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.

Columbia Children’s Theatre names first executive director

Two additional staff added


Columbia Children’s Theatre (CCT) board of directors named Larry Hembree as the theatre’s first executive director. Hembree (right), who has been on the leadership staff for several other local arts organizations including Nickelodeon Theatre, S.C. Arts Commission, Arts Center of Kershaw County, and Trustus Theatre, assumed his new responsibilities Oct. 1. Hembree oversees administrative staff, strategic planning, board engagement, development and community outreach. He previously served as the theatre’s development director since January 2017. The board has also created two other new positions, hiring Ginny Herring as director of finance and Sean Taylor as director of marketing. “I am excited to help give our area’s youth a voice through their participation in the arts,” Hembree said. “Columbia Children’s Theatre has done a phenomenal job both producing a five-show season for youth and families by an adult professional theatre company (the only company of its kind in South Carolina) and, at the same time, creating opportunities to showcase youth in theatre productions." “This is an incredibly exciting time for CCT. This theatre plays a critically important part in the lives of so many young people and having someone with Larry’s stature as executive director will help CCT and its drive to give a voice to those young people through the arts,” CCT Board Chairmain Frank Braddock said. Founded in 2005, CCT first operated out of the former Sara Nance School (now the Katheryn M. Bellfield Booker Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center), an arts incubator run by the City of Columbia. Initial programming included professional theatre for youth and families, touring shows across the city and providing residencies and workshops in schools and parks. In 2009, the theatre expanded programming to include classes for youth and added a five-production season of shows featuring youth. Co-founders Jerry Stevenson and Jim Litzinger serve as artistic and technical directors, respectively. CCT has grown to support four administrative and eight artistic staff positions along with many volunteers and other contracted employees. CCT currently presents out of Richland Mall, next door to Barnes & Noble, in Forest Acres. The next production, Oct. 18-20, is “Les Misérables: School Edition,” featuring over 60 teens from across the Midlands. For more information on the theatre, visit columbiachildrenstheatre.com.

Three groups benefit from Chapman Cultural Center grants

SCAC grant enables three Community Grants

A stack of grant payment requests at SCAC. A stack of grant payments to be processed at the S.C. Arts Commission.
Chapman Cultural Center announced three recipients of FY20 2nd Quarter Community Grants last week. From the center's announcement:

"Chapman Cultural Center (CCC) is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community. Because of this commitment, a major part of the work we do is centered around funding Spartanburg's arts and cultural community.

One of Chapman Cultural Center's major funding opportunities comes in the form of our quarterly Community Grants Program. The Community Grants Program awards up to $5,000 per application and is open to both individual artists and non-profits/government agencies. Learn more about the grant application process here."

CCC received one of seven FY20 subgranting grants from the S.C. Arts Commission. Those are awarded to local arts councils around the state for the funds to then be granted to artists, arts organizations, or non-profit community groups in those areas. The three 2nd Quarter Community Grants are going to:
  • Charles Lea Center
  • Spartanburg Festival Chorus
  • Spartanburg Terrace Tennants Association
Click here to read about these groups and their projects.

Art of Community to present at Rural Arts & Culture Summit 2019

Stories of rural successes head to Minnesota


The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biennial, practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based community development by providing a space for learning, relationship building and celebration of the role of art and creativity in building strong, healthy and resilient rural communities. Since its launch in Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 2011, and three gatherings in Morris, Minnesota hosted by the Center for Small Towns, the RAC Summit has convened more than 1,300 people from across the country, establishing a rich network of exchange among some of the most creative individuals who are driving their rural communities forward. The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is organized by Springboard for the Arts. This year’s collaborating partners are the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Reif Center for Performing Arts, the MacRostie Art Center and Visit Grand Rapids.
  • Oct. 3-5, 2019
  • Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • Reif Center for Performing Arts

Pam Breaux, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, will share creative policy solutions that draw on home-grown arts and cultural assets to address the urgent issues facing rural America. Following this keynote, Breaux will lead a conversation with three national leaders, Susan DuPlessis (South Carolina Arts Commission), Em Johnson (Blue Sky Center), and Michele Anderson (Springboard for the Arts) who are each leading bold arts-based economic and community development strategies in their own communities. (Per the Grand Rapids Herald Review) Breaux serves as national co-chair of the S.C. Arts Commission program "Art of Community – Rural SC" which is directed by DuPlessis. "Art of Community – Rural SC" advances the South Carolina Arts Commission’s commitment to rural development through arts, culture and creative placemaking. The initial pilot project was launched in 2016 in six rural South Carolina counties.

Furman student presents at prestigious conferences

Furman undergrad getting noticed for research


Furman University senior Beth Fraser of Shelby, North Carolina, has won the respect only few undergraduate-level researchers receive in the world of literature and Romanticism. This summer, Shelby (right) presented her research at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment held at University of California, Davis, and at the International Conference on Romanticism hosted by The University of Manchester, England. Both conferences are known for discriminating audiences, researchers, and equally scrutinous research review committees. At the two meetings, Fraser presented “Poesy breaths in all: Ecocritical Explorations of Romanticism’s Omnipoetic Universe.” Born of Fraser’s interdisciplinary project examining ecoacoustic avian telemetries, the paper explores naturalistic figurations of birdsong by Romantic poet John Clare, who was described by his biographer as “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced.” The opportunity to present at both conferences was a pleasant surprise for Fraser. “I scarcely dared to hope that either would accept me, and yet here I am with the beautiful opportunity to present at both,” she said. Mentor Michele Speitz, Furman associate professor of English literature, said that many graduate students and faculty members submit work to these conferences without success. “So for Beth to be selected as the only undergraduate to present at two major professional conferences is truly remarkable,” Speitz said. “She is not only presenting her work in front of an exacting audience, but is speaking as an expert, as someone with something important to share with people in the know.” Fraser said Furman’s Office of Undergraduate Research and the Furman Humanities Development Fund encouraged and supported her investigations. An English literature and art history double-major, Fraser specializes in 19th-century British literature and early 20th-century painting with particular interests in Romanticism, ekphrastic poetry, the Simultaneous movement, aesthetic theologies, ecocritical theory, and the intersection of art and literature. Fraser is especially interested in Romantic-era metaphysics and ecocritical art history. She is co-writing an article with Speitz entitled “Avian Telemetries & the Audible Anthropocene: Romantic Ecoacoustics, Transdisciplinary Ecologies, Sympoetic Worlding.” Following graduation next spring, Fraser plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Romantic literature or modern art on her way to becoming a professor in the field.

Sumter community band seeks musicians

'Dust off your old instrument ... and come play with us'


From the Sumter Item:

Among the band's current 40 to 45 members are teachers, military personnel from Shaw Air Force Base, lawyers, doctors, homemakers, farmers, pilots and college students; several are school band directors. Mitchum said members must be at least 18 years old, have experience in a middle or high school band and able to read music. There is no audition. Prospective members should attend a rehearsal in order to register. Dues are $15 a year, which helps defray the cost of sheet music.

A nonprofit organization, SCCB receives partial funding in the form of a matching grant from the S.C. Arts Commission, which in turn receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. The band also belongs to the Association of Concert Bands ...

Mitchum urges interested musicians to register this Thursday, although they may register any Thursday during the band's season. He said,"Dust off your old instrument, if you have one, and come play with us."

Read features contributor Ivy Moore's full story by clicking here.

Mass shooting memorial wins outdoor sculpture competition for Doster

Decorated South Carolinian wins in North Carolina

The winning sculpture by Bob Doster, A Memorial
Bob Doster is no stranger to accolades, and now he has another. The Lancaster sculptor's all-too-timely entry in the 33rd Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition won first place in the late July. A Memorial 2014-2018 "is a memorial to those lost to senseless violence for the years 2014-2018. each figure represents a lost soul rising to the heavens," according to the artist statement. The tragedies this past weekend in Texas and Ohio render the work unfortunately relevant. In the High Country Press, competition juror Bill Brown from Anvil Arts said, “This is a strong thought-provoking piece created in stainless steel that addresses senseless gun violence as it memorializes victims of mass shootings. I believe it is a must-see piece of art.” If you want to do just that, head to Boone, North Carolina and the campus of Appalachian State University. The sculptures are to be displayed until May 2020.
Bob DosterDoster is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed artist who has been creating and teaching for more than 50 years. Prestigious awards include the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts in 2006. Doster has been named Keeper of Culture by the York Heritage & Cultural Commission, Hero of the Child by SC First Steps, Small Business of the Years by Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, CN2 Hometown Hero and received City of Lancaster Mayoral Proclamation. Doster has been featured in publications and broadcasts including Southern Living Magazine, Carolina Arts, Sandlapper, SCETV, Arts Hub, National Welders Magazine, and a myriad of newspapers and travel magazines. Works by Doster can be found in museums, galleries, public art, corporate and private collections worldwide.

Submitted material

Fulbright grant sending Furman musicologist to Russia

Laura Kennedy, Furman University associate professor of musicology, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to conduct research in Russia during the 2019/2020 academic year. For her research project, “Ballet in a Waning Empire: Shostakovich, Lopukhov, and the Search for Soviet Dance,” Kennedy will work in music and dance archives in St. Petersburg and Moscow. She will research costumes, set designs, choreographic notes, musical scores, photographs and other materials from early Soviet ballet productions written in Leningrad in the 1920s and 1930s, a formative period of experimentation in the Russian arts. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright honor represents a national competition across the humanities, arts, sciences and education. Grantees undergo a rigorous peer-review process, in which proposals are evaluated in both the U.S. and destination countries and are finally selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. “I’m thrilled with the opportunity of this Fulbright and with the chance to pursue new research on Russian ballet. My goal is to author the first book ever written on the ballets of Dmitri Shostakovich: The Golden Age, The Bolt, and The Limpid Stream,” said Kennedy. “These early ballets set the direction of Soviet dance, ensuring ballet’s place as a central expression of Soviet cultural achievement and diplomacy in the 20th century.”


This latest Fulbright award marks Kennedy’s second grant to study in Russia. Her first Fulbright was awarded to conduct research in 2006/2007 on Shostakovich when she was a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. “The Fulbright Scholar award combines my expertise in Shostakovich’s music and manuscripts with my work on dance,” said Kennedy. “I’m grateful to the Department of Music, the Research & Professional Growth Committee, and the Humanities Development Fund at Furman for generously supporting the opportunities that have shaped my scholarship in music and dance. And I’m equally grateful to the Fulbright program for the unique experiences it has afforded me as a scholar,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy joined the Furman faculty in 2012. She coordinates the music history curriculum and teaches courses on music and dance history. With Patricia Sasser, director of Furman’s Maxwell Music Library, she also co-directs the department’s study away course to Paris and London: “Rites of Spring: Paris, the Ballets Russes, & the Arts of Modernism.” Her work has been published in Fontes Artis Musicae, Notes: The Journal of the Music Library Association, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Information Literacy in Music (A-R Editions). She holds a bachelor’s in music from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Michigan. For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864.294.3107.

Submitted material

Furman music librarian Sasser honored with international award

Patricia Puckett Sasser, director of Furman’s Maxwell Music Library, has won the Vladimir Fédorov Award from the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) for her paper “A Recording Artist: Enrico Caruso and His Scrapbooks.” Presented annually, the award recognizes the best article published in peer-reviewed Fontes Artis Musicae, the quarterly membership journal of the IAML. Announced at the IAML Conference in Krákow, Poland, in July, the award is named for Fédorov (1901-1979), noted music librarian, first editor-in-chief of Fontes Artis Musicae, and Russian music scholar. An abstract of Sasser’s winning paper may be found at: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/709645.


Sasser, who has served as a Furman library faculty member since 2014, said, “I was surprised and delighted to receive this award, both because it is a special honor to be recognized by my IAML colleagues and because it represents the culmination of a long-standing research project. “My work on Caruso has been generously supported by the Furman Libraries and it could not have been achieved without their help and enthusiasm–whether by locating resources or by funding research trips to New York and Italy.” As director of Maxwell Music Library, Sasser oversees music information literacy, research assistance and collection management. She is deeply embedded in the Department of Music’s four-year curricular pathway, working closely with students and faculty in first-year seminars, the music history survey sequence and upper-level independent studies. With Associate Professor of Musicology Laura Kennedy, Sasser co-teaches the department’s study away course to Paris and London: Rites of Spring: Paris, the Ballets Russes, & the Arts of Modernism. Her research focuses on musical ephemera from the late 19th and early 20th century, studying items like ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, playbills, programs and receipts–“things produced during artistic activity that aren’t intended to be preserved,” said Sasser. She is especially interested in the ways in which both amateur and professional musicians have collected and curated such material in order to shape their own identities, a fascination which spurred her research into Caruso’s scrapbooks, nine of which survive among his private papers. “His scrapbooks,” said Sasser, “are just one example of the ways in which a popular artist sought to cultivate a private identity.” Her work has been published in Music Reference Services Quarterly, Notes: The Journal of the Music Library Association, and the Journal of Music History Pedagogy. She has contributed to a number of large-scale collaborative digital projects, including Chronicling America and the Music Treasures Consortium, and has served the Southeastern Music Library Association and the Music Library Association in a number of roles.
Sasser earned her Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s in music from the American University. For more information, contact Sasser at 864.294.2192.

Ken May

Farewell reflections by Ken May

A 33-year tenure ends today


(Ed. note: Ken May's last day at the S.C. Arts Commission is today. While his last day as executive director was June 30, for the past two weeks he's served as a consultant to provide that coveted on-the-job training to his successor, David Platts. The Hub welcomes him today for a guest post.)
Almost exactly 10 years ago, in a year catastrophic state budget cuts prevented the presentation of the Verner Awards for just the second time since 1976, I was lucky enough to become acting executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. I say “lucky” with only a little irony, because getting to do this job has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not that “great” always equates with “fun.” I’ll admit that this job has not always been a pleasure, but it has been a privilege. In that period as acting director, which lasted a little more than a year, I had two important tasks. I had to get control of an agency budget that was in free-fall, and I had to produce a new long-range plan for the arts in South Carolina. Since 1980, the Arts Commission led major, public planning processes to set long term goals for the arts in the state, and it was time to start the process again. Since 1990, this process, known as “A Canvas of the People,” produced 10-year plans. The goals of these plans were deliberately broad. They were intended to remain relevant over time and to be open to multiple approaches to implementation. In 2009 we decided that, in a time of such uncertainty, it was all the more important to think beyond the present moment, to take the long view, and to set ambitious goals for a better future. So, we embarked on a process to create a new 10-year plan. The plan we produced attempted to weave together larger public aspirations and more specific arts outcomes and to find productive intersections between them that would create public value in the arts during the decade 2011 through 2020. The plan envisioned five major outcomes for the arts in South Carolina, and we have focused our efforts toward these goals since 2011:
  1.  South Carolina citizens and visitors benefit from diverse opportunities for relevant, rewarding arts experiences in communities throughout the state.
  2. South Carolina’s professional artists are able to produce exceptional art and build satisfying, sustainable careers in our state.
  3. Students receive a comprehensive education in the arts that develops their creativity, problem solving and collaborative skills, and prepares them for a lifetime of engagement with the arts and productive citizenship.
  4. South Carolina art organization and other arts providers have the capacity and necessary resources to deliver relevant, high quality arts experiences to citizens and visitors.
  5. There is broad recognition within the state and beyond its borders of the value of and unique contribution made by the arts in South Carolina.
So how did it go? How have we done? Well, we made this plan in the midst of a terrible recession, in the belief that times would change. And they did. They got worse. State revenues continued to decline, and by FY12 the Arts Commission’s budget fell to its lowest level since the 1990’s. And the political climate became more hostile to public funding for the arts, with some key elected leaders attempting, repeatedly, to eliminate that funding altogether. But I am proud to say that, even as we fought for our existence and pursued our work with very limited resources, we kept our sights and our efforts focused on the goals of the plan. And so did our partners and our constituents. We worked together to make our case for the public value of the arts and to increase that value in our communities. And a broad, bipartisan majority of our elected leaders listened, and continued to invest in the arts, and increased that investment over time. There is a lot of evidence that we have made real progress toward each of the plan’s targeted outcomes, and I’ll just share a few indicators of that progress. Most of these are drawn from data on the Arts Commission’s grants and programs, but I think they reflect the trends in the larger arts community as well.
  • In FY10, the year before the plan started, we awarded 367 grants totaling $2.2 million. These grants were matched by $92 million at the local level. In FY18, the last year for which we have complete data, we awarded 452 grants, totaling more than $4.2 million, matched by $187 million. In that period the number of arts experiences supported by those grants rose from about 7,000,000 to more than 8,000,000. Preliminary totals for FY19 suggest another rise.
  • Since 2014, we’ve reduced the number counties that have consistently not received Arts Commission funding from 8 to 3 and—for the first time—in FY19 every county in South Carolina received an Arts Commission grant. This is largely due to new ways of working in communities, developed through programs like The Art of Community: Rural SC. These approaches rely on building relationships and trust, rather than following the conventions of traditional grantmaking.
  • Since 2011, 36 artists in a broad range of art forms have received Individual Artist Fellowships, and 32 artist/entrepreneurs have won Artists Ventures investments. More than 400 artists have participated in Artists U, a program that provides guidance on how to make a sustainable life as an artist.
  • The number of schools and school districts receiving Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement grants grew for 48 in FY10 to 78 in FY18, and the number of students served increased from 37,000 to more than 167,000. These schools and districts are leaders in providing comprehensive arts education to all students, and they are models that are emulated by others.
  • In FY16 we secured $1,000,000 in new, recurring Education Improvement Act funds to support arts education expansion and new initiatives to increase access. New funds enabled us to restore the commission’s arts education staff position, which had been vacant since 2010. We were also able to develop new summer arts learning programs in high-poverty, rural school districts.
  • Despite numerous vetoes that had to be overridden, the Arts Commission’s state funding rebounded from its low point of $1.9 million in FY12 to $4.9 million in FY19 to around $5.5 million in the just-begun year.
  • And finally, the arts in South Carolina have drawn positive national attention for our state. Last year our Poetry Out Loud state champion, Janae Claxton of Charleston, won the national competition. The Art of Community initiative has been featured in several national publications, conference sessions, and a documentary. It was also showcased in a briefing and webcast at the National Press Club. And this fall, Oxford American magazine will feature South Carolina in its popular annual music issue.
So, we’ve made progress, and we have momentum. But with only one year remaining in the current plan, it’s time to start work on the new plan. That will be one of the first big jobs for my successor, and I wish him well in that effort. I would ask all of you to join in the process of making the plan, and then to become active partners in realizing it. Whatever ups and downs may come in the next few years, I think there is an exciting future ahead for the arts in our state, and I look forward to sharing that future with you. I’m deeply grateful for all the opportunities and support you’ve given me, and for all the wonderful experiences we’ve had together. It has been an honor and a joy to serve you. Now, as I step aside, we move forward. As my good friend and mentor Jo Ann Anderson would say, Godspeed!