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13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition Winners Announced

Sculpture artists from across the nation applied to the 13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition, displayed at the North Charleston Riverfront Park and presented as a component of the 2018 North Charleston Arts Fest. Organized annually by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique, eleven-month exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their thought provoking, extraordinary sculptures, as well as compete for up to $19,750 in honorariums and awards. Thirteen out of 94 submissions were pre-juried into the exhibition by the juror, Lilly Wei, New York-based independent curator, writer, journalist, lecturer, and critic. Once installed at the exhibition site, Wei then made her selections for Best in Show, Outstanding Merit, and Honorable Mentions. The sculptures selected for exhibition are by 13 artists from 10 states. Congratulations to the winners of the 2018/2019 National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition:

  • Best in Show: Vuida by Joni Youkins-Herzog (Athens, Ga.; shown at right)
  • Outstanding Merit: Yellowfish by John Ross (Long Branch, N.J.)
  • Honorable Mention: Hallelujah by Charlie Brouwer (Willis, Va.)
  • Honorable Mention: Battery No. 1 by Lena Daly (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Honorable Mention: Moonlight Sonata by Hanna Jubran (Grimesland, N.C.)
Also displayed were the following pre-juried works:
  • The Sound of Everything - Bassoon by Sean Cassidy (Rock Hill)
  • Wind by Bob Doster (Lancaster)
  • Electric Horse by Normon Greene (Brentwood, Md.)
  • Ollie's Buoy by Roger Halligan (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
  • Gothic Family by Beau Lyday (Valdese, N.C.)
  • Oculi Aqua by Carmen Rojas (Ocala, Fla.)
  • The Wealth of Fools by Gregory Smith (North Pownal, Vt.)
  • Core Oracle by Adam Walls (Hope Mills, N.C.)
Sculpture sites are located throughout North Charleston Riverfront Park (1001 Everglades Ave.) on the former Charleston Naval Base. The park is open daily during daylight hours. Admission and parking are free. The 2018/2019 National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition will be on display through March 24, 2019. For more information or to be added to the application mailing list for the 2019/2020 competition, please call the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843.740.5854 or email culturalarts@northcharleston.org. For more information on the sculpture exhibition, visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com.
After determining the award winners, Lilly Wei offered the following juror’s statement: "I would like to begin by congratulating all the artists in this wonderful exhibition and wishing you much success. It is never easy to choose and even more difficult to select just one “best in show,” and one “outstanding merit” but it is good that a few others can be singled out also. I would further state the obvious, that these endeavors are inevitably subjective, influenced by the juror’s own inclinations and criteria, conscious and unconscious. I would add that these are my readings of the works, not necessarily those of the artists although that is what art should do—evoke myriad responses from its viewers. That said, Joni Younkins-Herzog’s Vuida earned Best inShow. I very much liked its playfulness and a subversive feminism that quickly shifted into the feminist, as the flower became a trumpet of sorts, a loudspeaker, perhaps, that says that flowers, (and women) should speak out, boldly broadcasting messages that need to be heard. She upends a traditional still life vanitas motif about ephemerality into something more political, activist, and of the moment."

Ment Nelson brings pride of place to ‘Souf Cak’

It's a great day in South Carolina Souf Cak. One can easily envision that phrase appearing among Ment Nelson's tweets at some point, if it's not in the 3,100+ already tweeted. His mission statement on the social media platform is "I make it cool to be from South Carolina," so we posit that our lede is not a stretch. But don't take The Hub's word for it; the Post & Courier undoubtedly has more cachet and on Monday made the case for Nelson's innate coolness with a wonderful story you should read if you haven't already:

As an emerging artist who has gone from bagging groceries to collaborating on a New York gallery show in the span of two years, Nelson doesn't draw a line between his portraits, his hip-hop songwriting, his computerized artwork and his ebullient social-media presence. He'll use any format that gets the job done, up to and including posing for a selfie with a roost full of chickens.
Hat tip to P&C writer Paul Bowers. Artists from South Carolina are certainly germane to a Hub story, but Ment is also working on a new initiative we're going to begin talking about soon called "Create: Rural S.C." The S.C. Arts Commission will lead research on South Carolina’s creative cluster, with a deeper examination of the creative economy in the state’s rural Promise Zone (Barnwell, Bamberg, Allendale, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton Counties), a priority community of the USDA-RD (the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development). A cohort of “Next Generation” creative professionals in the Promise Zone will assist in all aspects of the development and roll-out of the plan. This program is an outgrowth of the SCAC's "The Art of Community: Rural S.C." initiative, which is active in each of the Promise Zone counties as the umbrella organization for this program and already bearing fruit in the region. Hear more from the young voices of "Create: Rural S.C." in this video. YOUNG VOICES VIDEO 5 MINUTES from Cook Productions on Vimeo.  

Checking in with the Columbia Museum of Art

Columbia Museum of Art Columbia Museum of Art The Columbia Museum of Art is a cornerstone of the Midlands' cultural scene and has anchored the efforts to revitalize Columbia's Main Street since opening its current space there in 1998. It seeks to " the modern museum as the bustling social hub of our community." A multi-year renovation project that's nearing completion is going a long way to that end. The plan calls for the addition of gallery space, adapting unused space for use as high-end event space, and adding a new entrance along Main Street, among other things. This morning, The Hub takes a quick look at some of the recent progress that will be shown off at an exhibition opening later this week.


Jane Peterson, American, 1876-1965
Boats on the Nile, Dawn, 1905-1915
Oil on canvas, 19 x 24 ¾ in. (48.3 x 62.9 cm).
Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University; Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, 98.49. Photograph by: Kevin Montague. Jane Peterson is the quintessential American impressionist — well-schooled in her craft and well-traveled, open to the possibilities of a changing world. Her work reveals the vibrancy of the early 20th century and mirrors the concerns of a rapidly changing art world. "Jane Peterson: At Home and Abroad" opens this week at the museum and runs through July 22. (Hours and admission available here.) Peterson explored the innovative painting techniques of her time, and her style moved from impressionist to fauvist, from realism to a modernist abstraction. The variety of works in this exhibition demonstrates Peterson’s artistic journey and offers a glimpse of her private life. Get a sense of the independent woman, artist, and traveler whose works are displayed in museums around the world. With the new exhibition as a backdrop, the museum will christen its new, second-floor event space Thursday night with an opening reception for "At Home and Abroad." ColaDaily.com got a look at the 5,500 square-foot space from Special Events Manager Mario Guevara.

Healing and development from… the arts

This afternoon, The Hub would like to draw your attention to the (positive) effects arts participation has on the human body. Exposure is certainly nice, but we focus specifically today on the actual doing. And before going further, these come by way of NASAA – the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.


First, dance. Without being overly general, all it takes is a look at a professional dancer to know dance is, at least physically, good for you. But recent data from Australia shows that older adults who participate in dance classes see “increases in physical, cognitive and emotional well-being and as well as a general sense of achievement.” See study here. Closer to home, those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease can seek symptom relief through participation (there’s that word again) in dance classes from Ballet Spartanburg (right, dancer Charlotte Lanning). The company received the 2018 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts yesterday in part because of offering its community classes like this, which can also help those who have experienced a stroke or disorders like autism, dementia, or multiple sclerosis. Ballet Spartanburg offers the only course of this type in the Upstate, and it's led by Artistic Director Carlos Agudelo. Winifred Walsh, who leads a Parkinson’s support group in Spartanburg, had this to say about the course in her support letter for the company’s Verner Awards nomination:

To receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease at age 53 is a life-changer ... A friend urged me to join Spartanburg’s PD Support Group and the Dance for PD class offered by Ballet Spartanburg. I went and I was horrified at first look. I thought, ‘I am not like those people!’ But curiosity got the better of me and I stayed and have stayed for some nine years now. And guess what? I am exactly like those people, people with Parkinson’s who are not wasting time on self-pity ... Ballet Spartanburg Artistic Director Carlos Agudelo has set the bar high for our teachers who find joy in our attempts, who rejoice with us in our successes, who laugh with us often ... Outreach seems such a simple term for such complex blessings to me and to others who have movement and balance disorders. We offer gratitude to Ballet Spartanburg for improving our lives through dance, and also through love. We are not merely people with Parkinson’s. Ballet Spartanburg has made us dancers.”

Learn more about the additional benefits of this program by clicking here.
Second, music. The National Endowment for the Arts is talking music training, which is how people get ready for … participation (that’s a hat trick). Two recent articles “find that music education not only strengthens creativity but also improves brain functions related to language development, attention, visuospatial perception, planning and other executive functions, and short-term and working memory.” Music training can be found, almost literally, everywhere. But lessons can be costly, to say nothing of other potential barriers. But four of the professional orchestras the South Carolina Arts Commission helps fund offer the interactive Link Up program from Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. Link Up partners orchestras with schools (home, private, and public) or school districts to offer an interactive musical curriculum in schools that teach students lessons in theory and can teach them how to use the recorder. The program usually culminates with a trip to see the professionals perform locally, with a twist: during the Link Up concert, the students can play recorders along with the musicians on stage! The four South Carolina orchestras that offered Link Up concerts during the 2017/2018 school year are the Aiken and Charleston symphonies and South Carolina (Columbia) and Spartanburg philharmonics.

Cane Bay Elementary puts SCAC grant to work

The Hub wants to let you in on a little secret: We get a tad giddy when we get to put together posts like this. Grants are one of the four ways we accomplish our mission at the South Carolina Arts Commission. Through the current fiscal year, this agency is proud to have sent a total of almost $77 million in grant money to South Carolina artists, arts organizations, and schools since 1967 to make life more enjoyable and rounded for everybody here. Everybody. So when a grantee is given the spotlight because of the way its grant is put to work, yes – we get happy. It's tangible. It shows, in plain view, the importance of public support for the arts. One such example is Cane Bay Elementary School in Summervillewhich received a $9,730 grant to become an Arts in Basic Curriculum Project site and make arts experiences more diverse and accessible to its students. Based on the story today in the Summerville Journal Scene, they've done just that:

By enhancing the hallways with display boards, collaborative art projects and sensory panels, students traveling from class to class can now interact with the arts in new ways.

Students, staff and parents have been invited to participate in a community rock garden project that will be installed in front of the school this summer.

Cane Bay Elementary has also started its own Creative Cobras Art Club for students in third and fourth grade and enhanced their choral program by utilizing props and lighting for the first time.

Read the full story here.

Behind the Scenes: Verner Statue unpacking day

Today is a special day at the South Carolina Arts Commission, one that comes around every year about this time. Verner Award statue unpacking day. They were delivered earlier in the week, but this... this is a Friday kind of job. The boxes should come with a label that says, "Do Not Open 'Til X-mas Friday." So this morning, Arts Commission staff members (and devoted Verner Award statue caretakers) Kevin Flarisee and Victoria McCurry broke away from the ongoing Janae Claxton victory party long enough to carry out this task reserved only for a privileged few. Fortunately for you, The Hub – relentless in its pursuit of the best possible Hub-erage of South Carolina Arts Awards Day – was there to chronicle everything. Let's peek behind the curtain and see how it went.


Click on each image to enlarge.
The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts will be presented to their five recipients Wednesday, May 2 at a 10:30 a.m. State House ceremony. It is open to the public. You can also still get last-minute tickets to the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon that follows the ceremony at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., $50). The luncheon includes an art sale from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., three-course meal, special recognition of the award recipients, and a unique fundraiser featuring the table centerpieces – one of which you can purchase the opportunity to take home. As you can see above, we have plenty of packing peanuts.

Arts in schools: What difference do they make?

Last week, the South Carolina Senate passed a version of the state budget (previously approved by the House, whose Ways & Means Committee begins the process) that increased arts funding by $350,000.  Not to be outdone, the Senate appropriated an additional $100,000 specifically for arts education. Both events are welcome news at the S.C. Arts Commission, and we're thankful for the support from both chambers of the General Assembly. They voted 159-2 on aggregate in favor of the budget that includes this funding. The differences will need to be worked out in conference committee and then approved before being presented to Gov. Henry McMaster for his signature.


So, why'd they do it? Do the arts really make a difference in education? Research included in a new book could have some answers, including this key passage:

The problem is not usually the students; it is the system. Change the system in the right ways and many of the problems of poor behavior, low motivation, and disengagement tend to disappear. It can be the system itself that creates the problems.

That excerpt comes from "What Happens to Student Behavior When Schools Prioritize Art" on the KQED website, which simply excerpts the new book, You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education by Sir Ken Robinson, Ph. D and Lou Aronica. Go check out the excerpt on KQED, and know that the Arts Commission, through the ABC Project and other programs, is committed to providing quality arts education to all students across South Carolina.
Ed. note: the discussion or linking to of any publication by The Hub and/or the South Carolina Arts Commission does not express or imply endorsement or approval of any and/or all material therein.

Denmark-Olar students to make music with renowned chamber ensemble

Thanks to funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), Decoda – a NYC-based chamber music ensemble – will create and perform original songs with teens from Denmark-Olar High School (DOHS) this week. “This is an incredible opportunity for one of South Carolina’s rural high schools to work directly with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in a process that awakens students to their own creative abilities,” said Ken May, executive director of the SCAC. The week-long event is an arts education project that is part of the agency’s Art of Community: Rural SC initiative. Claire Bryant, by Caroline Bittencourt One of the visiting artists, Claire Bryant, grew up in rural South Carolina and now lives in New York City. She has been working closely with SCAC for several years to organize this event. She calls experiences like this “transformative.” Bryant is a cellist and is director of Decoda’s social justice initiative, "Music for Transformation." During the week at Denmark-Olar, she and three other visiting Decoda artists will facilitate a collaborative songwriting workshop for 20 student participants. Together, they will write new songs based on the theme, "Where I’m From." Other students will be involved in organizing and documenting the experience. The workshop week will culminate with a celebratory performance at the school Friday, March 30th at 2:15 p.m. It is open to the public. Decoda’s transformative songwriting programs have garnered national attention for the both the artistic and social impact of its recent projects in partnership with NYPD officers and teens from Police Athletic League in NYC. In addition, it has been highlighted nationally for its program with incarcerated residents at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville. Also in South Carolina, Decoda has a long association with the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County in Camden where it has performed and also been “in residence” at schools there. “The integration of arts within our schools plays a vital role in the development and success of our youth. The arts, especially music, nurtures and empowers the humanity inside all of us,” Bryant said. “We are especially grateful to the Denmark community for its hospitality and kindness. A special thanks to Denmark-Olar High Arts Coordinator Dr. Anna Martin, who has arranged all the details for our school visit, as well Principal Mickey Pringle and Dr. Thelma Sojourner, superintendent of Bamberg District 2 schools. The list is long,” she said. SCAC also recognizes Mary Rivers and Denmark Technical College Choral Director Dr. Yvette McDaniel and assistant director (and Denmark-Olar alumna) Ashley Jordan for their assistance in making this partnership possible. (Ed. note: McDaniel and Jordan are involved with the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative.)


About Decoda

Decoda is a New York City-based modular chamber ensemble dedicated to creating meaningful musical experiences through dynamic performances, education, and a quest for social impact. Decoda provides engaging performances, interactive concerts, and enlightened discussions serving the widest possible types of audiences. Now in its fifth season, Decoda's projects and performances have taken place in South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Abu Dhabi, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, and across the U.S. "Music for Transformation," Decoda’s social justice initiative, brings creative songwriting projects to help empower vulnerable and disenfranchised voices. Decoda’s exemplary work in maximum-security prisons and in the juvenile justice system has been recognized by CNN, Huffington Post, the Associated Press, Washington Post, and Billboard Magazine. Decoda has on three separate occasions been invited to the White House to perform and advocate for arts programming as a means for criminal justice reform. For more information, please visit decodamusic.org.

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.