Tuning Up: Literally (spoiler: it’s about orchestras)

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


This morning we offer some news and notes from South Carolina orchestras. ICYMI: Three Mor-ihiko Years. The South Carolina Philharmonic announced a three-year contract extension for Music Director Morihiko Nakahara this week, keeping him in Columbia into (at least) 2022 for a total of (at least) 14 seasons. The Free Times caught up with the well-traveled maestro, who begins his 11th season, and the orchestra's 55th, Saturday, Sept. 29. Rock Hill Symphony debuts tomorrow night. Literally. As in, first-ever concert, not just new season. Pianist Marina Lomazov (an SCAC music performance fellowship recipient) is the featured soloist for the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto on Music Director David Rudge's premiere program, which also offers works by Berlioz, Rimsky-Korsakov, Smetana, and more. It is sold out (and has been), but check out the first season's offerings here. Season's greetings! Rock Hill joins 10 other professional orchestras in South Carolina. September and October are typically when orchestra season gets going. Here are start dates for others from around the Palmetto State: Did you have any idea South Carolina has so many orchestras? This doesn't even count the college and community orchestras. All 10 listed above will receive operating support (or more) from the S.C. Arts Commission in FY19.

Blind Columbia artist develops “paint Braille system”

Today's feel-good story comes courtesy of ColaDaily.com's Karamie Sullivan, and we couldn't wait to share it. Ron Ferguson, the "Grit Man" A Columbia area visual artist who taught art in Hampton after serving in the Navy has complete vision loss in one eye and sees only "glimmers of light" in his other. But it's not stopping Ron Ferguson's creative pursuits in painting, drawing, and 3D art.

“One day I said, I’m going to be determined to not let this stop me from doing the thing I’m so passionately in love with. Art is my life,” he said.

Ferguson developed a "paint Braille system" that allows him to identify primary paint colors. Knowing those, he can mix them to create other colors. Read more about the "Grit Man" on ColaDaily.com.

Tuning Up: Fellowship opportunities + S.C. Arts Awards

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Forgive us if this is a little self-indulgent, but we have some reminders for you today.

We're looking for some jolly good fellows.

Individual Artist Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists. Fellowship awards of $5,000 are made through a highly competitive, anonymous process and are based on artistic excellence only. The fellowship awards bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. (There is a long list of accomplished fellowship recipients here.) Applications are now open for FY2020. The disciplines in the rotation are:
  • Visual Arts
  • Craft
  • Music: Composition
  • Music: Performance
Each category will have one recipient if enough applications are received.

Recognize outstanding achievement in the arts

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts These annual awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards Also presented annually, these awards honor practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. These awards are in partnership with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum.

Recognize a local arts hero with an S.C. arts award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 August 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – Not all heroes wear capes, goes the internet meme. Indeed, you can find some in tutus, smocks, business attire, concert black, stage makeup, or even a t-shirt and jeans. And your local arts hero 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 Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Awards will be presented in the spring.


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/verner, or contact 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 Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director 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/folkheritage.
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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

SCAC’s Goldstein to receive Governor’s Award in the Humanities

S.C. Humanities has announced that four outstanding individuals will receive the prestigious 2018 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities.  The honorees are:

  • Anne Cleveland, director of the Charleston Library Society;
  • Bobby Donaldson, historian and educator;
  • Sara June Goldstein, literary arts advocate;
  • and Cecil Williams, celebrated South Carolina photographer.
SC HumanitiesAdditionally, in 2018, S.C. Humanities established the new “Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award” to recognize individuals who are working in unique and innovative ways to use culture and history to bring people together, but whose efforts have gone relatively unnoticed beyond their own community. The winners for the inaugural year of this award are: Anna Catherine (AC) Parham, for her work in bringing humanities-based education opportunities to victims of violence and her work with youth as an Obama Foundation Leadership Corps member, and Adrienne Burris, the founder and director of Greenville Wordsmiths, a nonprofit that empowers kids ages 7-14 to discover and share their voices through the craft of writing. The Governor’s Awards in the Humanities Luncheon will be held Thursday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St.) in Columbia. Table sponsorships are available, as well as individual tickets. To reserve one or more tables or to purchase individual tickets, call the office at 803.771.2477 or make a secure, online payment here.  The 2017 event was sold out.
Sara June Goldstein is literary arts director and senior coordinator of statewide partnerships at the S.C. Arts Commission.  A graduate of Columbia College, in 1987 Goldstein joined the Arts Commission staff as a temporary project coordinator for Carolina Connections, a one-of-a-kind festival celebrating writers with ties to the Palmetto State. That began a 30-year career advocating for the contemporary literature of South Carolina as well as building and supporting partnerships that highlight poets and writers – and other artists and communities – throughout the state. Some of the most notable and innovative partnerships include The Art of Community:  Rural SC, the S.C. Novel Prize with Hub City Press, the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project, Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholars Program with The Riley Institute at Furman, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission Partnership, the South Carolina Literary Arts Partnership, and the South Carolina Design Arts Partnership.  Through these programs, Goldstein has developed a national network of writers, artists, scholars, and publishing professionals who are increasingly familiar with the work of South Carolina authors and have a deeper appreciation of the rich diverse expression and culture of the state. A native of Rock Hill, Goldstein and her family are long-time residents of Columbia.

2005 Fellowship recipient Bren McClain a fiction award finalist

Bren McClain, who was the S.C. Arts Commission's prose fellow in 2005, is a finalist for the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. From Authorlink Writers & Readers Magazine:

The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction announced its shortlist today.  The annual award is given to a writer whose work is set in the South, exemplifies the tenets of Southern literature—quality of prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters—and reflects, in the words of its namesake, Willie Morris, “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.”

The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip for the winner to New York City for the reception and ceremony, which will be held on Monday, October 22nd, 2018. The award is sponsored by Reba and Dave Williams.

Congratulations, Bren! Read more about Bren in her excellent website bio.

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Wheel Sessions: Greenville’s Underground Jazz Series

“Wheel Sessions” is a jazz performance series in Greenville with performances for an intimate listening audience on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. The first 41 Wheel Sessions were held at their namesake venue, the Wheel, a shared arts space in West Greenville’s Arts District. Wheel Sessions host and resident drummer Kevin Korschgen transformed that location, filled with funky comfortable furniture, into a “groovy” underground jazz club not unlike one you might find in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Set as theater in the round, that intimate space played an important role in establishing a unique Wheel Session brand. However, the true success of the sessions is in the music! Sadly, the Wheel no longer exists – but the sessions continue to thrive. The Wheel Sessions enjoy an enthusiastic and supportive fan base. Whether billed as a House Party, held in a local club, or in its soon to be home, the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (GUUF), the Wheel Sessions are a must see and hear event. Mr. Korschgen consistently books many of the Carolina’s finest jazz musicians for the sessions, extending them complete artistic license to perform as if they where in Village. Until you have attended a Wheel Session it is hard to imagine such creative jazz brewing in the Upstate. For information on upcoming shows, visit wheelsessions.com.


Next event

Wheel Session 48 Thursday, July 26, 2018 Justin Ray Quartet 7:30-9:30 p.m. … doors open at 7 p.m. Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 1135 State Park Rd., Greenville, SC 29609 Admission $15 (Cash only) To reserve a seat, phone or text 312.520.2760 or email Kevin at kmkorschgen@gmail.com.
Header photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

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Furman tenors shine at national competition in Las Vegas

After impressive performances at both state and regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competitions held earlier this year, two Furman University vocalists made the best of opportunities to compete on the national stage. Tyrese Byrd, a junior vocal performance major from Williamston and Bergsvein Toverud, a senior music education major from Lenoir, N.C., competed in the semifinals and finals of the National Student Auditions, part of the 55th NATS competition held June 22-26 in Las Vegas. The tenors won third place in their divisions at the event where they competed among 200 vocalists. Before getting a chance to compete in the semis, the two were required to submit YouTube videos for the preliminary round. (View them here: Toverud | Byrd)  Having made the cut, which included the top 14 in their respective divisions, the tenors matriculated to the live semifinal round where they continued to shine. Only the top three or four singers in each category from the semifinals advanced to the live, national final. “Tyrese and Bergsvein were the only two tenors competing in the college classical competition at this level. This is remarkable considering the size of our music program. It says a lot about the type of student and level of talent we have here, ” Furman Professor of Voice Grant Knox said. Knox believes no other school came away with two finalists at the competition. And besides acknowledging the raw talent students brought to the event, Knox gives a nod to Furman. “These types of successes would not be possible without Furman’s support and encouragement. These students come to Furman because they feel the university values music and the arts. I look forward to celebrating more achievements like these in the years to come,” he said.


For more information, contact Grant Knox at 864.294.3034 and grant.knox@furman.edu.

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Verner Award recipient Leo Twiggs a finalist for 1858 Prize

The Gibbes Museum of Art and Society 1858 have announced the 2018 short list of finalists for the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. The five artists selected for the short list are:

  • María Magdalena Campos-Pons,
  • Stephen Hayes,
  • Birney Imes,
  • Leo Twiggs,
  • and Susan Worsham.
The 1858 Prize, awarded annually with a cash prize of $10,000, acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. Nearly 250 artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia submitted applications to the 2018 competition. The finalists were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including:
  • Bo Bartlett, artist, 2017 winner of the 1858 Prize;
  • Liza Cleveland, Society 1858 board member;
  • Adam Justice, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, The Mint Museum;
  • Anja Kelley, Society 1858 board member;
  • Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art;
  • Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions, Gibbes Museum of Art;
  • and Caroline Wright, Independent Curator and Co-founder of look-see.co.
The 1858 Prize winner will be announced by the Gibbes Museum in August.

Four artists honored with S.C. Arts Commission fellowships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 June 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina artists in Charleston, Horry, Richland and Spartanburg counties representing four arts disciplines received individual artist fellowships after approval by the S.C. Arts Commission board in Columbia. All individual artists working in prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting were invited to apply for awards for fiscal year 2019. The S.C. Arts Commission board approved $5,000 fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select these fellows after  reviewing anonymous work samples:

  • Rutledge Hammes of Charleston County for prose,
  • Stephen Tulloh of Spartanburg County for poetry,
  • Paul Kaufmann of Richland County for theatre acting,
  • and Kevin Ferguson of Horry County for theatre playwriting.
Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. They are awarded through a competitive, anonymous process and based solely on artistic excellence. Recognition from fellowship awards often lends artistic prestige and opens doors to other resources and employment opportunities. “Past fellows are quick to share stories about the transformative difference award dollars make and the positive effect on their spirits and their self-perception,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “It can truly be a life-changing experience. South Carolina’s artists are indispensable contributors to quality of life in our communities and make up the core of our creative economy. A fellowship is one of the best ways the people of South Carolina thank them, and our agency is proud to deliver these tokens of gratitude on their behalf.” The panelists who judged each discipline’s nominees work in those disciplines elsewhere. This year’s prose judge was Jamey Hatley of Memphis, Tenn., an author who received a prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016. The poetry judge was poet Shane McCrae of New York City, an NEA poetry fellow and writing professor at Columbia University. Nancy Rominger of Montgomery, Ala., director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, served as the theatre acting judge. The theatre playwriting judge was Betty Peterson, an English professor at Somerset (Ky.) Community College. Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists who work in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: visual arts, craft, and music performance or composition, will be honored in fiscal year 2020. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the S.C. Arts Commission. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grants/artists/fellowships.shtml.

About the FY2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship Recipients

PROSE F. RUTLEDGE HAMMES | Charleston County “What I write, at its very best, is some illegitimate hybrid of South American magical realism and Southern Gothic I like to think of as Southern Fabulism,” Rutledge Hammes says of the sum of his prose. Hammes, who lives in Charleston, is the writer-in-residence and creative writing teacher for the Charleston County School of the Arts. His students, throughout a 10-year tenure, have accounted for more than 3,500 regional and national writing awards. The city’s 2011 “Best Up-and-Coming Writer” is co-author of two published novels. His first solo novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, is to be published under his name this September. He is the winner of six ADDY Awards for copywriting and winner of the Cypress Dome Fiction Awards. His talent extends to poetry, where he was a finalist for both the Montage Poetry Award and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Award for Poetry. POETRY STEPHEN TULLOH | Spartanburg County Stephen Tulloh received his MFA in creative writing from the University of South Carolina. The Spartanburg resident has spent time as a tutor and instructor on the collegiate level, where he develops and implements subject- and student-centered courses which nurture creativity, empowerment, self-actualization. As a writer, though, Tulloh considers himself versatile and meticulous as he creates essays, books, and articles for traditional or digital publication. He blogs and has three credits to his name: two out-of-print collections of essays, activities, and lectures on communication and writing; and 2009’s Symmetry, described as “retrospective, introspective, emotive, and somewhat innovative, the poems and drawings in Symmetry focus on two siblings' relationships – with nature; with one another; with family, friends and foes.” THEATRE: ACTING PAUL KAUFMANN | Richland County Though an actor for most of his life, Paul Kaufmann is a multi-faceted artist: playwright, songwriter, fiction and copy writer, and a visual artist. A resident of Columbia with a bachelor’s in communications from Florida State University, he is a veteran of the city’s theatre scene, serving as a cast member in stage productions at Trustus Theatre and at USC. His resume includes appearances in productions in New York City, Wales and on screen in Third Reel, a Jason Stokes film. He has been the principal at Kaufmann Forensic Actors for 12 years. His company contracts 20 actors from across the U.S. to provide actors to the FBI, ICE and other federal and state agencies for use in scenario-based training, where they portray victims of myriad crimes. THEATRE: PLAYWRIGHTING KEVIN FERGUSON | Horry County He describes himself as a son, friend, actor, counselor, teacher, mentor, playwright, dramaturg, and a literary manager, but “not always in that order,” says Kevin Ferguson of Little River on his website. He is credited with writing six plays: five original, and an adaptation of Dickens’ famed A Christmas Carol. His work was included in a short play anthology in 2015 and he contributed to a nine-vignette collection of works with other playwrights. Ferguson teaches playwriting and dramaturgy at Coastal Carolina University. He earned an MFA in playwriting with a concentration in dramaturgy from Hollins University. He is playwright-in-residence, literary manager, and resident dramaturg at Atlantic Stage in Myrtle Beach. He is also the resident Dramaturg at the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins.

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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.