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North Charleston Arts Fest reveals 2020 design competition winner

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce Christine Bush Roman of Johns Island as the winner of the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest Poster Design Competition. Thumbnail version of "Oak Circus" by Christine Bush Roman. "Oak Circus" by Christine Bush Roman. Click image to enlarge. As the winner of the statewide contest, Bush Roman’s mixed media painting, titled "Oak Circus," will be used to promote the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest, taking place April 29-May 3. In addition, the artist was awarded a $500 cash prize and the piece has become part of the City of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection. "Oak Circus" was one of 75 entries by artists from 17 cities across South Carolina that were submitted for consideration for the 2020 North Charleston Arts Fest Poster Design Competition. Christine created the painting specifically for the Arts Fest using acrylic, ink, pastel, and fabric. “When beginning this piece, I knew I wanted to illustrate the vibrancy and emotion of all kinds of creators coming together to share their work,” Roman said. “I began the painting with the simplified image of an oak tree spreading its branches because the oak is such a well-known visual for the Lowcountry. The tree is also an iconic symbol across many cultures of growth, transformation, unity, and enlightenment. I wanted all the other elements of the painting to react to the tree. Setting the tone of celebration, the colors and rhythm hint at all of the different art forms highlighted during the North Charleston Arts Fest.” Most often inspired by ideas of our perception of self, her colorful and busy paintings reflect a compressed narrative of an ever-changing personality; acting as illustrations of an inner story full of ups and downs, constant change, and growth. Her works are about how we are constantly being shaped by where we live, people we know, and major life events. Christine currently creates in her home studio in Johns Island, SC, and instructs art classes for One HEART Connection and Art in the Park Art Lab, both in Charleston. To learn more about the artist, visit ChristineBushRoman.com. A collection of Bush Roman’s mixed media paintings, including her winning piece, "Oak Circus," will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout May 2020. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Dr. in North Charleston. Admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery during the North Charleston Arts Fest Opening Celebration & Artist Reception on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, from 6-8 p.m. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for purchase during the festival.


For more information about the North Charleston Arts Fest, other competition and exhibition opportunities, or festival sponsorship, on-site marketing opportunities, and program booklet ad placement, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843.740.5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.

Announcing the six recipients of the 2020 Verner Award

Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts to be presented in May

     
For Immediate Release COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s highest award for achievement in the arts is to be presented to six uniquely qualified arts practitioners and supporters announced today by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). The SCAC Board of Directors approved panel recommendations for the following recipients from their respective categories to be recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Dr. Philip Mullen, Columbia
  • ARTIST: Glenis Redmond, Mauldin
  • INDIVIDUAL: Mary Inabinett Mack, St. Helena Island
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Cindy Riddle, Campobello
  • BUSINESS: United Community Bank, Greenville
  • ORGANIZATION: Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston
“This year’s recipients represent the best of South Carolina. They are talented, successful, dedicated to giving of themselves to ensure everyone who wants to can benefit from access to the arts,” S.C. Arts Commission Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. “By taking our arts community to new levels, they are elevating our state as well. With the Verner Award, we celebrate their achievements and thank them for enriching life and culture here in South Carolina.” A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the board for final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation from each category.

The South Carolina Arts Awards

The Verner Awards will be presented with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards at the 2020 South Carolina Arts Awards on Wednesday, May 6 in a luncheon and ceremony at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and are to be available for purchase by mid-March.

About the Verner Award Recipients

Philip Mullen (Lifetime Achievement) has been a mainstay in the South Carolina arts scene since coming to Columbia to join the University of South Carolina faculty in 1969. Five of his works are included in the State Art Collection and others adorn the collections of Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, and McKissick Museum among others. He has had solo exhibitions in at least eight states and Washington since 1972. He is the only living South Carolina artist to have been featured, in 1975, in the prestigious Whitney Biennial by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, regarded as one of the world’s leading art shows. Poet and teaching artist Glenis Redmond has a love of words that’s taken her across the country and Atlantic Ocean to performances at the White House, Library of Congress and London. She is currently poet-in-residence at the Peace Center in Greenville and The State Theatre in New Jersey as well as a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. She is the founder of the Greenville Poetry Slam and co-founder of a youth poetry slam in Asheville, North Carolina. Her work with the Peace Center led to her founding in of Peace Voices, a poetry program dedicated to poetic outreach and engagement in the community, in 2011. As an ex-patriate South Carolinian in New York City, Mary Inabinett Mack became a registered nurse and psychiatric/mental health nursing instructor. She earned a certificate for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy and two National Institute for Mental health fellowships. Mack fed on the New York arts scene and came home to “her Gullah folk and the sweet, salty air of the Lowcountry” in 1977. The art retail business she started became Red Piano Too Art Gallery, a leading folk art gallery that launched the careers of many artists. The first female chair of the Penn Center’s board, she is a lifetime member of its advisory board and was inducted into its 1862 Circle for embodying the spirit of the center and advocating for the enduring history of the Lowcountry, civil rights, and reconstruction it celebrates. Cindy Riddle began teaching art in the Upstate in 1999. She worked at two schools before joining Spartanburg District One as a fine arts instructional coach for a year, then becoming the district’s coordinator for visual and performing arts, gifted and talented services. She is now an assistant superintendent in the same focus area. Riddle has national board certification in early and middle childhood art and is the current president of the South Carolina Education Association. She holds degrees from Anderson and Lander universities and Converse College and has been recognized six times with various awards for teaching. An artist and entrepreneur, she operates and creates and gives lessons from her Chicken Coop Art Company. Headquartered in Greenville and in operation for almost 70 years, United Community Bank has $12.9 billion in assets and operates 149 offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They abide by the Golden Rule, according to Chairman and CEO Lynn Harton, and are committed to maintaining extraordinary culture, creating meaningful relationships and earning the trust of customers, all with the goal of improving lives. Nominators and supporters of United Community Bank pointed to lengthy and generous support of South Carolina arts institutions like Artisphere and South Carolina Children’s Theatre in Greenville and Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. The support comes from not just funding, but also the investment of time and service by its associates. One of the Holy City’s most notable spaces, Charleston Gaillard Center provides the Lowcountry with a world-class performance hall, elegant venue space, and vibrant educational opportunities. A massive renovation project made possible by a $142 million public/private partnership created an iconic performance and event space appropriate for one of the world’s leading cities. In the last four years, Charleston Gaillard Center’s education and community program has provided arts-enhanced education programs to 130+ schools, covered the cost of transportation for 757 buses, and impacted more than 67,000 students in the tri-county region, all while remaining a 66% barrier-free program.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Correction

The initial version of this news release said Ms. Mack was first female member of the Penn Center board of directors. She was its first female board chair. The copy has been updated. (6 Feb. 2020, 10:44 a.m.)

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Furman English Professor Joni Tevis awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

(Ed. note: Consider this submission, with its rich context, an addendum to this story on The Hub last week.)


Joni Tevis, the Bennette E. Geer Associate Professor of English at Furman University, has been awarded a 2020 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA selected only 36 Fellows from a pool of nearly 1,700 applicants – just over 2 percent. The individual fellowships are valued at $25,000 and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Fellows are selected through an anonymous process and are judged on the artistic excellence of the work sample provided. Tevis earned the honor for her work of prose, “What the Body Knows,” found in the book, The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse, a collection of her writings published in 2015 by Milkweed Editions. “What the Body Knows” draws from Tevis’ journey with her spouse and a guide up the Canning River in the northeast reaches of Alaska, where, she says in her essay, there’s “no road but the river, and two weeks to reach the edge of the world.” The Canning flows 125 miles through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and spills into Camden Bay, which is fed by the Arctic Ocean. Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the NEA, said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support our nation’s writers, including Joni Tevis, and the artistry, creativity and dedication that go into their work.” Tevis says she is grateful to Furman for supporting her work and trips into the wild, and she says the fellowship did not come easily. For writers who have met rigorous publishing requirements in prose, the fellowship is offered every other year from the NEA. Tevis has applied seven times since 2007. “I’m so honored and humbled by this fellowship,” Tevis said. “I ask my students, as I ask myself: ‘What would you write if you knew you could not fail?’ I treasure this ‘yes’ after the six rounds of ‘no,’ but the ‘noes’ were useful too, because they spurred me on. We must never give up.” Tevis will apply the fellowship funds toward her next sabbatical, where she’ll finish her current book manuscript –“a book of nonfiction about creation, destruction and the music that sees us through,” she said. A winner of multiple awards, Tevis has been published in Oxford American, the Bellingham Review, Shenandoah, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and Orion, a literary journal focused on environmental themes, and where “What the Body Knows” also appeared. Formerly a park ranger, factory worker and purveyor of cemetery plots, Tevis teaches literature and creative writing at Furman and is the author of another acclaimed book of essays, The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory (2012, Milkweed Editions), her first book of nonfiction. She came to Furman in 2008 after serving as the Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She helped create the English department’s new writing track, which offers courses in nonfiction, fiction and poetry writing. Tevis holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and advanced degrees from the University of Houston.

Greenville writer wins NEA fellowship

More #SCartists good news before the weekend


Thursday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced a total of $1.2 million in fellowships to creative writers and translators, supporting both the development of new works of American literature and the translation into English of literary prose, poetry, and drama from writers around the world. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support our nation’s writers and translators and their efforts to expand our literary landscape through their artistry, creativity, and dedication,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts also announced the first round of FY 2020 grants for arts projects, which included 53 grants totaling $1,150,000 for literary publishing projects. Click here for The Hub's coverage and here for the NEA's announcement

Creative Writing Fellowships

Jodi Tevis headshotThe National Endowment for the Arts will award 36 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each, for a total of $900,000. Fellowships alternate each year between poetry and prose and this year’s fellowships are to support prose—works of fiction and creative nonfiction, such as memoirs and personal essays. The Arts Endowment received nearly 1,700 eligible applications, which were reviewed anonymously by a panel solely on the artistic excellence of the writing sample submitted. These fellowships allow recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Among them is Greenville writer Dr. Joni Tevis (right), an assistant professor of English at Furman University. Her bio on the Furman website says she is a creative writer with research interests in the essay, environmental writing, and atomic literature. Her first book of nonfiction, The Wet Collection, was published by Milkweed Editions. Since 1967, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than 3,500 Creative Writing Fellowships totaling over $55 million. Many recipients have gone on to receive the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction, such as Anthony Doerr, Louise Erdrich, Tyehimba Jess, Jennifer Egan, and Juan Felipe Herrera.

Literature Translation Fellowships

In fiscal year 2020, the National Endowment for the Arts will award 24 Literature Translation Fellowships of $12,500 each, for a total of $300,000. These fellowships will support the English translation of works from 19 countries including Brazil, Egypt, and Japan. Most of these fellowships are to translate works of award-winning and bestselling authors, many of whom have not yet been represented in English. Supported projects include a translation by Bill Johnston of the first two books in the novel cycle Nights and Days by Polish writer Maria Dąbrowska and a translation by Nancy Naomi Carlson of two poetry collections by Congolese author Alain Mabanckou. Since 1981, the Arts Endowment has awarded 504 fellowships to 445 translators, with translations representing 70 languages and 86 countries. Past recipients include Natasha Wimmer, whose fellowship supported her translation of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, and Jennifer Croft, whose fellowship supported her translation of Nobel Prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. Visit the Arts Endowment’s Literature Fellowships webpage to read excerpts by and features on past Creative Writing Fellows and Literature Translation Fellows.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Rucker, Twiggs headed to S.C. Hall of Fame

Induction ceremony is Feb. 7

Headshots of Darius Rucker, Dr. Leo Twiggs, and Evelyn Wright, the 2020 inductees of the South Carolina Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of WPDE and the Official South Carolina Hall of Fame Board of Trustees.
Two winners of the state's highest arts award will further live in infamy as members of South Carolina's Hall of Fame in Myrtle Beach. Darius Rucker (above, left) received the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts with his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates in 2016. Dr. Leo Twiggs (above, center) received it in 2017. Both awards were special awards for lifetime achievement. They will be enshrined with Evelyn Wright (above, right) on Feb. 7, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. in the ballroom of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center (2101 North Oak St.). The event is free and open to the public. Fittingly, the accomplishments of all three inductees are almost too numerous to list, and neither Rucker nor Twiggs need to be introduced to Hub readers (but we'll provide brief ones anyway):

National Association of Women Artists admits Heath Springs artist

The National Association of Women Artists, Inc. (NAWA) is pleased to announce that Fran Gardner of Heath Springs, has been accepted into membership, having met the standards required by the membership jury of NAWA. Gardner was inducted on Nov. 14 at the Rubin Museum in New York. In addition to this honor, her work is exhibited in the New Members Show that also opened on Nov. 14 at the NAWA Gallery, her first New York exhibit. She is a professor of art and art history at the University of South Carolina Lancaster where she teaches a variety of studio courses, art history, art appreciation, and art education. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College (1982) and later, her Master of Fine Arts from Vermont College of Norwich University (1993). Gardner stated, “This organization has a long and important history of supporting women artists. I am honored to be included in the membership of this group that continues to address the inequity of opportunities for women in the arts. I look forward to working with both the National Association and the South Carolina Chapter to open doors and break down barriers for women artists and to exhibit and present my work on regional and national levels in support of the NAWA mission.” Dean Dr. Walter Collins at UofSC Lancaster added that, “Prof. Fran Gardner has helped to create a dynamic culture of artistic expression, critique, and appreciation at UofSC Lancaster. Over the span of her career, we have seen interest in art courses grow which has served to diversify not only our academic offerings but our student body. The NAWA induction and her recent exhibition in their gallery space are such fitting honors and recognitions for Prof. Gardner and add esteem to both her national reputation and the influence of her scholarly work.”


The National Association of Women Artists, Inc. (based in New York City with a chapters in Florida, Massachusetts and South Carolina), is a source of culture and education through its active exhibition scheduled throughout the U.S. as well as in the NAWA Gallery. NAWA has a permanent collection at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and other educational opportunities to its members and the general public. Most NAWA members are listed in Who’s Who in American Art, and are represented in museums, galleries, corporate collections and traveling exhibitions through the U.S. and abroad. A non-for-profit, non-political member-supported organization of professional women in the Fine Arts, NAWA was founded in 1889 by five innovative women: Grace Fitz Randolph, Edith Mitchill Prellwitz, Adele Francis Bedell, Anita C. Ashley, and Elizabeth S. Cheever. The five founders were seeking exhibition opportunities for gifted artists who had been denied participation in the prominently male-dominated art institutions of the time. Early annual exhibitions included the notable Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valadon, and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. As the organization grew, Louise Nevelson, Judy Chicago, Janet Fish, Mariam Shapiro, Marisol, Audrey Flack, Faith Ringgold and many additional illustrious artists supported the organization. NAWA looks forward to new challenges for art in the 21st century and is committed to including its membership other accomplished women artists capable of significant contributions to the ongoing history of American Art. NAWA is archived in numerous museums and libraries throughout the U.S. Please visit the NAWA website for more event information, to download applications or to support the organization: www.thenawa.org.

Arts Access SC presented statewide award

United Cerebral Palsy of S.C. honors accessibility efforts

Arts Access SC Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepts the award from UCP.
Arts Access South Carolina was named "Community Partner of the Year" by United Cerebal Palsy of South Carolina at an awards reception Monday evening in Columbia. Arts Access SC Chairman LaMondre Pough makes remarks at the awards presentation.Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepted the award on behalf of Arts Access SC, a nonprofit organization that provides South Carolina children, youth, and adults with disabilities quality arts experiences, working with artists; educators; arts administrators; health, human, and social service professionals to establish inclusive spaces, programs, and communities dedicated to the arts and people with disabilities. (Arts Access SC is a South Carolina Arts Commission grantee.) Also present were other leaders of Arts Access SC, including Board President LaMondre Pough (at right with Brown-DuBose). This award started of a glittering week for the S.C. Arts Commission, which received a Grant Professionals of America award yesterday in Washington. UCP Director of Day Services Jocelin Jenkins (above, left) gave the following introduction in honor of Arts Access SC at the "Evening of Impact" annual awards reception:

"Arts Access South Carolina has partnered with UCP for at least five years.  However, Ms. Julia Brown developed her relationship with us prior to as a former member of the board for UCP.

As the executive director for Arts Access South Carolina, she has given us opportunities to work on various projects, lots of which the individuals had a first time experiencing. We started out with an eight-week photography class in which they had the chance to capture the beauty of Riverfront Park. Then we took a class with a florist and created our own floral arrangement at the end of the session. Following the florist was an artist who not only enhanced our painting and drawing skills, but also helped us with clay modeling and gardening.

These are a few of the many projects that have made an positive and creative impact on us at UCP. Outside of these projects, last year in 2018 Ms. Julia offered to match the donations we received from Midlands Gives for up to $1,500!  We then used that donation for more projects from Arts Access because we were so excited about the next projects to come. To this day, Ms. Julia still keeps in correspondence with us regarding new classes and furniture for the offices that she willingly donates to us. The love and support we have from Ms. Julia and the Arts Access of SC is sincere and genuine and the 'Community Partner of the Year award' is  truly deserved this evening. Congratulations."

Representatives from Arts Access SC gather for a photo at the awards reception.

S.C. Arts Commission to receive national grantmaking award

Grant Professionals Association to present award in November


OVERLAND PARK, KAN. – The Grant Professionals Association is announcing that the South Carolina Arts Commission was named its 2019 Grantmaker of the Year for the public sector. The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) is a +3000-member organization dedicated to promoting professionalism and ethics in the grant industry. Formerly known as the GPA Pioneer Award, the Grantmaker of the Year Award recognizes public funders (federal, state and local agencies) and private funders (family, community and corporate foundations) that have improved the way grant professionals do their work and acknowledges outstanding contributions to the field of grantsmanship. S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) Executive Director David Platts will accept the award for the agency Nov. 7, 2019 at the GPA Annual Conference in Washington. “It is so gratifying to receive recognition of this magnitude for the work we do supporting the arts and arts education in South Carolina. Grants from the arts commission ensure artists can commit to their chosen crafts and thrive artistically and make a living here, that our students reap the benefits of a rounded education including arts and creativity, and that all our citizens have access to the many benefits of the arts,” Platts said. In her nomination of the SCAC, Alicia Kokkinis of Charleston said the agency “provides 1:1 technical support throughout the grant making and grant management process. They are readily available by phone and email, which is unusual for a government organization. They develop relationships with potential and current grantees.  has a small staff, yet still makes the time to talk to potential and current grantees often. Artists are not typically grant professionals. meets potential grantees where they are without compromising accountability.”
About Grant Professionals Association The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) is an international membership association for everyone in the grants industry. GPA and its affiliates work to advance the profession, certify professionals, and fund professionalism. GPA offers continuing professional development through local chapter meetings, regular webinars, the GPA Journal, and an annual conference. The Grant Professionals Certification Institute oversees the GPC credential based on a body of knowledge for the profession. The Grant Professionals Foundation provides scholarships to individuals to advance their career. Find out more at GrantProfessionals.org. To find out more information about this award, including how to apply and information about previous winners, please visit: https://www.grantprofessionals.org/grantmakeraward
About the South Carolina Arts Commission With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

#SCartists sweep top prizes at WMAC’s first juried show

The first-place winner in West Main Artists Co-op’s first four-state juried art exhibit -- WMAC 2019 -- is Cindy Shute of Lockhart, SC, for her oil-on-linen painting Peacemaker: Hrair Balian. She receives a cash prize of $2,500 that was given in memory of Frank P. Cyrill, Jr. Second prize of $1,000 was taken by Gordon Dohm of Greenville for his photograph Fungi Fantasy. The third-place prize of $500 was won by Tracey M. Timmons of Spartanburg for Manacle of Justice, a bracelet made of vitreous enamel, copper, silver, brass, and photography. The seven merit awards of $100 and $250 went to Mark Flowers of Alexander, NC; Lee Sipe of Columbia; Sabrina Barilone of Macon, Georgia; Tom Dimond of Seneca; Christina Dixon of Roebuck; David Stuart of North Augusta; and Martha Worth of Hilton Head.


WMAC 2019 opened on Saturday, Sept. 14, and closes Saturday, Oct. 19. It was open to all adult visual artists in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Two-hundred-forty-one (241) artists from the four states applied, and 66 were admitted into the show based on the judgement of jurors Ann DerGara and  Mike Vatalaro. The winners were announced Saturday, Sept. 21, during a reception and awards ceremony. Seventy-four (74) works of art in this exhibit are on display at the Co-op, which is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no charge to see the exhibitions. In their jurors’ statements, DerGara said, “ I am amazed at the quality of work that was entered. I think that opening the show to additional states has made this become an important show for the region and Spartanburg. The arts are growing rapidly in the region and this show will make Spartanburg known as art venue as well as Asheville and Greenville. As the Arts grow so does the economy. WMAC produced this show and jury with professionalism and expertise.” "The very nature of a juried exhibition celebrates a broad range of medium and imagery. I enjoyed the task of identifying works that well represented the mediums chosen, techniques accomplished and the subjects investigated. The exhibition reveals a broad selection of work which I believe demonstrate an individual vision within both conventional and experimental genres. I was very impressed by the quality and richness demonstrated in all of the mediums displayed. I hope you will find each work invites close examination and has something unique to offer," Vatalaro said. A list of all accepted work can be found online at WestMainArtists.org. “We could not be happier with our first juried show,” Chairwoman Beth Regula said. “This is something we had wanted to do for several years, and it took more than a year of planning, but it was worth it. Having a show of this magnitude and with these cash prizes establishes West Main Artists Co-op as an art agency that is leading Spartanburg in its quest to be an art Mecca in South Carolina and throughout the South. It says we have the creativity, the know-how, the professionalism, the resources, and the desire to take the Co-op to the next level. Next year will be even better!”
“I’m so excited to be a part of WMAC’s world,” Shute said. “This first exhibition was as professionally conducted as I have ever seen. When I was told I was Best in Show, at the time, honestly, I was shocked. It’s not that I didn’t think my painting is good. As a professional artists mature, we know our good work from our less successful efforts—I think that’s a key part of being a professional. So I wasn’t surprised to have been included in the show. “When I arrived that evening and saw the body of work I was thrilled. Virtually every piece in the exhibition is good—very good. A couple of pieces took my breath away. So, I felt particularly honored to be included. With Peacemaker, I had pushed myself into a new space with portraiture. In my early work I tended to avoid background, contextual elements, thinking at the time that the subject should convey their story a priori—that the essence of the sitter should be codified in the presentation of their likeness, and if successful, the minimalist approach would say everything that needed to be said. So this new approach for me, including symbolic elements to tell the story, was a big leap. “I honestly feel validated,” she continued. “I wasn’t sure if the piece worked. So now I’m really charged up about this new direction, and ready to take on more portrait-stories. And I’m so very grateful to WMAC for giving me a big hug along the way!”
The Co-op is a membership-based nonprofit arts agency with more than 50 members, who are visual artists and performing artists. It is housed in a former Baptist church near downtown Spartanburg on West Main Street. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Co-op houses  31 artists studios, two stages, three galleries, a printery, a ceramics studio, and the largest collection of for-sale locally made art in Spartanburg. Each month, the Co-op normally installs three exhibits by its members and guest artists. For more, visit the Co-op's website by clicking here.

Nominations open for S.C.’s top arts awards

Let's honor exceptionalism in the arts

S.C. First Lady Peggy McMaster (L) and former SCAC Board Chairman Henry Horowitz (R) present the Verner and Folk Heritage awards to 2019 recipients in May 2019. S.C. First Lady Peggy McMaster (L) and former SCAC Board Chairman Henry Horowitz (R) present the Verner and Folk Heritage awards to 2019 recipients in May 2019.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22 August 2019 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission, in conjunction with its partners, wants to honor the next round of exceptional arts and folklife practitioners, professionals, and advocates in the Palmetto State. Eligible persons fitting those descriptions can now be nominated for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts or the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Both awards honor South Carolinians who create or support the arts, and both award programs use a simple, online nomination process. Nominations for both awards are due Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Both awards will be presented at the South Carolina Arts Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. An art sale and luncheon by the South Carolina Arts Foundation will follow the ceremony.

Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards

Nomination letters for Verner Awards should describe the nominee's exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina and should address any characteristics included in the category descriptions. The letter should answer these questions:
  • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
  • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
  • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state's highest award in the arts?
Verner Award nominations can be made in the following categories:
  • Arts in Education
  • Organization
  • Government
  • Business/Foundation
  • Individual
  • Artist
For complete nomination guidelines or more information about the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com, or contact Senior Deputy Director Milly Hough: mhough@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8698.

Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award

Created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. The S.C. Arts Commission partners with USC's McKissick Museum to manage the awards. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. Nominations are accepted in two categories:
  • Artists: South Carolina artists who have dedicated their lives to the practice of art forms that have been passed down through their families and communities and who have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive. Past awards have recognized art forms such as basket making, gospel singing, fiddling, hammock making and boat building.
  • Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups that have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.
Before submitting a nomination, you are strongly advised to contact Program Specialist for Community Arts & Folklife Dr. Laura Marcus Green to determine whether your nominee is eligible: lgreen@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8764. For more information about the Folk Heritage Award, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.