Mark Rapp to be featured in EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week

Standout musician to close out celebration

Mark Rapp playing his trumpet
EngenuitySC, the local nonprofit that works with area leaders to make the Columbia, S.C., region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies, will close out its annual Competitiveness Week 2020 with a celebration of one of the city’s greatest levers of growth—its thriving arts community. EngenuitySC has partnered with one of the prime movers of the Midlands’ music scene, Mark Rapp, to support this month’s jazz dinner series, “Mark Rapp and the ColaJazz Little Big Band.” Featured as the closing celebration for EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week 2020, the event will be held on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, and dinner will be available for purchase. Find info here: https://www.engenuitysc.com/competitiveness-week-2020/. EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week 2020 celebrates and investigates Columbia’s ability to attract talented individuals and impactful businesses through innovation, talent development, livability, a healthy entrepreneurial environment and high-impact industry clusters. When it’s time for a major corporation, a homegrown business, or even a recent graduate to choose a place to succeed, EngenuitySC — and the leaders in business, education and government that serve on its board — want to make it easy for them to choose the Columbia, S.C., region. “Columbia’s arts scene is where we see four of the five pillars of competitiveness — innovation, talent development, entrepreneurship and livability — fold together,” says EngenuitySC Executive Director Meghan Hickman. “Right now, one of the city’s most prolific artist entrepreneurs is Mark Rapp, and we are so excited to highlight his work as our culminating event of Competitiveness Week 2020.”
Rapp’s work as a creative entrepreneur is part of what makes for such high quality of life in Columbia. Viewed as a pioneer of arts entrepreneurship in the region, Rapp returned from a successful career in New York City’s music scene and has continually made moves to advance the Columbia jazz scene. With performance degrees from Winthrop and Tulane, and with big-name mentors (you may have heard of the Marsalis family), Rapp is a welcome bandleader and collaborator across the country. He had already released two acclaimed albums when he moved to Columbia in 2012 to be near family. As he ventured into the local performance world, he was impressed with the population of talented jazz musicians living in Columbia and disappointed in the lack of recognition they received. A visit to an Asheville restaurant that co-produced a giveaway CD with their house band sparked an idea that became 2015’s “Cola Jazz Volume 1,” a compilation CD of 13 of the city’s bandleaders and their ensembles. The release, and the subsequent Volume 2, are now staples in the gift shop at the Experience Columbia SC Visitors Center — a move that supports the career of local artists and drives tourism purchases. “When visitors take home our CD and play it for friends, we build the reputation of our musicians and the reputation of Columbia as a great jazz city,” he says. The collaborative relationships built through the compilation project led to new opportunities: Rapp launched ColaJazz.com to promote the CD and its players (which has become to go-to calendar for jazz performances throughout the city), and he holds ongoing jam sessions and club gigs with rotating ensemble players. He also teaches and runs an all-ages summer jazz camp, in addition to producing the annual Cola Jazz festival. In 2014, he forged a creative partnership with Columbia-based choreographer Stephanie Wilkins. The two created Woven, an original contemporary jazz ballet, as part of Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College’s Performance Incubator; they reunited for last season’s fresh take on The Great Gatsby at Trustus Theatre (a production that also featured Rapp’s wife, Columbia City Ballet Principal Dancer Claire Richards Rapp.) “When Mark chose me to choreograph his evening-length jazz ballet, Woven, in 2015, it led to a wonderful and creative partnership which has continued to flourish more than four years later,” says Wilkins. “Mark has a gift for finding opportunities that can be lucrative for both creative and business partners. I’m always grateful and excited to work with him. He is the ultimate collaborator: open, patient, always engaged, and encouraging.” Rapp recently re-homed the majority of his projects under a new ColaJazz nonprofit organization — the aptly named ColaJazz Foundation. The organization employs between one and two dozen musicians each month in its programs, which have expanded to include concerts in the lobby of Prisma Health Children’s Hospital and after-school programming using the Jazz at Lincoln Center curriculum. While Rapp has undeniably expanded paying opportunities for jazz musicians living in the Midlands, he says there are a few substantial improvements that could be made to the local entertainment ecosystem. Namely, he advocates for restaurants and bars charging a cover in order to pay their musicians wages. The standard pay rate for musicians in Columbia lags behind the rate in Charleston and Greenville, a problem he attributes to the absence of meaningful cover charges. “This can be a win-win,” he offers, “Musicians attract customers, customers help cover the cost of paying musicians a living wage and everyone gains the joy of making and listening to great music.” When asked about his professional goals for the next few years, Rapp focuses on three areas: Expanding the education work offered by the Cola Jazz organization, expanding the Cola Jazz Festival to a multi-day event, and turning his monthly event at Main Course, a venue on Main Street, into a subscription series. It is this event, “Mark Rapp and the ColaJazz Little Big Band,” that will be highlighted during EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week on Jan. 31. Says Rapp of the event, which charges diners a $10 cover charge to enjoy a full jazz concert over dinner (available for separate purchase from the menu), “It provides opportunities for musicians in and around Columbia and, as a ‘ticketed’ event, it begins to establish a model of value for our art.” To see the complete event lineup for EngenuitySC’s Competitiveness Week, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, visit https://www.engenuitysc.com/competitiveness-week-2020/.

About EngenuitySC

Governed by the highest-ranking regional leaders in education, government and business, EngenuitySC is a nonprofit that works to make the Columbia, S.C., region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies. Structured as a neutral and independent project management team, EngenuitySC is known for achieving progress through partnerships using a unique, highly effective process. Whether it is equipping K-12 students with career-ready skills, elevating quality of life with the Midlands Business Leadership Group, or producing Competitiveness Week and the annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, EngenuitySC is a trusted force, working behind the scenes to build a community cultivated for living, working, playing and learning. Learn more at www.engenuitysc.com.

Arts advocates urged to gather in Columbia

S.C. Arts Alliance announces summit for arts


The state's annual Arts Advocacy Week is getting an overhaul with the S.C. Arts Alliance's announcement of the launch of the South Carolina Arts Summit, scheduled for Feb. 12-13 in Columbia. Advocacy Week combines the voices of advocates across the state at the same time, reaching legislators and community leaders with a message on the important role the arts play in our communities. Registration is now open. On the schedule are events spread over two days.
  • The first day, the Alliance will devote time to get attendees up to speed on issues and then train them on how to talk with legislators, feed into a public forum of the S.C. Arts Commission's Canvass of the People, and end the day with a creatives networking session—all at the partnering Columbia Museum of Art.
  • Start the next day, Arts Advocacy Day, by enjoying a breakfast with state arts leaders before heading out for scheduled visits with legislators. Afterward, a rally on the Statehouse steps culminates the summit.

Full summit registration is $120 per person, and there are á la carte and free options as well. Learn more about pricing from the S.C. Arts Alliance.

SCAC Fellow searches for light

Linda Fantuzzo opens new exhibition


Painter Linda Fantuzzo debuts a new body of work in the solo exhibition, Linda Fantuzzo: Penumbra, opening at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston.  The landscape and interior paintings in this exhibition are rendered with a quiet, abstracted simplicity, while the inclusion of stairs, ladders, windows and doors suggest an unseen yet palpable human presence. The title Penumbra is a term referencing light’s transitions – it is the partially shaded area of the shadow cast by an object. In these works Fantuzzo connects the literal transitions of light, always changing, to the metaphorical transitions and impermanence of the human experience.

Hosted by: City of Charleston, Office of Cultural Affairs

Location: City of Charleston, Office of Cultural Affairs, 34 Prioleau St., Charleston

Linda Fantuzzo received the South Carolina Arts Commission's visual arts fellowship in 2017.

Exhibition Dates: Jan. 17-March 1, 2020

  • Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 12-5 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays
An opening reception is Jan. 17 from 5 -7 p.m. It is free and open to all.

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Travel abroad through the eyes of a local artist

As we prepare to travel into a new decade, experience a new exhibit that paints the journey of a local artist's travel abroad. Bitácora/Travelogue goes on display today in The Gallery at Richland Library. The exhibit features 40 pieces, which encompass watercolor paintings, high-resolution reproductions and personal travel journals of Alejandro García Lemos. It documents the process of change through travel and movement, offering his impressions of each destination. Lemos is the founder of Palmetto & LUNA, a non-profit organization that promotes Latino arts and cultures in South Carolina. He says, "Traveling becomes a way (if not the best way) of learning, of self-awareness and of internal questioning, and drawing becomes the means to express those feelings of constant flux and change." Join us for an opening reception later that evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at our Main location (1431 Assembly St., Columbia) to meet and interact with the artist. The after-hours event is free and open to the public, and it includes a musical performance by Son del Sur. Bitácora/Travelogue runs through Feb. 28, 2020. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803-587-3637 or email estoll@richlandlibrary.com.


About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 12 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Traveling Gullah Geechee art exhibit to debut in Hampton

The Hampton County Arts Council announced that the Stanley Arts Building will be the first venue to exhibit the private art collection of Gullah native Victoria A. Smalls. A formal gala will mark the opening of this prestigious exhibit, which will then run through the month of February. The public is invited to come enjoy art featuring notable and emerging artists, entertainment, silent auction and authentic Gullah cuisine at the 7 p.m. Grand Opening Gala on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at the Stanley Arts Building in Hampton. Read more about the art collection from the The Charleston Chronicle here. Smalls is connected to the S.C. Arts Commission through its program the Art of Community: Rural SC, which walks residents of rural communities through reimagining their communities through an arts and culture lens and use those to address long-standing problems. In the process, fresh leaders are identified as new voices bring their own energies to the table and foster greater community involvement.  

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conNECKtedTOO to launch app in support of tiny business


conNECKtedTOO is launching the conNECKtedTOO/TINYisPOWERFUL mobile app and a revitalized website Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Cannon Street Arts Center in Charleston from 3-6 p.m. This event celebrates the rich and remarkable legacy of Charleston’s tiny "smaller than small" business community through an interactive performance celebrating the art of barbering, films, arts, and fellowship, and will serve as the official debut of a new online creative place for tiny businesses and you. In 2018 the Charleston Rhizome Collective received the only ArtPlace America award in South Carolina in support of a project of art in/with community for economic development. The event on Dec. 8 presents the development of a "participative" online platform seen as a community lab that encourages artists, activists, young people, and business owners to exchange stories and form supportive networks. The creation and ongoing development of the mobile app addresses the lack of support for family-owned tiny businesses who are frequently passed over by typical forums for economic and social support. At the moment, 28 local businesses will have their own profiles with a variety of content, ranging from personal narratives and links to each business’s social media. “The conNECKtedTOO/TINYisPOWERFUL mobile app honors the cultural relevance of tiny business now and throughout history. It encourages patronage and is a place to explore, share resources, learn, and grow community through collaboration between artists, cultural workers, youth, activists, and tiny businesses. User experiences will vary,” says Victoria Moore of conNECKtedTOO. Join conNECKtedTOO Sunday, Dec. 8 (doors open at 3 p.m. and an interactive performance starts at 4 p.m.) in celebrating neighborhood tiny businesses whose vitality makes Charleston rich. This event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact Victoria at 843.209.7902 or email conNECKtedTOO@gmail.com.
conNECKtedTOO by the Charleston Rhizome Collective is a project of art and culture in/with community for economic development supported in large part by an ArtPlace America Award with additional support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Lowcountry Quarterly Art Program and the Coastal Community Foundation. The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs serves as a civic partner.

Canvassing the people… at least nine times

Once-a-decade survey comes to you, S.C. arts lover


As you probably do, the South Carolina Arts Commission believes the arts are more than simply "nice things." They offer quality of life; promote creativity, understanding, and civility; and are often indicated as points of pride in communities across any map—all while pumping nearly $10 billion into the South Carolina economy. And, and as you probably also do, the SCAC wants to them do even more of those things and do other things we haven't considered. We never said we could do it alone, so that's where you come in. We've already announced Canvass of the People 2020, a once-a-decade checkup on South Carolina arts and culture. Since then, additional public forums have been announced, and we wanted to update you because we really, really request the honor of your presence at one of them. (Not an option for you? Hang tight; we'll get to that.) Here's where the list stands going forward. Two public events have already occurred in Spartanburg and in Rock Hill (which boasted a significant turnout of about 60 informed and involved citizens).
  • Greenwood (Nov. 21, 2019)
  • Myrtle Beach (Dec. 9, 2019)
  • Pickens (Dec. 10, 2019)
  • Orangeburg (Dec. 12, 2019)
  • Sumter (Jan. 9, 2020)
  • Beaufort (Jan. 23, 2020)
  • McCormick (Jan. 27, 2020)
  • Greenville (Feb. 6, 2020)
  • Columbia (Feb. 12, 2020)
  • Aiken (Feb. 20, 2020)
Want more information on one or more of these? Our Facebook events page is serving as (pardon the term here) de facto "hub" for all event information. All current public forums are listed there. Because it's foolish to think everyone who lives in one of these areas and is interested in attending will be available when the forums occur, the SCAC website has an online survey you can take at your leisure and still be involved in this important process! To be frank, even if you can or do attend a public forum you can still take the online survey. We are asking you where we go from here, and we're eager to get to wherever that is with you.

A great big music update

Grab your coffee or tea for this one


Though its temperatures got cold in the past 24 hours, South Carolina's music scene is indisputably hot right now. How hot? Oxford American knows. The quarterly literary magazine focusing on Southern literature publishes an annual music issue, and this year's focus is on South Carolina's musical culture. The 21st Annual Southern Music Issue "features unforgettable songs and stories from South Carolina, the issue includes voices ranging from the Upstate to the Lowcountry, highlighting icons like Dizzy Gillespie and Eartha Kitt, as well as contemporary artists such as Shovels & Rope and Ranky Tanky." Pre-order your copy at the link above. Each issues comes with a CD compilation and digital download. But the Oxford American issue is far from being the only highlight. Sip away and enjoy some briefs.

FatRat Da Czar double album out today

You might remember reading about this a month ago. South Carolina’s godfather of hip-hop FatRat Da Czar released his double album TRIBE yesterday, with 25 tracks and nearly 40 collaborators, including 30 features and nine of the state’s most respected producers. Czar’s highly anticipated ninth studio album is now available at all digital music retailers and streaming services. As part of the album release, Czar will perform this Friday, Nov. 15 at Arts & Draughts at Columbia Museum of Art in Columbi, and Saturday, Nov. 16 at The Purple Buffalo in Charleston, bringing on stage some of South Carolina’s most elite past, present, and future hip-hop artists.

S.C. Phil re-imagines Vivaldi

Seasonal changes are top-of-mind in the Palmetto State today, and no music captures the spirit of those better than the iconic The Four Seasons, completed in 1725 by Antonio Vivaldi. In 2012, composer Max Richter (right), claiming to be one of a long list of composers who reworked pre-existing music, notably Franz Liszt, Igor Stravinsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, took on Vivaldi’s ubiquitous masterpiece. The result is a minimalist transformation that leaves only fragments of the original music. Each of the twelve movements contains at least one recognizable quotation from the original, but they vary in length and nature from the famous virtuosic riffs for the solo violin to mere ostinato accompaniments. The fragments also include new, dissonant harmonies, distorted meters, loops and repetitive phrases. The S.C. Phil presents the work this Saturday evening in Columbia. Tickets and information here.
 

World's No. 1 jazz pianist coming to Columbia

Kenny Barron playing pianoJapan. France. Spain. Italy. France again. South Carolina. That is the travel itinerary for Kenny Barron, recently ranked as the world's premier jazz pianist by the 67th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll. (That puts Barron ahead of names like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.) On Nov. 23, Barron's travels bring him to South Carolina for an engagement with the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble. He is also an NEA Jazz Master, and Jazz Weekly says he's "the most lyrical piano player of our time" and he's said to captivate with elegant playing, sensitive melodies, and infectious rhythms. The SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble is comprised of 18 of the finest jazz musicians, soloists, and bandleaders from across the Carolinas with a mission to present jazz concerts at the highest artistic level. The ensemble performs big band classics, music from the Great American Songbook and modern originals by the group's members.

Local groups highlight 2020 Charleston Jazz Festival

Click to enlarge. Announced this morning! On Jan. 23, 2020, the 6th Annual Charleston Jazz Festival will open with some of Charleston’s most exciting jazz groups: Offramp The Music of Pat Metheny, Cameron & the Saltwater Brass Shake Everything You Got! and Lee Barbour’s Polyverse Art of the Modern Organ Trio featuring Justin Stanton of Snarky Puppy. Tickets are on sale now at www.charlestonjazz.com. Charleston Jazz presents the Charleston Jazz Festival every year, offering a world-class celebration of jazz by presenting timeless and creative productions that entertain audiences, stimulate arts education, foster economic growth and unite artists and audiences in Charleston. Each year, the festival line-up includes internationally acclaimed headliners, the best local jazz bands, and top youth artists performing a wide range of styles including swing, salsa, blues, Brazilian, and the American Songbook.

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‘Taking Flight’ in Columbia (but not at CAE)

The resident artists of Stormwater Studios have settled into their studios and taken inspiration from their new surroundings. Earlier this year they were named a Wildlife Habitat Area by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation and are drawing on this theme in their new show Taking Flight, which runs from Nov. 20-Dec. 8. There will be an opening reception and Open Studios on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5-8 p.m. in conjunction with Vista Lights. Admission is free and there will be light refreshments and a cash bar. Stormwater Studios is located at 413 Pendleton St., Columbia.

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Artists, artisans sought for Gay St. Arts Crawl in Lancaster

The Lancaster County Council of the Arts is seeking handcrafted artists, artisans, and craftspeople interested in setting up a ‘Pop Up’ Artists Market Friday, Nov. 1 in the upcoming Gay Street Arts Crawl in the center of the downtown Cultural Arts District. No entry fee or charge for participation (artists are required to pay all applicable taxes and gain any licenses required to sell their work).  Local/downtown businesses are encouraged to take part, as well. Artists, artisans, and craftspeople selected to participate need to bring all necessary display items, tables and chairs to set up your assigned space (in and around Gay Street). If you bring a tent, please bring your own lighting and weights for the tent. The Gay Street Arts Crawl is from 6-9 p.m. Artists must be set up by 5:30 p.m. and may not remove displays before 9 p.m.  At 5 p.m., sections of Gay Street will close. Artists may need to walk their artwork to their location, and are advised to take a wagon or a tote for this. In addition to the Arts Crawl and Artists Market, food and drink will be available in certain locations and for purchase. For an application, contact the Lancaster County Council of the Arts at arts.takepart@gmail.com or 803.285.7451. Completed and signed applications are due as soon as possible. This event is rain or shine, and you will be alerted to your approval as your form can be processed.  All artisans and artists must preregister. If there is inclement weather, any registered artists and artisans will have a spot waiting indoors. The Gay Street Arts Crawl is being sponsored and hosted by the Lancaster County Council of the Arts, See Lancaster - City of Lancaster, the Craft Stand, and local businesses.