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Dorothy Allison to address Deckle Edge festival this weekend

Author will also receive festival's Southern Truth Award


In its 4th year as the grassroots answer to the S.C. Book Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival announces South Carolina author Dorothy Allison as the keynote speaker for the 2019 festival and the recipient of the second annual Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award. Author Dorothy Alliison Author Dorothy Alliison Allison will speak at the Booker T. Washington auditorium at the University of South Carolina on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in an engagement sponsored by the USC Women’s and Gender Studies Program. On Saturday, March 23rd at 10 a.m., Allison will address the Deckle Edge Literary Festival in a conversation with Bren McClain, author of One Good Momma Bone (2017, USC Press) at the Richland Library on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia. (McClain is also a 2005 prose fellowship recipient from the S.C. Arts Commission). Allison is the author of Trash (1988), a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, the multi-award winning Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Cavedweller (1998), which became a New York Times bestseller, and more. She has written for the Village Voice, Conditions, and New York Native and won several Lambda Awards. Bastard Out of Carolina was a finalist for the National Book Award, the winner of the Ferro Grumley Prize, was translated into more than a dozen languages and became a bestseller and award winning film directed by Anjelica Huston. Allison is a recent inductee into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Read more about her here. A native of Greenville, Allison’s writings frequently reference the class struggles and social alienation she experienced as a child growing up gay, impoverished, and the first child of a 15-year-old unwed mother in the conservative South Carolina upstate. Bastard Out of Carolina also details the sexual abuse she endured throughout childhood at the hands of her step-father. The New York Times Book Review calls the book, “As close to flawless as a reader could ask for.” Allison will be awarded the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award on Friday evening, March 22nd. The Southern Truth award, whose first recipient in 2018 was Nikky Finney, is awarded to a Southern author whose body of work exemplifies the complexity of the South’s history, celebrates the gifts of the South’s diverse peoples, and enhances the narrative of the South by focusing on the progress we make and the continued work before us. The 2019 Deckle Edge Literary Festival includes an exciting roster of authors, panels, and interviews including, among others, printmaker Boyd Saunders (2002 recipient of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts); Chieftess Queen Quet who is an elder of the Gullah/Geechee Nation; Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Kathleen Parker and more. For more information please visit www.DeckleEdgeSC.org.
Deckle Edge Literary Festival receives funding support from the S.C. Arts Commission.

Arts-rich S.C. schools score above national mean in hope, engagement

Gallup research in 2018 shows arts’ impact on key indicators

This morning at the South Carolina Arts Advocacy Day breakfast, S.C. Arts Commission Education Director Ashley Brown released exciting new findings from a 2018 study that found high levels of engagement and hope in arts-rich South Carolina schools. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) and Palmetto State Arts Education (PSAE) partnered with internationally recognized analytics firm Gallup to participate in the annual Gallup Student Poll. It measures student engagement, hope, entrepreneurial aspirations, and career and financial literacy and, in the past 10 years, surveyed more than 6 million students. According to Gallup data from 2016, engaged and hopeful students are more than twice as likely to report they get excellent grades and are twice less likely to report they missed a lot of school than their actively disengaged peers. In each of the four indicators on the poll, the students in South Carolina’s arts-rich schools outperformed the national mean. The research also showed a direct correlation between a school’s length of time as a arts-rich and an increase in student engagement and hope. And most importantly, students surveyed in arts-rich schools with free/reduced lunch program participation of 75% or greater scored higher than the state and national mean. Brown said schools are considered arts-rich when they are “committed to the arts at the cellular level.” She said both Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project and Distinguished Arts Program (DAP) sites are required to have an arts strategic plan and, in both, the arts “are simply part of the fabric of the school.” SCAC and PSAE conducted the Gallup Student poll in arts-rich schools throughout South Carolina at a mixture of ABC Project and DAP sites. “This is the first time in its history the Gallup student poll has been used to look specifically at arts-rich environments, and it is an exciting opportunity to learn more about the connection between the arts and engagement,” Brown said.
The items on the Gallup Student Poll where students from S.C. arts-rich schools scored the highest above the national mean are:
  • The adults at my school care about me
  • I have at least one teacher who makes me feel excited about the future
  • I have a great future ahead of me
  • I know I will find a good job in the future
  • I will invent something that changes the world
  • I plan to start my own business
The arts are integral to a well-rounded education that allows students to achieve the knowledge, skills, and life and career characteristics outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. From creativity to problem solving, perseverance to critical thinking, learning in and through the arts is proven to equip students with the skills necessary to be engaged citizens. ABC Project and SC Arts Alliance submitted amendments and adjustments to H.3759, proposed by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and currently working its way through the S.C. House committee on education and public works, to ensure the arts are embraced and advanced to help every student achieve the standards set in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
The findings from the Gallup Student Poll reinforce what those in the arts already know: From creativity to problem solving, critical thinking to perseverance, learning in and through the arts supports students as engaged and hopeful citizens of the world. This information will inform requests for additional funding in the arts, arts advocacy, and the role of the arts in education reform. This PDF of the findings from the Gallup Student Poll can be shared with community and education leaders, legislators, and educators. To learn more about this important research, visit https://www.palmettoartsed.org/gallup.html.

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Catching up with Arts Access South Carolina

Spring residencies, conferences, and more

2019 marks 33 years of ARTS ACCESS South Carolina (AASC) providing vibrant cultural access for artists statewide! 2018 was a year full of wonder and satisfying collaborations between educators, teaching artists and students across the state! We want to start the year as strong as we finished it, providing opportunities for empowerment and enrichment through the arts.
AASC December 2018 Residency with Master Teaching Artist
Arianne King-Comer at Stall High School in North Charleston.
  • AASC is currently accepting requests for spring 2019 residencies. Please contact AASC Executive Director Julia Brown-DuBose by email at jbrown@arts.sc.gov for more information.
  • Are you invested in equitable access to arts learning for students with disabilities? If so, VSA Intersections: Regional Arts & Special Education Conference is for you! VSA Intersections convenes everyone involved in this venture: general and special educators, arts specialists, teaching artists, principals, nonprofit administrators, education program managers, university professors, policy makers, researchers, school administrators, and more. You will find this conference invaluable to your work supporting students with disabilities! There's a national conference this October in California, and a regional conference in New Orleans this March.
  • We are proud to announce that Arts Access South Carolina received a grant from the S.C. Department of Education to serve as fiscal agent for Curriculum Leadership Institute for the Arts (CLIA) in 2019! This is our second year partnering with CLIA and this grant will allow AASC to administer a summer arts institutes to provide professional development in arts content to South Carolina arts teachers, classroom teachers, and arts administrators. We are excited about our continued partnership with CLIA and the opportunities it will provide for teachers and students alike!
For more information about opportunities to support or participate with AASC, visit ArtsAccessSC.org.

Atlantic Stage premieres SCAC playwriting fellow’s production

Maggie has a big decision to make

World Premiere Jan. 31 through Feb. 17 in Myrtle Beach
Last June, the S.C. Arts Commission awarded Kevin D. Ferguson an individual artist fellowship for theatre (playwriting). Fellowships are unrestricted awards that reward artistic merit and provide a financial boost that helps free up creators to create. Ferguson did just that. Early next week, Atlantic Stage in Horry County is giving the world premiere of his The Other Side of The Sky. It features Maggie, a protagonist with some decisions to make, and we're not talking about the yogurt or oatmeal debate at breakfast:

Maggie struggles to deal with love and loss while she searches for her purpose in life. She’s graduating from college and figuring out what comes next. Will she stick with her boyfriend Troy? Will she go to grad school? Will she join the Peace Corps? Or does she hear a higher call? With boyfriend Troy, best friend Adam, and perhaps a heavenly advisor all weighing in, Maggie has a big decision to make.

How do you know what you’re supposed to do?

"The Other Side of the Sky explores faith, friendship, and relationships in the modern world with four young people  asking themselves 'what comes next?'" Ferguson said. That's certainly a relatable theme to many.

‘Stories connect us all’

Orangeburg writer participates in 'Communal Pen' series

Writer Connie Johnson from the Orangeburg Times & Democrat participated in the second "Communal Pen" workshop, which was Dec. 1 at Voorhees College in Denmark. Appropriately for her profession, she wrote about the experience for the paper. If you're considering making it to the next workshop, in Newberry, you'll want to check out her story.

The Communal Pen workshop reminded Aiken resident Chris Hall that “stories connect us all. Our stories remind us that we have more in common than we differ."

“Although I’m not a native of this area, I have grown to love this place. I want to use my art to help bring it up out of the ashes,” said Ashley Jordan, a 2012 graduate and current employee of Denmark Technical College.

Read the full story here. "Communal Pen" is presented by the S.C. Arts Commission/Art of Community: Rural S.C. and South Carolina Humanities and is held in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibit "Crossroads: Change in Rural America."  

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Professional storyteller visits McCormick Learning Center

McCormick County children in the First Steps, Even Start child care center and the Head Start classrooms last Friday had a special visitor last week.

Click on images for larger view. Submitted photos.

(Ed. note: The Hub welcomes stories from grantees about how you're using your SCAC grants. Today we offer just such a story from McCormick County. Thanks to Ruth Detrick, executive director of the county's First Steps program.) With help from S.C. Arts Commission grants to both, professional storyteller Tim Lowry was able to captivate the children, telling animal stories that got them involved by making animal sounds and making movements like the animals. The children and teachers all laughed at the story of the "Wide Mouth Frog" and the funny ending when he met up with a crocodile! They were horrified when the elephant ate the children in the story of "Unanana And The Elephant," an African Folk Tale. but were relieved when miraculously there was a happy ending. Lowry kept the children interested and engaged (which isn't always easy with pre-school children).  After several more stories, the event was over but won't be forgotten, as the children learned several new vocabulary words and experienced a professional storyteller for the first time. First Steps partnered with the McCormick Library to share the costs of bringing Tim Lowry to McCormick. He entertained the children in the morning and did a wonderful presentation of Dickens' "Christmas Carol" in the evening at the library. Both organizations received generous grants from the S.C. Arts Commission to cover all costs, which made the events possible. The S.C. Arts Commission receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Greenville (S.C.) aims to be the next Portland (Ore.)

Thriving cultural scene rejuvenates Greenville

Everybody who's been there in the last 10 years knows that, but the rest of the U.S. is catching on. None other than the Wall Street Journal checked in last week with a glowing report on Greenville. The city that shares a name with so many others across the nation is aiming to become the East Coast's Portland ... a city that shares its name with so many others across the nation. The WSJ's conclusion is that artists, arts, and culture are the driving factors of the Greenville boom. (Again, you knew that.) From the story:

All of these artists—and hundreds of others—have chosen to live in Greenville, S.C., a Southern city of about 68,000 people that once called itself the Textile Capital of the World. Today, the vibrant arts scene is revitalizing the city itself, attracting other artists, young professionals and families wanting a fun, affordable place to live.

“We came looking for artists,” says Mr. Ambler, who is 47. He and his wife wanted to live somewhere warm, but California was too expensive and they didn’t think Florida was a good fit for his artwork. When a teaching job opened, they moved in 2000 to Seneca, S.C., about 30 miles west of Greenville, and bought a 1,800-square-foot studio for $88,000, selling it seven years later for $210,000.

Go here to read the full story. (Subscription not required.)

Tuning Up: Grantee’s dream becomes reality + writing workshop

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...


Today we have a couple updates from the land of Facebook:
  • Yesterday our page updated followers that 18/19 Artists' Ventures Initiatives grantee Serwah Armah-Koranteng took delivery of a dream. During the Thanksgiving holiday, her mobile boutique arrived. AfricStyle Initiative will take to the road with a sewing training center and pop-up mobile boutique just in time for the holidays.
  • ICYMI, the second "Communal Pen" writing workshop takes place this Saturday at Voorhees College in Denmark (South Carolina). Go here now for details and a link to register.

Tuning Up: Trustus puts grant to use + indigenous performers grant

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...


Collaboration looks to be a main theme of the 34th season of Columbia's Trustus Theatre. Read more in this story from Broadway World. Something else caught The Hub's attention, though: Trustus used a Presenting and Performing Arts (PPA) Initiative grant from the SCAC to allow Scott Pattinson to make his Trustus debut in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The "play focuses on the story of an autistic teenager, and this production is also a partnership with Autism Speaks and S.C. Autism Academy." South Carolina dance, music, and theatre organizations are encouraged to learn more about, and apply for, PPA grants.
Western Arts Alliance (WAA), the Portland-based performing arts service organization, has announced the launch of a new grant opportunity for Native artists – the Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) Artists Travel Assistance Fund – and is accepting applications beginning Monday, November 18, 2018 through December 7, 2018. Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) is a national program to create new touring and presentation opportunities for Indigenous performing artists, made possible by lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation. AIP invests in building the professional capacities of Indigenous artists as it works to break down barriers in the performing arts.

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Helping South Carolinians with disabilities have arts access

Arts Access South Carolina (AASC), formerly VSA South Carolina, is the only 501(c) 3, multi-service statewide organization in South Carolina guided by the mission to create an inclusive society in which people with disabilities learn, participate, and enjoy the arts. Click on images to enlarge.


For over 32 years as VSA South Carolina, AASC has actively engaged with community partners in Education, Health, non-profits and other organizations to inspire and empower people with disabilities through rich experiences in the arts. Although AASC changed its name in 2013, we continue to envision a world where people are no longer defined by their limits. We simply see people with incredible artistic abilities! Julia Brown-DuBose Executive Director Julia Brown-DuBose, long-time advocate for inclusive arts in South Carolina, also serves as the ADA/504 Program Director/Consultant for the S.C. Arts Commission. “Borrowing the words of my colleague, Betty Siegel, director of the Office of VSA and Accessibility at the Kennedy Center, ‘we share a deep passion for this work that we do. It’s likely that we share the desire to make a larger difference in the lives we touch. For many of us, we contribute to the stories with our words, with our actions and become agents of change…’ “Recently, someone asked me what am I most known for in life? Had to ask – are you really ready for my story? It’s something we all share, the commitment to invest in others. I give my time, talent and treasures to people with disabilities and for me it has always been through the arts. If you work in education and want to bring the arts to special education students, call me and tell me your story!” AASC provides classes, workshops, internships, apprenticeships, and support to professional and emerging artists in the cultural industry and to many businesses that support the creative arts industry in South Carolina. One example of our impact of is their C.O.T.T.A.G.E. Industries℠ concept, a highly important way for individuals with disabilities to turn the various skills they acquire through our projects into sustainable career opportunities. Throughout the state, those involved in AASC programs learn: In the arts, anything is possible!
For more information about opportunities to support or participate with AASC, visit their website: artsaccesssc.org.