Jason Rapp

S.C. opens CARES Act non-profit grant relief

Application period runs Oct. 19-Nov. 1


Today, the South Carolina Dept. of Administration (Admin) announces two new SC CARES Act grant programs: the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program and the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program.

These programs will award grant funds to small and minority businesses and nonprofit organizations to reimburse qualifying expenditures for providing services or for revenue loss due to COVID-19. Admin, working with Guidehouse, a professional grant management services provider, has been authorized to provide these grants from the Coronavirus Relief Fund pursuant to Act 154 of 2020.
  • Grant awards for the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program will range from $2,500 to $50,000. To qualify for the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program, an organization must be designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the IRS and registered as a public charity in S.C., be physically located in South Carolina, be in operation from Oct. 13, 2019, to present, and have experienced a business impact due to COVID-19. Together SC will be partnering with Admin to assist South Carolina's nonprofits in receiving aid from this fund. To view more information on the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program, visit https://accelerate.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/NonprofitGrantProgramOverview.pdf.
  • Grant awards for the Minority and Small Business Grant Program will range from $2,500 to $25,000. To qualify for a grant from the Minority and Small Business Grant Program, a business must employ 25 or fewer employees, be physically located in South Carolina, be in operation from Oct. 13, 2019, to present, and have experienced a business impact due to COVID-19. To view more information on the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program, visit https://accelerate.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/SmallandMinorityBusinessGrantProgramOverview.pdf.
The online application process for both programs begins on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. Applications must be received no later than Nov. 1, 2020. To access the online application, visit https://accelerate.sc.gov/cares-act/applying-sc-cares-act-funds. During the application process, if a business or nonprofit organization needs assistance or has questions, please contact the SC CARES Call Center 803.670.5170 or SCCares@admin.sc.gov. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Oct. 13.

Who is eligible?

Nonprofit organizations that meet the following criteria:

  • Designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Registered as a public charity with the South Carolina Secretary of State
  • Physically located and providing services in the State of South Carolina
  • In operation from October 13, 2019 - present
  • Can demonstrate a financial or operational impact due to COVID-19

What is covered?

  • Up to $25 million in grant funds are available to reimburse qualifying expenditures for providing services or revenue loss due to COVID-19
  • Grant awards will range from $2,500 - $50,000
  • Qualifying expenditures include:
    • Organizational staffing costs (e.g. payroll and associated employee benefits, temporary and/or contract labor costs)
    • Organizational operating costs (e.g. supplies, raw materials, technology, marketing, communications)
    • Facility costs (e.g. rent, lease, or mortgage payments; equipment leases and purchases; utility costs)
    • Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. protective/sanitation supplies and equipment, installation of protective barriers, temperature detection equipment, disinfecting services)
  • Revenue loss

An important note for arts organizations

This grant program is offered and administered by the South Carolina Dept. of Administration and its designated agent(s), which do not include the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Any assistance throughout the process must be provided by Admin via the phone number or email address provided above. Priority shall be given to applications for expenditures related to: (1) food assistance, including prepared meals; (2) rent or mortgage assistance; (3) utilities assistance; (4) mental health counseling; (5) health care services, including access to health care supplies, mental health, and behavioral health; (6) criminal domestic violence and children’s advocacy services; and (7) arts and cultural items or activities.

Jason Rapp

COVID-19 and the arts in South Carolina

A response resource for S.C.'s creative communities


COVID-19 molecular structure image An image of COVID-19, courtesy of CDC Artists and arts organizations in South Carolina will be affected by the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Beyond reminding you to wash your hands (see more about that flier by an #SCartists below), the S.C. Arts Commission is going to leave the science to scientists and public health practitioners, but we can be a resource for the creative communities we serve. Our goal is to provide information that can enable our constituents to be ready for “What if…?” And let’s face it—there’s a lot of that right now. Ed. note; 13 March 2020, 16:00 ET The SCAC apologizes for the extra click, but because of the significant need for this content to be "living," we are now directing you to the COVID-19 resources page on SouthCarolinaArts.com which we are updating frequently.

Click here to access updated resources for creative communities compiled by the SCAC.

Jason Rapp

New entertainment venue planned for Midlands

Concerts announced today include Ranky Tanky


Announced yesterday, Innovation Arts & Entertainment (IAE) and The Roberts Group have partnered to launch Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center.

The new partnership will bring major touring artists and well-known comedians to the Soda City providing the live entertainment experience people have been missing. Cola Concerts will build a new venue from the ground up at historic Columbia Speedway (2001 Charleston Highway, Cayce). An initial artist lineup for Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center was just announced and includes Charleston-based Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky on Nov. 22, 2020. Live concerts are set to begin this Nov. 14. Fans will be able to get early access to tickets by signing up for the Cola Concerts Speedway Club at ColaConcerts.com. The Cola Concert Series at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center will feature a pair of 40-foot state-of-the-art digital screens allowing for picture-perfect viewing even during daylight hours. With a capacity of 3500, the site will be one of the largest entertainment experiences operating in South Carolina. Fans will be able to safely experience live music, comedy and live broadcasts of professional and collegiate sports from special coves, which are 12’x12’ areas enclosed by posts and ornamental rope. The coves will be big enough for up to four fans to safely socially distance from others.

A proven model

IAE is a boutique live entertainment company known for national and international theatrical tours, as well as live music events including the Beach Road Weekend Music Festival on Martha’s Vineyard and the Yarmouth Drive-in on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Launched in June 2020, the Yarmouth Drive-in has hosted more than 50 live music and comedy shows this summer including performances by Marcus King Trio, Chase Rice, The Disco Biscuits, Goose, and comedians Bert Kreischer, Nikki Glaser and Iliza Shlesinger. Employing more than 100 people, the venue provided a boost to the area economy during the pandemic. The Yarmouth Drive-in has become the blueprint for the return of the fan and band interactive experience at live entertainment venues. “We are excited to take what we learned at the drive-in this summer and use it to create the best live entertainment venue in South Carolina,” said Adam Epstein, founder and CEO of IAE. “We have had an overwhelming response from artists that are ready to bring music back to Columbia.” The Roberts Group is a national live entertainment promotion company. They have a deep connection to Columbia, having brought more than 100 theatrical performances to the city through their Broadway in Columbia series, which launched in 2003 at the Koger Center for the Arts. “When we began talking with Adam and IAE about launching a live entertainment series, the first place we thought of was Columbia,” Managing Director of The Roberts Group Daniel Hampel said. “Every time we bring a show to Columbia the fans are so warm and kind. We couldn’t be happier about bringing live entertainment back to the Soda City.”

Venue will create jobs

The Cola Concert Series is expected to hire more than 100 local employees to handle everything from ticketing to security. Additionally, there will be space for 10 local food vendors at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center, providing concessions to 3,000+ fans at every show. A schedule of initial shows is available now at ColaConcerts.com. While at the website, fans are encouraged to sign up for Cola Concerts Speedway Club to get all show announcements and early access to ticket presales, and they can follow them on Instagram and Twitter using @ColaConcerts and "Cola Concerts" on Facebook.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Commission grants eclipsed $5.5 million in FY20

Emergency relief assisted 346 artists and arts organizations

Grants distributed in 44 counties


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In recently completed FY2020, South Carolina Arts Commission grants totaling $5.59 million went out into state communities to assist 835 artists and providers of arts and arts education.

While this represents a rise of more than $1.1 million and 377 grants over FY2019, it is important to note that extenuating circumstances render comparisons difficult. Fourth-quarter Arts Emergency Relief grants in 2020 pushed its overall numbers up. Additional funding from the state general assembly nudged the non-relief grant totals higher than FY2019 by just less than $685,000 with 489 grants awards versus 458. A new impact map available on the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) website provides visual representation of the statewide impact of agency grants (and their related programs).

Arts Emergency Relief was a factor

Arts Emergency Relief grants, announced in April, added $506,736 to FY2020 totals. Those provided support funding to arts organizations and artists who could prove losses from shutdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of CARES Act funding was granted to the National Endowment for the Arts for distribution in part to state arts agencies like the SCAC. The subgranted funding was designated solely to provide relief to arts organizations. The SCAC made 177 grants totaling $381,636 to South Carolina arts organizations as a result, helping those groups to offset losses and help keep them operating. Additional relief funding was provided by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. A separate entity that supports the SCAC, the foundation raised money through a spring fundraising drive that contributed around $50,000 of the $125,100 the SCAC spread among 168 individual artists. Both arts organizations and individual artists continue to suffer losses because of the pandemic’s prolonged effects and find themselves in need of additional relief. A recent Brookings Institution study estimated losses in South Carolina’s arts and creative sectors of $1.2 billion.

It was still a big year

The SCAC’s normal grant categories experienced a big year. Grants that provided funding support to the SCAC’s three service areas of arts education, artist development, and community arts development increased to nearly $5.1 million in FY2020. Grants were made in 44 of 46 counties, and one out-of-state grant covered programmatic obligations to South Arts, a regional arts organization and frequent partner in the SCAC’s work. One big factor was the January introduction of School Art Materials grants. This new grant provided one-time money for arts teachers to purchase supplies and other needed materials to assist them in providing quality arts education. There were 63 grants awarded totaling $396,000. The largest single grant category remained General Operating Support, which enable arts organizations across the state to provide arts experiences to residents and visitors alike. $1.9 million was distributed among 129 such organizations. Another $112,000 was awarded in operating support to smaller arts organizations. While the majority of the SCAC’s funding comes from state appropriations, it is grateful for additional generous funding support from the Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF. Funding from those sources is applied to two SCAC grant categories: Subgranting and Arts Project Support.
  • Partnering arts agencies in South Carolina receive grants they may subgrant to artists and arts organizations in the communities they serve. CCF support helped seven awards in the category total $70,000 in FY2020.
  • A grant from the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF helped the SCAC fund arts projects for artists (14) and arts organization (18) in 12 counties totaling around $30,000.
As of the start of FY2021 on July 1, 2020, the state is operating under a continuing resolution that holds its budget at FY2020 levels until January, when lawmakers expect to have a clearer picture of the effect of the pandemic on the state’s finances. The SCAC is working to ensure that state lawmakers are aware of losses suffered by arts providers and practitioners while we wait for the budget to be resolved.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

Jason Rapp

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Oct. 19

Though far from the only thing, grants are among the main things we do here. 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 number of times people say, "If only we'd known about (X or Y) 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.

*The Roundup might run on Tuesdays when state holidays occur on a Monday.


This 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 an appropriate member of our team with questions.

  • n/a

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

Rolling Deadlines

These S.C. Arts Commission rolling deadline grant programs are temporarily suspended to focus our efforts on supporting grantees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC grants 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 the appropriate member of our team if you are an artist or represent local organizations, an educational institution, or a non-arts business or organization offering arts programming.

Grants Coaching

Learn the ins and outs of the South Carolina Arts Commission grant application process and how to manage one of our grants from the professionals on the Grants Team! Grants Coaching topical sessions are held the first Thursday of every month.

  • Thursday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.: Utilizing Collaborator

The free topical discussion is held via Zoom. Registration is required. Need to get some assistance with something else? The Grants Team is available to answer your questions about the grants process with 15- or 30-minute sessions, Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit the Grants Coaching page for further information and registration links.

OPEN COACHING CALLS FOR ARTIST DEVELOPMENT GRANTS (NEW)

Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts and the SCAC Grants Team are using Zoom to host open coaching calls on artist development grants to better enable artists to make competitive applications for our competitive grants. The sessions are free, but you must register in advance.


Jason Rapp

Hub E-vents: S.C. Jazz Festival starts Sunday

You want art. You crave art.

#SCartists and arts organizations want to fill that void. They live for that. It’s a calling. Yet in times of social distancing, that’s hard to do. Through the wonders of modern technology, many are trying and succeeding. So while we’re all staying home to protect vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors,  The Hub is stepping up to fill the void between artists and arts lovers. (Learn more about Hub E-vents here.)

Sunday-Saturday

South Carolina Jazz Festival Celebrate Dizzy Gillespie’s 103rd birthday and enjoy a world-class jazz festival wherever you are on your favorite streaming devices. The 2020 South Carolina Jazz Festival features regional to international jazz stars from South Carolina, New York, Brazil and more. The Town of Cheraw did not let the COVID-19 pandemic stop their annual jazz festival. They turned to ColaJazz Foundation Executive Director Mark Rapp to create an online jazz festival experience. “Unprecedented times calls for unprecedented actions and teamwork,” Rapp said. “The timeline is extraordinarily aggressive and most would say impossible; however, the town of Cheraw, the festival’s supporting sponsors, and ColaJazz were up for the challenge. I believe we have a festival that is incredible in its lineup and a powerful testament to overcoming obstacles. Overcoming is what jazz does!” The 2020 SC Jazz Festival features a wide range of jazz talent including: Grammy Award nominated artists Tia Fuller, Don Braden, Delfeayo Marsalis; New York jazz stars Alexa Tarantino and Steven Feifke; recent Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame inductee Eric Jones; pianist Kevin Bales and his octet; Gino Castillo and Cuban trumpeter Julito Padron; artists from the Greenville Jazz Collective; the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; Columbia’s own “Little Big Band: the band that could!”; Brazilian vocalist Liz Rosa; Brazilian pianist Serge Frasunkiewicz; and more. All shows and information can be found on the festival’s website: https://scjazzfestival.com

Submitted material

2020 College of Charleston theatre grad wins national award. Again.

Noah Ezell headshot Noah Ezell.

Recent College of Charleston alumnus Noah Ezell (2020) had completely forgotten about the award.

He’d entered his submission way back in January and, to be fair, there have been some major distractions since then. So, when he recently learned he’d won the 2020 national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Undergraduate Theater Scholar Award, it was a welcome surprise—one the College of Charleston theatre major really needed. “This award reaffirmed for me something that felt a little more distant than it did in early March. I needed that reminder that this field is my home, that this is what I was designed to do,” Ezell said. His winning paper, “Metamodernism of the Oppressed: An Exploration of Metamodernism and Its Surfacing in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ‘An Octoroon,’” was derived from his senior thesis paper. The KCACTF is a national theater program serving as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the U.S. In order to further student activity in the discipline of scholarship, the prestigious national awards program encourages and rewards research and scholarly writing among undergraduates throughout the nation. But this isn’t Ezell’s first national KCACTF award. Last year, he received the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for his work on the college’s production of Marisol by José Rivera. “It was through the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award that I made a network of artistic connections, and I was able to intern at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, one of the leading new play development centers in America,” Ezell said. “From there it’s just been a sort of spiral as my networks of connections and collaborators have grown, and my love for new plays and new play dramaturgy has expanded.”
  Since graduating in May, Ezell has stayed busy with several projects, carving out a place for himself in the professional theater world, one that has all but come to a standstill since the coronavirus pandemic. “Even though things aren’t what I thought they would be, I’m getting to create art with my friends, and that’s really soul filling for me,” says Ezell, who is currently serving as a dramaturg for a friend’s new play about queer bodies and trauma as well as a script reader for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, among other things. “I’m lucky that in the midst of all this I am still able to connect theatrically in all these different ways.” Ezell hopes to have a career both in new play development theater and, later, in academia. “Ultimately I am both an artist and an academic, which is why I love dramaturgy so much. It melds those two worlds in a very beautiful way,” he said. “At the core, though, I really just want to fully support myself with my art and help make art that is socially conscious, lifts up the voices of underrepresented groups and makes a difference in the world.”

Jason Rapp

Announcing think tanks for S.C. arts orgs

Specialist for Arts Organizations and Education Catherine Ntube and the South Carolina Arts Commission are thrilled to announce a series of think tanks to bring together arts organization leaders across the state.

The hope is that these virtual forums will provide fruitful opportunities for arts organization leaders to connect, share resources, and bounce ideas off of one another. Sessions occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 2-3 p.m., and cover a range of topics and affinity groups:
  • small arts organizations
  • equity initiatives
  • performing arts organizations
  • youth programming
To learn more and register, visit the new Think Tanks page on SouthCarolinaArts.com. We look forward to sharing space and learning alongside you!

Submitted material

South Arts awards arts orgs $1.67 million in Resilience Funding

Three awarded in South Carolina


Investing in the long-term success and strength of arts and cultural infrastructure is core to the South Arts Resilience Fund.

With grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, 34 small- and mid-sized arts organizations across the region are receiving a total of $1.674 million to build their resilience through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund, managed by South Arts, is part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “These organizations represent a cross-section of the creativity vital to our region,” said Susie Surkamer, CEO and president of South Arts. “Their work impacts artists and audiences across their respective states, the region, and the nation. These awards will allow them to reimagine their work in the face of the pandemic, and emerge stronger than before.” Some highlights of the funded organizations and projects include:
  • Junebug Productions of New Orleans will receive $30,000 to build new revenue streams through the creation of a Junebug Digital Platform as a digital extension of story-sharing as well as an expansion of their fundraising capacity.
  • Appalshop of Whitesburg, Kentucky will receive $100,000 to expand their capacity to provide online content and engage in racial equity planning to analyze their work and policies. Additional funds will convert their facility to renewable energy sources.
  • Collage Dance Collective of Memphis, Tennessee will receive $55,000 to support televised broadcasts of their season as well as a reimagination of their membership program to be more inclusive and robust while increasing revenue.
In June, nearly 500 arts organizations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee were nominated for consideration by themselves and leaders in the field. Of those nominees, 95 were invited to complete a full application and proposal. The applications were then reviewed by panels of experts, who adjudicated each organization based on criteria including impact, vision, geographic scope, and service to the underserved. Three organizations in South Carolina were selected for awards:
  • Colour of Music Festival (Mount Pleasant) $35,900
  • Hub City Writers Project (Spartanburg) $30,000
  • Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston) $50,000
In contrast to funds dealing with the immediate needs of organizations during the pandemic, the South Arts Resilience Fund asked organizations to look further toward the future. “These are unprecedented times and we are glad to provide arts organizations the flexibility and resources to explore their work,” continued Surkamer. “The strategies for resilience look different for each organization, but the ultimate goal is almost always the same: create deeper, more meaningful connections with audiences while working towards long-term sustainability.” The South Arts Resilience Fund is part of South Arts’ comprehensive approach to supporting the arts throughout the pandemic. In April, South Arts distributed 450 grants of $1,000 directly to jazz artists nationwide. Throughout the summer, South Arts also awarded $725,000 in CARES Act funding to arts organizations supporting employment of their workers with an emphasis on rural, culturally specific, and statewide service organizations. Additionally, South Arts has adjusted their other programs to reflect new priorities over the course of the pandemic. A full list of South Arts Resilience Fund recipients as well as information about all other South Arts programs is available by visiting www.southarts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

Jason Rapp

Take your emerging arts career to the next level

Introducing the SCAC's Emerging Artists Grant

Application deadline: Friday, November 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET

New to your craft? The South Carolina Arts Commission wants to help.

Starting in January and running through June 30, the Emerging Artist Grant is designed to assist emerging artists in South Carolina through grant funding as well as mentorship and professional support during the grant period. The combination of funding and mentorship is intended to:
  • deepen artistic practice and foster artistic excellence;
  • encourage career growth, advancement, and sustainability; and
  • provide professional development and opportunities for collaboration.
Grants of $1,500 will be awarded to emerging artists in the areas of:
  • dance;
  • music;
  • opera/musical theatre;
  • theatre (acting and/or playwriting);
  • visual arts;
  • design arts (architecture, fashion, graphic, industrial, and/ or interior);
  • crafts (clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, paper, plastic, wood, and/ or mixed media);
  • media arts (production, including animation; and/ or screenwriting);
  • photography; and/or
  • literature (poetry and/ or prose).

So, who's considered an emerging artist?

First of all, age is not the determining factor. "Emerging artists" are defined as those who are at an early stage in their career development (specifically, artists who are starting their careers and have been active for one to five years).

What does emerging mean?

The term "emerging" refers to professional accomplishments and recognition, not to stylistic evolution.
  • An emerging artist is expected to have a limited performing, publishing or exhibition record.
  • Emerging artists may demonstrate potential in their practice through risk-taking and pushing their work in dynamic ways.

***Want to learn more?***

A Zoom session is to be held Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. Again, this is for artists in the early stages of their career (1-5 years) who are interested in applying for an Emerging Artist Grant. Topics to be covered include:
  • outlining the purpose of the grant,
  • the role of the mentorship,
  • and what to include in the narrative/project proposal.
You can register for the free Zoom session by clicking here.

Apply today

The grant guidelines are live and you may now apply for the S.C. Arts Commission's Emerging Artist Grant. The deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

Jason Rapp

NEA, Arts Midwest make NEA Big Read guidelines public

The National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with Arts Midwest, announced today that guidelines are now available for nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant to hold an NEA Big Read project between September 2021 and June 2022.

Since 2006, more than 1,600 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs have taken place throughout the nation, giving communities the opportunity to come together to read, take part in meaningful discussions, and enjoy book-inspired events. The deadline for grant applications is January 27, 2021. The books available for the 2021-2022 NEA Big Read are designed to provide communities and readers with insights into aspects of our nation’s history and culture. Applicant organizations are encouraged to collaborate with a broad range of partners to offer events and activities that engage the whole community. Eligible applicants and partners include, but are not limited to: arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, institutions of higher education, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments. Visit Arts Midwest’s website for complete application details. “This selection of books for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read will offer a platform to launch meaningful discussions about our nation’s past, present, and our hopes for its future,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “These books all provide insights into different aspects of our history and we look forward to seeing the creative ways organizations find to explore their selected book with their community.” The books available for 2021-2022 programming are:
  • An American Sunrise—A collection of poems by Joy Harjo—current U.S. poet laureate and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation—that revisits the homeland from which her ancestors were uprooted in 1830 as a result of the Indian Removal Act.
  • Beloved—A novel by Toni Morrison set in 1873 in Cincinnati, Ohio, about one woman’s struggle to raise her daughter while coping with the memories of her life as an enslaved person in pre-Civil War Kentucky.
  • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir—Thi Bui’s memoir about the lasting effects of one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam in the 1970s to a new life in America and the universal challenges of becoming a new parent.
  • The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories—A collection of short and long tales of heroism and hardship by Jack London featuring canine protagonists and set in the Pacific Northwest amidst the backdrop of the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s.
  • The Grapes of Wrath—A novel by John Steinbeck published in 1939 that chronicles the harrowing westward migration from Oklahoma to California during the time of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
  • The House on Mango Street—A series of interconnected vignettes by Sandra Cisneros published in 1984 about a year in the life of a young Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago in the 1980s.
Resources for each book, such as readers’ guides and teachers’ guides will be available in Spring 2021. In order to broaden participation, applicants may also choose to develop certain events and/or activities around other literary titles that relate in some way (thematically, historically, etc.) to their selected NEA Big Read book. “For nearly 15 years, NEA Big Read has inspired communities to come together over the joy of a good book,” shared Joshua Feist, director of grantmaking at Arts Midwest. “We look forward to supporting organizations as they test innovative ways to connect their audiences—which includes events in virtual spaces and socially distant programs—to ensure that communities have access to creativity, literature, and the important stories and ideas embedded in these books.” A webinar for potential applicants will be held on November 12, 2020 at 1pm ET. Click here to register.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read

Since the program began in 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,600 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $22 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 14 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local matching funds to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information, please visit arts.gov/neabigread.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest believes that creativity has the power to inspire and unite humanity. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest grows, gathers, and invests in creative organizations and communities throughout our region and the nation. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 35 years. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.

Jason Rapp

Bullying prevention materials available to S.C. schools

Free S.C. Children’s Theatre programming  offered to elementary, middle schools


October is PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month. This month-long event was founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, in an effort to prevent childhood bullying and promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

For the past 12 years, South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) has delivered in-person bullying prevention programming during the month of October to Upstate South Carolina schools. The theatre-based program directly addresses the experiences of youth in their day-to-day lives, through age-appropriate terminology and visuals. For third grade students, SCCT traditionally tours a live production of The Boy Who Cried Bully, offering factual information in an engaging format that is thought-provoking and stimulates post-show open discussions. This production sets the course for the continuation of bullying-prevention efforts in the sixth grade, with SCCT’s facilitated bullying prevention workshop. In light of limitations placed on SCCT by COVID-19, the organization is offering a virtual version of their bullying prevention programming to all South Carolina elementary and middle schools in 2020. All content for both programs will be available for October and November, expiring on Nov. 21. All video links can be viewed as many times as needed, during these times, to meet varying school schedules. Educators can access the virtual content by simply clicking the appropriate link below: This offering has been generously underwritten by grant support from South Carolina Arts Commission and by the Amick Family in honor of Suzanne Amick. Special thanks to Tom Quinn for kindly allowing distribution of his work. To learn more about this programming, please visit our website at www.scchildrenstheatre.org. Direct questions to SCCT Tour Manager and School Liaison Lauren Imhoff (864.235.2885, ext. 107 or lauren@scchildrenstheatre.org).
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