Florence County Museum launches first 50th Anniversary Fellowship Exhibition

Terry Jarrard-Dimond Terry Jarrard-Dimond The Florence County Museum is the first organization to launch an exhibition of South Carolina Arts Commission Fellows as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration. Evidence, an exhibition of works by veteran South Carolina artist Terry Jarrard-Dimond, is on display June 20 - December 3. Jarrard-Dimond received the S.C. Arts Commission Craft Fellowship Grant in 1987 and is represented by three works in the State Art Collection. The Florence County Museum has a unique relationship to the history of the S.C. Arts Commission. The first president of its board of trustees was E.N. Zeigler, who later became a state senator and the author of the legislation that created the Arts Commission in 1967. The Fellowship Exhibition program was developed to celebrate 50 years of public support for the arts in South Carolina, with emphasis on the achievements of artists who have received the commission’s Visual and Craft Fellowship awards. The exhibition is supported in part by First Citizens. Since 1976, the South Carolina Arts Commission's Fellowship program has recognized the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. Fellows are among the most artistically accomplished artists in the state. Find out more about the exhibition. Find out about other 50th Anniversary Fellowship exhibitions.

Registration open for South Arts’ Performing Arts Exchange

Registration is now open for South Arts' annual Performing Arts Exchange conference taking place September 25-28 in Atlanta. PAE connects hundreds of performing arts professionals, presenters, artists, agents, and managers for four days to set the stage for upcoming performing arts seasons up and down the eastern United States. PAE attendees experience showcase performances with tour-ready artists, hone skills and gain knowledge in professional development sessions, network with colleagues from around the country, and conduct business and bookings in our Marketplace. Register now with Early Bird rates to lock in the best deal of the year. via: South Arts

Columbia jazz great Skipp Pearson dies

From The State Article by Dwaun Sellers

photo by Andrew Haworth Columbia musician Skipp “Pops” Pearson, a jazz institution in South Carolina, died after a years-long cancer battle. He was 80. Pearson, whose music career spanned more than 50 years, died Monday from organ failure due to complications caused by the advanced stages of bone cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends, according to a post from his foundation. His musical journey began on the drums, but fearing getting “kicked out of my mama’s house,” he switched to the sax. Louis Jordan and Earl Bostick were early influences, Pearson said in an interview years ago, but Pearson said he vividly remembered the first time he heard Charlie Parker. He and childhood friend John Williams had a competition over who could find the hippest records. “He called me and said, ‘I bet you ain’t heard this cat,’” Pearson says, eyes crinkling behind his glasses. It was Parker. “I thought that was the greatest thing I ever heard.” Pearson took private, 50-cent saxophone lessons as a sixth grader. He was leading The Rhythm Artists, a five-piece orchestra, at 15. Enlisting in the Air Force at 19 didn’t cramp Pearson’s style because he played everywhere he served. From Parker to Coltrane, Columbia native Lucky Thompson to Don Byas, Pearson listened to and learned from the greats. He played with some, too – among them Otis Redding, Wynton Marsalis, Paul McCarthy, Miles Davis and Sam Cooke. “Skipp is a legend. There’s no one more of a real deal than Skipp,” Mark Rapp, a Columbia jazz musician and friend of Pearson’s, said previously. “His tone, his phrasing, his ideas, his whole life embodies the truest essence of jazz music.” In addition to education programs and other activities to help young musicians, he received many honors from the state he called home. He was named the Ambassador of Jazz Music by the South Carolina Senate and House and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor. He also was inducted into the South Carolina State University Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998. The community rallied around Pearson in recent years as he battled bone cancer, holding fundraisers like the Skipp Pearson Jazz Bash and Love Fest to help fund initiatives for the jazz great. Former staff writer Otis Taylor contributed.

Avoiding the life of the starving artist

From USC School of Music Article by John Brunelli

SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge teaches entrepreneurship to the arts community Savvy Musicians SAVVY teams create exhibits showcasing their business ventures. Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated postimpressionist painters of the 19th century. But at the time of his death, he was penniless and obscure — the epitome of a starving artist. "You don't get any brownie points for being an amazing artist, who is so poor that you can't afford to create your art or share your gifts," says David Cutler, director of music entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina. For the past five summers, Cutler has led a School of Music workshop designed to help a diverse group of artists maximize income, prove their worth and adapt to a world that is changing at an exponential rate. This experiential workshop called the SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge explores how a variety of business lessons are applicable to all art disciplines. This year's class is the most diverse yet — including musicians, visual artists, dancers, actors and even two mimes. Each of the 72 participants begins the week by giving a one-minute elevator pitch for an innovative arts-based business. The entire class votes on favorites and ultimately selects nine ideas to develop throughout the week. They divide into teams each with a CEO, a CFO, a marketing director and other key positions designed to create a successful business model. "There aren't a lot of tidy, secure, full-time jobs available for artists, even those with the most talent," Cutler says. "Most of us have to create our lives. SAVVY helps participants develop a variety of relevant skills for their own unique career path." Throughout the week, teams are required to solve eight "challenges." The finance challenge asks groups to create a startup budget, explain their business' cash flow and build a financial statement. A digital branding challenge requires the creation of a website consistent with the brand's personality while meeting the needs of customers. A research challenge gets them into the community to conduct surveys, interview experts and test core assumptions. "Entrepreneurship, for me, isn't just about career training. It's a way of life," Cutler says. "It's about creative problem-solving and innovation, as well as value creation, financial literacy, business-model design, taking chances and bold unapologetic leadership." At the end of the week, the teams pitch their businesses again — this time to a panel of judges and local government, arts and business leaders during the SAVVY Reveal at the Copenhaver Band Hall. People watching a livestream of the program from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. June 9 also can vote for their favorites. The week begins with the SAVVY Chamber Showcase, where four finalist ensembles featuring artistic excellence and innovative event design compete for a $10,000 grant prize/School of Music residency and management options. All finalists receive full tuition scholarships to attend the 2017 SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge. This year's finalists are: Real Vocal String Quartet from Berkeley, California, a multi-genre string quartet where all members also sing. Projecto Acromusical, based in Dekalb, Illnois, is a world music sextet that reimagines the Afro-Brazilian berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument, through a repertoire of concert chamber music. BIK Ensemble from Montreal, Canada, is a theatrical trio whose musicians dance around the stage, use cutlery as percussion and incorporate a host of other surprises. The final ensemble, The Living Earth Show from San Francisco, is an electro-acoustic group that generates a huge variety of sounds and sights from just a guitarist and a percussionist. The four ensembles compete at 7:30 p.m. Monday (June 5) in the newly opened auditorium at the Richland County Main Library. The concert is free and open to the public. In addition to becoming business savvy, Cutler hopes the participants, who are from nine countries and 25 states, will gain an appreciation for the resources and potential of a vibrant city like Columbia. Local organizations, businesses and community members are involved with SAVVY in a variety of capacities, as partners, dinner hosts, guest presenters and "entrepre-tainers." "SAVVY is literally the best event of its kind in the world," Cutler says. "This parallels a lesson we emphasize. For those with the courage and audacity to lead in relevant ways, the benefits can be tremendous."

The art of literacy: New park hopes to promotes education through expression

The South Carolina Arts Commission launched The Art of Community: Rural SC in May 2016 to help advance rural development through the arts, culture and creative placemaking. From the Jasper County Sun Article and photos by Liz Bloom

Jasper County ranked 45th in the state in education in 2014, with 49 percent of third-graders testing below state standards in reading. The county’s high school dropout rate of 6.8 percent from 2013-14 ranked 46th. When Jasper County Parks and Recreation Director Johnny Davis saw those stats from 2016 Kids Count South Carolina data, he felt compelled to try to raise awareness in a positive message. On Saturday, thanks to a Promise Zone grant, he – and members of the community – built a new art park for kids in downtown Ridgeland. “We were given a grant by the South Carolina Arts Commission. It was given to each county in the Promise Zone and part of the idea was that we were to try to determine an issue … to address and pick a project that would bring awareness and address that issue. We chose education, and in particular literacy, to address in our county,” said Davis. “We could use the money in the private or public sector, but they wanted us not to create something new, but go with what had been working already in the area. We chose the Morris Center downtown because it was centrally located and had some good momentum with its opening and drawing in lots of folks from the outside. We decided to do an art park. It’s in the back of the center in an area that’s not being utilized, and we thought it would be the perfect place.” Davis and his small Jasper County Arts Council embraced a simple theme – art of literacy. The idea is that literacy along with visual arts provide students invaluable ways to express themselves through words, pictures, paintings. At the grand reveal on Saturday, kids and adults cycled in and out of the green lot next to the Morris Center on Jacob Smart Boulevard in Ridgeland to paint stepping stones, help build the giant scrabble board, and create paintings and drawings to display. Davis wanted the community to be proud of something and claim ownership. The green space is just a small park, but Davis has a bigger vision to add murals to walls and even make the area a place to host outdoor movies for families. He wants the area to evolve into a regular epicenter of community and fellowship. He doesn’t see a big need for playgrounds, or fancy installations, just an area where people can feel safe and express themselves. From there he hopes to spread the pressing issue of literacy. “The best thing to do is bring awareness that there’s an issue. We do have an issue in Jasper County with illiteracy and drop-outs. With education being our focus …, we want to help provide places to go after school for kids, for them to not only express themselves through homework, but through art,” he said. “Let them be creative and grow in that way, give them a chance to work their brains and learn to express themselves in a creative way, and we’ve got to give them opportunities to do that. We’ve got to provide places for them to go and do that. “This project is not meant to solve the county’s issue, but just to bring awareness to it. Hopefully this jump-starts something bigger and better and we can start doing these things around all of the county.” The art park project intends to highlight the poor literacy rates, but also promote local art. For the murals Davis wants to paint, he’s hoping to hold a contest at RHHS for students to come up with designs and get an entire group to paint two or more of them on a building by the Morris Center. He wants kids to come to the park to paint, draw, and perform – the Scrabble board is also a stage for kids, speakers, and artists, to utilize. “There’s a bigger mission, bigger vision with this project,” said Davis. “This is kind of the jump-start.” There’s more to highlight in Jasper’s schools besides test scores, and Davis hopes to do just that.

Artist believes disabilities shouldn’t hold one back from creating

From the Aiken Standard Article by Stephanie Turner

Throughout his career, artist and art educator Carter Boucher has worked with various ages with various skill levels and abilities. One demographic that he teaches comprises children, teenagers and adults with disabilities. Since his first class with this demographic, he's taught people in wheelchairs, with autism, with Alzheimer's Disease, without limbs and prone to panic attacks, to name just a handful. Boucher started this specific endeavor in the 1980s. Through certain programs, he would visit schools and noticed that students with special needs were often not invited to program's classes. "I started going to the principals and just saying, 'We ought to include those kids,'" Boucher said. "It was sort of a surprise to them that I wanted to do that. ... I feel like populations like that particularly benefit from doing things. A lot of times they get left out." Based in Anderson County, Boucher has taught students throughout South Carolina and will teach a set of classes in Aiken this summer. When he knows about his class's students, Boucher will prepare so he is best able to accommodate each person's needs. Some of his classes have consisted of students with different disabilities, and he said he tries to tune into what each student needs while the class is in session. "The more you know about who's coming and whatever their situation is then the better you can work with," he said. The art teacher has tools such as scissors for people with hand problems. He has contacted schools to see if the student needs any special equipment and if he can then borrow it. If Boucher sees a condition listed on the roster with which he hasn't encountered or has any questions, he will contact a physician for more information or reach out to someone who has worked with the student to see if there is anything which Boucher needs to be aware. One example of how he has adjusted his approach can be seen in a class of autistic children. "Sometimes, I would slow down the process," he said. "For instance, if we were doing silkscreen pencil stencils, I would let them tear or cut or whatever they want to do to make an image, and it would often draw them out. I got a lot of comments from the teachers who worked with autistic kids how much it seemed to draw them out and get them doing things." He's had a student tell him that his class was the first time they felt like they were really part of a class. "What surprises a lot of people who watch me work with the kids is how much they do on their own," Boucher said. "Whatever it is we do with them and however they accomplish it, ... they feel like they own this artwork. It wasn't something we did. It was something they did." Boucher is an Arts Access SC master artist who creates fine art or illustrations with different mediums and methods such as oil, gouache, etching, wood engraving, silk screen and airbrushing. He will be the instructor of the Aiken Center for the Arts' new creative day camp, I Spy Art & Music Camp. The camp is for ages 5 to 13 with cognitive and physical disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy. It will run from June 12-16 from 10 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 3 p.m. at the arts center, 122 Laurens St. S.W. The camps are free, but enrollment is limited. "(Art) builds confidence. It lowers anxiety and activates parts of the brain that help with almost every subject," Boucher said. He will have some helpers present and is planning for the students to make paper mache masks, work with screenprinting and make music with simple tonal musical instruments that anyone can use. If the young artist has any specific triggers or needs, it is recommended the parent or guardian include that information. Applications are only accepted online. For more information on the camp or Boucher, visit www.aikencenterforthearts.org or www.boucherart.com or call 803-641-9094.

Winthrop University names new dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts

Winthrop University has hired Jeff Bellantoni, former vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design, as the new dean for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Winthrop officials said Bellantoni possesses a successful record of leadership, development and administration of design, art, and liberal arts programs at multiple institutions. He will join the Winthrop University community on July 1. Debra Boyd, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted that Bellantoni’s strategic leadership and administrative experience, his focus on creating supportive environments for students and faculty, and his successful entrepreneurial endeavors made him the right candidate for the deanship. “He impressed the campus and community members with his passion for and dedication to the arts as critical to the human experience, and I am certain that he will apply that passion, dedication, and skill to the arts at Winthrop,” she said. With a career spanning more than 25 years as an arts educator, designer, and author, Bellantoni most recently served as vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. As the chief academic officer of the college, he held responsibility for all the academic affairs of the institution including academic departments and programs, as well as collaborative enterprises, communications and marketing, and continuing studies and lifelong learning. He led several key initiatives, including developing degree programs in creative writing and visual studies, helping secure a $3 million donation for a new Visual Arts Center, overseeing successful accreditation visits and creating a student innovation fund. Bellantoni said it is an honor to be the next dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “I look forward to working closely with its accomplished and dedicated faculty, shaping the next generation of creative leaders and promoting the arts as critical to our cultural and economic prosperity,” he said. “Winthrop’s reputation for providing an educational experience that blends liberal arts, professional programs, and civic engagement attracted me to this opportunity. I look forward to collaborating both across the university and regionally to establish new and exciting cross-disciplinary initiatives.” From 2008-14, Bellantoni was chair of the nationally ranked Graduate Communications Design Department at Pratt Institute in New York, where he established the MFA program, Pratt Press, and the Graduate Design Guild. He has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Connecticut, New York-based Mercy College, VCU School of the Arts, and the Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand. He earned an MFA in visual communications from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BFA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Bellantoni is co-author and designer of several internationally published titles on Typography and Media – including the best-selling titles Type in Motion and Moving Type, Designing for Time and Space – and he has written on graphic design for How magazine and various other design publications. His design work has been recognized by Print magazine, the AIGA (50 Books/50 Covers), and Connecticut Art Director’s Club; and he presented at conferences, events and educational institutions around the world. He will be moving to the area with his wife, the ceramist Kim Westad. The College of Visual and Performing Arts is the academic home to more than 650 undergraduate students majoring in 12 areas and more than 50 graduate students in its six master’s programs and one post-baccalaureate certificate program. The college has a total of 105 faculty members, of whom 52 are full time and 53 are part-time lecturers who are practicing professionals from the surrounding metropolitan area. Winthrop’s programs of dance, fine arts, interior design, music and theatre are nationally accredited. In addition, Winthrop’s arts education programs (art, music, theatre and dance) are accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

SC Arts Alliance to host Creative Pillars forums

“What are some of the pillars needed in a community for a creative professional to have a high quality of life?” That’s the question the South Carolina Arts Alliance is asking as it hosts Creative Pillars forums this summer in Greenville and Charleston. Forum dates and locations:

An additional forum is being planned in the Pee Dee area. All forums are free to attend and will run from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Advance registration is requested and is available on the Arts Alliance’s website, www.scartsalliance.net. The forums, which are open to any creative professional or those with an interest in a creative field, will include group activities meant to identify key amenities that help attract and retain creative professionals and targeted discussions to dive deeper into specific topics. The Arts Alliance is interested in hearing from every kind of creative professional, from the freelance graphic designer to the touring musician to the nonprofit fundraising professional. “We wanted to create a way to gather insight into areas other than pure arts and culture and how they play a role in the quality of life for a creative professional," said GP McLeer, SCAA’s executive director. "We know that a high value on arts and culture is important, but what about access to healthcare, public safety, recreation, or even trash pick up - where do these kinds of issues lie in the hierarchy for the creative professional? Whether you’re an architect, designer, actor, musician, nonprofit arts manager, or even a board member, this is an important discussion to have as people look for ways to effectively make a difference in their community." Creative Pillars is also serving as a pilot for a new statewide leadership development program, CreativeSC, being planned by the South Carolina Arts Alliance in partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the University of South Carolina, and Together SC, with additional partners expected to join in the coming months. The comprehensive program will include networking, workshops/forums, and a selective leadership program. The Arts Alliance is targeting an early fall 2017 launch of CreativeSC. The series is supported by a grant by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. About the South Carolina Arts Alliance The South Carolina Arts Alliance is the only statewide nonprofit dedicated to advancing the arts for all South Carolinians through advocacy, leadership development, and public awareness. The SCAA is housed at the Younts Center for Performing Arts in Fountain Inn, SC.

Free Open House at Spoleto June 3!

The South Carolina Arts Commission is turning 50! Visit our Open House at the Charleston Gaillard Center June 3 from 1 – 5 p.m. during the Spoleto Festival USA and join the celebration with family-friendly activities, local arts performances and exhibits. Admission is free. The event will feature a display of the ABC (Arts in Basic Curriculum) Project Umbrellas, which were created by 67 ABC sites around the state, and poetry by South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth and South Carolina Poetry Out Loud champion Janae Claxton, a student at Charleston’s First Baptist School. Scheduled to perform:

  • Adande African Dance Company
  • Charleston Academy of Music
  • Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School Unichorus
  • Chamber Music Charleston
  • Daniel Island Middle School Theatre Troupe
  • Charleston Jazz
  • Lowcountry Voices
  • Smalls Institute for Music & Youth Leadership
  • Art Pot
  • Janae Claxton
  • Marjory Wentworth
  • D’Jaris Whipper Lewis
Exhibitors and/or children’s activities:
  • Yo Art
  • Smalls Music Lab
  • Engaging Creative Minds
  • Gaillard Education Program
  • S.C. Arts Foundation Zendoodle Coloring Stations
  • Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association
The 50th Anniversary Celebration is a joint project of the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Arts Foundation. Find out more about other 50th Anniversary events here.

Nickelodeon Theatre hires new director

From The Free Times Article by Jordan Lawrence

Alison Kozberg Alison Kozberg The Nickelodeon Theatre, Main Street’s nonprofit arthouse cinema, has a new leader. Alison Kozberg — who most recently worked as program manager of the moving image for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, shaping all aspects of the contemporary art museum’s film programming — will serve as the theater’s director. In December, Andy Smith and Seth Gadsden — then the Nick’s executive director and managing director, respectively — moved into new positions. Smith became CEO of the Columbia Film Society, which oversees both the Nick and its annual Indie Grits festival, a far-reaching media celebration that touches on visual art, video games and more in addition to film. Gadsden became the director of the newly formed Indie Grits Labs, an effort to extend both the Nick’s educational programs and the art projects and residencies offered by the festival. With its two main leaders turning their attention to matters other than the theater’s day-to-day operation, the hunt began for a new director. The search committee — three members of the Nick’s board of directors and three staffers — selected Kozberg. Before her work at the Walker Art Center, she held positions in Los Angeles — at the Getty Research Institute and the University of Southern California — and in Massachusetts — at the Brattle Film Foundation/Brattle Theater. “With Alison’s experience in film programming and in a range of really top, world-class arts organizations, bringing that experience to the Nick is going to make the customer experience better, it’s going to make the programming better,” Smith posits. “It’s a way for us to grow on both sides of the organization simultaneously.” “She was a film programmer at an art museum,” Gadsden offers. “And we do art around a film theater. So it seemed like a very fortuitous marriage that way.” For Kozberg, who was excited by the idea of taking over programming for a cinema as opposed to a museum, the Nick was a good fit. “I really felt that the institution’s values and missions very much lined up with my own,” she says. “ interested in the way the cinema functions for the public. deeply committed to civic engagement, to community involvement and to creating opportunities for media makers at all stages of their careers to be creatively engaged, to hold space, to speak for themselves about the creative process. also really committed to creating opportunities for community members to engage, both in creating conversations and to really find space for them as presenters. And that was something I was really, really passionate about.” “It was exciting to me that Columbia is the capital,” Kozberg adds. “A lot of my research and my work before has really focused on the relationship between arts institutions and civic engagement in local politics, so being right on Main Street by the capital at this organization is a really good fit for my personality.” It will likely take a bit for visitors to truly feel her impact on the Nick’s programming. The theater hosts between six and eight curated series throughout the year, and the next 12 months are largely planned out. But Kozberg is raring to go. One idea she seems most excited about is pairing experimental filmmakers with purveyors of more traditional narrative features. She’ll do just that at a members-only event meant to introduce her to the Nick’s core audience, presenting Nicholas Ray’s 1956 movie Bigger Than Life and a more avant-garde piece from Mark Toscano that manipulates footage of “China Girls” — the images of women at the start of a reel once used for calibration when processing film.
“ a really interesting filmmaker of kind of classic Hollywood, so to speak,” Kozberg says. “I think it could be so incredibly contemporary and relevant at this moment to screen an emotionally and intellectually sophisticated film about masculinity, both as a culture of the 1950s, but also the perils of machismo.” She reasons that pairing Ray’s film with an experimental short culled from antiquated footage that also pricks notions of gender should tease out these themes even further. As for the Nick’s other aspirations — broadening its educational programs, expanding Indie Grits artist residencies into a year-round initiative — those efforts will also take more time. With Kozberg on board, the hope is to have Gadsden completely transitioned out of his managing director responsibilities by June or July. He’ll then continue working with the cohort of commissioned artists producing work for next year’s Indie Grits and begin planning new educational endeavors. “A big reason why the board approved this restructuring was so that the Nick ... could have space to really deepen and refine the Indie Grits Labs concept,” Smith says, “and start to realize that bigger vision without harming the theater in any way.”