Call for Art

First Novel Prize submission process is now online!

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


Join us for a conversation: What’s Next for Creative South Carolina?

Free session! How can South Carolina grow a strong, adaptable creative sector that produces value for all communities and benefits all citizens? What are the key opportunities and challenges that we must address? What are the important next steps we need to take? Join the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Arts Alliance as we explore these questions and plan the next big move for the arts in our state. This free, highly interactive, facilitated conversation is open to arts leaders, community and nonprofit leaders, creative professionals, artists, and anyone else with a strong interest in the creative future of the Palmetto State. This conversation is a pre-conference session conveniently scheduled during SCANPO's South Carolina Nonprofit Summit taking place March 9-11 in Spartanburg. (You do not have to register for the Nonprofit Summit to take part in the Creative South Carolina conversation.)

  • What's Next for Creative South Carolina? A Community Conversation
  • Wednesday, March 9, 10 a.m - noon
  • Chapman Cultural Center (Rainey Conference Room, Moseley Building) 200 East St. John Street, Spartanburg, S.C.
The session is free, but RSVPs are required. Email Kevin Flarisee by March 4 to reserve your space. About the South Carolina Nonprofit Summit Organized by the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization (SCANPO), the 2016 South Carolina Nonprofit Summit offers something for just about everyone on your team. Directors, managers and even board members can choose from 60 sessions organized in five tracks: CollaborACTION, Leadership, Fundraising, Marketing, and Finance & Operations. Find out more about the Summit on SCANPO's website.


South Carolina State Library offering free grants research and proposal writing classes

The South Carolina State Library is offering two grants research and proposal writing classes open to the public at no charge. Grants Research: Finding a Funder for Your Nonprofit Organization. This class helps individuals working with nonprofit organizations locate information on grants available from private foundations and corporations using the South Carolina State Library's electronic and print resources. Sessions run from 9:30 a.m. to noon and are offered on two different dates:

Proposal Writing Basics - This class will focus on what needs to be included in all grant proposals.  Sessions will be offered on two different dates: Both classes will be held at the South Carolina State Library, 1500 Senate Street, Columbia and are free; however, registration is required.  For more information, please contact Information Services Librarian Dawn Mullin at 803-737-3762 or


Reminder — ArtPlace America creative placemaking grant session Feb. 10

Free workshop! The South Carolina Arts Commission welcomes ArtPlace America to Columbia February 10 for an informational session about its National Creative Placemaking Fund. Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres is visiting to discuss the ArtPlace grant process and encourage applications from South Carolina. The session is free and open to anyone from any area of the state. Join us Wednesday, February 10 (RSVPs are NOT required)

  • What is creative placemaking?
  • An overview of the grant process.
  • What makes a strong application?
  • A discussion of how the arts have been used to “move the needle” to address relevant and challenging community issues.
Who should attend? Anyone and everyone interested in learning about how you can be supported to creatively make change in your community! Artists, arts organizations, designers, community developers, planners, city and town administrators, community residents, business owners, faith and religious groups, philanthropists, and more are invited to learn more about arts-based strategies to community development. The National Creative Placemaking Fund will fund anyone regardless of tax-exempt status. Consider these questions: What’s your understanding of how the arts change communities? Have you identified a community issue that leverages arts and culture as an intervention?  What part do partners play? In what geographic “place” will you work to solve this community-based issue? Who sits at “the table” when the decisions are made for this intervention? How will you measure success? These and other questions will guide the conversation and provide specifics about ArtPlace’s grants program that offers $50,000 to $500,000 to support place-based arts projects as they relate to advancing our communities. Since 2011, ArtPlace has invested $66.875 million in 227 projects across 152 communities of all sizes, in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Its National Grants Program is designed to invest in creative placemaking projects that involve cross-sector partners committed to improving the social, physical, and economic fabric of their communities through arts-based strategies. Questions about the sessions? Email or call Susan DuPlessis, (803) 734-8693. ArtPlace American deadlines:
  • Feb. 16, 3:59 p.m. – registration
  • March 2, 3:35 p.m. – grant applications due
  • May 21 – grant notification
About ArtPlace ArtPlace America ( is a 10-year collaboration among 15 foundations, eight federal agencies, and six financial institutions who are dedicated to positioning art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, the set of practices in which art and culture work intentionally to help to transform a place. ArtPlace does this through a national grants program and five community-wide investments; it seeks to understand and disseminate successful practices through its research strategies; and it works to connect practitioners, organizations, and communities with one another.


Engaging Creative Minds seeks director of development and communications

Reporting to and in partnership with the executive director, the director of development and communications will spearhead these efforts as Engaging Creative Minds continues to grow. A new position in the organization, the director of development and communications will have the opportunity to build on our current efforts in public relations, brand awareness and fund acquisition and management. Responsibilities:

  • Develop and execute ECM’s strategy for annual fundraising plan
  • Secure financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations to reach/surpass fundraising goals set by ECM’s board of directors
  • Manage the implementation of fundraising software and oversee staff responsible for data entry and gift processing
  • Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with major donors and school districts
  • Create and execute a strategy for a large sustained base of annual individual donors
  • Develop and manage special events
  • Create and secure sponsorship packages
  • Develop and track proposals, donations and reports for all foundation and corporate gifts
  • Assist in preparation and management of annual organizational budget
  • BA (required), MA (a plus)
  • Five-plus years experience in nonprofit development
Skills needed:
  • Expert knowledge of fundraising techniques
  • Knowledge of Raiser's Edge or similar fundraising software
  • Demonstrated excellence in organizational, managerial, and communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze information/situations and solve problems
  • Ability to handle sensitive information discreetly and maintain confidentiality
  • Excellent project management skills to organize and manage multiple projects/tasks simultaneously; must be able to work independently and collaboratively, and adapt to changing priorities
  • Knowledge and interest in arts education
  • Experience in and ability to assist director of operations with recruiting and management of volunteer staff
Email letter of interest with salary requirements and resume to Job will be posted until filled.


Greenwood student named Doodle 4 Google SC winner

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

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


Free workshop for middle school and high school drama teachers

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


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

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

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


Nine high schools students advancing to Poetry Out Loud state finals

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

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

For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at


Engaging Creative Minds seeks executive assistant

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

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

Grantee Spotlight

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

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