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Jason Rapp

Artists U/South Carolina launches Big Projects Club

Free program for ambitious artists with ambitious projects

Applications deadline: Thursday, October 1, 2020 man looking at a planning board
Big Projects Club provides eight months of support, community, and accountability for South Carolina artists pursuing ambitious goals. It is for artists who want to start (or transition) a major project or venture. Times of uncertainty and instability can be powerful moments to start something new. Rather than retreating to the familiar, hoping our old ways of working will sustain us, we can be visionary builders of our practice, and our communities, and our future. Let’s walk together. Big Projects Club is a community of practice for ambitious artists and ambitious projects. We move our own projects forward, and we actively propel each other’s work with support, brainstorming, and accountability. Do it on your terms. We have no opinion on what you should do. You’re an artist; you’re a genius at envisioning and manifesting. Your ambitions and definitions of success are your own.  BPC is here to move you forward on your terms.


12 artists, by application (applications due October 1, 2020). Artists will be selected by a panel of AU/SC facilitators.


Eight monthly group sessions (ninety minutes on Zoom) and up to three one-on-ones with an AU/SC facilitator. The commitment + Attend all eight sessions, no exceptions. + Share your insights and ideas to help propel other artists’ projects. + Do the work. This is for artists who can devote at least eight hours a week to manifesting their Big Projects. Read more and apply here!

Jason Rapp

Hub follow-up: Artists U ‘shifts’ to Zoom

Free artist working groups start tomorrow

shift key on a laptop keyboard
Artists U is starting SHIFT/South Carolina to get artists talking and working together in a time of crisis so they're ready when the crisis is over. Last week The Hub promoted the informational sessions. (Miss those? Catch up with a recorded version.) With the preliminary stuff completed, Artists U is diving in, and SHIFT/South Carolina starts tomorrow at noon with "Artists in a Time of Crisis."
You can do SHIFT on your own. You can form a working group in your community. You can request to join an existing working group (there’s a place on the signup form for that.) However you choose to participate, Artists U does ask that you sign up for the community and dialogue. There is no cost to participate.
Registered participants get:
  • access to 10 weekly Zoom workshops (live and recorded) on different topics
  • the in-the-works SHIFT workbook
  • regular updates on local and national resources for artists
"I know you will get a lot from our conversations and have ideas and resources to contribute," Andrew Simonet of Artists U said. "And please spread the word. SHIFT is for all South Carolina artists, not just Artists U alums."

Session dates

All live sessions begin at noon on the following dates:
  • April 8, 2020
  • April 15, 2020
  • April 22, 2020
  • April 29, 2020
  • May 6, 2020
  • May 13, 2020
  • May 20, 2020
  • May 27, 2020
  • June 3, 2020
  • June 10, 2020
Did we mention it's free? Here's that sign-up link again.
The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with Artists U on its artist development work and provides operating support to it via grant funding.

Jason Rapp

Artists U introducing new working groups for artists

Addressing shifts by shifting together

Artists U is launching a new platform for artists during this ongoing crisis: SHIFT Working Groups. These launch first in South Carolina with two SHIFT Intros this week. During a one-hour Zoom conversation, Artists U will introduce the program and answer questions. First, here's a bit more from Artists U about this new initiative and how it can help artists.

SHIFT Working Groups: artists working together in a time of crisis

Our world is shifting rapidly. We need to shift. We at Artists U want to work through these shifts together. We want to build positive, rigorous conversations about surviving and thriving during—and beyond—this time of uncertainty. Standing together allows us to share resources and ideas, but is not merely transactional; it is transformational. It is a model for how to live once this pandemic passes. Artists have so much to contribute at this moment of crisis. By stabilizing our lives, we can activate our skills as artists to create things in our community and our world: new art, structures, connections, and futures. Let us do what artists have always done: use what we have to build what we need.

What is a SHIFT Working Group?

A SHIFT working group is a group of 2-12 artists who commit to meeting online once a week and attending weekly online SHIFT workshops. You organize your group; Artists U provides the structure, prompts, and workshops. Together, we build solutions and support to stabilize the present and create what is next. We will:
  • Stabilize our physical health, mental health, and financial health, and the health of those around us. This is our first priority. We cannot create or contribute well until we are stable.
  • Clarify and strengthen our roles in our communities and culture. Once we are secure, we can make things, build things. In this crisis, that could take many forms: art that comforts or heals or pushes or fights, collective structures for resource and care, practices to grieve and mourn, tools for staying connected and nourished.
  • Imagine, plan, and build the new and needed structures, ways of working, economies, and paradigms. This moment is full of possibility. Artists can help conceptualize and create what is next in our communities, art worlds, and economies.

What is the commitment?

  • form a group of 2-12 artists
  • meet weekly online with your group
  • attend online one-hour workshops once a week with the larger SHIFT community (you can attend these live or recorded)
  • do the writing prompts
  • listen generously and sharing openly

Register here to learn more

Interested? Here are the dates and times of the information sessions (on Zoom):

Jason Rapp

Artists U grantwriting workshop moves online

Still happening. Still free.

Register ASAP; it's this Friday.

You heard about it on The Hub last month. A lot's happened since. Though many things are postponing or canceling, our partner organization is still presenting this invaluable resource for artists. Online. Register today. Made possible by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, Artists U South Carolina's Andrew Simonet is set to introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants. You'll read some short proposals and act as a panel, scoring and discussing them. No bull, no fancy PowerPoints, just real-world tools for artists who write (or want to write) grants. From Andrew:

I didn't sign up to be a grantwriter. I wanted to be a choreographer. I discovered that, to make my work, I needed to find support. So I embarked on a painful learning process of trial and error, making every possible grant writing mistake. Eventually, I secured grants from funders like Creative Capital, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Rockefeller Foundation, and residencies from Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and Ucross.

I want to share with you everything I've learned. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, I will introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 6-9 p.m. ONLINE You'll receive a link to the meeting once you register. Do that here.

Artists U offers artist learning opportunities this March

Hey there, #SCartists. Our friends and frequent collaborators at Artists U have two great FREE learning opportunities in Columbia next month. Both will take place in the centrally-located Congaree Vista in the centrally-located city. Here's info on each. - Ed.

Grant Writing For Artists (FREE workshop)

Friday, March 20, 6-9 p.m. If Art Gallery | 1223 Lincoln St., Columbia (29201)

Based on 25 years of grant writing and art making, Artists U's Andrew Simonet will introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants. You'll read some short proposals and act as a panel, scoring and discussing them. No bull, no fancy powerpoints, just real-world tools for artists who write (or want to write) grants. Get more info and register for "Grant Writing for Artists" here.

Presenting Your Art

ENROLLMENT IS LIMITED AND BY APPLICATION Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If Art Gallery | 1223 Lincoln St., Columbia (29201)

In this workshop, we will take a hands-on look at each artist’s toolkit: work samples, artist statement, elevator pitch, and presentations. We will build a positive and rigorous conversation around the challenge of representing our art. In Artists U, we have sat on many panels and juries, and we will tell you: Most artists fail to convey the power of their work in their applications. Too many artists submit muddled images and convoluted writing and fail to connect the two. A huge barrier to getting new opportunities is how we represent our work in words and images.  We owe it to our work to represent it well in images and language.
  • Each artist will prepare a four-minute presentation about their work.
  • Artists in this workshop must also attend Grant Writing for Artists workshop on Friday, March 20 (see above).
Get more info and register for "Presenting Your Art" here.

Summer learning for artists from Artists U

Grant writing, basic financial skills, and more

Artists U is the S.C. Arts Commission's partner to serve #SCartists in providing training to make sustainable careers out of your artistic pursuits.  A lot of times, a career as an artist requires skills that don't get covered in school: grant writing, financial basics, etc. Rather than go it alone, the SCAC/Artists U partnership provides in-depth training for no cost: Artists U teaches, and SCAC funding covers the tuition as part of ArtsGrowSC. This June, Artists U has three great workshops scheduled. The courses fill up fast, so don't hesitate—register today!
Grant Writing for Artists
  • Friday, June 14
  • 6-9 p.m.
  • Charleston
Presenting Your Art
  • Saturday, June 15
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Charleston
  • Note: Enrollment for this workshop is limited and by application!
Finances for Artists: Basics and Beyond
  • Sunday, June 16
  • 2-6 p.m.
  • Columbia
  • Note: Limited enrollment
Click here to learn more and register/apply for these workshops.

Tools for a successful career as an artist

Artists U to present free workshop in Anderson

The S.C. Arts Commission is dedicated to helping #SCartists thrive economically using their talents to build a sustainable career. Our partnership with Artists U helps provide tools to make that happen. This spring, the team from Artists U/South Carolina is heading to Anderson to present a free workshop.

Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist

Friday, April 12, 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anderson Arts Center Warehouse 110 Federal Street Anderson, SC 29625
  • How much does it cost? It’s free (but the class size is limited).
  • Who is it for? Practicing South Carolina artists.
  • Do you have to attend both sessions? Yes.
  • Will there be beverages? Of course. And lunch on Saturday.
  • How do I register? Sign up here
The S.C. Arts Commission and Artists U/South Carolina work as partners to offer these programs to South Carolina artists.

What Artists Say About the Workshop

“Our local art sphere is changing with these workshops. People are talking about things differently and feeling more empowered. The impact is deep.” Visual artist "I have been working full-time as a self-supporting artist for ten years, yet there was not a single idea or observation that arose today that did not make an impact on me. I have also sat through many, many strategic planning meetings, charrettes, and professional development seminars in different fields, and this by far was the most fruitful, efficient, and enjoyable. This weekend will not only make a difference in my artistic and professional life, but also in the creative life of my beloved city." Dance artist "This intensive was exactly what I needed - concrete reminders that I use both sides of my brain; the guided direction to jump start my career goals that lay dormant; and defining motivation to move forward to accomplish those goals." Visual artist

Theatre thriving in South Carolina

Theatre seems to be jumping across The Hub's radar this week, and for good reason: it's thriving in South Carolina. We thought it was due for a spotlight piece, so take your seats as we begin.

Act I: PURE Theatre

Co-founder and Artistic Director Sharon Graci (right) is featured here in a brief video from LowcountryBizSC this morning. PURE, a professional contemporary theatre group, set records for new and returning audiences during its 15th anniversary last season, and this year gets a new venue: the Cannon Street Arts Center, where they will be anchor tenant. Graci was the S.C. Arts Commission's acting fellow in 2010/2011 and Rodney Lee Rogers, PURE's other co-founder, was the playwriting fellow the same year. (Coincidentally, the two are married. - Ed.) PURE receives an operating support grant from SCAC, and Rogers helps the commission administer Artists U in South Carolina – a training resource that facilitates artist development.

Act II: Screenwriting fellow bringing play to Columbia

Leasharn Hopkins, who received the SCAC screenwriting fellowship for 2017/2018, will bring a play she wrote and directs to Columbia. Love Me or Leave Me focuses on the effects of drug addiction, mental abuse, and domestic violence in three couples' romantic relationships. Look for it Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Tapp's Arts Center. Go here for ticket information.

Act III: Drama Lady Theatre Group

Based in the rural Pee Dee region of South Carolina (Marion County, to be exact), the Drama Lady Theatre Group premieres Ntozake Shange’s award winning play: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow is Enuf at the FMU Performing Arts Center in Downtown Florence on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Drama Lady Theatre Group is the brainchild of a collective of artists striving to use live theatrical performances to educate and promote wellness across diverse communities. The group received an FY19 Arts Education Project grant from SCAC.

Artists U is coming to the Pee Dee!

Attention Pee Dee artists! The Artists U Intensive: Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist is coming to the Soulé Art Space in Florence May 26 and 27. Artists are talented, hard-working people, so why are so many exhausted, broke, and overwhelmed? Artists U will present tools and approaches for building a balanced, sustainable artist life. Based on 10 years of work with artists locally and nationally, artist leaders Andrew Simonet (Philadelphia), Michaela Pilar Brown (Columbia) and Rodney Lee Rogers (Charleston) will offer artists tools for reconnecting with deep values, building community, and managing time and money. Dates and location:

  • Friday, May 26, 7 – 8:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 27, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: Soulé Art Space, 130 S. Irby St., Florence, SC 29501
  • How much does it cost? It’s free (but the class size is limited).
  • Who is it for? South Carolina artists.
  • Do you have to attend both sessions? Yes.
  • Will there be beverages? Of course. And lunch on Saturday.
  • How do I apply to participate? Find out more about Artists U and register here.
Any professional South Carolina artist may apply to attend (you do not have to live in Florence.) You will be notified once you are enrolled.  

Free workshop: Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist

South Carolina artists are invited to register for a free two-day workshop, Building a Sustainable Life as an Artist, taking place Nov. 4 - 5 at Tapp's Art Center in Columbia. Based on 10 years of work with artists locally and nationally, artist leaders from Artists U, led by Andrew Simonet, will offer tools for reconnecting with deep values, building community, and managing time and money. Workshop topics:

  • Why artists are poor and why they shouldn’t be
  • Tools artists have used to make things easier
  • How to build a life that is balanced, productive, and sustainable
Registration and attendance:
  • The workshop is free, but the class size is limited, so you must register here.
  • You MUST attend both sessions.
  • Beverages provided, as well as lunch on Saturday.
Location: Tapp's Art Center 1644 Main St Columbia,  South Carolina  29201 Dates and times: Friday, Nov. 4, 7 - 8:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.