Tuning Up: Chills, Thrills, and Kills with ‘Grave Intentions’ + more

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...

  • Deadline extension! We first brought this to you in early February, but it's so cool we wanted to bring it back: Filmmakers and screenplay writers are invited to participate in a new project from Death Cat Entertainment – its “Grave Intentions" Anthology.  If your work fits the horror genre (including suspense, thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural, etc.), go here for more information.
  • An inspiring student from Ninety-Six who attends the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, an ABC Project school in Greenwood, is "enthralling with her voice" according to the Greenwood Index-Journal.
  • Performing artists, here's a GREAT opportunity for you: apply now to be one of up to 16 groups presented in a juried showcase at South Arts' Performing Arts Exchange conference in Orlando this coming October. Present your best from industry pros from across the Southeast at an annual conference that supports the presentation and touring of performing artists along the east and gulf coasts.
  • ICYMI: this week, the Arts Commission announced the recipients of the 2018 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts.

Submitted material

Furman professor’s short story collection published

Furman Department of English professor Laura Leigh Morris has written a new book of fiction about the daily lives of people in West Virginia. Her book, Jaws of Life: Stories, is a collection of short stories published by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press. The book will be released next Thursday, March 1. A launch event is set for March 1, 6-8 p.m. at Fiction Addiction in Greenville. In her first book, Morris's collection portrays the diverse concerns the people of West Virginia face every day—poverty, mental illness, drug abuse, the loss of coal mines, and the rise of new extractive industries that exert their own toll. A summary by West Virginia University Press has this description:

“In the hills of north central West Virginia, there lives a cast of characters who face all manner of problems—from the people who are incarcerated in West Virginia's prisons, to a woman who is learning how to lose her sight with grace, to another who sorely regrets selling her land to a fracking company.”

Morris, who joined the Furman faculty in 2015, teaches creative writing and literature. Before that, she spent three years as the National Endowment for the Arts/Bureau of Prisons Artist-in-Residence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas. She has previously published short fiction in Appalachian Heritage, The Louisville Review, Notre Dame Review and other journals. She is originally from north central West Virginia. More information about the book may be found on LauraLeighMorris.com.

‘Trailblazing’ Spartanburg artists highlighted

In honor of Black History Month, Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg is highlighting a few of the many trailblazing black artists who’ve made their mark on Spartanburg. They've selected seven artists of various media who’ve impacted the county:

  • Geri Dye
  • Winton & Rosa Eugene
  • Raymond Floyd
  • Offrey L. Hines
  • Pat Kabore
  • Daryle Rice
  • Winston Wingo
Read more about these magnificent artists on the CCC website's story.
Image credit: Spartanburg Art Museum

Submitted material

The Footlight Players names long-time actor Brian Porter as new executive director

The Footlight Players has hired long-time thespian Brian Porter as executive director of Charleston’s longest-producing theatre company. Porter spent the last decade on staff at Charleston Stage, most recently as director of administration where he oversaw daily operations of the professional theatre company. Porter replaces Jane Broadwater, who retired in January after serving three years as executive director. She also was a member of Footlight’s board of directors before taking on the executive director title. Under Broadwater’s leadership, The Footlight Players expanded its theatrical season while providing opportunities for other theatres and performance groups to rent the Queen Street theatre during its off-weekends and summer season. Porter has been performing on stage since childhood, earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre in performance from Purdue University in Indiana. After graduation, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, as a member of Playhouse on the Square’s Resident Acting Company. He then co-founded a theatre company in Michigan before relocating to Atlanta to pursue a career in media advertising. Porter maintained ties to local theatre and served as interim executive director of OnStage Atlanta. After several years in Atlanta, Porter relocated to Charleston, working as media director of Davis Advertising before returning to his theatrical roots and joining Charleston Stage. Now, Porter will take on the role of leading one of Charleston’s most prestigious community theatres. He plans to build on Footlight’s mission to provide quality and affordable community theatre as well as continuing to promote the theatre as a unique space for Charleston special events and performances.

“I am delighted to be a part of such an historical and dynamic theatrical fixture in Charleston,” Porter said. “I look forward to working with this exceptional team of artists to create something truly unique and beautiful for Charleston. I am confident I can bring a lot to the company and infuse it with my passion and love of the performing arts.”

Porter is also the co-founder of the local theatre company What If? Productions, which is now in its eighth season in Charleston. A celebrated artist and vocalists in Charleston (and current Best Actor nominee for the Charleston City Paper Best Of award), Porter has appeared on stage in many memorable roles in Charleston, including “Peter & the Starcatcher,” “Cabaret,” “Hedwig & the Angry Inch,” “The 39 Steps,” “Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story,” “Shear Madness” and “Hairspray.” He recently headlined his own sold-out cabaret show, “An Evening With Brian Porter,” as part of What If?’s popular Piano Bar Series.
About The Footlight Players The Footlight Players launched in 1931 with a series of one-act plays directed by Lt. Commander Charles Russell Price at the Charleston Navy yard. The series was such a success and drew such a following that The Footlight Players formally organized and incorporated in the fall of 1932. To this day, The Footlight Players continues to provide professional quality, affordable community theater for the Lowcountry at the historic Footlight Players Theatre, 20 Queen St. in Charleston. For more information, visit footlightplayers.net or call 843-722-4487.

Aiken, Spartanburg SCAC grantees receive new NEA awards

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that a total of $30,000 is heading to two South Carolina grantees among the FY18 award recipients – both of whom the S.C. Arts Commission is happy to assist with operating support grants of its own. Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the U.S. benefit from NEA grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2018, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu (right). “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”

Grant Awards in S.C.

Aiken The Aiken Music Festival (Joye in Aiken) is the recipient of a $10,000 Challenge America grant to support the "Joye in Aiken" music festival and its related educational activities. Founded in 2008 under the name Juilliard in Aiken, Joye in Aiken is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the best in the performing arts available to our citizens, and especially our students. In 2016, Joye was recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for its educational outreach program, now being recognized by the new NEA grant. Spartanburg Hub City Writers Project is to receive a $20,000 Art Works grant for literature in support of the publication and promotion of books of fiction and poetry. Since 1995, the Hub City Writers Project has published 80 titles and 700 writers, established an independent bookstore, and provided creative writing education to thousands. Hub City Writers Project was awarded the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award in the arts organization category in 2002.

Tuning Up: Creative Placemaking, Gullah Geechee in Philadelphia, more

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...

  • You'll be hearing more from us about this, but we have to start somewhere. South Arts is presenting the "Beyond Big Cities" Southern Creative Placemaking Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn. next month. This is the place to be for civic/arts leaders interesting in leveraging the creative assets in rural communities and small towns to attract and retain residents, creatives and businesses, and bring visitors to experience the unique nature of your place.
  • The Gullah Geechee remain in the spotlight, this time as Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk take the story of Gullah Geechees to the City of Brotherly Love for a free performance at Villanova University. The performance will recognize the important link between Philadelphia and the Sea Islands of S.C. during slavery and Reconstruction. Group leader Anita Singleton-Prather is a Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award winner and an acclaimed musician, storyteller, and actress.
  • Verner Award recipients Jonathan Green (2010) and William Starrett (2002) rekindle a collaboration that took Green's paintings (right) Off the Wall and Onto the Stage with Columbia City Ballet when they reprise the critically acclaimed ballet at Township Auditorium in Columbia this Friday and in Charleston Saturday, March 3.
  • And finally, a hearty congratulations to Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz for receiving the Buck Mikel Leadership Award from the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

Tuning Up: Black History event in Anderson, call for short films, etc.

Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...

  • Tonight at 6 p.m., the Anderson County Library begins the county's Black History Month celebration with an event highlighting our state's role in the civil rights movement. To wit: did you know Rosa Parks received training in Columbia? More information here. (The event is sponsored by the Arts Commission.)
  • Are you more Halloween than Valentine's Day? An Arts Commission AVI grantee has a "ghoul" project in the works that you'll be "goblin" up. (Okay, we'll stop.) Filmmakers and screenplay writers are invited to help Deathcat Entertainment with "Grave Intentions" – their pun, not ours. Go here for more information.
  • More on films: Indie Grits Festival Director Seth Gadsden chatted Indie Grits Labs on the National Endowment for the Arts' "Art Works" podcast!
  • Call for art! Visual Arts Exchange in Raleigh is calling for art from installation artists. Check out The Cube and The Lab for more. Deadline for both spaces appears to be Feb. 15.
  • And finally... why we advocate: because through public support of the arts, the S.C. Arts Commission was able to award 342 grants totaling $3.3 million in 42 counties in FY 2017. That's 73% of our state funding – more than the legislative mandate of 70%.

Arts Commission to release economic impact report next week


  • Economist, researcher Doug Woodward to present report at legislative luncheon
  • Statewide arts advocates to gather at State House in support of sector
COLUMBIA, S.C. – With Arts Advocacy Day at the State House in Columbia as a backdrop, the S.C. Arts Commission will release a new economic impact report on South Carolina’s arts sector Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The new report, the first since 2010, will show the arts’ impact on the S.C. economy with detailed employment and total impact numbers, among other things. It was commissioned by the Arts Commission and completed by Doug Woodward, Ph.D., an economist, researcher, and professor at the USC Darla Moore School of Business who examined 2014 data from the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. As the keynote speaker at the 1 p.m. legislative luncheon at the Capital City Club (1201 Main St., 25th floor, Columbia), Woodward will give a presentation on his findings and be available for media questions. “We expect the report will show that the state’s investment in the arts translates to a significant impact on the state’s economy, from jobs created and maintained to the ripple effects of people then transferring wages to other sectors through spending,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “It’s certainly appropriate for state leaders to pay attention to the arts as a viable economic driver just as they do agriculture, manufacturing, and other key sectors.” Arts Advocacy Day is organized and presented annually by the S.C. Arts Alliance. Festivities begin shortly after 11 a.m. on the State House steps as 300 choral students from Richland School District 2 in Columbia sing on the building’s Gervais Street steps. Arts advocates then move inside for a rally, enthusiastically greeting members of the House and Senate arriving for the day’s sessions, before moving across Gervais Street for the 1 p.m. luncheon honoring the S.C. Legislative Arts Caucus.
ABOUT DR. DOUGLAS P. WOODWARD Dr. Douglas P. Woodward is the director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Texas in 1986. Dr. Woodward's primary research interests are in regional economic development. He has published numerous academic articles in economics and regional science journals. Dr. Woodward has conducted sponsored economic research in the United States, China, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya and elsewhere. Over his career, Dr. Woodward has received many grants and awards. He has testified before local, state and national government committees and has presented his research at many conferences around the world, including the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzer- land. Dr. Woodward has been quoted frequently in the national press and has often appeared on television and radio programs discussing economic development and related topics.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS ALLIANCE The South Carolina Arts Alliance is dedicated to advancing the arts for all South Carolinians through advocacy, leadership development, and public awareness. Based at the Younts Center for Performing Arts in Fountain Inn, S.C., the SCAA works across the state with artists, arts administrators, educators, creative entrepreneurs, community leaders, and arts supporters to strengthen the creative sector in South Carolina. More information can be found at SCArtsAlliance.net.
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.

S.C. literary giants to participate in 2018 Deckle Edge Literary Festival

Have you ever caught yourself wondering whether South Carolina has successful artists? Famous artists? Any making a mark in their medium or genre? Then consider Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2018 and wonder no longer. Photo by Kathy Ryan, courtesy of TerranceHayes.com The festival announced Columbia native Terrance Hayes (right, top) as its keynote speaker this year, and Conway native and current Columbia resident Nikky Finney (right, bottom) is to receive the inaugural Deckle Edge Southern Truth Award. Among Finney's accolades is being an Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award recipient from the Arts Commission, and she also received the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry and 1996 PEN American Open Book Award. Hayes is the current poetry editor for New York Times Magazine and has won Guggenheim, MacArthur, National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Artists Zell fellowships. His Lighthead won the 2010 National Book Award, and How to Be Drawn was a finalist for the same. Got all that? Because we're not quite done. Photo by Forrest Clonts, courtesy of NikkyFinney.net Further Arts Commission connections abound among the authors, poets, and songwriters scheduled to participate in the scheduled panels or presentations. Julia Elliott, Scott Gould (twice), and Ed Madden are all S.C. Arts Commission Fellows, and other writers have received grants or won awards from the agency as well. In fact, it would probably be easier simply to list those who lack Arts Commission ties - but then we don't want anyone to feel left out. Go here for more information on Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2018, and go forth with the knowledge that, yes, South Carolina has amazing, accomplished artists of all disciplines. And as we continue our focus on Arts Advocacy Week, remember that public support of the arts has played a role in getting them there.

Young Voices Build Pride in Place

Next week, the S.C. Arts Alliance presents the annual S.C. Arts Advocacy Day – with a twist: in 2018, it becomes Arts Advocacy Week. The main events are Tuesday with a State House rally and luncheon to follow. (We hope to see you there.) Here on The Hub, we're taking this week to connect the dots between public support of the arts and the net effect on society. This week's focus is on why we advocate, why support matters, and what arts support looks like on the ground, in communities around the state.

Sometimes, those communities have deep, historic problems. Oftentimes, those problems persist when one-size-fits-all solutions ... just aren't. Enter the Art of Community: Rural S.C. to foster creative, grassroots efforts to address problems through arts, culture, and creative placemaking. This program addresses the unique needs of rural South Carolina by taking what makes a community unique and building pride around that through creative partnerships with people previously not engaged to address those issues. An eclectic mix of young minds are rethinking the ways their rural communities are perceived to create a new framework for action. Please take a few moments to hear them tell their stories in the video below, which shows how arts and culture merge to face challenges where other attempts have fallen short. This is what arts support looks like on the ground. This is why we advocate: YOUNG VOICES VIDEO 5 MINUTES from Cook Productions on Vimeo.
The Art of Community: Rural S.C. advances the S.C. Arts Commission’s commitment to rural development through arts, culture and creative placemaking, creating a way to support new leadership, generate energy, and motivate action in a rural region of South Carolina. It is supported by the S.C. Arts Commission and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development. Read more about it here.