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SCAC announces $4.4 million in FY20 grants to provide arts access across the state

Funding ‘vital’ for arts experiences, arts education programs

[caption id="attachment_41221" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A summer STEAM camp in 2018. Students participate in a summer STEAM camp in 2018.[/caption]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 August 2019 COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina communities will benefit from $4.4 million in fiscal year 2020 grants to their artists, arts organizations, and schools announced today by the South Carolina Arts Commission. As they return to classrooms this month, around 170,000 South Carolina students will have access to the educational benefits of the arts as part of the school day thanks to Arts in Basic Curriculum Project grants to 83 schools and districts. Other grants range from operating grants and project support for organizations to seed money and fellowships for individual artists, ensuring an assortment of relevant arts experiences across South Carolina. “This public funding approved by the legislature is vital to those who receive arts commission grants, but public support of the arts represents so much more than monetary support,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “To the children who attended STEAM camps this summer in Allendale, Barnwell, and Clarendon counties, it represents exposure to a new world of possibility and engagement. It represents the lights on or rent paid to the small dance company in Columbia, small choir in Pickens, and the new orchestra in Rock Hill. It represents freedom to create for four fellowship recipients, four traditional arts mentors and their apprentices, and three artist entrepreneurs,” Platts said. “Our agency is immensely proud to help make these things possible in and for South Carolina.” Additional grants to be awarded throughout the year offer potential for impact in all counties. Among them are Arts Project Support grants, which offer funding for projects by artists and arts organizations; and Teacher Standards Initiative grants, which help teachers acquire supplies, materials, and expertise to meet the 2017 College and Career Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. Both grants have rolling deadlines, and project support grants are designed to be accessible, streamlining the application process to remove barriers often faced by small organizations and individual artists. In FY19, which ended June 30, the S.C. Arts Commission for the first time placed a grant in each of the state’s 46 counties in a single year. A total of $4,377,035 was awarded. “That is a major milestone, and is the result of listening to the community, ground-level work, and sincere relationship building on the part of our team,” Platts said.

Amounts Awarded to Programs in Primary Grant Categories

Arts in Education: $2,074,476

Grants help fund curriculum planning and implementation, artist residencies, performances, professional development for teachers and summer and afterschool arts programs.
  • Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement: $899,207  Awarded to 83 schools and school districts that are participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which works to ensure every child in South Carolina has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the Arts Commission, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Arts Education Projects: $382,789 Thirty-eight grants funding projects and programs that support quality arts education programs in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that utilize the arts to advance learning in children (social service, health, community, education or other organizations).
  • Education Pilot Projects: $480,000 Ten grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $312,480 Two grants to support management of the ABC Project partnership.

Operating Support: $2,131,603

Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.
  • General Operating Support: $1,909,307 One hundred thirty grants for arts organizations.
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations: $111,972 Forty-six grants for arts organizations with annual expense budgets of less than $75,000.
  • Statewide Organizations: $110,324 Nine grants for arts organizations operating statewide.

Folklife and Traditional Arts: $113,033

Grants support programs that promote a greater understanding and visibility of South Carolina’s many cultures through documentation and presentation of traditional art forms, their practitioners and their communities.
  • Organization grants: $32,000 Six grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000 Four grants that support a partnership between a master artist, who will share artistic and cultural knowledge, and a qualified apprentice, who will then continue to pursue the art form.
  • Partnerships: $71,033 One grant to support management of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Partnership.

Subgranting: $70,000

Seven awards to local arts councils that distribute quarterly grants to organizations and artists in their regions. This program is funded in part by an award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Artists Ventures Initiative: $10,000

Three grants to individual artists for projects designed to help them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers.

Individual Artist Fellowships: $20,000

Four grants to individual artists to recognize and reward their artistic achievements. These were announced in July 2019 after approval by the SCAC Board of Directors.

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 grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

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?