Senate joins House to override SCAC funding veto

This afternoon, the S.C. Senate voted to override a veto of funding to the SCAC, the S.C. House having voted to override the week before last. This restores $350,000 in funding to artists and arts agencies across the state. Our agency has a lengthy record of bipartisan support from the General Assembly, and we are grateful they recognize that our daily work benefits every South Carolinian. This funding is your funding, granted across the state so all can enjoy access to the benefits of the arts in their lives and communities, regardless of their location or circumstances. UPDATE, 17 Jan. 2018 | 10:02 a.m.: Read more about the what the overrides mean from the South Carolina Arts Alliance.

New funding partner for potential arts businesses

  • Central Carolina Community Foundation to help develop Midlands arts-based businesses
  • Joins statewide initiative begun by S.C. Arts Commission and CommunityWorks of Greenville
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Midlands artisans hoping to turn a passion into a business in the New Year now have help from Central Carolina Community Foundation as it joins an S.C. Arts Commission initiative. Central Carolina Community Foundation (CCCF) joins ArtsGrowSC, a new program that combines the strengths of the S.C. Arts Commission and Greenville-based CommunityWorks, a community development finance institution, to offer qualifying artists resources – including a savings program, micro-loans, business venture loans, matching grants, personalized coaching, and workshops – that will help develop and grow arts-based business ventures. ArtsGrowSC is being implemented to allow arts-based businesses to further contribute to the $9.2 billion generated by South Carolina’s core creative industries. Involvement by CCCF will increase the number of artisans who can open Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s), specifically in its 11-county service area. CommunityWorks serves as a statewide IDA funding partner for the matched savings program. Artists who use an IDA to save would see a 2:1 match, so a savings of $1,000 would be matched by $1,000 from one of the participating funders, based on artist location, and another $1,000 from the Arts Commission. Additional avenues of support from ArtsGrowSC include personal development and business coaching workshops that lead to the next-step Artists Ventures Initiative (AVI) grant program. AVI provides one-time grants to encourage the creation of artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for S.C. artists. Grants can be used to launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture. A one-time project could receive up to $3,500, and on-going business ventures can get up to $5,000. The deadline to submit a letter of intent to seek an AVI grant is Jan. 18. AVI grantees may then qualify for the Business Builder Loan program, wherein CommunityWorks could lend qualifying artists up to $15,000 to expand their ventures. For more information, visit, email Joy Young at, or call 803.734.8203.
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.

Arts Education Project (AEP) grants due next week!

Educators: are you finalizing your AEP (Arts Education Project) Grant applications? The deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 16. UPDATE: The deadline is extended to Monday, Jan. 22. AEP Grants support well-developed arts education programs and projects in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that use the arts to advance learning (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). Funded projects and programs can take place in school, after school or over the summer. Grants of up to $15,000 are available (grantees must match their grant 1:1). An AEP Grant would support such programs as:

  • After-school classes
  • Workshops
  • Camps
  • Artist residencies
  • Public art projects
  • Performances
  • Exhibitions
  • Acquisition of critical equipment or supplies
  • Program planning
  • Professional development for instructors, artists and/or administrators
And others, as the list is not exhaustive. Most S.C. schools, nonprofit organizations (arts and non-arts), colleges and universities, and units of government are eligible to apply. Go here to learn more and apply.  

Jason Rapp joins S.C. Arts Commission as communications director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Arts Commission welcomes Jason Rapp of Columbia this month as its new communications director. Rapp will plan and develop an extensive and diversified communications program for the agency, to include oversight of public information and marketing initiatives. He will produce website and social media content; design, edit, and produce publications and printed materials; and collaborate with constituents, grantees, artists, and organizations. “Jason’s experience in the arts nonprofit world is a natural fit with our work,” said Executive Director Ken May. “He has the perspective of working for one of our grantee organizations and understands the value of public support for the arts. He joins the agency as we expand our services in arts education, artist development and rural arts development and will lead the charge in promoting those opportunities and communicating about the results. We are happy to welcome him to the team.” A Pittsburgh, Pa. area native, Rapp grew up in Florence, S.C. and graduated from West Florence High School before earning a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of South Carolina College of Mass Communications and Information Studies in 2002. He was most recently the communications and audience services director at the S.C. Philharmonic in Columbia for nearly 12 years, where he helped take the orchestra’s image and visibility to new heights, managed ticketing operations, and provided the highest level of patron services. The Arts Commission’s previous communications director, Milly Hough, was named deputy director in 2017 after holding her former position for 11 years.   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. ###

Charleston Rhizome Collective first SC recipient of national ArtPlace America grant

Charleston Rhizome Collective leaders with City of Charleston Cultural Affairs Director Scott Watson and Mayor John Tecklenburg A Charleston grassroots organization is the first South Carolina recipient of a highly competitive national grant from ArtPlace America. The Charleston Rhizome Collective will receive $300,000 for the conNECKtedTOO project to help address the needs of small and tiny businesses using installations, visuals, forums, a tour, an app-based interactive map and a youth entrepreneurship program. conNECKtedTOO will create a solidarity hub and network linking tiny neighborhood businesses to consolidate buying and selling power and engage residents in decisions over business ownership, loans, job training, hiring practices, wholesale prices, schooling and housing. ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund invests money in community development projects where artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity work to strengthen communities across 10 sectors of community planning and development. ArtPlace received 987 applications this year, and after narrowing the field to 70 finalists, selected conNECKtedTOO as one of only 23 projects that will receive a total of $8.7 million in funding. The 23 projects represent communities of all sizes across 18 states and one U.S. territory, with almost 52 percent of this year’s funded projects taking place in rural communities. The South Carolina Arts Commission has been actively promoting this opportunity for the past five years and working with organizations interested in applying, according to Executive Director Ken May. “The ArtPlace application is a rigorous and competitive process; many South Carolina organizations have applied and only a few have made it to the finalist level. Clearly, conNECKtedTOO had the right ingredients—authenticity, local engagement, artistic sensibility and a compelling need—to bring home this prestigious award. Congratulations to the Collective for being the first South Carolina organization to join the cadre of creative place making efforts funded by ArtPlace America.” ArtPlace Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres visited South Carolina to present workshops about the grant opportunity and conduct site visits. “This year’s investments highlight critical dimensions of creative placemaking strategy that can provide great inspiration to communities across the country," said Torres. "We are deeply excited to announce these 23 new investments as our seventh cohort of funded projects through the National Creative Placemaking Fund.” For conNECKtedTOO, the Charleston Rhizome Collective will work with partners such as Jason Gourdine of the Black Collective, the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and several tiny businesses. “All of Charleston commends the conNECKted team on their ArtPlace America award,” said Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg. “Their past projects and recent efforts build confidence that the arts can be effectively put to work in new and creative ways to sustain and strengthen our local communities.” Find out more about the 2017 funded projects here. About The Charleston Rhizome Collective Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Rhizome Collective is an art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect. By design, it is grassroots, inter-racial and inter-generational. Through the arts, the Collective aims to amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic. About ArtPlace America ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partner foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic. For more information visit

Visual artists – there’s still time to apply for the South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships!

Deadline: December 15 The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. The program is open to individual artists living in the South Arts region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. This program is open only to visual artists and will expand to other disciplines in the future. The application deadline is December 15, 2017. Apply for the 2018 Southern Prize and State Fellowships South Arts State Fellowships; $5,000 The South Arts State Fellowship is a state-specific prize awarded to the artists whose work reflects the best of the visual arts in the South. A review panel will select one winner per eligible state, with artistic excellence being the sole criterion. A total of nine fellowships will be awarded. Each will be awarded a $5,000 South Arts State Fellowship, and will compete for one of the two South Arts Prizes. State Fellowship recipients will be required to attend an awards ceremony.

South Arts Southern Prize; $25,000 and $10,000

The nine State Fellowship recipients will compete for the South Arts Southern Prize. The $25,000 Southern Prize will be awarded to the artist whose work exhibits the highest artistic excellence, and one finalist will be awarded a $10,000 Prize, also based on artistic excellence. The Southern Prize winner will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. A national panel will convene to evaluate the body of work represented by the nine State Fellowship recipients and select the Prize winner and Finalist. Winners of the South Arts Prize will be announced at the awards ceremony. An exhibition of works by the State Fellowship winners may be organized during the award period. For more information, contact, 404.874.7244, ext. 10. The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are supported by Alabama State Council on the ArtsAtlanta Contemporary Art Center, Joanne Calhoun, Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc., Cultural Council of Palm Beach CountyCyberwovenEvans General Contractors, Arnold and Fran Gellman, Georgia Council for the Arts, Les Hamlett, Kentucky Arts Council, J. Martin Lett, Louisiana Division of the Arts, CJ Lyons’ Buy a Book, Make a DifferenceMailChimpMiami-Dade County Department of Cultural AffairsMississippi Arts CommissionNorth Carolina Arts Council, Scott and Terry Peterson, Michael Quinlan and Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, South Carolina Arts CommissionTennessee Arts Commission, Pat and Susie VanHuss, and powered by The Hambidge Center.

City of Greenwood earns Cultural District status

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named Greenwood as the newest state-recognized cultural district. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. The cultural district designation was created by the S.C. General Assembly in 2014. The City of Greenwood and The Arts Center of Greenwood worked with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. 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. (Find out more about the Greenwood cultural district.) “Thank you to the South Carolina Arts Commission for bestowing this honor on the City of Greenwood,” said Greenwood Mayor Welborn Adams.  “This designation recognizes the hard work over the last 14 years to implement the City Center Master Plan and grow Greenwood’s City Center as a cultural arts and entertainment hub for our six-county Upper Savannah Region.” Anne Craig, director of The Arts Center of Greenwood, gives credit to local arts organizations for their role. “Along with the City Center Master Plan, the arts and cultural organizations have led the way in the revitalization of Uptown Greenwood, which has become more vibrant with year-round events, programs and festivals. The strong cultural activity and extensive city improvements have been the basis for growth in restaurants, retail and businesses. It is a formula that has worked well for Greenwood.” Participation of community stakeholders is key, according to S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district. 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 cultural district program was developed after reviewing successful programs in other states and gathering input from leaders representing several sectors, including economic development, tourism, local government and the arts. Greenwood joins Beaufort, Bluffton, Columbia’s Congaree Vista, Florence, Lancaster, Rock Hill and Spartanburg as S.C. cities and areas that have earned cultural district status. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Texas. S.C. cities, towns and rural communities interested in exploring a cultural district designation are invited to contact their Arts Commission county coordinator or call (803) 734-8696. Complete guidelines are available at

Zuri Wilson-Seymore named Poetry Out Loud coordinator

The South Carolina Arts Commission welcomes Zuri Wilson-Seymore as the new part-time Poetry Out Loud coordinator. Wilson-Seymore will work with teachers and schools participating in Poetry Out Loud and coordinate competitions with regional and state partners. A Columbia native, Wilson-Seymore is a poet, yogi, actress and community activist. In 2000, she studied theater at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY, and received her bachelor’s degree in theatre with an emphasis in performance arts from Winthrop University in 2001. She completed her thesis for her masters in Creative Writing with an emphasis on poetry at Southern New Hampshire University in 2016. She is working on a poetry chap book and on a book of poetry titled Nekot Cookie Crumbles: A Daughter remembering her Father, dedicated to her late father, Barry Wilson. Wilson-Seymore has appeared in a sitcom, a soap opera and a commercial and recently booked her first major voice over with G.E.M. Studios. Wilson-Seymore has collaborated with the Richland Library to direct and co-produce the African American History Month Productions of Voices of Our People and has worked with the City of Columbia and C.A. Johnson High School to improve the literacy of youth through writing and poetry workshops. In addition, Wilson-Seymore has facilitated Poetry Meets Screenwriting Workshops for USC's Media Department. Wilson-Seymore is the founder and executive director of the cultural arts event Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, which included poetry, theater, song, dance, visual art, music, deejaying, and drumming. The organization went on a sabbatical in October 2008 and re-launched in August 2011 as a band.  Wilson-Seymore released her debut album, Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, in August 2007 and directed the video for the single, She. The Arts Commission partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring Poetry Out Loud to South Carolina high schools. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level, with winners from each classroom advancing to a school-wide competition and then to regional competitions. Regional winners advance to South Carolina's statewide competition. Ultimately, one student from each state will compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C.  

Virginia Uldrick, a towering figure in Greenville education and arts, has died

From The Greenville News Article by Paul Hyde

Virginia Uldrick, a towering and beloved figure in education and the arts in Greenville, has passed away.

Uldrick, a deep-voiced opera singer and choral director, founded the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities and the Greenville school district's Fine Arts Center.

She's also fondly remembered for creating and leading Greenville's "Singing Christmas Tree," which featured high school choristers singing in a huge Christmas tree-like structure.

"Her greatest contribution was her love of teaching and mentoring young artists as if she was sent from above to inspire generations of young people," said Ann Hicks, the former arts writer for The Greenville News.

Uldrick's career as a music teacher and educational leader spanned more than 50 years in Greenvile County before her retirement in 2003.

Uldrick started the "Singing Christmas Tree" in the 1960s, the Fine Arts Center in 1974, the six-week summer Governor's School in 1981 and, at age 70, the residential Governor's School in 1999.

She became the first president of the residential Governor's School after steadfastly advocating for the concept for 14 years. Earlier, she had led the Fine Arts Center, a magnet program, and taught music at Greenville High School.

Working with elected officials and community leaders to create the Fine Arts Center and later the Governor's School from scratch, Uldrick was a formidable force.

“She was determined and so committed to helping young people improve their education through the arts," said Dick Riley, the former U.S. secretary of education and South Carolina governor. "She influenced South Carolina and especially Greenville in a very big way. Everything she touched was beautiful and worthwhile. She was a wonderful person.”

Uldrick in 2014 was honored with Greenville's first statue of a woman: a representation of Uldrick conducting music students. The statue stands at the front of the Governor's School.

Uldrick had been in declining health for several months, friends said. Uldrick's death was confirmed by friends and the Governor's School as well as by her church, Buncombe Street United Methodist Church.

Myra Cordell, a close friend, said Uldrick died either late Tuesday or early Wednesday. She was believed to be 86 or 87 years old. Uldrick's family preferred not to take calls on Wednesday.

“Virginia Uldrick was a visionary music educator and arts educator, someone who really understood the value of arts education," said Cedric Adderley, current president of the Governor's School, located on the banks of the Reedy River. "Without her visionary leadership, we’d not have the Governor’s School or the Fine Arts Center.”

The child of a modest background, Uldrick was shy when she was young, Greenville News columnist Beth Padgett wrote in 2014. Uldrick was talented, however, and her dream was to become an opera singer. The irony is that the young girl who once was more comfortable with adults eventually became the adult who surrounded herself with children, Padgett wrote

Uldrick lost her shyness as she became more comfortable on stage, and after her graduation from Furman she went to the Chautauqua Institution to prepare for the title role in Puccini's "Tosca."

The most famous aria from that opera is "Vissi d'arte" — "I lived for art."


Cordell, a professional opera singer who in her teens sang at the top of the annual "Singing Christmas Tree," remembered Uldrick as someone who had the highest expectations of high school choral students who participated in the annual program.

“She had very high standards and she demanded a lot," Cordell said. "She was never mean or cruel, but she was strict. She made you want to do your best."

Uldrick, with her refined enunciation and upright posture, had a commanding presence whether working with high school singers or twisting arms in Columbia to obtain funding for arts schools.

"I remember one time when I was at a 'Singing Christmas Tree' rehearsal in high school, I was chewing gum, just chewing like a cow, and she walked up to me and put her hand under my chin and said, ‘Spit it out,'" Cordell said, with a laugh. "I don’t think I chewed a piece of gum for the next five years.”

Cordell also remembered Uldrick's warmth and generosity.

“She was fun and funny. Many people saw only the serious side," Cordell said. "But she could be hysterically funny. She was fine a human being.”

Cordell and Riley recalled how Uldrick worked tirelessly not only to raise private money to create the Governor's School but also relentlessly lobbied lawmakers in Columbia for support.

“Virginia just kept appearing in Columbia," Cordell said. “She would not give up. Her mission was young people. She had her detractors because she wanted things done. But she put Greenville on the map with the Fine Arts Center and Governor’s School.”

The Governor's School began as a summer program at Furman and later became a free, year-round residential high school open to all South Carolina students by audition.

Uldrick was the sort of woman who didn't take no for an answer, who lived in a man's world and succeeded, Greenville News reporter Lyn Riddle wrote in 2014. When her first principal in Greenville County offered her five cents for her music program in the 1950s, she went to a state senator and ended up with $3,000.

She didn't let anyone or anything stand in her way of ensuring a high-quality music education for her students. Not even football players' bad attitudes. To convince them music could help them on the field, she laid down on the classroom floor to demonstrate breathing from the diaphragm.

Uldrick led the Fine Arts Center and the Governor's School with unflagging energy, staying at work sometimes until 1 a.m., Cordell said.

Behind the scenes, Uldrick endured her full share of health challenges (cancer twice and back surgeries) and personal tragedies. Her son, Michael, died of cancer at age 17. Her husband, Marion, suffered a head injury in a fall and was incapacitated for five years before he died in 2005. Uldrick is survived by her daughter Lisa.

In addition to her other work, Uldrick also served as choir director at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church for several years.

"I don't know how she did everything she did," Cordell said.

Uldrick was the recipient of the state's highest honor for an artist, the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, as well as the state's highest civilian award, the Order of the Palmetto.

Funeral services for Uldrick were pending.

The Governor's School released a statement:

"The Governor’s School community is deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved founder, Dr. Virginia Uldrick. She was a passionate visionary and teacher, a respected and unifying leader, and a steadfast advocate for the arts. Thanks to Dr. Uldrick’s pioneering efforts, thousands of South Carolinians have benefited, and will continue to benefit, from arts education opportunities and Governor’s School programs. While we spend time honoring Dr. Uldrick’s legacy, our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

Author Jill McCorkle to judge SC Novel competition

Prize competition now open to all South Carolina writers – published and unpublished The South Carolina Arts Commission, the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, and Hub City Press announce author Jill McCorkle as the judge for the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize. McCorkle is the author of six novels, most recently Life After Life, and four story collections. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, four of her short stories have been selected for Best American Short Stories and one essay was selected for Best American Essays. She has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, and N.C. State, and currently teaches in the Bennington College Writing Seminars. The South Carolina Novel Prize (formerly the First Novel Prize) is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by McCorkle. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Submissions open January 1, 2018 and close March 15, 2018. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694