Janae Claxton is Poetry Out Loud national champ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 26 April 2018

  • Janae Claxton of First Baptist Church School in Charleston wins in Washington
  • State’s first back-to-back champ adds national honors, $20,000 prize
WASHINGTON – Last night in Washington, a Charleston student became the first South Carolinian to win the national finals of the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition and its $20,000 prize. SCAC Executive Director Ken May and Janae Claxton celebrate her national championship after the competition. Credit James Kegley/NEA. Janae Claxton, a senior at First Baptist Church School, made history already this year in March by becoming the state’s first back-to-back Poetry Out Loud state competition winner. On Tuesday, she added another first to her résumé as the first South Carolina student to advance out of round one of the national finals. By Wednesday night, she was winding down her high school experience as the competition’s national champion. She’ll bring the honor – and its $20,000 prize – back to the Palmetto State, which has offered the Poetry Out Loud competition since she was in first grade. Claxton recited “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General” by Jonathan Swift before clinching the top score from the judges with Sharon Olds’ “I Go Back to May 1937.” “ really does change your life. It really does have that power. For me, it changed my identity, made me see myself differently I’m smart, I’m intelligent, I can do this,” Claxton said. “We are so proud of Janae and her historic win—our first national finalist and first national champion. She was absolutely amazing! We are also proud of South Carolina’s Poetry Out Loud program, which involves 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties. We hope that this exciting win will encourage even greater statewide participation,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. Nicholas Amador of Hawaii was first runner-up and Hope Stratman of Nebraska was second runner-up. Photos and videos of the nine finalists who competed in the April 25 finals are available here. Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies. Its national finals took place at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington. The event host was poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. Guest judges included Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; Lavina Jadhwani, Chicago-based theater director; Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Virgil Suárez, poet and professor of at Florida State University. The featured performer was musician Kaia Kater.
JANAE CLAXTON, 2018 POETRY OUT LOUD NATIONAL CHAMPION “ really does change your life. It really does have that power. For me, it changed my identity, made me see myself differently I’m smart, I’m intelligent, I can do this.” KEN MAY, SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR “We are so proud of Janae and her historic win—our first national finalist and first national champion. She was absolutely amazing! We are also proud of South Carolina’s Poetry Out Loud program, which involves 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties. We hope that this exciting win will encourage even greater statewide participation.” ROBIN GRAMLING, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER “When you enter the world of poetry, dream big!! Janae Claxton showed us last night a grace and elegance that was transcendent. When she spoke, the hush in the room was palpable. Janae proved the truth of the poet. A word is indeed not dead when it is said ...but begins to live in unimaginable ways. Thank you Poetry Out Loud for helping resurrect the world with words!” ZURI WILSON-SEYMORE, SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISION POETRY OUR LOUD PROGRAM COORDINATOR “I'm overjoyed with excitement for Janae Claxton and this historic moment for poetry in South Carolina.”
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org. For information about Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.   ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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.   ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. Visit Arts.gov for additional information.   ABOUT THE POETRY FOUNDATION The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audiences. Visit PoetryFoundation.org for more information.

Submitted material

AccessAbility Announces ‘Art in the Dark’ – this Thursday

This Thursday will bring the second annual "Art in the Dark" event to North Charleston at the headquarters of AccessAbility. The for-purpose, not-for-profit organization invites aspiring artists and amateurs (of all ages) to bring themselves and their families to its community art exhibition and competition. This year guests will enjoy art that spans across all mediums. The event will feature live music, hands-on art projects, yard games, and refreshments for all ages and abilities. The creative staff at AccessAbility will adopt the world of Willy Wonka as design inspiration. Thematic surprises are in-store and will provide an all-encompassing sensory experience for the whole family. "Art in the Dark" is an inclusive event open to community members with or without disabilities. The idea of promoting fellowship in the growing community of creators and entrepreneurs was thought up by AccessAbility Executive Director Julia Martinelli. The creative spirit and visionary saw an opportunity to accentuate the abilities of individuals with disabilities through the arts, as well as showcase AccessAbility’s many resources which are often unknown to locals. “The idea to create an art competition and exhibition is centered in inclusiveness and serves to highlight disability as part of the human experience. We often incorporate artistic inspiration throughout the programs we deliver and many of our clients, employees, and friends are gifted in various creative outlets,” Martinelli said. "Art in the Dark" is scheduled for Thursday, May 24th from 5-9 p.m. Participants who submit artwork will receive free admission to the event. To purchase tickets, submit artwork, and find additional information visit abilitysc.org/events.


AccessAbility is located between Cross County Road and Lincoln Patriot Boulevard on Dorchester Road. AccessAbility is a non-profit organization and center for independent living representing Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Williamsburg, and Orangeburg counties. The organization promotes the full integration of people with disabilities in their communities and operates on a cross-disability basis.
Feature photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Fast-growing S.C. region adds professional orchestra

It is the hub of a region that has three of the top 20 fastest-growing communities in South Carolina (and two of the top three). It boasts the state's first officially-recognized cultural district. And now Rock Hill has a professional orchestra, joining several others across the state in Aiken, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg. Read more about the genesis of the new cultural offering from the Herald. The three-concert inaugural season begins in September and runs through next May, but a "sneak peek" offering is coming June 10. Congratulations to York County and everyone at the Rock Hill Symphony!

Image courtesy of the Rock Hill Herald.

Submitted material

13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition Winners Announced

Sculpture artists from across the nation applied to the 13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition, displayed at the North Charleston Riverfront Park and presented as a component of the 2018 North Charleston Arts Fest. Organized annually by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique, eleven-month exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their thought provoking, extraordinary sculptures, as well as compete for up to $19,750 in honorariums and awards. Thirteen out of 94 submissions were pre-juried into the exhibition by the juror, Lilly Wei, New York-based independent curator, writer, journalist, lecturer, and critic. Once installed at the exhibition site, Wei then made her selections for Best in Show, Outstanding Merit, and Honorable Mentions. The sculptures selected for exhibition are by 13 artists from 10 states. Congratulations to the winners of the 2018/2019 National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition:

  • Best in Show: Vuida by Joni Youkins-Herzog (Athens, Ga.; shown at right)
  • Outstanding Merit: Yellowfish by John Ross (Long Branch, N.J.)
  • Honorable Mention: Hallelujah by Charlie Brouwer (Willis, Va.)
  • Honorable Mention: Battery No. 1 by Lena Daly (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Honorable Mention: Moonlight Sonata by Hanna Jubran (Grimesland, N.C.)
Also displayed were the following pre-juried works:
  • The Sound of Everything - Bassoon by Sean Cassidy (Rock Hill)
  • Wind by Bob Doster (Lancaster)
  • Electric Horse by Normon Greene (Brentwood, Md.)
  • Ollie's Buoy by Roger Halligan (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
  • Gothic Family by Beau Lyday (Valdese, N.C.)
  • Oculi Aqua by Carmen Rojas (Ocala, Fla.)
  • The Wealth of Fools by Gregory Smith (North Pownal, Vt.)
  • Core Oracle by Adam Walls (Hope Mills, N.C.)
Sculpture sites are located throughout North Charleston Riverfront Park (1001 Everglades Ave.) on the former Charleston Naval Base. The park is open daily during daylight hours. Admission and parking are free. The 2018/2019 National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition will be on display through March 24, 2019. For more information or to be added to the application mailing list for the 2019/2020 competition, please call the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843.740.5854 or email culturalarts@northcharleston.org. For more information on the sculpture exhibition, visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.
After determining the award winners, Lilly Wei offered the following juror’s statement: "I would like to begin by congratulating all the artists in this wonderful exhibition and wishing you much success. It is never easy to choose and even more difficult to select just one “best in show,” and one “outstanding merit” but it is good that a few others can be singled out also. I would further state the obvious, that these endeavors are inevitably subjective, influenced by the juror’s own inclinations and criteria, conscious and unconscious. I would add that these are my readings of the works, not necessarily those of the artists although that is what art should do—evoke myriad responses from its viewers. That said, Joni Younkins-Herzog’s Vuida earned Best inShow. I very much liked its playfulness and a subversive feminism that quickly shifted into the feminist, as the flower became a trumpet of sorts, a loudspeaker, perhaps, that says that flowers, (and women) should speak out, boldly broadcasting messages that need to be heard. She upends a traditional still life vanitas motif about ephemerality into something more political, activist, and of the moment."

Ment Nelson brings pride of place to ‘Souf Cak’

It's a great day in South Carolina Souf Cak. One can easily envision that phrase appearing among Ment Nelson's tweets at some point, if it's not in the 3,100+ already tweeted. His mission statement on the social media platform is "I make it cool to be from South Carolina," so we posit that our lede is not a stretch. But don't take The Hub's word for it; the Post & Courier undoubtedly has more cachet and on Monday made the case for Nelson's innate coolness with a wonderful story you should read if you haven't already:

As an emerging artist who has gone from bagging groceries to collaborating on a New York gallery show in the span of two years, Nelson doesn't draw a line between his portraits, his hip-hop songwriting, his computerized artwork and his ebullient social-media presence. He'll use any format that gets the job done, up to and including posing for a selfie with a roost full of chickens.
Hat tip to P&C writer Paul Bowers. Artists from South Carolina are certainly germane to a Hub story, but Ment is also working on a new initiative we're going to begin talking about soon called "Create: Rural S.C." The S.C. Arts Commission will lead research on South Carolina’s creative cluster, with a deeper examination of the creative economy in the state’s rural Promise Zone (Barnwell, Bamberg, Allendale, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton Counties), a priority community of the USDA-RD (the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development). A cohort of “Next Generation” creative professionals in the Promise Zone will assist in all aspects of the development and roll-out of the plan. This program is an outgrowth of the SCAC's "The Art of Community: Rural S.C." initiative, which is active in each of the Promise Zone counties as the umbrella organization for this program and already bearing fruit in the region. Hear more from the young voices of "Create: Rural S.C." in this video. YOUNG VOICES VIDEO 5 MINUTES from Cook Productions on Vimeo.  

Visual artists featured in ‘SC.Fellows Part 2’

The final official events of the S.C. Arts Commission's 50th anniversary celebration are underway in Columbia and Spartanburg as three exhibitions that are part of "SC.Fellows Part 2" run concurrently. Works by a host of visual arts fellows past and present are  up for public display in a retrospective exhibition of SCAC Visual Arts and Craft Fellows covering 1976 to the present day.


Columbia

The 701 Center for Contemporary Art (701 Whaley St.) has the biggest collection, displaying works by James Arendt, Alice Ballard, Patti Brady, Jonathan Brilliant, Zoey Brookshire, Jeri Burdick, Jarod Charzewski, Jocelyn Chateauvert, Rebecca Des Marais, Linda Fantuzzo, Mark Flowers, Jack Steve Gerstner, J. Scott Goldsmith, Kristi Higby, Elizabeth Keller, Mike Lavine, Larry Lebby, Elizabeth Melton, Philip Mullen, Jane Allen Nodine, Jorge Otero, Herb Parker, Clifton Peacock, Michael Phillips, David Ross Puls, Michael Tice, and Susan B. Wooten. 701 CCA is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. "Laced Landscape" (detail) Kim Keats The Henry Ponder Gallery at Benedict College (1600 Harden St.) opens with a reception tonight and will display works by Alice Boyle, M. Tallon Chalmers, Dennis Croteau, Heidi Darr Hope, Karen E. Davies, Mary Edna Fraser, Eugene Horne, Damond Howard, Judy V. Jones, Kim Keats, Peter Lenzo, Robert Lyon, Leo Manske, Paula Smith, Megan Wolfe, and Howard Woody. The Ponder Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.   Both exhibitions run through June 24.

Spartanburg

Artist Jonathan Brilliant is the sole fellow in focus at Spartanburg Art Museum (200 E. St. John St.) beginning today and running through Aug. 5.  SAM is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Tuning Up: Eclipsing 50 at SCSM, Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...


  • Eclipsing 50. Originally scheduled to come down in June, the State Art Collection will remain on display at the South Carolina State Museum into August, so consider this a periodic reminder to go check it out. With the wet weather this week and summer's heat looming, this is a way to escape both. It's rare to see so much of the collection displayed in one place... unless you visit the S.C. Arts Commission. Free with museum admission.
  • Speaking Down Barriers in Spartanburg. This Saturday, our friends at Chapman Cultural Center and South Carolina Humanities are planning to use music, poetry and art to help bring people together to build a better community in the Upstate. Speaking Down Barriers holds the first "Day of Transformation" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg (210 Henry Place, Spartanburg). $15. Read more about it here and here. (The SCAC provided support for this event.)
  • More Spoleto! On Monday, May 28, Palmetto State Arts Education will host the opening performance of the 2018 Rising Stars Piccolo Spoleto Series, showcasing young actors, dancers, musicians, writers and visual artists in the high profile venue of Spoleto Festival USA through its affiliation with Piccolo Spoleto. A series of six programs, each program will feature 5-7 young artists and/or ensembles in a conversation and performance format. All programs are presented at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church across from Marion Square on King Street in the heart of downtown Charleston at 4 p.m. $8.00.

Tuning Up: More Cane Bay arts excellence + free poetry series and museums

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...


  • What's in the water in Cane Bay? We recently shared a story about Cane Bay Elementary, and we return to talk about their high school. The Congressional Art Institute holds a national competition each year, and thousands of applicants take part for a chance to have their artwork displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. Cane Bay high school senior Jorge De La Cruz was named this year's winner for the South Carolina district. He will be awarded with other national district winners in an award ceremony in Washington. Read (and watch) more from ABC News 4 here.
  • African-American poet series at McLeod Plantation: Poet Marilyn Nelson visits McLeod Plantation Historic Site in Charleston on Sunday, June 3 for a reading and reception (325 Country Club Dr., James Island). Free to the first 50 guests; additional guests will have to pay the historic site's admission fee to enter the property.
  • Free museum admission for active-duty military families: Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the U.S. Department of Defense, and museums across America. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Go here to find participating museums nationwide! The list of museums participating in 2018 will be updated all summer long. Reading this from a museum? Museums interested in participating should email bluestarmuseums@arts.gov.

Submitted material

Male solo vocalists with acting ability sought for Piccolo Spoleto production

Submission deadline is May 19 – this week! Charleston's Gracie and Lacy have an opportunity for a baritone and a tenor to be a part of the famed Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston as the East Cooper Baptist Church Orchestra and Choir, and top local entertainers, celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Norman Rockwell's The Four Freedoms. Artists and businesses are donating their time to make this concert free to the community. But they need a little "help from the audience" to round out the cast. Current needs are for one of each:

  • Baritone (looks 40s-50s)
  • Tenor (looks 20s-30s)
Submit video sample of vocals and resume by May 19th! Artists must be available the following dates in Mt. Pleasant:
  • Wed, May 29th: Rehearsal
  • Wed, June 6th: Run through (Cast & Orchestra)
  • Fri, June 8th: Dress Rehearsal (Cast & Orchestra)
  • Sat. June 9th (4 p.m. show, 2 p.m. call)
Submit requested materials to Lacy Miller: info@gracieandlacy.com, or call 843.259.8872 with questions.

S.C. Arts Commission seeking accountant/fiscal analyst

Application deadine is Thursday, May 31, 2018 The S.C. Arts Commission is seeking a full-time Accountant/Fiscal Analyst II. Under general supervision of the Director of Agency Operations and Administration, the Accountant/Fiscal Analyst II performs a wide range of administrative, accounting and/or finance related duties using SAP/SCEIS, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft Excel to ensure the accuracy of the agency's $6.1 million budget. The Accountant/Fiscal Analyst II must possess knowledge of principles, practices, theories, and terminology of accounting, auditing, budgeting, and financial management. Knowledge of State of South Carolina government fiscal and accounting processes is highly desired. The Accountant/Fiscal Analyst II should be proactive, possess initiative, and exercise overall good judgment. The ability to synthesize diverse information to inform decision-making will serve the Accountant/Fiscal Analyst II well, especially when applying GAAP, CG regulations, state, and federal policies and procedures to the work. This is a full-time, salaried position. Salary details may be found at link below; salary is negotiable based upon work experience and education. Position involves limited in-state travel to site audits as well as limited overnight and/or weekend travel for training, professional development, professional affiliation, or service opportunities. Minority candidates encouraged to apply. The South Carolina Arts Commission is an Equal Opportunity Employer. View the complete list of requirements and job duties and find out how to apply here.

Checking in with the Columbia Museum of Art

Columbia Museum of Art Columbia Museum of Art The Columbia Museum of Art is a cornerstone of the Midlands' cultural scene and has anchored the efforts to revitalize Columbia's Main Street since opening its current space there in 1998. It seeks to " the modern museum as the bustling social hub of our community." A multi-year renovation project that's nearing completion is going a long way to that end. The plan calls for the addition of gallery space, adapting unused space for use as high-end event space, and adding a new entrance along Main Street, among other things. This morning, The Hub takes a quick look at some of the recent progress that will be shown off at an exhibition opening later this week.


Jane Peterson, American, 1876-1965
Boats on the Nile, Dawn, 1905-1915
Oil on canvas, 19 x 24 ¾ in. (48.3 x 62.9 cm).
Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University; Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, 98.49. Photograph by: Kevin Montague. Jane Peterson is the quintessential American impressionist — well-schooled in her craft and well-traveled, open to the possibilities of a changing world. Her work reveals the vibrancy of the early 20th century and mirrors the concerns of a rapidly changing art world. "Jane Peterson: At Home and Abroad" opens this week at the museum and runs through July 22. (Hours and admission available here.) Peterson explored the innovative painting techniques of her time, and her style moved from impressionist to fauvist, from realism to a modernist abstraction. The variety of works in this exhibition demonstrates Peterson’s artistic journey and offers a glimpse of her private life. Get a sense of the independent woman, artist, and traveler whose works are displayed in museums around the world. With the new exhibition as a backdrop, the museum will christen its new, second-floor event space Thursday night with an opening reception for "At Home and Abroad." ColaDaily.com got a look at the 5,500 square-foot space from Special Events Manager Mario Guevara.