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.

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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.

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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!

Rural creatives: network on July 25

Network, celebrate, and catch the creative spirit


After a year of creating new connections and networks, CREATE: Rural SC wants you to join us and continue its creative exploration.  Creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, makers, tradition-bearers, mavens, advisors, friends and partners: you are especially invited to be part of this conversation and celebration. On Thursday, July 25, we’ll ask what matters to artists working deeply in communities to make positive change and what matters to communities that host visiting artists.   As we share and network, we’ll learn more about the community-based work of visiting artist Markus Tracy of Nevada who will lead a conversation about his South Carolina experiences in Estill and Blackville this spring and summer. Join us to learn more about staying connected with the S.C. Arts Commission and this program and come meet the agency's new director, David Platts. Light refreshments will be served and a mic provided for artists and others to share brief creative updates and insights. Artists are invited to bring a sample of their artwork for sharing and informal discussion. And perhaps a few of you will bring instruments—these meetings have a history of turning into jam sessions.

THANKS!

We are excited to join with the Estill/Hampton County Team for The Art of Community: Rural SC to support this important meeting and give special thanks to the Town of Estill for its support. In addition, financial support from USDA-Rural Development, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission (which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts) is fostering new ideas, new programs and new projects for community arts development in South Carolina. Special thanks as well to associates affiliated with the Promise Zone region, which includes Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.

RSVP

Check out this e-vite link and rsvp today: http://evite.me/jBdWNpf5gm
Photo by Isabella Mendes from Pexels

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conNECKtedTOO is on the move

Sculpture heads to North Charleston for the summer


“You Bet ‘N Me ‘N Me ‘N You,” a sculptural tiny business village of the future, has moved from the Cannon Street Arts Center in downtown Charleston to the lobby of North Charleston’s City Hall (2500 City Hall Lane) where it will remain installed through early August 2019. The sculpture was created by artists, apprentices and business owners working with conNECKtedTOO, a project of art and culture in/with community for economic development. The project supports and promotes tiny business in Charleston and beyond as a vital part of neighborhood and commerce by building a collaborative, sustainable network of business owners, artists and neighborhood youth. This network is inter-generational, interracial and grassroots by design; it reflects the importance of diversity in the building of equitable societies.

"Everybody's dream is not to become Bill Gates. Some folks want to support their families or live out something that's a passion of theirs. There's one guy that has always wanted to have a place to sell pizza. As simple as that. He doesn't want to be Pizza Hut," said conNECKtedTOO tiny business coordinator and Charleston native Theron Snype.

In addition to the tiny business village installation, conNECKtedTOO has developed an Active Memory Map as one way of seeking out local narratives that are often left out of economic conversations—the stories, voices and memories of generations of Charlestonians, especially those who represent marginalized populations like minorities, women, and immigrants. The participatory map will be at the Charleston County Library Main Branch (68 Calhoun St., Charleston) through July 31.
coNECKtedTOO, as a multi-faceted experiment, is being constantly imagined, forged and promoted. Our present plan, timeline and budget are supported in large part by an ArtPlace America award. Additional support is provided by Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission. For more information please visit conNECKtedTOO.org or email conNECKtedTOO@gmail.com.

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Temporary sculpture installed in Charleston

'Under Glass' conjoins natural sciences, spirituality

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is bringing public sculpture to the West Ashley Greenway with a temporary art installation by Georgia artist Mike Wsol. The piece was installed May 8 near the St. Andrew's School of Math and Science between Campbell Drive and the West Ashley Greenway. The Conservancy awarded Wsol with an exhibition prize at ArtFields in May 2018. ArtFields is an annual art exhibit and competition in Lake City showcasing the work of artists around the Southeast. Over the last year, Wsol has been planning and designing his sculpture for the West Ashley Greenway. Titled “Under Glass,” Wsol said the sculpture was “designed with the natural sciences and spirituality in mind. Its form divided in two chambers separates the viewer below from the natural light entering and reflecting within the upper chamber. Experiencing ‘Under Glass’ highlights the separation of the viewer’s physical body from the passing light nature provides.” The sculpture is made from two 325-gallon scrap propane tanks bolted to an X-shaped foundation that will be buried underground and covered with sod and soil. After the installation is complete, the sculpture will appear to balance atop the earth. It will be on display until October. In the coming months, the Conservancy will host educational events and opportunities for the public and schoolchildren to view the sculpture and interact with the artist. Wsol's recent creative work has taken the form of large experiential, interactive public sculpture, prints, and drawings. His work has been exhibited in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami, among other cities. Wsol has also been the recipient of grants and awards from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, Indiana University, and the Georgia State University Center for Collaborative and International Arts to name a few. He earned a master of architecture from the University of Virginia, a master of fine art in sculpture from the University of Georgia, a master of arts in sculpture and a bachelor of arts in sculpture from Eastern Illinois University. The Charleston Parks Conservancy launched its Art in the Parks program in 2017, an effort to encourage temporary public art displays in Charleston city parks through collaborations with artists and arts organizations, including Redux Contemporary Art Center, City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and ArtFields. The first art installation was in Hampton Park last year. In 2017, the Conservancy received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a planning and public engagement process to encourage creative placemaking along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway. The site of Wsol’s installation was identified in the plan as location for public art that engages the community and encourages social interaction. “This installation is the first of many public art projects we’ll bring to West Ashley,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. “As we work on the overall master plan for revitalizing the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway, pubic art and arts programming will play an important role in how we reshape this public space and encourage resident use and engagement.” The ArtFields exhibition prize is part of the Art in the Parks program created by the Charleston Parks Conservancy in collaboration with Redux Contemporary Art Center and the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.

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Four S.C. musicians selected for the National Youth Orchestra (NYO2)

Students among 80 selected, will perform in Miami & NYC

Image by Jason Rapp/SCAC
Carnegie Hall this week announced the names of the 80 young musicians selected from across the country for NYO2, a three-week, intensive summer orchestral training program for outstanding American instrumentalists ages 14–17. The members of NYO2 2019—coming from 30 U.S. states plus Puerto Rico—have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as exceptionally talented musicians who not only embody a very high level of artistry, but who also come from a wide range of backgrounds, representing a future for American orchestral music that includes communities which have often been underserved by and underrepresented in the field. 20 musicians are returning to NYO2 from previous seasons. The four South Carolina students are:
  • Violinist Payton Jin-Hyun Lee, 10th grade, Duncan (S.C. Governors School for the Arts and Humanities)
  • Violist Ansley Moe, 11th grade, Spartanburg (S.C. Governors School for the Arts and Humanities)
  • Violist Jeremiah Moultrie, 12th grade, Charleston (S.C. Governors School for the Arts and Humanities)
  • Violist Hailey Xu, 12th grade, Greer (Riverside High School)
For the second consecutive year, the musicians of NYO2 will travel to Miami Beach for a week-long residency, made possible through a continued partnership with the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS). As part of their training, NYO2 players have the opportunity to work with NWS Fellows leading up to a performance at the New World Center on Saturday, July 27 at 8:30 p.m. led by conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. The program includes
  • Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka,
  • selections from Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat,
  • and Gabriela Montero’s Piano Concerto No. 1, “Latin,” featuring the composer as soloist.
The New World Center concert will be made available to the community for free via WALLCAST®, with the full performance viewable outdoors in SoundScape Park on the 7,000-square-foot projection wall of the building. During their time in Miami, the NYO2 members will also have opportunities to interact with local young musicians in the South Florida area through NWS community partner organizations, playing and learning side-by-side with one another. Following their Miami residency, NYO2 returns to New York for a culminating performance at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the Carnegie Hall concert, priced at $25 for adults and $10 for students, are on sale now in person and over the phone through the Carnegie Hall Box Office by calling 212.247.7800 and at CarnegieHall.org. Discounted student tickets are available online for verified Student Insiders only – all other youth tickets must be purchased at the box office or over the phone. The NYO2 program begins with an intensive training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York in mid-July. The young musicians work with NWS Fellows as well as other professional players from top orchestras, and also have opportunities to make music side-by-side with members of NYO-USA and NYO Jazz. Joseph Young, artistic director of Ensembles at the Peabody Institute, returns as NYO2’s resident conductor, and the students also have the opportunity to work with James Ross, music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in Virginia. The faculty leads private lessons, master classes, chamber music readings, and other seminars on essential music skills in preparation for the culminating concerts in Miami Beach and New York.

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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.