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ABC Project names new executive director

Dr. Kim Wilson promoted to lead Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 March 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project is announcing the promotion of Dr. Kim Wilson to be the program’s new executive director as of April 1, 2019. Wilson will be responsible for helping 84 schools or districts provide 170,000 South Carolina K-12 students with access to arts-rich education. The program, which is a partnership among the South Carolina Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and the S.C. Dept. of Education, provides critical training and networking for arts teachers who learn best practices from each other. Schools or districts join the program after receiving a grant from the S.C. Arts Commission to support their arts education efforts. The program’s field services coordinator for 18 months, Wilson is a Winthrop University alumna. She earned her doctorate in education this year from Walden University. Her experience in arts education began in community education teaching adult and children’s classes through the University of Vermont and Very Special Arts VT. Afterwards, she served as education director at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit and executive director for Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. Over the last 10 years, Kim has focused on public arts education. After only teaching four years, she was recognized as the 2012 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. Since then, she transitioned into empowering all educators with creativity-fostering teaching practices, including arts-integration strategies through her work with Arkansas A+ Schools. She replaces Christine Fisher, who served as executive director for 18 years and announced her retirement earlier this month. “My commitment to and passion for arts education have been influenced by ABC Project’s accomplishments and the people who contributed to its history. And while my personal arts education journey has taken many forms across several states over the last three decades, all have prepared me for this unique role in my home state. I am honored and eager for the opportunity to lead ABC Project in the next chapter of its rich history,” Wilson said. “In Kim Wilson, the ABC Project has someone with demonstrated success fostering and implementing arts education. In a relatively short time, she’s immersed herself in all facets of the program and contributed to its success. But beyond that, she has incredible passion for what she does and is a natural fit to be the ABC Project’s next leader,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.

About the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

For 30 years, the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project provides leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education (dance, music, media arts, theatre, visual arts and creative writing) for all students in South Carolina. It is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. For more information, visit ABCProjectSC.com.

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:
  • 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.

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 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

MOLLY SPEARMAN 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.”

KEN MAY 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!”

JEFF BELLANTONI 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:
  • 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.

Arts-rich S.C. schools score above national mean in hope, engagement

Gallup research in 2018 shows arts’ impact on key indicators

This morning at the South Carolina Arts Advocacy Day breakfast, S.C. Arts Commission Education Director Ashley Brown released exciting new findings from a 2018 study that found high levels of engagement and hope in arts-rich South Carolina schools. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) and Palmetto State Arts Education (PSAE) partnered with internationally recognized analytics firm Gallup to participate in the annual Gallup Student Poll. It measures student engagement, hope, entrepreneurial aspirations, and career and financial literacy and, in the past 10 years, surveyed more than 6 million students. According to Gallup data from 2016, engaged and hopeful students are more than twice as likely to report they get excellent grades and are twice less likely to report they missed a lot of school than their actively disengaged peers. In each of the four indicators on the poll, the students in South Carolina’s arts-rich schools outperformed the national mean. The research also showed a direct correlation between a school’s length of time as a arts-rich and an increase in student engagement and hope. And most importantly, students surveyed in arts-rich schools with free/reduced lunch program participation of 75% or greater scored higher than the state and national mean. Brown said schools are considered arts-rich when they are “committed to the arts at the cellular level.” She said both Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project and Distinguished Arts Program (DAP) sites are required to have an arts strategic plan and, in both, the arts “are simply part of the fabric of the school.” SCAC and PSAE conducted the Gallup Student poll in arts-rich schools throughout South Carolina at a mixture of ABC Project and DAP sites. “This is the first time in its history the Gallup student poll has been used to look specifically at arts-rich environments, and it is an exciting opportunity to learn more about the connection between the arts and engagement,” Brown said.
The items on the Gallup Student Poll where students from S.C. arts-rich schools scored the highest above the national mean are:
  • The adults at my school care about me
  • I have at least one teacher who makes me feel excited about the future
  • I have a great future ahead of me
  • I know I will find a good job in the future
  • I will invent something that changes the world
  • I plan to start my own business
The arts are integral to a well-rounded education that allows students to achieve the knowledge, skills, and life and career characteristics outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. From creativity to problem solving, perseverance to critical thinking, learning in and through the arts is proven to equip students with the skills necessary to be engaged citizens. ABC Project and SC Arts Alliance submitted amendments and adjustments to H.3759, proposed by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and currently working its way through the S.C. House committee on education and public works, to ensure the arts are embraced and advanced to help every student achieve the standards set in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
The findings from the Gallup Student Poll reinforce what those in the arts already know: From creativity to problem solving, critical thinking to perseverance, learning in and through the arts supports students as engaged and hopeful citizens of the world. This information will inform requests for additional funding in the arts, arts advocacy, and the role of the arts in education reform. This PDF of the findings from the Gallup Student Poll can be shared with community and education leaders, legislators, and educators. To learn more about this important research, visit https://www.palmettoartsed.org/gallup.html.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Jan. 7

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Next 30(ish)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Dec. 31

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Dec. 24

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Dec. 17

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of Dec. 10

Though far from the only thing, grants are certainly among the main things we do here. And because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the instances of people telling us, "If only we'd known about X grant!" We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.


GrantsThis week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult your county or discipline coordinator with questions.
  • n/a

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • Jan. 15: ABC Advancement Grants (for schools and school districts seeking to implement standards-based arts curricula)
  • Jan. 15: AVI Grants letter of intent (encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures – a letter indicating intent to apply for the grant begins the process)

Important Notes

  • You are encouraged to also consult the SCAC deadline page for up-to-date information on all grant deadlines (subject to change) and deadlines for non-grant programs.
  • For next steps, grant guidance, and more information, consult:
    • your county coordinator if you represent local organizations, businesses, or educational institutions, or
    • your discipline coordinator if you're an individual artist or serve the statewide population.

Tuning Up: State Library opens Gullah Geechee photo exhibit

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...


  • More than books: Starting today and running through March 30, visit the S.C. State Library (1500 Senate St., Columbia a/k/a two blocks from "Tuning Up") for a new photography exhibit, "Shadows of the Gullah Geechee." Photographer Pete Marovich explores the everyday lives of Gullah Geechee communities in coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Free. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, weekdays.
  • The Good Fight: GP McLeer (right), executive director of the S.C. Arts Alliance, talks Arts Advocacy Week and more in a new article at TownCarolina.com.
  • Why We Advocate: Talking of the Arts Alliance, we're still advocating over here. Through public support of the arts, the Arts Commission's Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project served 160,000 S.C. students in 440 schools in FY 2017. ABC is a shining star among the SCAC's programs, and you should read more about the great work of this partnership among the SCAC, S.C. Department of Education, and Winthrop University.
  • Last call: Arts Advocacy Day at the State House is coming Tuesday. Do you have luncheon tickets yet?

What would Greenville be without arts grants?

From The Greenville News

Article by Donna Isbell Walker, photos by Lauren Petracca

Image: Alyson Amato, co-founder of Carolina Dance Collaborative, leads an after-school dance class last week at Chandler Creek Elementary in Greer.

This weekend, Greenville will proudly display its commitment to the arts.

The 13th annual Artisphere festival opens Friday, and for three days, the streets of downtown will overflow with rich color and the sounds of music and the aroma of lamb burgers and caramel popcorn.

Last year, Artisphere had an economic impact of $6.4 million, as 100,000 visitors packed the streets, purchasing original art, checking out the local merchants, sampling the cuisine.

But, what would the festival look like if it didn’t receive funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission?

Kerry Murphy, the festival’s executive director, said putting on the festival would be a lot tougher without a $21,000 general operating support grant from SCAC, which in turn receives a large portion of its funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The NEA has been under fire this year, as President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would have eliminated the NEA, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Those agencies were spared by the House Appropriation Committee’s appropriations bill for the 2017 fiscal year, which actually increased NEA and NEH funding.

Across the Upstate, arts grants make a difference. At Chandler Creek Elementary School in Greer one recent afternoon, students showed off the jazz and African dance moves they spent the previous six weeks mastering in an after-school program operated by Communities in Schools through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

At the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, teachers have the chance to attend workshops and other professional development opportunities, and they share that knowledge with other teachers, as well as the students The Greenville Symphony Orchestra targets elementary and middle school students with its educational outreach programs, and Warehouse Theatre takes Shakespeare to middle and high schools around the Carolinas, in a program that offers a mini-course in the Bard, complete with a live production of one of his plays.

It may be easy to take for granted that Greenville’s local theaters will continue to stage productions each year, that festivals will brighten the streets of downtown, that students can learn painting and music and creative writing in school.

But all of those programs require funding, in most cases more money than an arts entity can generate on its own, said Mike Sablone, producing artistic director for Warehouse Theatre.

“All of that funding is incredibly important to every aspect of the theater,” Sablone said. “We’re a non-profit. We rely on ticket sales, we rely on donations, we rely on grants. And all those allow us to do the work that we do. And without that money, we’d have to take a harder look at how we produce, what we produce, and the quality that we’ve come to expect with a Warehouse Theatre production.”

Greenville is blessed to have a vibrant arts scene, one that contributes to the city’s overall popularity as a place to visit and as a place where people are moving, said Dr. Braxton Ballew, education director for Greenville Symphony Orchestra.

“We’ve got a tremendous arts community here, and I think it’s no accident that you see Greenville on these top 10 best places to live, top 10 places to retire (lists), all the accolades that we get, and we just happen to have this great arts community here, that’s not a coincidence,” Ballew said. “It cannot be understated what a big part the Arts Commission is to that success.”

Learning new things

The Chandler Creek dance program offers third- through fifth-graders at the Title I school a chance to learn dances that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to practice, said Alyson Amato, co-founder and director of education for Carolina Dance Collaborative.

For six weeks, Amato and Kelsey Crum, Carolina Dance Collaborative’s other co-founder, taught the students the moves for three dances, and on the seventh week, they demonstrated their new skills for parents and friends.

They rolled their arms, snapped their fingers, did the “smush the bug” step, showed off their best jazz hands, and performed a celebratory African dance called yankadi, to songs like the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and “Blackbird” from the Broadway show “Fosse.”

The program isn’t just a chance to have fun, Amato said.

“The process of learning something, practicing it and then performing it is a massive self-esteem booster,” Amato said. “Seeing how they work hard at something, they can achieve in just six weeks. And also, having fun doing it at the same time. It’s also a way to really enhance what they get in their physical education during school time. Because you will see, we sweat. … But I really do want them to get their heart rate up, also their minds to be challenged.”

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding includes enrichment opportunities such as the dance program. Without that funding, the program might be merely homework-based, or it might be cut entirely, Amato said.

More than entertainment

A community’s support of the arts means more in the long run than an evening of entertainment at the theater or the ballet, said Julie Allen, vice president of arts and academics at South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

“Many people see arts-based funding as something which is nice,” Allen said. “It’s something that a community does when it’s nice, when there’s extra money. But I think when you delve a little bit deeper into that, you recognize that the arts, while there certainly is an aesthetic value, and there’s an intrinsic human value, there’s also a real economic value. The arts are a significant part of South Carolina’s economy; they’re an incredible part of Greenville’s economy. And so I do think anything we can do to help people see the arts as an intrinsic part of a vibrant economy is really important.”

But even beyond that, a talent and affinity for the arts can go a long way toward helping a teenager find his or her voice, a purpose in life, a profession.

“Particularly for arts students, who often see themselves as perhaps a little bit different than their typical peer, this is a place that they feel is home,” Allen said. “It’s a place they feel safe, it’s a place they’re willing to take risks. And a lot of students do come back talk about (how) ‘I found my voice here because it gave me the confidence to continue to grow and figure out who I was.’”

Dozens of grants

For the 2017 fiscal year, the South Carolina Arts Commission awarded 28 grants totaling more than $400,000 to Greenville County organizations and individuals. Those grants ranged from $625 to Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra for general operating support, to $2,057 for Sweet Adelines International Greenville in Harmony for operating support for small organizations, to general operating support grants of more than $25,000 each to the Peace Center Foundation, Greenville Symphony Association, and South Carolina Arts Alliance.

Warehouse Theatre receives funding from South Carolina Arts Commission, as well as a direct NEA grant for the Shakespeare program, now in its third year.

Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, offers a $25,000 matching grant, and Warehouse must raise an equal amount of money through corporate sponsorships and other donations.

The aim of the program is “to increase Shakespeare performance in different communities across the nation,” said Mallory Pellegrino, director of education for Warehouse Theatre. “We are one of the very few companies in the Southeast.”

Through the grant, Warehouse is able to present Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in the Carolinas, using a company of six or seven actors who travel to schools and offer an introductory workshop on the play to be presented, as well as a follow-up class after students have seen the play.

If the grant money disappeared, Pellegrino said, the program wouldn’t necessarily disappear. It would, however, require substantial changes to the way it operates, perhaps by soliciting more local sponsorships and donors.

But the biggest change would to be make the program “revenue-driven,” Pellegrino said. “We would have to make sure that we had enough venues to be able to go out, that there were enough people interested in it. And you would begin to limit your reach and your impact.”

Making an impact

The Greenville Symphony Orchestra seeks to make much of its educational impact on elementary and middle school students.

This year, GSO received a $10,000 grant from the NEA to fund its free concert for middle-school band and strings students, said Linda Grandy, Greenville Symphony Orchestra development director.

In addition, the GSO received a general operating support grant of $25,391 from SCAC this year, which helps to fund other educational programs, including the concerts available to all of Greenville County’s elementary schools.

One important aspect of the GSO’s educational programs is the opportunity for students to see the symphony in concert at no charge, which is especiallyimportant for students at less-affluent schools, said the GSO’s Ballew.

Losing that funding would have an impact on several programs, including GSO partnerships with SC Children’s Theatre and Greenville County Library.

“Maybe we wouldn’t offer as many, or maybe we would start charging $5 at the door,” Ballew said.

Sharing the wealth

Education is, of course, the mission of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, whose operational budget comes from the state. But continuing education is important to the teachers who share their knowledge and skills in visual arts, drama, creative writing and music.

And an SCAC grant for Arts in Basic Curriculum Advancement allows Governor’s School teachers to participate in continuing education programs that help both students and other teachers, Allen said.

When SCAC’s funding was increased two years ago, the commission passed on the increase, which allowed the Governor’s School to add a couple of components to its continuing education focus. One way was to share the knowledge, to offer professional development opportunities to teachers in other areas.

“We identified drama as an area where there seemed to be a real need for drama teachers in the state to have professional development experiences,” Allen said. “Typically, there’s one drama teacher in a school, maybe there’s two or three in a district. But to get content-level, really high-level training, those opportunities are often few and far between for them. So what we’ve been able to do is essentially share that wealth.

“For the last two years, we’ve brought a group of drama teachers here, we’ve let that group identify what their particular needs are, and the nice pairing there is the person that’s led those workshops for the last two years is someone who had elevated her own training by virtue of having taken advantage of the professional development funding earlier from the Arts Commission. So it was kind of a way of paying back what she had gained.”

Important source of funding

Artisphere depends on the SCAC funding for a large part of its budget; other revenue sources include vendor fees, corporate sponsorships, merchandise sales and other grants, Murphy said.

“That’s a very healthy mix, and is a huge part of why we’ve been able to grow the festival and its impact over the years,” Murphy said.

If the government grants were no longer available, Artisphere would survive, but other organizations might not be able to weather the loss, she said.

“We have spent a lot of time diversifying our funding model so that if we lose any single funder we can mitigate the loss of that funding, either through a focused effort to replace the money, or by trimming expenses here and there,” Murphy said. “That isn’t the case for smaller organizations, where SCAC funding could represent an entire marketing budget, or fees for artists for a performance.

“We think it is important to have public arts funding because it makes a statement about what we care about as a community.”

Alyson Amato, co-founder of Carolina Dance Collaborative, teaches an after-school dance class at Chandler Creek Elementary in Greer last week.