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Arts Access SC presented statewide award

United Cerebral Palsy of S.C. honors accessibility efforts

Arts Access SC Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepts the award from UCP.
Arts Access South Carolina was named "Community Partner of the Year" by United Cerebal Palsy of South Carolina at an awards reception Monday evening in Columbia. Arts Access SC Chairman LaMondre Pough makes remarks at the awards presentation.Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepted the award on behalf of Arts Access SC, a nonprofit organization that provides South Carolina children, youth, and adults with disabilities quality arts experiences, working with artists; educators; arts administrators; health, human, and social service professionals to establish inclusive spaces, programs, and communities dedicated to the arts and people with disabilities. (Arts Access SC is a South Carolina Arts Commission grantee.) Also present were other leaders of Arts Access SC, including Board President LaMondre Pough (at right with Brown-DuBose). This award started of a glittering week for the S.C. Arts Commission, which received a Grant Professionals of America award yesterday in Washington. UCP Director of Day Services Jocelin Jenkins (above, left) gave the following introduction in honor of Arts Access SC at the "Evening of Impact" annual awards reception:

"Arts Access South Carolina has partnered with UCP for at least five years.  However, Ms. Julia Brown developed her relationship with us prior to as a former member of the board for UCP.

As the executive director for Arts Access South Carolina, she has given us opportunities to work on various projects, lots of which the individuals had a first time experiencing. We started out with an eight-week photography class in which they had the chance to capture the beauty of Riverfront Park. Then we took a class with a florist and created our own floral arrangement at the end of the session. Following the florist was an artist who not only enhanced our painting and drawing skills, but also helped us with clay modeling and gardening.

These are a few of the many projects that have made an positive and creative impact on us at UCP. Outside of these projects, last year in 2018 Ms. Julia offered to match the donations we received from Midlands Gives for up to $1,500!  We then used that donation for more projects from Arts Access because we were so excited about the next projects to come. To this day, Ms. Julia still keeps in correspondence with us regarding new classes and furniture for the offices that she willingly donates to us. The love and support we have from Ms. Julia and the Arts Access of SC is sincere and genuine and the 'Community Partner of the Year award' is  truly deserved this evening. Congratulations."

Representatives from Arts Access SC gather for a photo at the awards reception.

Summer arts camp experiences for children with special needs

Arts Access SC, Aiken Center for the Arts team up


Special needs children in the CSRA will get to experience art and music this summer thanks to a partnership among Arts Access South Carolina, Aiken Performing Arts, and the Aiken Center for the Arts. 
  • June 10-14, 2019
  • 10 a.m. to noon OR 1-3 p.m.
  • Aiken Center for the Arts
[caption id="attachment_37823" align="alignright" width="150"] AASC master teaching artist Carter Boucher, working with a student from S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind.[/caption] Designed specifically to enable children living with traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and other physical and developmental disabilities to express themselves creatively, this program is the highlight of our summer outreach. The camp offers adaptable art and music programs designed to enable campers to express their creativity. Whether they are working with clay, trying out screen printing, or experimenting with tonal and atonal musical instruments, their days will be filled with fun. Carter Boucher, an artist in residence and master arts instructor for the Arts Access South Carolina, will teach this years camp. He told WFXG FOX 54 that he urges parents to sign their children up "even if you don’t think they will participate. We have seen children who are nonverbal singing songs and others who usually don’t participate taking the lead on projects. These camps are fun but they also are helpful to these children.” Eligible campers may attend free. Enrollment is limited, so go here to apply today.

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Catching up with Arts Access South Carolina

Spring residencies, conferences, and more

2019 marks 33 years of ARTS ACCESS South Carolina (AASC) providing vibrant cultural access for artists statewide! 2018 was a year full of wonder and satisfying collaborations between educators, teaching artists and students across the state! We want to start the year as strong as we finished it, providing opportunities for empowerment and enrichment through the arts.
[caption id="attachment_38827" align="aligncenter" width="400"] AASC December 2018 Residency with Master Teaching Artist
Arianne King-Comer at Stall High School in North Charleston.[/caption]
  • AASC is currently accepting requests for spring 2019 residencies. Please contact AASC Executive Director Julia Brown-DuBose by email at jbrown@arts.sc.gov for more information.
  • Are you invested in equitable access to arts learning for students with disabilities? If so, VSA Intersections: Regional Arts & Special Education Conference is for you! VSA Intersections convenes everyone involved in this venture: general and special educators, arts specialists, teaching artists, principals, nonprofit administrators, education program managers, university professors, policy makers, researchers, school administrators, and more. You will find this conference invaluable to your work supporting students with disabilities! There's a national conference this October in California, and a regional conference in New Orleans this March.
  • We are proud to announce that Arts Access South Carolina received a grant from the S.C. Department of Education to serve as fiscal agent for Curriculum Leadership Institute for the Arts (CLIA) in 2019! This is our second year partnering with CLIA and this grant will allow AASC to administer a summer arts institutes to provide professional development in arts content to South Carolina arts teachers, classroom teachers, and arts administrators. We are excited about our continued partnership with CLIA and the opportunities it will provide for teachers and students alike!
For more information about opportunities to support or participate with AASC, visit ArtsAccessSC.org.

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Helping South Carolinians with disabilities have arts access

Arts Access South Carolina (AASC), formerly VSA South Carolina, is the only 501(c) 3, multi-service statewide organization in South Carolina guided by the mission to create an inclusive society in which people with disabilities learn, participate, and enjoy the arts. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="37823,37824"] Click on images to enlarge.


For over 32 years as VSA South Carolina, AASC has actively engaged with community partners in Education, Health, non-profits and other organizations to inspire and empower people with disabilities through rich experiences in the arts. Although AASC changed its name in 2013, we continue to envision a world where people are no longer defined by their limits. We simply see people with incredible artistic abilities! [caption id="attachment_37822" align="alignright" width="150"] Julia Brown-DuBose[/caption] Executive Director Julia Brown-DuBose, long-time advocate for inclusive arts in South Carolina, also serves as the ADA/504 Program Director/Consultant for the S.C. Arts Commission. “Borrowing the words of my colleague, Betty Siegel, director of the Office of VSA and Accessibility at the Kennedy Center, ‘we share a deep passion for this work that we do. It’s likely that we share the desire to make a larger difference in the lives we touch. For many of us, we contribute to the stories with our words, with our actions and become agents of change…’ “Recently, someone asked me what am I most known for in life? Had to ask – are you really ready for my story? It’s something we all share, the commitment to invest in others. I give my time, talent and treasures to people with disabilities and for me it has always been through the arts. If you work in education and want to bring the arts to special education students, call me and tell me your story!” AASC provides classes, workshops, internships, apprenticeships, and support to professional and emerging artists in the cultural industry and to many businesses that support the creative arts industry in South Carolina. One example of our impact of is their C.O.T.T.A.G.E. Industries℠ concept, a highly important way for individuals with disabilities to turn the various skills they acquire through our projects into sustainable career opportunities. Throughout the state, those involved in AASC programs learn: In the arts, anything is possible!
For more information about opportunities to support or participate with AASC, visit their website: artsaccesssc.org.

Tuning Up: Spartanburg grants + veterans ‘Paint & Jazz’ in Columbia

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...


Grants ceremony in Spartanburg. Chapman Cultural Center, the leading arts agency in Spartanburg County, will award 20 arts and cultural organizations and 7 artists a total of $621,200 during a public ceremony on June 12. The ceremony will take place inside the theater at the Chapman Cultural Center at 3:30 p.m. and will acknowledge grantees and the impact they make in the Upstate community. Free. RSVP and get more details here. A little Saturday morning "Paint & Jazz." Our partner Arts Access South Carolina and the Richland County Recreation Commission are presenting an art event tailored for veterans and their adult family members to become actively engaged through the arts and jazz! Enjoy a Saturday morning of painting and jazz with Columbia area artist Keith Tolen in this "Year of the Veteran" on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to noon. Free. Register (required) here before it fills up! (We'll remind you again closer to the event.) ICYMI... The SCAC exhibition SC.FELLOWS Part II is offering three, free lunchtime talks starting next week at the Ponder Gallery at Benedict College in Columbia.  

Artist believes disabilities shouldn’t hold one back from creating

From the Aiken Standard Article by Stephanie Turner

Throughout his career, artist and art educator Carter Boucher has worked with various ages with various skill levels and abilities. One demographic that he teaches comprises children, teenagers and adults with disabilities. Since his first class with this demographic, he's taught people in wheelchairs, with autism, with Alzheimer's Disease, without limbs and prone to panic attacks, to name just a handful. Boucher started this specific endeavor in the 1980s. Through certain programs, he would visit schools and noticed that students with special needs were often not invited to program's classes. "I started going to the principals and just saying, 'We ought to include those kids,'" Boucher said. "It was sort of a surprise to them that I wanted to do that. ... I feel like populations like that particularly benefit from doing things. A lot of times they get left out." Based in Anderson County, Boucher has taught students throughout South Carolina and will teach a set of classes in Aiken this summer. When he knows about his class's students, Boucher will prepare so he is best able to accommodate each person's needs. Some of his classes have consisted of students with different disabilities, and he said he tries to tune into what each student needs while the class is in session. "The more you know about who's coming and whatever their situation is then the better you can work with," he said. The art teacher has tools such as scissors for people with hand problems. He has contacted schools to see if the student needs any special equipment and if he can then borrow it. If Boucher sees a condition listed on the roster with which he hasn't encountered or has any questions, he will contact a physician for more information or reach out to someone who has worked with the student to see if there is anything which Boucher needs to be aware. One example of how he has adjusted his approach can be seen in a class of autistic children. "Sometimes, I would slow down the process," he said. "For instance, if we were doing silkscreen pencil stencils, I would let them tear or cut or whatever they want to do to make an image, and it would often draw them out. I got a lot of comments from the teachers who worked with autistic kids how much it seemed to draw them out and get them doing things." He's had a student tell him that his class was the first time they felt like they were really part of a class. "What surprises a lot of people who watch me work with the kids is how much they do on their own," Boucher said. "Whatever it is we do with them and however they accomplish it, ... they feel like they own this artwork. It wasn't something we did. It was something they did." Boucher is an Arts Access SC master artist who creates fine art or illustrations with different mediums and methods such as oil, gouache, etching, wood engraving, silk screen and airbrushing. He will be the instructor of the Aiken Center for the Arts' new creative day camp, I Spy Art & Music Camp. The camp is for ages 5 to 13 with cognitive and physical disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy. It will run from June 12-16 from 10 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 3 p.m. at the arts center, 122 Laurens St. S.W. The camps are free, but enrollment is limited. "(Art) builds confidence. It lowers anxiety and activates parts of the brain that help with almost every subject," Boucher said. He will have some helpers present and is planning for the students to make paper mache masks, work with screenprinting and make music with simple tonal musical instruments that anyone can use. If the young artist has any specific triggers or needs, it is recommended the parent or guardian include that information. Applications are only accepted online. For more information on the camp or Boucher, visit www.aikencenterforthearts.org or www.boucherart.com or call 803-641-9094.

Textile artist Arianne King Comer helps young people thrive

The May issue of Charleston Magazine features batik artist Arianne King Comer, who works with Arts Access South Carolina (formerly VSA Arts), a South Carolina Arts Commission partner.

Textile artist Arianne King Comer shines a light on unrecognized creative talent, helping kids with disabilities thrive “Art is not what you see,” said French impressionist painter Edgar Degas, “but what you make others see.” Thanks to her work with nonprofit Arts Access South Carolina, formerly VSA (Very Special Arts): The State Organization on Arts and Disability—which identifies artistically gifted children with disabilities and provides them with teachers in a variety of creative disciplines—local Arianne King Comer is using batik art to not only open eyes, but hearts and minds as well. For some 20 years, the esteemed textile artist has shared her skills with kids. In 2007, she began to teach batik in high school classes that include young people facing physical, mental, and emotional challenges. This year, King Comer has spent 90 minutes of each school day at Stall High, guiding 20 students through the process of batik, in which wax, natural dyes, and stamping tools are used to create designs on cloth. But her supply kit contains a tool less visible yet equally as penetrating as the deep indigo that is a trademark of her work. It is empathy, driven by her own experience as a child who could not read until the age of 10 in a time when dyslexia was not diagnosed. Her parents gave her crayons and paper, and she learned that “keeping your hands busy creatively gives you a chance to work out your problems without getting deflated.” Michael Johnson was more than deflated before King Comer came to West Ashley High in 2008. “I could not control my anger, because I was bullied by people who didn’t know I have autism and ADHD. Letting out my emotions on fabric taught me how to not throw a hissy fit in class. It taught me how to focus,” says Johnson, who went on to apprentice with King Comer and show his work in several local exhibits. The transformative effect of King Comer’s instruction is “stunning,” says Holly Annibale, whose daughter, Michelle, has Down Syndrome, bipolar disorder, and autistic spectrum disorder behaviors. Michelle exhibited behavioral issues at West Ashley High, so Holly was shocked to see her daughter—who previously shoved aside those who came too close—giving King Comer a hug, then sharing a pot of wax with fellow students, who had greeted her warmly. Now 22, Michelle creates beautiful scarves to sell through MHA Batik, a company her mom started on her behalf. Holly says batik was like magic, bringing out the brilliant hues hidden in her child. “There’s clearly something about Arianne that is unique,” she adds before offering a direct quote from Michelle: “That’s the best lady ever!” Foster the Arts: Due to funding cuts, Arts Access has had to drastically reduce the number of teachers they place in schools. To learn more about the nonprofit and donate, visit www.vsasc.org.  Via: Charleston Magazine