Jason Rapp

FY21 S.C. Arts Commission grants to fuel state’s creative sector

$4.1 million to support arts, cultural work in at least 41 counties

Group picture with big, colorful cutout letters spelling "thank you."

The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by Maven Lottie Lewis, celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing grants totaling $4.1 million awarded in at least 41 South Carolina counties to support arts and culture work in the new fiscal year.

The grants, approved by votes of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors on June 18, will be distributed during the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 grant period to artists and organizations who applied for grants that support the agency’s work to further arts education, artist development, and community arts development across South Carolina.

“This is a significant investment of public funds that will further the work of South Carolina’s creative sector. It will support quality arts education programming for South Carolina students. It will support many of the 115,000 jobs in and supported by our $9.7 billion arts and creative sector. It will also help make arts programming that is more representative and more accessible to all South Carolinians and our visitors,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud and excited to help provide those benefits for the people of South Carolina.”


Individual Artist Fellowship grants, announced earlier this month, and Artist Ventures Initiative grants further the agency’s artist development work by enabling creatives in South Carolina to focus on the creation of art. In the case of the Artist Ventures Initiative, those grants help an artist turn the art into sustainable income as they give artist entrepreneurs seed money to create an arts-based business or strengthen an existing one with needed materials or training. Four grants of each type, totaling just less than $37,000, were awarded.

Arts education grants are heading to 76 schools and seven districts across the state, strengthening arts in school curriculum with a combined investment of $896,000. Education Pilot Project grants use $295,000 to help South Carolina organizations provide musical learning, summertime STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) camps, and professional development.

Grants totaling $85,400 supporting the SCAC’s community arts development work are going to the 15 counties where The Art of Community: Rural SC is addressing local issues with arts and culture. These grants also keep unique South Carolina arts and cultural traditions alive by funding eight Folklife & Traditional Arts Apprenticeships for artists and folklife work done by four organizations. Also funded is the SCAC’s folklife partnership with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum.

Additional grants to be awarded throughout the year offer potential for impact in all counties. Among them are Arts Project Support grants, which offer funding for projects by artists and arts organizations. Both grants have rolling deadlines, and project support grants are designed to be accessible, streamlining the application process to remove barriers often faced by small organizations and individual artists.


Amounts awarded to programs in primary grant categories

Arts in Education: $1,463,832
Grants help fund curriculum planning and implementation, artist residencies, performances, professional development for teachers and summer and afterschool arts programs.

  • Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement: $770,000 
    Awarded to 83 schools and school districts that are participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which works to ensure every child in South Carolina has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the SCAC, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Education Pilot Projects: $295,000
    Grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $272,832
    One grant to support management of the ABC Project partnership.

Operating Support: $2,040,978
Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.

  • General Operating Support: $1,908,066
    One hundred twenty-nine grants for arts organizations.
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations: $111,972
    Forty-six grants for arts organizations with annual expense budgets of less than $75,000.
  • Statewide Organizations: $20,940
    Six grants for arts organizations operating statewide.

The Art of Community: Rural SC: $85,400
Using arts and culture to address issues in rural communities with the help of local partners.

Folklife and Traditional Arts: $104,033
Grants support programs that promote a greater understanding and visibility of South Carolina’s many cultures through documentation and presentation of traditional art forms, their practitioners and their communities.

  • Organization grants: $23,000
    Four grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000
    Eight grants that support a partnership between a master artist, who will share artistic and cultural knowledge, and a qualified apprentice, who will then continue to pursue the art form.
  • Partnerships: $71,033
    One grant to support management of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Partnership.

Subgranting: $69,000
Seven awards to local arts councils that distribute quarterly grants to organizations and artists in their regions. This program is funded in part by an award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Artists Ventures Initiative: $16,700
Four grants to individual artists for projects designed to help them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers. 

Individual Artist Fellowships: $20,000
Four grants to individual artists to recognize and reward their artistic achievements. These were announced in July 2020 after approval by the SCAC Board of Directors.


About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians.

Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.



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