S.C. Arts Commission names Milly Hough deputy director

Milly Hough Photo by Emily Brown

After serving as communications director for nearly 11 years, Milly Hough has been named deputy director of the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Hough will work with Executive Director Ken May to develop and implement long-range and strategic plans, agency programs, events, and special projects. She will evaluate the impact of programs and oversee reporting requirements for national, regional and state stakeholders. Hough will also provide administrative and programmatic support to the Board of Commissioners, as well as to partnership organizations. “After a lengthy and thorough search process that attracted a large pool of well-qualified candidates, we chose Milly because of the outstanding combination of skills, knowledge, and experience that she brings to this assignment,” said May. “Her understanding of the agency’s work and her communications background will serve us well as we celebrate 50 years of public support for the arts and set ambitious new goals for the next decade. I very much look forward to working with Milly in her new role.” Before joining the Arts Commission in July 2006, Hough spent 20 years working in communications and fundraising positions for nonprofit organizations and state agencies, including as communications coordinator for the S. C. School Boards Association, director of external affairs for the S.C. Department of Archives and History, director of development for Baptist Medical Center Foundation and director of marketing and communications for the State Museum Foundation. She received her BA in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. “I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to expanding my range of responsibilities,” Hough said. “I’ve enjoyed my work at the Arts Commission, and I’m eager to take on this new leadership role.” For more information about the Arts Commission’s programs and services, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Anderson School District 2 builds strings program

The program structure is a combination of what the district learned by looking at other successful programs, such as Southwood Academy of the Arts (an Arts in Basic Curriculum site), in Anderson School District 5. From the Anderson Independent Mail Article by Frances Parrish; photos by Ken Ruinard

Southwood Academy of the Arts Emily Harris plays her violin during seventh-grade orchestra class at Southwood Academy of the Arts in Anderson. (Photo: Ken Ruinard/Independent Mail) Anderson School District 2 hopes to hit all the right notes with a new strings program it will introduced next school year. Rachael Brown of Honea Path is glad her fourth-grade daughter will be part of the strings program next year. "She was so excited. She approached me when she heard about it and said I had to sign her up," Brown said. "I love the music program. It gives them a good foundation." With a strong focus on the arts, an orchestra program has been a goal of Superintendent Richard Rosenberger's since the beginning of the school year. It will come to fruition in August, when the fifth-grade students get to walk into their strings classes for the first time. "It provides an incredible outlet for students, and strings is one more area, that may reach the kids, that hadn't been tapped into yet," Rosenberger said. The program structure is a combination of what the district learned by looking at other successful programs, such as Southwood Academy of the Arts in city of Anderson-based Anderson School District 5, and a districtwide parent survey. "We looked at the success at other districts and looked to see if we can model that," Rosenberger said. "We weren't sure if there was enough interest. So we did an exploratory search. If the interest was there, it was something we needed to pursue." He established a committee of district staff and teachers to research the feasibility of this program and if the district was large enough to sustain a strings program. The committee saw a strong response, with 42 students signing up, said Lana Major, director of instructional support services in District 2 and head of the committee. Next school year, the program will only include fifth-graders who will take classes twice a week. In the near future, Major said the program is expected to expand to fourth-graders as well as sixth-grade and then up through the higher grades. To answer questions about  scheduling, recruitment, instruments and pitfalls, district officials met with Jamie Smith,  principal of Southwood Academy. "Anytime you add something new, you worry about it taking away from another program," Smith said. "The big thing is to get the kids involved who aren't already." Being a part of a group such as an orchestra not only gives them skill sets, but helps keep students involved in school so they are less likely to drop out, educators said. "It allows them the chance to be in something bigger than themselves," Smith said. When fourth-grader Addie Grace Sanders came home from Wright Elementary School in District 2 one day, she put a piece of paper with detailed information about a new strings program on the refrigerator, excited to pick her own instrument. Though her mother, Laurie Townsend-Sanders, long ago quit playing the piano, she treasures the skills learned from those childhood lessons and wants the same for her daughter. "I am thankful I can read music," Townsend-Sanders said. "I want her to have that skill set." The District 2 program is similar to District 5's in that the classes will start in elementary school, which some parents like. "It makes our children more well-rounded," said Townsend-Sanders. "And if they learn it at a younger age, they are more likely to embrace it at a younger age." And parents are looking forward to what their children will learn. Townsend-Sanders said she's excited for her daughter to learn first hand that practice makes perfect, for her to learn to work as part of a team and to love music. "I hope she gets the appreciation of classical music and instruments," Townsend-Sanders said. Image above: (Photo: Ken Ruinard/Independent Mail)

Keeper of the Gullah culture Joseph ‘Crip’ Legree dies

Remembering Joseph Legree, recipient of the 2009 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. From The Island Packet Column by David Lauderdale

Beaufort County — and, in fact, America — lost a piece of its fabric Friday when one of the last Gullah cast net makers died on St. Helena Island. Joseph Legree Jr., 92, died March 17 at his daughter’s house next to his blue cinderblock home on Seaside Road, where he would sit barefooted on a screened porch, his long fingers “building” cotton nets that would last a lifetime. The tall, thin man was known as “Crip” because he broke a leg as a child on remote St. Helena and walked with a slight limp. He was known as “Cap’n Crip” because he was a waterman most of his days — fishing, crabbing, shrimping and picking oysters. Some called him “Mr. Crip” out of respect. In 2009, he received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award from the S.C. Arts Commission, the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, and the General Assembly — recognizing lifetime achievement in the folk arts. He was feted at the museum on the USC Horseshoe, and was recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives for preserving the cultural values and traditions of his Gullah ancestors. “My heart was full,” he said. He is to be inducted into the Penn Center’s 1862 Circle in April. Legree learned to make nets in a bateau at high tide, while waiting for another crack at the oyster beds. He learned from another St. Helena resident, Harry Owens, in a bateau made by Eddie Holmes. And so it went, generation after generation, all the way back to Western Africa. Even as fewer people went into the river, and those who did were armed with filament cast nets made in China, Legree labored the old way to produce practical works of art that could sell for $150 at the Penn Center gift shop on St. Helena. He also contributed to oral histories by demonstrating his craft and explaining it in his fast, Gullah tongue. Legree hung his handiwork from a nail on the porch, and with two small pieces of equipment in his long fingers — one like a large plastic needle and the other like an oversized emery board — he turned a spool of cotton string into a net 4- to 6-feet tall, with diameters of 8 to 12 feet. The nets were seen as a delicate link to an era when Sea Island craftsmen made their own tools, clothes, cuisine, bateaux, music, baskets, stories, songs, churches, homes, medicine and, sometimes, whiskey. It was a day of steady midwives, powerful deacons, roaming livestock, marsh tacky horses, rocking praise houses, sultry juke joints and bateaux pulled across entire sounds by oars. In Legree’s era, the Gullah were in the river for subsistence — for their families, and elderly neighbors. It also could turn a little profit. He sold the crab, clams and oysters. The fish and shrimp were for the families that still live in compounds across the rural St. Helena Island. Legree was born April 4, 1924, the second of Joseph Legree Sr. and Geneva Brown Legree’s 14 children. He left the Frogmore School after third grade to work in the fields to help his family survive. By age 17, he was a waterman, but he also planted crops and worked on the construction of Beaufort Memorial Hospital. His daughter, former Beaufort County tax assessor Bernice Wright, said Legree and his siblings were known for singing. He sang as he built his nets. She said that after being treated for the broken leg at age 9, her father never had to see a doctor again until he was in his 70s. He outlived two wives, and was then known for taking in people who had nowhere else to live, and driving the elderly to Beaufort to run errands in his 1987 Cadillac Brougham. He had a sharp memory and helped the family with reunions and recording family history. He was known as a quiet, gentle, no-nonsense man. Ervena Faulkner of Port Royal nominated Legree for the statewide award. She said at the time he was “a graduate of the school of common sense, hard work and high standards.” She said he was true Gullah: “Very wise, very observant.” The funeral service is to be held at noon Wednesday, March 22, at Bethesda Christian Fellowship on St. Helena Island. Visitation is 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Allen Funeral Home Chapel, 1508 Duke St. in Beaufort.

White House proposes to eliminate National Endowment for the Arts

This morning, the White House released its executive budget proposal, which calls for the elimination of all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the very beginning of the budget process. It’s important to note that the President does not set the federal budget, Congress does. An executive budget proposal is exactly just that, a proposal. But at the same time, the Administration’s proposal can be influential to members of Congress. The South Carolina Arts Alliance has published several talking points and action steps for arts advocates.

Celebrating 50 years!

From April 2017 through June 2018, the South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. The 50th anniversary celebration includes kick-off events in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, plus 15 months of exhibitions and performances showcasing the arts around the state. The first event is April 5 - the April Showers Art Party! Check out the calendar of events and stay tuned for updates! Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission. Also shown, Nick Zeigler, left and Marvin Trapp. Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission. Also shown, Nick Zeigler, left and Marvin Trapp. On June 7, 1967, Governor Robert E. McNair signed legislation creating the South Carolina Arts Commission, beginning a new era of public support for the arts in the Palmetto State. The legislation declared that the State of South Carolina would ensure that the arts “continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens." For 50 years, the Arts Commission has joined with individuals, institutions and professional organizations to advance the state’s commitment to create a thriving arts environment that benefits all citizens. “The Arts Commission’s longevity is due in part to years of bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Executive Director Ken May. “Our state legislature recognizes that the people and communities they serve benefit in many ways from their investment in the arts, and they understand that the return includes a creative industry with a core impact of $9.2 billion and 78,682 jobs. That represents approximately $400 million in tax revenue.” Artists and arts professionals are the workforce of the South Carolina’s creative industries.  “The artists and organizations providing arts experiences in cities, towns and rural communities enhance the quality of life and produce economic activity,” said May. “They also attract visitors and tourists who shop, eat and stay overnight.” State support for the arts has also paid off in the classroom. “Since 1987, the Arts Commission has strategically invested in arts education, providing grants and leadership through the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, to enable schools to implement the arts as part of the core curriculum,” said May. “Research shows that the arts help young people learn critical thinking, communication, creativity and perseverance -- skills they need to be successful in work and life. The state’s commitment to arts education pays dividends in the form of our state’s future workforce.” The future of the arts will be a theme throughout the anniversary. “The anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished with 50 years of uninterrupted state support for the arts, and we have a great deal to celebrate,” said May. “The anniversary year is also an opportunity to plan for the future. The Arts Commission’s ongoing work, along with upcoming new programs, will help connect artists to additional sources of small business capital, establish the arts as economic drivers in rural communities, and assist arts organizations with professional development needs as a wave of baby boomers retires. We are poised to make the most of the next 50 years of public support for the arts.” For more information about the 50th anniversary, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com/50.

Pat Conroy Literary Center: Poets Respond to Race

From The Island Packet Column and photo by David Lauderdale Can We Talk About Race? Poets talk about race Barbara Hood Laurie of Beaufort brought a student newspaper of 1971 to the Poets Respond to Race reading and community discussion on Feb. 20, 2017, at Grace Chapel AME Church in Beaufort. It was the first public program of the year for the new Pat Conroy Literary Center. Somehow, I knew we’d end up holding hands. For 90 minutes, we had been comfortable on our red pew cushions in the Grace Chapel AME Church in Beaufort — listening to some uncomfortable words. This gathering was about race, told through the taut words of poetry. And it was about Pat Conroy, who would have appreciated any afflicting of the comfortable that took place. It was the first event of the year for the new Pat Conroy Literary Center down the street. Poetry was chosen because poetry made the rivers of words flow from Conroy, who died almost a year ago. Race was chosen because Conroy was a champion for racial equality. His adulthood began just as institutional segregation began squealing to a stop like a rusty locomotive. Poets Al Black of Columbia and Bamberg native Len Lawson led the event, as they have done in similar “Poets Respond to Race” gatherings around the region. They wanted to stir up a conversation “people don’t usually have in mixed company.” One after another, seven poets read words crafted to cut sharp and deep. Al Black’s “bones of souls that line the ocean floor” jerked our comfortable minds to the middle passage of the slave trade. The words of University of South Carolina Beaufort professor Ellen Malphrus took us into the custodian’s closet downstairs at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. She wrote of the mop that would soak up the blood when nine people were killed in a racially motivated massacre almost two years ago. Quitman Marshall of Beaufort told of this high school classmate, the late Lee Atwater, who exploited racial divides in his political strategies. Susan Madison of St. Helena Island wrote of a history that “both haunts us and emboldens us.” Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s first poet laureate, said we use language to divide us — words like Democrat, Republican, tall, short. He wondered who decided to call us black and white, when he looks down and sees brown. “I am not black or white,” he said. “I am awake.” State poet laureate Marjory Wentworth of Mount Pleasant read “One River, One Boat.” She wrote it for the 2015 governor’s inauguration but it tackled the Confederate flag, and she was told there was not enough time at that long ceremony for her to read it. Wentworth was called on to write a poem about the Emanuel 9 two days after it happened, and to do it in a day. She fashioned it as a prayer called “Holy City” and called on the words of the slain pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney of Ridgeland: “Only love can conquer hate.” An Englishman choked up when he stood to tell about losing his wife, overcoming cancer, and searching around town for a church when he was welcomed with open arms at Grace Chapel AME. It’s not a place where white people usually go. But they did on this night. And they heard Barbara Hood Laurie praise the poets for their ability to clearly articulate “feelings we all have had.” She said she was a high school senior when integration was forced on Beaufort, and three high schools were merged in 1971. She was angry at missing her long-anticipated senior year at Robert Smalls High. She brought a student newspaper from 1971 that her mother had saved because it had a story in it about Conroy being fired from his job teaching on Daufuskie Island. “This is 1971, but so many things are still the same,” she said. But to her, the poets offered a release valve and a way to healing. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Jeannine Smalls, said her granddaughter had been traumatized by the Emanuel 9 shootings. She feared white people would come to shoot black people. “Our grandchildren need to see us mingling together,” Smalls said. Poet Al Black said 400 years of purposeful, institutionalized racism has only one antidote. “We need to desegregate our living room couches and backyard barbecues,” he said. “You’ve got to invite them. The only way to do this is purposeful action.” Someone called for a photograph to be taken of the integrated crowd in a “black” church. Then we held hands.

Jackie Adams joins Columbia Museum of Art as director of education & engagement

Jackie AdamsJacqueline “Jackie” Adams, former lecturer and gallery director of the Goodall Gallery at Columbia College, has been chosen as the Columbia Museum of Art’s new director of education & engagement, a position previously held by Kerry Kuhlkin-Hornsby. Adams joined the CMA in mid-February. As director of education & engagement, Adams will oversee educational programming, community outreach, and engagement initiatives for youth, students, schools, families, and adult audiences at the museum. “Joining the innovative team at the CMA as it prepares to undergo major renovations offers the ability to introduce new ideas in the areas of arts education that will shape a premier teaching museum for all,” says Adams. “South Carolina is looking toward the future, and the capacity for the CMA to meet an individual’s lifelong learning needs holds great potential and opportunity – one that I am beyond thrilled to be an integral part of.” Adams brings to the CMA her passion and talent for cultivating the critical connections among artists, arts, and audience. She has an extensive background in arts education with over 20 years’ experience teaching South Carolina students from kindergarten to college. Skilled at outreach and collaboration, Adams has a strong track record of fostering fruitful relationships between students and artists through which the community itself benefits. Through her leadership over the last 11 years, the Goodall Gallery program has grown to become a significant contributor to Columbia’s growing and vibrant arts scene. As creative director of Columbia College’s Georgia O’Keeffe Centennial, Adams facilitated dynamic partnerships among Columbia College, the CMA, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, SC Educational Television, and numerous other organizations and individuals. “The CMA has built an award-winning arts education program and offers many successful engagement opportunities for adult and senior audiences,” says Joelle Ryan-Cook, CMA deputy director and director of external affairs. “I am proud of the work the very talented education and engagement department has achieved and also very excited to include Jackie’s fresh insight into the work we do. We were honored to work closely with Jackie during the Georgia O’Keeffe Centennial in 2015 and knew right away that she was exactly the right leader for this key position as we begin our renovation project this spring.” For more information, visit columbiamuseum.org.


Aiken Elementary students work up a STEAM through dance, movement

From The Aiken Standard Article and photo by Larry Wood
Math plus movement equaled a fun way for Aiken Elementary students to learn about fractions. Working with Gail Glover Faust for two weeks, the students used dance and movement to explore math and science concepts. Fifth-graders learned about force and motion, and third- and fourth-graders focused on fractions, incorporating the arts with science, technology, engineering and math, or STEAM. “For the fifth-graders, I used the elements of dance – walk, run, hop, skip, jump – to teach force and motion,” said Faust, who is an Artist in Residence with the S.C. Arts Commission in Columbia. “With the fourth-graders, we compared fractions, and with the third graders, I introduced them to fractions: how to add them, how to compare them, how to subtract them.” To teach students the difference between numerators and denominators, Faust created a special fraction dance. “When I say numerator, you go high,” Faust said, and the students jumped as high as they could. “When I say denominator, you go low,” Faust said, and the students knelt down close to the floor. “And in the middle, the dividing line, the dividing line,” Faust sang, and the students swayed side to side with their arms stretched out to make the line between numerator and denominator. “They loved that one,” Faust said. “They had fun. They’re engaged. They’re remembering. Through dance and movement, it’s being imprinted upon them what a numerator is and what a denominator is.” Faust also had the third- and fourth-graders form human fraction strips, with half the students sitting down and the other half standing, to learn how different fractions – one-half or three-sixths, for example – can look the same. “The students become the tools for learning,” Faust said. “When our bodies become the tools, then it’s so much easier to translate the math and the science. You can actually act it out and make it come to life.”
Annie Laurie Matson, Aiken Elementary’s music teacher, said the dance project allowed students to have fun and learn about science and math while meeting state requirements for dance in elementary schools.
“We did a study that showed that dance was not being addressed in our school, and there are standards in South Carolina for dance education,” said Matson who applied for an Innovative Arts Works Grant from the S.C. Department of Education to bring Faust to Aiken Elementary. “Kids need to move, and it’s also another way for kids to think creatively and outside the box.” Matson, a member of the Standards Writing Committee for South Carolina, said the committee’s members are working to address how students learn in all areas of the arts and how they can be incorporated into a STEAM education. “The skills for the 21st century will require kids to work together collaboratively and to use lots of different skills creatively. Most of theses kids will have jobs that don’t even exist right now and we can’t even imagine,” Matson said. “While our students might not be dancers and we’re not trying to make everybody a dancer or a musician or an artist, we want them to have those skills, appreciate them and have them in their lives.”

South Arts launches Southern Prize cash award and Fellowships for visual artists

Application deadline: March 1 Atlanta – South Arts is now accepting entries for the first annual Southern Prize and State Fellowships, offering nine individual artists cash awards up to $30,000; the contest is open to artists living in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. One fellowship will be awarded to an individual artist in each state with a cash prize of $5,000. The state fellows will then be in competition for the Southern Prize grand prize and second prize of an additional $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. “Our region is home to deep artistic talent deserving additional recognition and support,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “We are launching the Southern Prize to celebrate the diverse range of expression in our region, from the traditional arts handed down across generations to the new creative processes coming from our technology centers.” Artists may apply for the Southern Prize until March 1 through southarts.org/southernprize. Artists specializing in crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed media styles are eligible. “The Southern Prize will impact the careers of artists in our region,” continued Surkamer. “These fellowships and awards will be part of the support system allowing artists in the South to make a living in our region. A panel of expert judges will adjudicate submissions, and the state fellowships will be awarded in mid April. The grand prize and second prize will be announced at an awards dinner on April 24. The Southern Prize is supported by South Arts’ member state arts agencies, MailChimp, and individuals, and powered by The Hambidge Center. South Arts also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Via: South Arts

ABC Project website gets a makeover

ABC-Logo-r2The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project website (ABCProjectSC.com) has been transformed with a new design and streamlined content and will now serve as a digital hub for arts education in South Carolina. The new site includes an arts education calendar, a news portal, and resources for current and future ABC sites – schools and districts that receive ABC Advancement grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission. The website also features a directory of all ABC sites that can be sorted by county, district, or grade level. “Schools and districts become ABC sites by going through a rigorous arts strategic planning process to implement standards-based arts curriculum and integrate the arts into daily classroom instruction,” said ABC Project Director Christine Fisher. “The new website will support the work of arts educators and make it easier for parents, business leaders and community members to learn about arts education and ABC sites in their communities.” S.C. Arts Commission Arts Education Director Ashley Brown says the new website will also enhance the ABC Project’s national profile. “South Carolina moved to the frontlines of the national arts education movement by launching the ABC Project in 1987,” says Brown. “We’ve made great strides in 30 years, and now we are focused on the next level of arts education reform. Our goal is to activate the arts to ensure all students gain the vital skills needed for the 21st century, including critical thinking, creativity, and communication. This website will support that goal with quality arts lesson plans, a blog featuring national arts education experts, grants and resources, and professional development videos for educators. The site will serve as a national model for the intersection of arts and technology.” The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project provides leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education (which includes creative writing, dance, design, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts) for all students in South Carolina. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. For more information about the ABC Project, visit www.ABCProjectSC.com. For more information about S.C. Arts Commission programs and services, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.