Arts education leader Christine Fisher announces retirement
Fisher led Arts in Basic Curriculum Project for 18 years
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13 March 2019
[caption id="attachment_39351" align="alignright" width="225"] Christine Fisher[/caption]
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Christine Fisher is to retire from the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project this month after spending nearly 20 years working to provide comprehensive arts programs in schools across the state.
Fisher, who lives in Florence, began her career in arts education in the classroom, teaching chorus, guitar and musical production at Dillon High School and then elementary general music, beginning band and middle school band in Florence School District One through 2001. She left that year to become executive director of the ABC Project, a partnership among the S.C. Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and S.C. Department of Education that works with schools and districts across the state to maintain and expand arts opportunities for all students. It is based at Winthrop in Rock Hill.
Under Fisher’s leadership, the program grew to serve 84 schools or districts and 171,000 students this school year and played an important role in making sure the arts were included in the landmark Profile of the South Carolina Graduate in 2015, a rigorous set of standards for college and career readiness adopted by the state General Assembly in 2016.
“Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said.
Many highlights dot the timeline of Fisher’s career. She was twice selected as a school and district Teacher of the Year, and twice selected as one of the five South Carolina honor roll teachers. Selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1998, she is the only music teacher to hold the honor in the program's history. The S.C. Arts Commission awarded her state’s highest arts award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, in 2006, and she received the Winthrop University Medal of Arts in 2012.
“She has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.
Full Statements on Christine Fisher's retirement
S.C. Superintendent of Education
“Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly.”
Executive Director, S.C. Arts Commission
“The first time I ever heard Christine Fisher speak, she told the moving and powerful story of how the arts, specifically music, saved her life. As I reflect now on her retirement, I realize that all of her work, her entire amazing career, has been about paying forward—at increasing orders of magnitude—the wonderful, transformative gift that she was given. From her early days teaching in Dillon and Florence, to her ground-breaking tenure as State Teacher of the Year, to her long, outstanding service as Executive Director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, she has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making!”
Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Winthrop University
“Christine has been an integral part of the arts community at Winthrop University for 18 years. We had the pleasure of recognizing the impact she has made in 2012 when she was awarded our Medal of Honor in the Arts. Her passion and commitment to integrating the arts into education throughout the state is unmatched. Christine’s steadfast support of the arts is evident through her many years of service as an educator and arts advocate, and she will be missed.”
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 services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
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.
Tuning Up: New Doster sculpture + arts teacher honored
Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, 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...
Spartanburg spreads the love. There's some new public art in Spartanburg with an unmistakable message. I Love Youwas unveiled yesterday in the city's Morgan Square. Students from the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind spent a bit more than a year working with teaching artist Bob Doster, a metal sculptor and 2006 recipient of the Verner Award in the artist category, on the work – the American Sign Language signal for "I love you." An Arts in Basic Curriculum Project grant from SCAC helped make the collaboration possible.
Speaking of the Verner Award, please see below.
Florence One arts teacher takes home title. Another week, another big win for arts education in the school district: Moore Intermediate School arts teacher Sharri Duncan was named the district's 2018/2019 teacher of the year. (Last week, the district announced a massive investment in arts education, though the two news items are not related. - Ed.) When presented with her financial prize, Duncan – whose parents were both teachers – pledged to spend it on her students. Congratulations, Sharri!
Evergreen (for now): Time is running out!
Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina is one letter. Don't wait. Find out more now! (Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)
Applications for $5,000 individual artist fellowships are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. Unrestricted awards will honor achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out!
Welcome to National Arts in Education Week
Good morning, and happy National Arts in Education Week!
We've curated content for The Hub and our social media feeds this week to highlight the work being done in Arts Ed by professionals in South Carolina. Let's get it started with Glenis Redmond in Greenville in this Americans for the Arts video:
All week we'll be sharing infographics like this one on our social media feeds:
The Hub will feature guest posts related to National Arts in Education Week on Tuesday and Thursday.
North Charleston seeks teaching artists for elementary after-school program
Application deadline: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
Thanks to the dedication of Mayor Summey and city council, North Charleston has been committed to providing after school programs in public elementary schools within city limits since 2008. One component of these programs is to provide arts enrichment classes through the city’s cultural arts department. The department provides a multi-disciplined roster of artists to teach these classes and is currently seeking artists to offer instruction in the program for the 2018/19 school year. Local artists in all disciplines with a willingness to share their talents and an ability to instruct elementary age students are invited to apply for the part-time, contracted positions by Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
There is a particular need for teaching artists in dance, music, theatre, and creative writing.
The parameters for the After School Arts Enrichment Program are as follows:
1) Time Commitment: Program dates are Sept. 4, 2018, through June 6, 2019. Teaching artists offer instruction at their assigned site twice a week for two months, which equals 16 days of class activities. Instruction takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Timeframe includes one (1) hour for class activity and 30 minutes prep/clean-up time for a total of 1.5 hours each visit (3 hours total each week). Cultural Arts requests a minimum two-month commitment from participating artists. Artists able to serve longer are rotated to a new site after each two-month term and may serve up to two sites each term, depending on need/availability.
2) Site Details: Eleven elementary schools in North Charleston are identified program sites. Class size will vary at each site. Teaching artists should anticipate working with an average of 30 students at a time. Each site has at least one staff member in the class to assist with the children.
3) Rate of Pay: $20/hour. Cultural Arts provides materials. A limited supply budget is available depending on the needs of the arts discipline. All disciplines are approved for 1.5 hours per day for a total of 3 hours per week.
To ensure the safety of the children, background checks are required for all teaching artists selected to participate in the program. Interested artists should submit samples of their work (images, sound clips, videos, etc.) along with a current résumé or CV by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Application materials may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the attention of Krystal Yeadon at City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, PO Box 190016, North Charleston, SC, 29419-9016.
For more information about the After School Arts Enrichment program, or the department’s other programs, exhibits, and events, visit the Arts & Culture section of the city’s website or call 843-740-5854.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Simmons, Deputy Director
City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department
843.740,5854 | email@example.com
So, what would you say you do here?
[caption id="attachment_35603" align="aligncenter" width="600"] "The Bobs" from Office Space, 1999 by Twentieth Century Fox and Cubicle, Inc.[/caption]
There's not a quick answer to that question, but let's start with this:
The South Carolina Arts Commission does three things:
community arts development,
and arts education
through four means:
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.
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.
Healing and development from… the arts
This afternoon, The Hub would like to draw your attention to the (positive) effects arts participation has on the human body. Exposure is certainly nice, but we focus specifically today on the actual doing. And before going further, these come by way of NASAA – the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
First, dance. Without being overly general, all it takes is a look at a professional dancer to know dance is, at least physically, good for you. But recent data from Australia shows that older adults who participate in dance classes see “increases in physical, cognitive and emotional well-being and as well as a general sense of achievement.” See study here.
Closer to home, those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease can seek symptom relief through participation (there’s that word again) in dance classes from Ballet Spartanburg (right, dancer Charlotte Lanning). The company received the 2018 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts yesterday in part because of offering its community classes like this, which can also help those who have experienced a stroke or disorders like autism, dementia, or multiple sclerosis. Ballet Spartanburg offers the only course of this type in the Upstate, and it's led by Artistic Director Carlos Agudelo.
Winifred Walsh, who leads a Parkinson’s support group in Spartanburg, had this to say about the course in her support letter for the company’s Verner Awards nomination:
To receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease at age 53 is a life-changer ... A friend urged me to join Spartanburg’s PD Support Group and the Dance for PD class offered by Ballet Spartanburg. I went and I was horrified at first look. I thought, ‘I am not like those people!’ But curiosity got the better of me and I stayed and have stayed for some nine years now. And guess what? I am exactly like those people, people with Parkinson’s who are not wasting time on self-pity ... Ballet Spartanburg Artistic Director Carlos Agudelo has set the bar high for our teachers who find joy in our attempts, who rejoice with us in our successes, who laugh with us often ... Outreach seems such a simple term for such complex blessings to me and to others who have movement and balance disorders. We offer gratitude to Ballet Spartanburg for improving our lives through dance, and also through love. We are not merely people with Parkinson’s. Ballet Spartanburg has made us dancers.”
Learn more about the additional benefits of this program by clicking here.
Second, music. The National Endowment for the Arts is talking music training, which is how people get ready for … participation (that’s a hat trick). Two recent articles “find that music education not only strengthens creativity but also improves brain functions related to language development, attention, visuospatial perception, planning and other executive functions, and short-term and working memory.”
Music training can be found, almost literally, everywhere. But lessons can be costly, to say nothing of other potential barriers. But four of the professional orchestras the South Carolina Arts Commission helps fund offer the interactive Link Up program from Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute. Link Up partners orchestras with schools (home, private, and public) or school districts to offer an interactive musical curriculum in schools that teach students lessons in theory and can teach them how to use the recorder. The program usually culminates with a trip to see the professionals perform locally, with a twist: during the Link Up concert, the students can play recorders along with the musicians on stage!
The four South Carolina orchestras that offered Link Up concerts during the 2017/2018 school year are the Aiken and Charleston symphonies and South Carolina (Columbia) and Spartanburg philharmonics.
Grant Writing: Tips from a Pro
Arts Education Director Ashley Kerns Brown, a board member for Palmetto State Arts Education, blogged for them about the grant writing process. Can you relate to any of this?I was in graduate school when I wrote my first “big grant” and was so confident I decided to share it with an advisor about 24 hours before it was due. You know, to get a little pat on the back before submitting. So imagine my shock when she called and asked, “Have you submitted this to the University’s Department of Sponsored Research?” Cue record scratch. No. No I had not submitted it to the Department of Sponsored Research. I had no idea what the Department of Sponsored Research was or how it was about to make the next 24 hours one of the biggest learning experiences of my life.
What I soon discovered was that our University’s internal process involved approval by the Department Chair (who was out of town) and the Dean (who was out on medical leave), more paperwork than the actual grant itself (including a waiver for biomedical test subjects), and an average processing time of 2-3 weeks. The University recommended submitting grants to the Department of Sponsored Research a full month before it was due, and I had 24 hours. Over those 24 hours I made a lot of people angry, broke a lot of trust, and learned a lot of lessons.
Now that I am on the other end of grant making I try to share those and other lessons with teachers and arts organizations. I get how frustrating, confusing, and overwhelming grant writing can beand understand the urge to give up. But I also understand that grants can mean a child experiences the magic of theatre for the first time. They can mean an art teacher acquires the supplies to teach print making to a future designer. Grants can help narrow gaps, improve equity, and be the reason a child holds an instrument in their hands and thinks “I can do this.”Click here to read the full post by Ashley!
Arts Education Project (AEP) grants due next week!
Educators: are you finalizing your AEP (Arts Education Project) Grant applications? The deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 16.UPDATE: The deadline is extended to Monday, Jan. 22.AEP Grants support well-developed arts education programs and projects in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that use the arts to advance learning (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). Funded projects and programs can take place in school, after school or over the summer. Grants of up to $15,000 are available (grantees must match their grant 1:1).
An AEP Grant would support such programs as:
Public art projects
Acquisition of critical equipment or supplies
Professional development for instructors, artists and/or administrators
And others, as the list is not exhaustive. Most S.C. schools, nonprofit organizations (arts and non-arts), colleges and universities, and units of government are eligible to apply. Go here to learn more and apply.
SC Arts Commission seeking Poetry Out Loud coordinator
Application deadline is Aug. 14.
The South Carolina Arts Commission is hiring a part-time Poetry Out Loud coordinator to manage and implement the statewide Poetry Out Loud (POL) program and assist with arts education programs. Working under the supervision of the Arts Education Program Director, the POL coordinator plays a vital role in working with national, state, and regional partners, teachers, and students.
Duties include not be limited to:
Work extensively with Arts Education Program Director, regional, and state partners to administer the Poetry Out Loud program throughout the state;
Work with Arts Education Program Director to develop new Poetry Out Loud partnerships;
Increase awareness of and participation in the Poetry Out Loud program, specifically in school districts that have not participated in the past three years;
Research and implement alternative participation opportunities for students whose schools do not participate in the Poetry Out Loud program;
Serve as liaison for participating Poetry Out Loud teachers and notify them of important information related to regional competitions, state finals, national finals, and future dates;
Supervise regional partners in the organization and execution of three Poetry Out Loud regional competitions; work with regional partners to ensure all regional partner responsibilities, expectations, and programmatic goals are met; collect final reports from regional partners;
Work with Poetry Out Loud fiscal agent to ensure payment is delivered on time to regional partners;
Coordinate arts education events, including but not limited to Poetry Out Loud state final competition;
Work with Communications Director to develop a Poetry Out Loud marketing plan; write and distribute press releases for events;
Manage social media engagement for Poetry Out Loud program;
Work with Arts Education Program Director, Communications Director, and Grants Office staff to create grant and program webinars;
Coordinate with SCAC Project Team for administrative and/or project assistance in a timely manner;
Coordinate with Poetry Out Loud state champion and her/his teacher to ensure s/he registers for National Competition;
Coordinate coaching opportunities for Poetry Out Loud regional finalists in preparation for the state finals competition and for state finalist in preparation for the national finals competition;
Attend Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC as SCAC representative;
Prepare required Poetry Out Loud Final Descriptive Report for National Endowment for the Arts;
Work with Arts Education Program Director to execute arts education special projects;
Other Poetry Out Loud and arts education administrative duties as assigned.
Aiken County Public Schools seeks fine arts coordinator
Aiken County Public Schools is seeking a fine arts coordinator to provide leadership in developing, achieving, and maintaining strong fine arts programs and special projects.
Essential duties and responsibilities:
Coordinates, facilitates, implements, and evaluates the summer acGateway program, including, but not limited to the following tasks:
Assists the Department of Federal Programs with the annual update to the District’s Gifted and Talented Artistic Plan
Visits schools to create an awareness and interest in the program
Works with school-level coordinators in the application process
Sets up the program calendar in accordance with State regulations, including audition and acceptance dates
Updates a brochure to inform students and parents of the program
Reviews, revises, and updates all application forms
Submits all acGateway information to be posted on the District’s website
Receives, reviews, and evaluates all student application
Sets up audition schedule and secures judges according to the recommendations in the State Regulations and Best Practices Manual
Conducts auditions and works with Evaluation and Placement Team to qualify students
Notifies students and parents of auditions, acceptance/non-acceptance and program details
Interviews and hires teachers
Coordinates dates and times of program with acGateway site principal
Evaluates the program
Submits timesheet/payroll documentation to the acGateway coordinator at conclusion of Program
Submits all student information to the Office of Federal Programs for SCDE data submission
Meets with Department of Federal Program staff at the conclusion of the acGateway program to debrief concerning program strengths and challenges
Assists in the implementation of quality instructional programs throughout the district
Determines in-service needs for personnel and assists in organizing professional development
Arranges and conducts professional development sessions, as needed
Reviews and develops materials to aid in instruction
Maintains and supervises an inventory of fine arts materials and equipment and assists in reviewing needs for the district and schools
Stays abreast of current curricular and methodology changes in instruction through research and study
Meets with department heads, grade chairpersons, or other designated staff members to ensure continuous communication, information distribution, and feedback concerning assigned curriculum responsibility
Actively participates in fine arts and special project programs held within the district
Actively participates in and facilitates curriculum updates and trainings
Assists with the implementation of a community-wide Arts Festival
Serves on the District Arts Committee
Works with department heads and grade chairpersons to conduct orientation sessions for new fine arts teachers to familiarize them with district guidelines and responsibilities
Works collaboratively with Department of Communications to advertise district and school-level special projects and events
Performs other duties as may be assigned by the Director of Federal Programs