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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.

‘Toning down’ stereotypes in ballet

A story appeared yesterday in The New York Times about New York City Ballet modifying its production of Balanchine's The Nutcracker to do away with "yellowface" – stereotypical portrayals of Asian people. Columbia Classical Ballet's presentation of "The Nutcracker" in 2015. (Provided photo)

Last year, New York City Ballet modified the choreography, costumes and makeup. And, just last month, the Balanchine Trust, which owns the rights to Balanchine’s work, notified other ballet companies that the changes were an approved option, though not required.

With Nutcracker season upon us (several open on Thanksgiving weekend and the rate accelerates into December), The Hub thought it was an interesting topic to share with our readers, especially in light of the controversial comments made by Megyn Kelly before her departure from NBC last month.

These adjustments are part of a broader effort to re-examine how people of color are portrayed in the performing arts and how classics with potentially troubling aspects can be made acceptable to modern audiences. In 2015, the Metropolitan Opera eliminated blackface from its “Otello.” The Bolshoi has toned down a segment of its “La Bayadère” featuring white children in blackface, but it has been criticized for not going far enough. And more recent fare has also been revised: The musical “Cats” dropped a song in which characters sang in Asian accents.

You can read the full story here. These are hot-button topics everywhere, but it is certainly relevant to the S.C. Arts Commission, where our legislative charge is "to create a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their place or circumstance. Diversity, inclusion, and access are critical components of that charge.

Tuning Up: History and art at Florence park + Wando band update

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...


We hope you paused to reflect during the weekend and/or yesterday's holiday. While Veterans Day comes but once a year, a park in Florence combines history with art to honor them year-round. Yesterday it added a monument to the Korean War to its six-and-a-half-acre expanse. The park features sculptures and, for history buffs, artifacts such as a 280-pound chunk of limestone taken from the rubble of the Pentagon's eastern facade and the bell from the USS South Carolina, which served during WWI. Last week we brought you the story of the Wando High school marching band's quest for glory at a national competition in Indianapolis. Writer Karen McDonough followed up with The Hub and reported that the band advanced to the 2018 Grand National finals on Saturday and finished sixth in the nation, a first for a South Carolina band. Congratulations!

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Wando band marches in national competition today

Sculpture and music combine for an award-winning marching band show

By Karen McDonough While most high school students probably have never heard of Alexander Calder, a group of South Carolina teen musicians have become quite familiar with the 20th century American sculptor’s work. Calder’s art work is the central theme of this year’s show by the nationally-ranked Wando High School marching band in Mt. Pleasant. The band performance – which features Calder-inspired sculptures as set props and other nods to his creative force – is a moving collaboration and celebration of sound, movement, and art. And it has catapulted the school to winning back-to-back, first-place wins this fall in regional Bands of America (BOA) competitions for the first time ever. The band performs in the BOA Grand National competition Nov. 8-10 in Indianapolis.

UPDATE, 13 Nov. 2018, 12:25: Go here for an update on how they did!

In the Calder-inspired show, some 260 students –playing everything from the piccolo to the sousaphone with a highly impressive drumline – move, dance and march across a football field, along with 38 color guard wearing bold-hued costumes during the 12-minute theatrical presentation. The Wando High School color guard performs on the swing prop. (Stacey Mercorelli) “Our show is an attempt to use the abstract use of form, color, balance and motion seen in Calder’s sculptures, to create an environment on the football field that is not unlike a modern sculpture garden,” Wando Band’s program coordinator Michael Gray told MoultrieNews.com. “Each of the Calder inspired props in our show contain elements that move throughout the show, all dependent upon the environment in which they are placed.” The students play musical selections from the classic film "To Kill A Mockingbird” by Elmer Bernstein, an original score by South Carolina composer Jay Bocook and “The Big Apple” by Johan de Meij – against a backdrop of colorful, movable props – all handmade by band parents – reminiscent of the shapes in Calder’s work. The show features recorded narration which tells Calder’s story from the words of art historians, collectors and others who best knew his work. One of the props is inspired by Calder’s famous red outdoor “Flamingo” steel and glass sculpture in downtown Chicago, which the band affectionately refers to as just “Chicago.” Other bright colored props carry the childlike and innocent feel of Calder’s work. Band parents adjust the "Chicago" prop. (Mike Terry) The show was titled “By a Thread” because Calder’s art seemingly hangs by a thread, Gray said, as viewers must look up to see his mobiles and large-scale sculptures. Michael Gray (Margie Jackson) Gray is a Charleston-based impressionist painter whose artwork is in several galleries around the country. He’s been a part of the Wando band creative team for 18 years and came up with the idea for a Calder-inspired show eight years ago. While it took that many years for the school to get permission to use the likeness of Calder images as set props and on the color guard flags, something else had to be present. The students had to be advanced musically enough as well to tackle a show like this, Gray said. And this season everything came together. Gray designed the color guard costumes, which were inspired by circus costumes Calder had designed for the dance company of Josephine Baker, who dominated the Parisian entertainment scene of that era. Gray also designed the band’s new uniforms this year, an upgrade from the same uniform they wore for 13 previous years. Gray’s artistic vision for the program, along with the hard work and long hours of a sizable team of pros lead by Wando Band Director Bobby Lambert and Assistant Directors Lanie Radecke and Jeff Handel, has helped raise the school’s national profile. “I love focusing our attention on a specific person because it allows us to bring that person and his art to life in a way that can only be done through music,” Lambert said. “In no other activity is a young person asked to be brilliant, athletic, sensitive, and artistic all at the same time. Bringing all of those mediums together alone is a triumph but to do it at a level commensurate with some of the best in the country is extraordinary.” Wando won two first-place titles in regional BOA competitions in October, earning Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect in each. The marching band has been a Grand National Finalist four times and the South Carolina 5-A state champions 11 times since 2005. It’s Gray’s hope to educate and entertain audiences watching this year’s show. “If one person gets on their phone and Googles ‘Alexander Calder,’ I’m at peace,” he said.
Karen McDonough is a freelance writer based in Mt. Pleasant.

Deadline extended to apply for Arts Directory, Teaching Artist Certification

Do you remember this post on The Hub in August?

The SCAC is completely overhauling what's long been known as the Roster of Approved Artists and turning it into two new, juried lists: the Arts Directory and Teaching Artist Certification (which is much like the Arts Directory but includes a background check so you can collaborate on the classroom level). To get said certification, you must first apply for the Arts Directory.

Current roster artists will be granted courtesy extensions into the new Arts Directory for one cycle, but still must apply. These artists will not be required to submit resumes, work samples, or letters of support for this year’s application. After the one-cycle courtesy extension, ALL current roster artists will be expected to submit a full application.

We strongly recommend you get the full information by clicking the Hub link above or by going here.

All that to lead to this news: the deadline to apply for the Arts Directory or for Teaching Artist Certification is being extended to Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

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Recording preserves famed organ’s signature sound

Earlier this year, internationally renowned musician Parker Ramsay visited Winthrop University to record an album of George Whitefield Chadwick’s organ music on the university's famed D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ. It is the last recording on the organ before renovations to Byrnes Auditorium that will temporarily prevent its use began. Enthusiasts of the historic organ can still revel in its signature sound captured in the Raven Label recording until the organ is once again available for performances. Winthrop commissioned the organ’s construction in 1952 by the Aeolian-Skinner company. It is named for the Winthrop founder and first president. The large four-manual instrument with 3,788 pipes, the last instrument of famed tonal designer G. Donald Harrison, makes the organ to this day one of the largest in the Carolinas. During its 50th anniversary in 2005, the treasured instrument underwent extensive restoration efforts thanks to generous supporters and Winthrop alumni. Given the Byrnes makeover, admirers said now it is even more critical to preserve both the sound of the instrument and the building, equally highlighted on Ramsay’s recording of Chadwick’s music. “It’s a uniquely American artifact, and this recoding preserves that signature sound … it’s a national treasure in so many ways,” said Murray Somerville, who helped establish the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund along with his wife, Hazel, a Winthrop alumna from the class of 1969. Hazel served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as artistic director of the children's choruses at the Blair School of Music. Somerville, artistic director emeritus of Nashville's Music City Baroque period instrument ensemble, and former Harvard University organist and choirmaster, performed a recital on the classic organ in 2016 and was instrumental in coordinating the production of Ramsay’s CD. Music lovers can purchase the CD in the Winthrop Bookstore during the Nov. 16-17 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend or buy directly from Raven. The recording – featured recently on Michael Barone’s "Pipedreams" radio program – is a debut for Ramsay, a young musician already regarded for his accomplishments and blossoming career on three instruments: organ, harp and harpsichord. The CD features Ramsay on organ playing compositions of George Whitefield Chadwick, who was president of the New England Conservatory in the early 1900's and a noted composer of symphonies and orchestral tone poems. Some of the pieces on this CD are first recordings, enhanced by Byrnes’ acclaimed acoustics. “We have this wonderful memento of … and its acoustic setting, in all its tonal splendor,” Somerville said. Other world-famous musicians have visited Byrnes solely to perform on the famous organ, including:

  • Princeton University Organist Eric Plutz, who spent the summer of 2012 recording his “French Trilogy” CD,
  • Juilliard-trained organist Christopher Houlihan,
  • Westminster Abbey organist James O'Donnell,
  • German musicians Christoph Wolff and Stefan Engels,
  • and Canadian organ virtuoso Maxine Thevenot.
For more information about how to give to the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund, contact University Advancement at 803.323.2275.

Jason Rapp

Six findings from Amplify Columbia

From ColaToday (10/1/2018):

Back in January, the City + One Columbia announced that they were enacting a cultural arts planning process called Amplify in Columbia: an 18-month project that would kick off with focus groups + surveys to discover how the arts could better serve our city – and vice versa – and end with a formalized draft of a cultural section of the City Planning Department’s Comprehensive Plan in-the-making, Columbia Compass: Envision 2036.

...

Now, Amplify is in its tenth month of its 18-month planning process. So – what has the Amplify team found out about cultural needs, wants, barriers + opportunities in Columbia? And how can that be written into Columbia Compass as future public policy for our city?


Data collected from 70 public meetings in 59 places across Columbia has uncovered a few things, and identified six themes that have come from people who attended. (The S.C. Arts Commission was the site of one such meeting, and Amplify's lead consultant served on the panel that reviewed applicants to our biggest grant program: General Operating Support for Organizations.)
  • 96% of survey-takers feel Columbia needs more arts activities and events
  • 50% feel that increasing public space for interactive experiences is a top priority
  • Other top priorities included focusing on the preservation and support of Columbia history and continuing to add more public art 
  • Columbia has artists who are willing to teach in their communities
  • Columbia's citizens define culture + art beyond visual creationsincluding food, festivals and more
Additionally, six themes emerged from the public hearings, discussions + forums:
  • Leadership
  • Investment
  • Spaces
  • Valuing Artists
  • Art Learning and Mastery
  • History
Head over to ColaToday to read more about the process and the findings to this point.  

Welcome to National Arts in Education Week

Good morning, and happy National Arts in Education Week! We've curated content for The Hub and our social media feeds this week to highlight the work being done in Arts Ed by professionals in South Carolina. Let's get it started with Glenis Redmond in Greenville in this Americans for the Arts video: All week we'll be sharing infographics like this one on our social media feeds: The Hub will feature guest posts related to National Arts in Education Week on Tuesday and Thursday.

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City of North Charleston appoints 2018/2019 artist-in-residence

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is proud to announce the appointment of Quintin Chaplin as artist-in-residence (AIR) for FY2018/19. The city’s AIR serves as a key resource for the department’s outreach programs, especially in the area of art instruction. Quintin will share his unique skills, talents, and experiences by providing residencies and workshops to public schools, seniors, and various community groups in North Charleston through June 2019. Quintin Chaplin is a local muralist, illustrator, and portrait artist. He is skilled in many forms of two-dimensional media, but works primarily in acrylic and watercolor. A native of the Lowcountry, Chaplin graduated from R.B. Stall High School and earned an associate’s degree in art from Trident Technical College in 2013 and a certificate from Pixar Animation Studios in Los Angeles in 2015. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Lowcountry and has received a number of awards from judged art competitions at the Coastal Carolina Fair, the North Charleston Arts Fest, and more. Quintin worked as an apprentice for Walt Disney Animation Studios, served as the artist-in-residence for Ladson Elementary School in 2012, and has offered art instruction in the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department’s after school and summer arts enrichment programs since 2017. He has also been creating murals, portraits, and other commissioned pieces for local businesses, schools, organizations, and individuals as a freelance artist since 2011. As North Charleston’s artist-in-residence, Quintin will offer instruction in painting and drawing. Along with teaching the fundamentals of art and guiding students through the exploration of 2-D media, his curriculum is also laced with lessons on life.

“Being a teaching artist has given me a platform to talk to kids about things like self-awareness, self-esteem, and how to handle peer pressure,” he said.

In addition to teaching, Quintin will also be working with the Cultural Arts Department on public art projects throughout the city as part of his residency. The North Charleston City Gallery will host an exhibition of Chaplin’s work throughout December 2018 and January 2019. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center (5001 Coliseum Dr., North Charleston). School liaisons, arts teachers, and the general public are invited to meet the artist at a free gallery reception on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, from 5-7 p.m. Art teachers and school liaisons may initiate the request for FREE services by the AIR by contacting the North Charleston Cultural Art Department at 843.740.5851. Community groups are also welcome to submit requests, which will be considered on a first come first served basis. All project requests should be placed at least two weeks in advance, with residences completed by the end of May 2019. More information about the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department’s AIR program, as well as the department’s other programs, exhibits, and events, can be found on the "Arts & Culture" section of the city’s website.

Tuning Up: SCAC fellow’s new play to debut + Camden gallery’s season opens

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...


SCAC fellowship recipient to debut new play. “Boy About Ten” will debut Aug. 17 and run until Aug. 25 on the Thigpen Main Stage at Columbia’s Trustus Theatre. It is playwright Dr. Jon Tuttle's sixth world premier at Trustus, where he is resident playwright. Tuttle received the SCAC's fellowship for playwriting in 2000. Read more on "Boy About Ten" and Tuttle from the Morning News/SC Now. Bassett Gallery opens new season. "Tuning Up" is happy for a quick check-in just up U.S. 1 in Camden, where grantee the Fine Arts Center is set to open the 2018/2019 Bassett Gallery season on Thursday night. Camden artist Dot Goodwin's exhibition "Life with HeART" is first up. Spartanburg 1 touts ABC Project grants. Spartanburg School District 1 scored the largest percentage of ABC — Arts in Basic Curriculum — grant funding of any district in the state, according to the Herald-Journal. The total amount headed to the district is $67,000 distributed among seven district schools. Thanks for promoting your grant!
The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone. ICYMI: Calling all potters! The Macon (Ga.) Arts Alliance would like to share with you Fired Works 2019 Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale featuring 60 potters from Georgia and the Southeast to be held April 5-14, 2019 in ... Macon, Georgia. The entry fee and exhibition are free to the exhibitors. Get, ahem, fired up! Hard details here. Let's show them what #SCArtists can do! (The deadline is Dec. 1, so we'll remind you once or twice between now and then.)