S.C. Arts Awards: Tom Stanley

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year’s 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC.

This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.


Photo by Terry Roueche

Tom Stanley

Artist Category

Visual artist Tom Stanley, former chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts, earned a master’s in applied art history and another in painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980. There he learned what it meant to support, trust, and encourage students. After time on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida throughout the 1980s, in 1990 he returned to South Carolina to become the first director of Winthrop University Galleries and became chair of the school’s fine arts department in 2007.

During his tenure as chair and gallery director, he worked to increase student and department visibility. He fostered gallery programming partnerships in both Carolinas including the exhibition Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists with the South Carolina State Museum highlighting the importance of these artists to community identity. Stanley and former Winthrop colleague Shaun Cassidy, a sculptor, worked closely with Winthrop, the Wells Fargo Championship, the City of Rock Hill, and Family Trust Federal Credit Union to create ongoing opportunities for students to be commissioned in the production of public art in the region. Stanley also developed an initiative called ACE (Artists and Civic Engagement). It hosted regional artists including Leo Twiggs and Minuette Floyd and brought artist Patrick Dougherty to Rock Hill to create a temporary sapling sculpture titled Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Main Street with the assistance of fine arts students.

In recent years Stanley’s creative work has been exhibited in Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia in South Carolina; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; in New Orleans; and internationally in Berlin, Lausanne, Paris, and Portugal. His most recent exhibition was Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art during Spoleto in Charleston. Last year, Stanley completed the public art commission for CATS’ Tom Hunter light rail station in Charlotte, which includes 15 windscreen panels, two benches, seven column claddings, and 32 steel fence inserts.

Stanley and Cassidy teamed for public art commissions in Simpsonville, Raleigh, and in Omaha, Neb. In 2010, they completed the 33-ft. high stainless-steel Winthrop Monolith and in 2015 produced the commission Moments on Main Street in Columbia.

For more, visit TomStanleyArt.com.


South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient’s award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.


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