mode and recovery mode at the same time. Use these preparedness and recovery resources to create a disaster plan that will help you or your organization function during an emergency and recover afterwards.  

Nominate a traditional artist or advocate for a Folk Heritage Award

New this year! The nomination process is now an easy, online submission, and the nomination deadline is earlier -- November 15. The South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum invite nominations for the 2018 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Nominations are now submitted online through Submittable and are due by November 15. Find complete guidelines and submission instructions online. Created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. Nominations are accepted in two categories:

  • Artists: South Carolina artists who have dedicated their lives to the practice of art forms that have been passed down through their families and communities and who have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive. Past awards have recognized art forms such as basket making, gospel singing, fiddling, hammock making and boat building.
  • Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups that have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.
Before submitting a nomination, you are strongly advised to contact the Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director to determine whether your nominee is eligible. The Folk Heritage Awards are named for the late Rep. Jean Laney Harris, who was an outspoken advocate for South Carolina’s arts and cultural resources. The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum to administer the awards, which will be presented in the spring.

CERF+ offers “Get Ready” grants for craft artists

In 2017, CERF+ will award “Get Ready” Grants of up to $500 to individual artists and up to $1,500 to groups of artists in two grant cycles. The “Get Ready” Grant Program encourages awareness of and provides funding for artists working in craft disciplines to conduct activities that will help safeguard their studios, protect their careers and implement other safety measures to help artists build and sustain strong and resilient careers. Application deadline is November 30. Find out more.