Laurel & Milly

Add your event to Arts Daily!

The South Carolina Arts Commission's arts calendar, Arts Daily, has joined forces with The Hub. Now you can visit one place to view or submit arts news AND events! Long-time Arts Daily users will notice that the revamped event submission process is simpler. You can also add your arts venue (if you haven't already) to The Hub's venue list through the Arts Daily submission process. Online readers of Arts Daily can search and sort events to find activities based on location, art form or type of event. Is your event or opportunity right for Arts Daily? If it's arts-related, open to the public, and of interest to people in South Carolina, then yes! Event types include auditions, calls for entries & contests, classes, conferences, exhibitions, fellowships & residencies, openings, book signings, performances, screenings and more. You'll choose the type when you submit your event or opportunity. To submit arts events to Arts Daily, use the Submit Events button. (Be sure to submit your event at least one month in advance.) If your event has an interesting news element, you can also send it to The Hub through the Submit Story button. Arts events submitted at least one month in advance will appear on the Arts Daily website, and some will be recorded for radio.

How to decide what to submit where

Submit Event to Arts Daily: Arts Daily listings and radio announcements are limited to the key details and a brief description of your event and will direct readers to your website or organization for a lengthier description. Arts events submitted at least one month before the event will be posted to the online Arts Daily calendar. Not all events are recorded for the radio. The earlier you submit, the longer it will appear on the Arts Daily site for readers to find and the better chance the event will be recorded for radio. You can even submit an entire season at once! Submit Story to The Hub: If your event has a news component, you can also submit a lengthier article or news release through The Hub's Submit Story button. Story submissions, if accepted, appear as articles on The Hub's main page and "roll off" the page as other articles are posted -- the lifespan of a Hub article is much shorter than an Arts Daily entry. Hub articles will direct readers to your website or organization for more information. What makes an event newsworthy? A few questions to ask: Does the event relate to a larger purpose (e.g., an artist's studio or gallery opening is a result of the arts reviving a downtown, a celebrity S.C. artist is participating to raise awareness and/or funds, a student exhibition illustrates the benefit of arts education, etc.)? Is this a first time for the event, or a milestone anniversary? Did the project break an attendance or fundraising record? Sometimes the news element occurs after an event when you're ready to share results and photos. Bottom line: Submit ALL arts events to Arts Daily, at least one month in advance. Submit more info about your event to The Hub ONLY if there is an extra news element. Remember, you may also use the Submit Story button to send your feature articles, blog posts, stories, etc. about arts topics other than events.

Writing your Arts Daily Event Description

Arts Daily web listings and radio announcements are designed to provide the most vital pieces of information about your event or opportunity and refer users to and/or to your website or organization for details. We encourage you to use your Event Description space to provide a self-contained, factual summary of your event or opportunity. ONLY the text in the Event Description field will be used in your radio announcement, should your submission be chosen for broadcast. What to include in the Event Description:
  • The name of the event or opportunity and a brief description of it
  • Who is responsible for it (hosting or presenting organization)
  • Where (venue and city)
  • When (date and time)
  • Cost to participate
  • Deadline for the public to participate (e.g., registration, submission), if applicable. (Note: This is not a deadline for posting on Arts Daily.)
What not to include in the Event Description:
  • Contact information. Radio announcements will direct listeners to the Arts Daily website where you have entered this information.
  • Superlatives (such as “the best,” “beautiful,” “a great achievement,” etc.) will be excluded from the final listing.
Want a template? Try this: (Name of the presenting or host organization) presents (name of the event), (event date) at (event time), at (event venue) in (city, and state if not South Carolina). (Provide a description of the event, so that Arts Daily users will understand what it is and whether or not they would like to attend.) Tickets are (cost). (Provide registration and/or submission requirements and/or deadline, if applicable.) Questions? We're happy to help. Contact us here. About Arts Daily Arts Daily is a partnership between the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina ETV Radio, and the College of Charleston.


South Carolina native wins national theater honor

From The State Story by Bertam Rantin

Sarah Hammond and Adam GwonSarah Hammond won her first playwriting prizes in South Carolina years ago during The Palmetto Dramatic Association’s one-act writing contest for students. Turns out she was just getting started. The Ridge View High School and University of South Carolina graduate’s artistic works have since graced the stages of area productions and recently earned her national recognition. Hammond has been named a winner of the 2015 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater. The award nurtures talented composers and playwrights and enables their musicals to be produced in New York City. The selection was announced earlier this month by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hammond, now based in Brooklyn, was recognized for the musical “String,” on which she collaborated with musical composer Adam Gwon (pictured above). Hammond wrote the book and Gwon provided the music and lyrics. “We’re incredibly honored to win the Richard Rodgers Award,” Hammond said by email this week. “Adam and I have been working on the show for seven years. We’ve put a lot of time and a ton of soul into this musical, and we’ve been lucky to have really great supporters along the way.” “String” is a modern-day twist on the story of the three Greek Fates: Atropos, Lachesis and Clotho. In the story, the workaholic goddess, Atropos, gets tangled up with a security guard in the basement of the tallest building in the world. One mistake leads to another ‑ including a lost pair of scissors, a kiss and a stolen string – and soon Atropos breaks her own rules to offer immortality to an ordinary man. The show has been presented at the O’Neill Music Theatre Festival and the inaugural Oscar Hammerstein Festival at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania. It won a New Dramatists’ Loewe Award and the Weston Play House New Musical Award. “Some of my Broadway writing heroes were on the judging panel (for the Rogers award), and it’s really humbling to know they thought our show was worth the honor,” Hammond said. Hammond’s writing honors also include the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heidemann Award and the New Dramatists” Lippman Award. Locally, her work has been showcased at Trustus Theatre and she was on the production teams of several shows at USC’s Drayton Hall and Longstreet Theatre. “My first couple of plays were all produced in South Carolina, with costumes and sets and memorization and everything,” Hammond said. “It’s really rare for a young playwright to get to see their work fully produced like that, and it taught me 10 times more than any playwriting class ever could.”
Photo by Ric Kallaher (via Broadway World)

Grantee Spotlight

Juilliard in Aiken to celebrate memory of founder Gregory White Smith

Juilliard in Aiken is ready to “Make Miracles Happen” when its Performing Arts Festival and Outreach Program returns with eight days of performances and a lineup of spectacular young stars from March 7 – 15, 2015. With a theme based on the title of a book written by the late Juilliard in Aiken founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gregory White Smith, the 2015 program promises a seventh year of joy, hope, wonder and excitement. The final Saturday of the festival features a memorial celebration for Smith, who lost his nearly lifelong battle with brain cancer in April 2014. Steve Naifeh, current Juilliard in Aiken chair, says that the vision Smith and Sandra Field (the organization’s president emeritus) had six years ago was to bring Juilliard’s world-class art to as many people in the area as possible, without regard to circumstance or background. “Greg believed as I do, and as The Juilliard School does, that great art is transforming,” Naifeh says. “He wanted everyone, everywhere, to have access to it. That’s why all of our performances are either free or low-cost. And it’s why we have such an extensive outreach program.” Naifeh said the organization’s school outreaches have served more than 20,000 students since Juilliard in Aiken’s founding in 2009. This year the program will reach students from age five to college. Naifeh noted that the success of last year’s festival, which brought 1,000 people to a historically accurate, three-hour production of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, bodes well for the future. “It proved that Aiken audiences truly appreciate the level of quality that characterizes every performance,” he said. “The Juilliard School is one of the most prestigious and highly respected institutions in the world. I think our audience will be pleased that this year’s festival offers so much variety while maintaining Juilliard’s extremely high standards in terms of artistry and talent.” Highlights of the festival include the return of Juilliard Dance -- not seen in Aiken since 2012 -- and a free Juilliard Juniors Dance program for families with children ages 5 - 10. The Allant Trio will offer piano, violin and cello, and Juilliard Jazz will perform a concert at the Etherredge Center and during After Hours at the Willcox. The Showcase Concert on Friday, March 13 features piano duo Anderson & Roe and guest artist baritone Elliott Carlton Hines, who will also perform sacred songs in a worship service open to everyone on March 15 at Second Baptist Church. For the performance and outreach schedules and to purchase tickets, visit Via: Juilliard in Aiken


Poetry Out Loud finalists advance to state competition

The South Carolina Arts Commission congratulates the finalists in the state’s 2014-2015 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. All nine students advance to the March 14 state finals to compete for South Carolina’s spot in the POL national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. Region 1: Upstate

  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Josh Mugabe, York Preparatory Academy, York County
  • Nora Grace Smith, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County
Region 2 studentsRegion 2: Midlands (participants and teachers pictured right)
  • Blythe Catherine Weddle, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County
  • Dasha Miller, Westwood High School, Richland County
  • Gretchen LeGrand, Aiken High School, Aiken County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Autumn Smith, Goose Creek High School, Berkeley County
  • Natalie Myers, Scholars Academy, Horry County
  • Amani Huell, Waccamaw High School, Horry County
Students advanced from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Blythewood and Charleston Jan. 24-25. The state finals will be held March 14 at the Columbia Museum of Art, and the state champion will compete in the national finals April 28-29 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. Created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is celebrating 10 years of encouraging the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. 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, Bravo Blythewood and the University of South Carolina Sumter - Division of Arts and Letters in Region 2, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts in Region 3.

For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at

Grantee Spotlight

Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council marks new fundraising record

From The Greenville News Story by Paul Hyde

Greenville's Metropolitan Arts Council raised a record of $2 million in 2014, MAC executive director Alan Ethridge announced this week. Most of that money helps support dozens of Greenville arts groups and artists. "This allows us to provide record high grants to individuals, arts organizations and arts education programs," Ethridge said. "It's groundbreaking." At its annual meeting, MAC recognized several Greenville leaders for their support for the arts. Steve Brandt, who retired last fall after a long career as publisher of The Greenville News, received the Lifelong Support of the Arts Award. Since arriving in Greenville in 1978, Brandt has served on the boards of several Greenville arts organizations — including stints as chairman of Artisphere and the Peace Center. Brandt, as publisher of The Greenville News, supported extensive arts coverage by the newspaper. "Steve is an eloquent, wildly intelligent, thoughtful leader who is tremendously good at building consensus," said Peace Center president Megan Riegel. "He was the perfect executive to chair the Peace Center's board during its $23 million capital campaign." Thanks to increases in fundraising, MAC is providing more financial support to local arts organization than ever before, Ethridge said. Nine local arts organizations will receive $25,000 each in operating support. Those organizations are Artisphere, Carolina Ballet Theatre, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Little Theatre, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Peace Center, the South Carolina Children's Theatre and the Warehouse Theatre. Those grants were $10,000 per organization in 2006. They've steadily increased to the current $25,000 per organization, thanks to MAC's fundraising, Ethridge said. Now in its 42nd year, MAC also provided a record-high of $193,321 in project support grants for specific programs. Those grants went to 19 schools, 20 individual artists and 53 arts organizations. Ethridge announced that last year's Open Studios, a weekend MAC event that spotlights Greenville's visual arts community, involved 121 artists, generated $215,880 in sales and was attended by 44,801 people. "It was a great year," Ethridge said. Ethridge announced also that MAC's endowment had raised $768,117. MAC plans to use income from the endowment to provide additional financial support to Greenville arts organizations. The endowment made its debut last year with an eventual goal of $25 million. Such a hefty endowment could produce an income of $1 million in annual support for Greenville arts organizations. The endowment is a long-term project but MAC plans to embrace ambitious fundraising goals every year — including a goal of $1 million in 2015. Most of that is expected to come from individual and corporate sources. Only a small portion is likely to be raised from government contributions, Ethridge said. "It's going to ensure the sustainability of the artists and arts organizations that make Greenville a truly fabulous city," Ethridge said. For its general budget, MAC receives donations from a variety of sources: individuals, corporations, foundations, the city of Greenville's accommodations tax, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. MAC recognized several arts leaders at its annual meeting. Kerry Murphy, executive director of Artisphere, received the MAC Visionary Award. Shirely Sarlin, a veteran Greenville stage actress, was recognized with the Put Your Heart in the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award. The TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership awards went to: Productions Unlimited, Inc. (businesses under 100 employees) and Greenville Heath System (businesses with 100 or more employees). The Carl R. Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education went to Jon Jeffrey Grier, instructor of advanced placement music theory, advanced topics in music and honors music history at the Fine Arts Center, the magnet school for young students in the arts. Kacee Lominack, development assistant for the Greenville Symphony, received the Young Supporter of the Arts Award.


Celebrate the arts at the S.C. Arts Gala!

Mark May 13 on your calendar and reserve your tickets for the annual  South Carolina Arts Gala! The South Carolina Arts Foundation invites you to celebrate the South Carolina Arts Awards at the pre-gala recognition ceremony, which kicks off the evening at 6:15 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St. in Columbia. The gala and an art sale — featuring  fabulous art and food — begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall of 701 Whaley (701 Whaley St.). The awards ceremony honors the recipients of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The art sale features original one-of-a-kind artworks by some of South Carolina’s finest contemporary artists, including functional and non-functional craft, paintings and sculpture. Seasoned and beginning collectors alike will find “must have” works and enjoy meeting artists. The South Carolina Arts Foundation designates gala proceeds to help support arts education, artist development and other programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission. Don’t miss the arts party of the year! Tickets are $75 each. Reserve your ticket(s) today!

Grantee Spotlight

Artisphere still tops in the nation

Congratulations to Greenville's Artisphere for being named No. 7 among 600 similar arts events ranked by the Art Fair Sourcebook! The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud to have played a part in the festival's growth with grant support since the first year.  The 2015 festival is scheduled for May 8-10. Visit Artisphere's website to view the list of participating artists and schedule of events. From The Greenville News Story by Paul Hyde

Artisphere once again was named one of the Top 10 arts festivals in the nation. Greenville's big annual celebration of the visual arts placed No. 7 in Greg Lawler's Art Fair Sourcebook, a respected resource for artists and patrons. The outdoor festival, which brings tens of thousands of people to downtown Greenville, also set records for artists' sales last year. Artisphere retained its top spot among 600 similar arts events ranked by the Art Fair Sourcebook, said Artisphere director Kerry Murphy. "We've come an amazingly long way in a short period of time," Murphy said, speaking at a press conference on Monday. This year's Artisphere takes place May 8-10. In addition to art in a variety of media, the festival features food, music, street performances and activities for children. Artisphere, only 11 years old, shares accolades in the Art Fair Sourcebook with esteemed company: well-established arts festivals in much-larger cities such as Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Portland. "To be a Top 10 show in the country and in the company of such cities as Chicago, Portland and Philadelphia is a testament to what a gem this annual event has become not only for Greenville's art community, but exhibiting artists across the country," said Charlie Mickel, board president of Artisphere. Artists' sales in 2014 over the three days of Artisphere were an average of $7,366, a considerable increase over average sales of $6,500 in 2013, Murphy said. In all, the 125 artists last year saw sales of $920,750. As another sign of its growing prestige, Artisphere received more artist applications than ever this year, 995, compared to last year's 934 applications. "We had a fantastic pool of applicants to choose from," Murphy said. In its first year, 2005, Artisphere received only 282 applications and average sales were $2,400. An ever-increasing number of artist applications allows Artisphere to maintain high artistic standards and showcase a diverse group of artists at the event. Of the 995 applicants, 121 were chosen to exhibit their works in the event's central attraction, Artists' Row. "We have never had a group of artists as impressive as those lined up for this year," said Bill Pelham, chair of Artisphere's Visual Arts Committee. "The caliber of creativity and artistry that the 2015 exhibiting artists represent is absolutely incredible." Forty-three of the 121 artists are new to the festival. "That's always exciting," Murphy said. "People love to see familiar faces but new faces as well." Seventeen of the artists are from the Greenville area, another new record. The featured artists work in a variety of media: from painting to woodwork to sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and photography. Sarah Mandell, a Greenville-based artist, will be showing her work, primarily jewelry, at Artisphere for the first time. "I do a lot of shows, but nothing like this one," Mandell said. "The scale of Artisphere is tremendous." Jaryd Walley, a former Hollywood prop maker who creates fine-art furniture in his Greenville studio, is returning to Artisphere for the third time. At Artisphere, artists not only sell their works but also build relationships with future clients, Walley said. "Artisphere is of tremendous marketing value for artists," Walley said. Artisphere is also big business for Greenville, particularly for downtown, with a $5.5 million economic impact for the community, Murphy said. David Lominack, TD Bank market president, said events such as Artisphere play a vital role in Greenville's quality of life and contribute substantially to economic development. TD Bank is the presenting sponsor of Artisphere. "Events such as this help maintain the attractive quality of life in our community, and we are happy to play a part in helping Artisphere continue its great success in the Upstate and on the national stage," Lominack said. For more information about Artisphere, see the website


S.C. Arts Commission announces 2015 Verner Award recipients

The Verner Awards statueCongratulations to the recipients of the 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts! The S.C. Arts Commission annually presents the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Columbia on Wednesday, May 13. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Gala. This year’s recipients:

"South Carolina's quality of life, education and economy are enhanced tremendously by those who dedicate their work and lives to the arts," said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. "The Verner Awards recognize that service of commitment and passion. We are honored again this year to present the awards to a most worthy group of organizations and individuals. We are grateful for their contributions to our state." For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Gala, call (803) 734-8696 or visit 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 or call (803) 734-8696.


City of Rock Hill named first cultural district in S.C.

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named Rock Hill’s downtown as the first state-recognized cultural district in South Carolina. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. Rock Hill was the first city to apply for the new cultural district designation, which was created by the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014. City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture. City of Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols commented, “Rock Hill’s cultural initiatives thrive because of successful partnerships among local government, community organizations, the business community and patrons of the arts. We are confident this designation will lead to increased notoriety and economic development opportunities. I’m proud that the South Carolina Arts Commission honored us with this title, once again proving that Rock Hill is always on!” The Arts Council of York County coordinated the application process, working with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. “The cultural district recognition will enhance what is already a vibrant arts scene,” said Arts Council Executive Director Debra Heintz. “Promoting our downtown as a cultural district will increase support for existing businesses and attract new ones. Being identified with a cultural center is a plus for artistic organizations and other organizations, such as banks and restaurants that support the arts.” Those non-arts businesses are important pieces of a cultural district, says Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. “A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.” The S.C. Arts Commission staff will assist communities in developing a brand and marketing their cultural districts. “The cultural districts legislation is a vibrant new initiative for the S.C. Arts Commission that entwines the value of the arts with the benefits of economic growth to promote a thriving local arts environment,” said Arts Commissioner and Rock Hill resident Dr. Sarah Lynn Hayes. “This program was developed after reviewing successful cultural district designations in other states and gathering input from key S.C. stakeholders, including representatives from economic development, tourism, local government and the arts. Naturally I am thrilled that Rock Hill is the first community to embrace this concept and that other communities have begun the work to achieve this designation. The Arts Commission is excited and ready to support others wishing to join Rock Hill.” Other states with similar cultural district programs include Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas and Colorado. For complete guidelines, visit or contact Rusty Sox, (803) 734-8899 or  


North Charleston Arts Festival reveals 2015 design competition winner

North Charleston, S.C. artist Karole Turner Campbell has been named the winner of the 2015 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition. Campbell's mixed media piece, "Jubilee," (pictured above), will be used to promote the 2015 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place May 1-9. The artist received a $500 purchase award, and the piece will become part of the city of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection. Campbell's design was selected from 47 entries by artists from across the state. The review panel judged entries based on quality, originality, appeal to festival patrons from a broad range of backgrounds, and ability to convey the spirit of the festival as a public celebration of arts and culture. According to Campbell, "Jubilee" is a visual pun that explores a different approach to traditional color theory. Created with a variety of media including acrylic, oil, reclaimed Styrofoam, and paper, the abstract piece depicts an island of blue “floating and dancing” amidst a yellow sea. “The materials I use are diverse and go beyond just making marks, combining colors, or incorporating objects onto a surface,” she explains. “I am fascinated with layering and creating real or implied texture and this fascination leads me to consistently uncover new, distinct modes of expression.” Campbell earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from the City University of New York, a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from North Carolina A&T State University, and an art major diploma from the prestigious High School of Music & Art in New York City. A retired New York City principal, she now works as a full-time visual artist. Her body of work is quite eclectic, ranging from representational to abstract, and two dimensional to three dimensional. Recently she has been creating conceptual, mixed media pieces that juxtapose antithetical ideas and materials to engage viewers in an open-ended conversation that can be ethereal and visceral, sublime and earthly, universal and specific, and spiritual and profane. Since moving to the Lowcountry in 2006, Campbell has immersed herself in the local arts community by exhibiting her works in solo shows, group shows, and galleries. She has curated two invitational group shows for the MOJA Arts Festival and served as a juror for the Avery Research Center’s national juried exhibition in 2011. In 2012, she was a featured artist at Penn Center’s Centennial Celebration Exhibition and exhibited her work in a solo show, Eternal Vigilantes, at the Avery Research Center in Charleston, S.C., the following year. In addition, her work has been displayed in a number of venues and events throughout the state, including the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston, ArtFields in Lake City, the Charleston County Library, the Charleston Artist Guild Gallery, the North Charleston City Gallery, the North Charleston Arts Festival, and the S.C. Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Exhibition. Campbell's work, including the winning piece, will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout the month of May 2015. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on May 2 and 3 during the Main Event of the North Charleston Arts Festival. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for sale. For more information about the North Charleston Arts Festival, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843) 740-5854, email, or visit Additional information about the artist can be found at

Grantee Spotlight

Hub City Writers Project celebrates 20 years of shaping a Southern literary community

From the Spartanburg Herald-Journal Story by Laura J. Perricone, photo by Tim Kimzey

Hub City Writers Project anniversary At top, front row from left to right, John Lane and Betsy Teter; back row, Meg Reid, Anne Waters, Michel Stone and Rachel Richardson. Spartanburg was on the threshold of an artistic renaissance when a small group of writers launched a plan for a literary awakening that would preserve the essence of a town poised for creative growth. The year was 1995, and the movement was so successful that eventually anything involving homespun writers, artists and even musicians became synonymous with a single brand name — The Hub City Writers Project.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the three friends who had a hand in the inception of Hub City Writers Project said they never imagined the independent publisher would grow into a nationally recognized literary enterprise. But with 70 books and 700 writers published under its name (a few having cut their teeth on its label), even bestselling authors are lining up to share in the success of this former dream-child of visionaries. Betsy Teter, executive director of Hub City Writers Project, and her husband John Lane, Wofford poet and author of a dozen books, are two of the early founders of the nonprofit group located in the historic Masonic Temple building in downtown Spartanburg. For them, the 20-year mark is a huge accomplishment given that few organizations of this type exist in the country. The literary model they adopted has three components: Publishing, programs and an independent bookstore, with proceeds going right back into the organization. As simple as it seems, Teter said the only way it works is with the backing of the community. “Literary groups in other places have tried to follow our model, but they don't have the community support,” Teter said. “I'm very proud this happened in Spartanburg. I tell people this is a very unlikely story in a very unlikely place.” The early days The idea for Hub City was conceived in a coffee shop just a stone's throw away from the organization's current downtown site. It was there Lane met up with Teter, a former business writer for the Herald-Journal, and journalist Gary Henderson to discuss ways of turning Spartanburg into a center for literary arts while preserving the town's rich history through “place-based” writing. Lane, himself, had recently moved back to the area to teach at Wofford, but his travels made him yearn for a literary community, a stomping ground where like-minded people could exchange ideas. Back then, that stomping ground was this coffee shop where all three writers laid out their ideas on a single napkin. “We were sitting there talking and Betsy reached over and picked up a napkin and wrote down how to structure Hub City and what to call it,” Henderson said from his home in Costa Rica. “It's really a legend how it started.” The brainstorming resulted in what Lane called the “first wave of public creativity,” which resulted in the publication of Hub City Anthology in April 1996. The book was a resounding success not just for its literary content, but for the foresight the group had to resurrect the town's old nickname. Back then, the Hub City moniker that once alluded to Spartanburg's history as a crossroad for trains, was nearly extinct. Lane's vision for a literary arts community enticed the group to join the name with the Depression era Federal Writers Project. Thus, Hub City Writers Project was born as a nod to both historic references. On the day of the book release, which was held at the train depot, more than 600 books were sold. Henderson said people were lined up to get their copy and meet the band of authors that contributed to the book. “There were people everywhere. There must have been 1,500 people there. It was just amazing,” Henderson said. Initially, there was never a discussion of putting out another book after Hub City Anthology, but the swell of public interest changed all that. Soon more place-based books were being pumped out by Hub City and met with as much fanfare as the first. There were books written on peaches, textiles, music and military training camps, and the pool seemed endless. “In the early days, we didn't know how many books (we would publish),” Lane said. “We were working in a literary vacuum and had a complete history to draw from.” It became obvious at the train station that the small independent publisher was headed for more than a single book release. No place like home Teter's house was where much of Hub City's business took place initially. Her dining room table was a makeshift desk and the fax machine, which ran day and night, sat beside her bed. Five years later, Hub City Writers Project moved into a single room in a slowly deteriorating Montgomery Building and then into a former car dealership on South Daniel Morgan Avenue, now known as the Hub Bub Showroom. In 2006, the City of Spartanburg allocated $500,000 to open The Showroom Gallery and Performance Hall, where musicians, artists and writers shared a single venue. Teter suddenly found herself at the center of the arts and entertainment business. Through her efforts, Hub Bub was pushed into the limelight, generating another creative movement in the community. With two successful entities vying for her attention, Teter longed to concentrate on developing the literary community she, Lane and Henderson had hoped for. At this point, Teter said, Hub City was still in want of an independent bookstore, which was vital to the organization's survival. The sale of books was the only way Hub City could continue offering creative writing programs and place-based publications. That would happen in 2010, when Hub City received enough donations and financial assistance to renovate the ground floor of the historic Masonic Temple for The Hub City Bookshop. The store is now the face of Hub City and is stocked with more than 5,000 titles that Teter said appeal to serious readers. Little River Coffee Shop and Cakehead Bakeshop are located in the same space, increasing the foot traffic for both locations. Hub City has moved beyond concentrating on local writers, though that is still the heart and soul of the organization. Anne Waters, manager of the Hub City Bookshop, said the store attracts authors of national appeal like Dorothea Benton Frank and Ron Rash, who are frequent visitors to the area. Often, she said, visiting authors end up participating in future programs. And in recent years, Hub City has published top writers from Richmond and Charlottesville in Virginia, Greensboro and Wilmington in North Carolina, Atlanta, and Montgomery, Alabama. “Each thing builds upon the other,” she said. “The momentum is so strong and the notoriety keeps increasing.” Planting the seed One of Hub City's biggest success stories took place in 2012 with the publication of Michel Stone's debut book, “The Iguana Tree.” Today, Stone is a nationally acclaimed novelist who credits Teter for helping the novel sell all over the United States and become Hub City's best-seller. “I could not have had a better experience. Betsy is so unique and wonderful, and she is so good about supporting her authors,” Stone said. “Hub City Press publishes six books a year and because of that they are so invested in each book. I'm sure the great reviews “The Iguana Tree” got was in part because Betsy was so good in pounding the pavement in getting the book out there.” Stone, a Spartanburg resident, said it was actually Hub City who inspired her to write a novel in the first place. Her introduction to Hub City began years ago when she entered the group's annual short story competition and won. Her prize was a free admission to the Hub City's Writing In Place workshop held at Wofford College. While there, the instructor asked participants to think of an object and describe it. Stone said she immediately thought about a rocking chair in her daughter's room, and she started writing about it. As the lessons continued and the subject matter grew more intense, Stone ended up describing a scene that she would later use in “The Iguana Tree.” “So, Hub City was instrumental in the very first sentence of my novel,” she said. Having received excellent reviews for her book, Stone found herself traveling across the country to give talks and sign books. Stone said “The Iguana Tree” was selected to be used by four colleges in their curriculum and as a community read in a small town called Hermiston, Oregon. “They flew me out there and treated me so kindly. All the kids in the high school ... all read the book and they had my name on the marquee welcoming me to Oregon. It was the most incredible experience in my life.” Now, Stone, who has completed a second novel, serves as chairperson on Hub City's 15-member board. She has also taught youth writing groups for the organization and is hands-on with other Hub City writing programs. “Hub City is very important to Spartanburg,” she said. “It's my favorite thing about Spartanburg.” The small publisher/bookstore is also catching the attention of other nationally recognized names. Just recently, the prolific bestseller James Patterson gave Hub City Bookshop a $6,000 grant in his efforts to support independent bookstores. It was just another shot in the arm for Hub City and another example of how authors have become the organization's advocate. Programs for writers Hub City also prides itself on introducing young writers to the area. Meg Reid, assistant director of Hub City, said the organization receives 100 applications from across the nation each year for its writers-in-residency program, which is housed in a bungalow on Spring Street in Hampton Heights. Only three candidates are selected for the year. Reid, who moved from Wilmington, N.C. to work for Hub City, said she is amazed at how the community has rallied around the Hub City Writers Project and is in awe of the continued growth of a program that focuses on authors, writers and readers. “People here care and are working hard (to keep it going),” she said. “This shouldn't work but it does ... it's difficult to say how because nothing like this ever existed before.” Teter agreed, saying no one could have predicted Hub City would have grown from an idea on a napkin to a nationally recognized literary center. “If someone told me 10 years ago that we would have a storefront on Main Street, I'd say they were insane. But now people say they move here because of Hub City Writers Project.” 20-year celebration To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Hub City is planning a street party for the public and a weekend of literary activities May 8-10. For Spartanburg natives and friends Teter, Lane and Henderson, it seemed like a good way to honor their Southern roots, even if one of them moved on. “I have left Spartanburg but part of me is still there,” said Henderson. “Hub City was the best thing that happened to me. If nothing else, Hub City Writers Project gave Spartanburg a new identity and put back energy into the town.” Friday, May 8 Lit Crawl, 5–7 p.m. (Growler Haus, Delaneys, and Hub City Bookshop) Book release event for “Minnow” by James McTeer, 7:30 p.m., Hub City Bookshop Saturday, May 9 Anniversary Street Party 5–8 p.m., West Main Street in front of Hub City Bookshop Music, Kids events (free books for children), Author signing tent, silent auction Sunday, May 10 Benefit Brunch for The Writers House Residency Program, 10:30 a.m. Indigo Hall Tickets: 864-577-9349