‘Chicken Man’ loves what he does

“You gotta love it, you gotta love what you do.” That from renowned Columbia artist Ernest Lee, known to most as the "Chicken Man" for his iconic artwork featuring ... well, you know. He's going strong 51 years into his art career. “When I was five, I started drawing. And I told my mom if there was anything in the world I wanted to be, I wanted to be an artist,” he said. “I just picked up the pencil and kept playing with it.” When he got older, Lee began painting the interior and exterior of houses, until someone suggested he start doing “something he could call his own.” We posit that he did. Read more on Lee's story on ColaDaily.com.  

Submitted material

Wheel Sessions: Greenville’s Underground Jazz Series

“Wheel Sessions” is a jazz performance series in Greenville with performances for an intimate listening audience on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. The first 41 Wheel Sessions were held at their namesake venue, the Wheel, a shared arts space in West Greenville’s Arts District. Wheel Sessions host and resident drummer Kevin Korschgen transformed that location, filled with funky comfortable furniture, into a “groovy” underground jazz club not unlike one you might find in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Set as theater in the round, that intimate space played an important role in establishing a unique Wheel Session brand. However, the true success of the sessions is in the music! Sadly, the Wheel no longer exists – but the sessions continue to thrive. The Wheel Sessions enjoy an enthusiastic and supportive fan base. Whether billed as a House Party, held in a local club, or in its soon to be home, the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (GUUF), the Wheel Sessions are a must see and hear event. Mr. Korschgen consistently books many of the Carolina’s finest jazz musicians for the sessions, extending them complete artistic license to perform as if they where in Village. Until you have attended a Wheel Session it is hard to imagine such creative jazz brewing in the Upstate. For information on upcoming shows, visit wheelsessions.com.


Next event

Wheel Session 48 Thursday, July 26, 2018 Justin Ray Quartet 7:30-9:30 p.m. … doors open at 7 p.m. Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 1135 State Park Rd., Greenville, SC 29609 Admission $15 (Cash only) To reserve a seat, phone or text 312.520.2760 or email Kevin at kmkorschgen@gmail.com.
Header photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

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Furman tenors shine at national competition in Las Vegas

After impressive performances at both state and regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competitions held earlier this year, two Furman University vocalists made the best of opportunities to compete on the national stage. Tyrese Byrd, a junior vocal performance major from Williamston and Bergsvein Toverud, a senior music education major from Lenoir, N.C., competed in the semifinals and finals of the National Student Auditions, part of the 55th NATS competition held June 22-26 in Las Vegas. The tenors won third place in their divisions at the event where they competed among 200 vocalists. Before getting a chance to compete in the semis, the two were required to submit YouTube videos for the preliminary round. (View them here: Toverud | Byrd)  Having made the cut, which included the top 14 in their respective divisions, the tenors matriculated to the live semifinal round where they continued to shine. Only the top three or four singers in each category from the semifinals advanced to the live, national final. “Tyrese and Bergsvein were the only two tenors competing in the college classical competition at this level. This is remarkable considering the size of our music program. It says a lot about the type of student and level of talent we have here, ” Furman Professor of Voice Grant Knox said. Knox believes no other school came away with two finalists at the competition. And besides acknowledging the raw talent students brought to the event, Knox gives a nod to Furman. “These types of successes would not be possible without Furman’s support and encouragement. These students come to Furman because they feel the university values music and the arts. I look forward to celebrating more achievements like these in the years to come,” he said.


For more information, contact Grant Knox at 864.294.3034 and grant.knox@furman.edu.

So, what would you say you do here?

"The Bobs" from Office Space, 1999 by Twentieth Century Fox and Cubicle, Inc. There's not a quick answer to that question, but let's start with this: The South Carolina Arts Commission does three things:

  • artist development,
  • community arts development,
  • and arts education
through four means:
  • direct programs,
  • staff assistance,
  • partnerships,
  • and grants.

The Hub serves as… a hub for the promotion of news items related to all those things. (The “Arts Daily” section serves as a centralized - what’s the word? - hub for promoting statewide arts events.) On a given week, you can see posts that serve to promote any number of those things. It’s critical for this outlet to do that because if you’re a tax-paying South Carolinian, your income comes to Columbia through the Department of Revenue and can return to your community from our agency by those four means. For the current fiscal year that ends in two weeks, we’ve helped provide one, some, or all the three things we do to all 46 counties. Barbara Streeter In short, we use The Hub to tell you how we’re attempting to be good stewards for your money. It’s not an election-year gimmick, but it’s here every year, on as many days as workload allows. The programs, artists, and ventures are not just lofty ones perched on the peak of Mount Olympus. No, we’re also using arts and culture to make Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties feel like they have a slice of the peak as new perspectives converge to address old problems. We help schools integrate the arts (top, right) into their curricula to foster creativity and critical thinking in new generations. We also enable artists to contribute to a $9.7 billion sector of the state economy by helping them not only further, but monetize their skills (bottom, right) to provide themselves sustainable income. That’s where your money goes, and it’s important for you to know that all the time, not just when differing opinions on funding collide - because it’s your money, entrusted to our professionals to impact all South Carolinians.
Two things you might have noticed here and/or our social media outlets lately are renewed emphasis on a) promoting what “SC Artists” are doing (spoiler alert: they are a wildly successful lot) and b) how “SCAC Grants At Work” are being put to work. Here is today’s example, which happens to encompass both. The grantee artists used an S.C. Arts Commission grant to take an art form often assumed to be reserved for Olympus right to Main Street: Here’s to seeing plenty more of this, all the time.

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.  

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.

‘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