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Susan DuPlessis

Rural arts and culture initiative expands to 15 counties

Addressing local issues with S.C. Arts Commission program

[caption id="attachment_45057" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mavens join heads and hands to celebrate their local communities and discuss shared challenges in a January meeting in Eastover, South Carolina, hosted by Michael Dantzler. Shown l to r, mavens and their corresponding counties: Brooke Bauer, Catawba Indian Nation/York; Marquerite Palmer, Newberry; Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Betty McDaniel, Pickens; Victoria Smalls, Beaufort; Evelyn Coker, Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Hampton; Libby Sweatt-Lambert, Chester; Luis Rodriguez (seated), Marion; Johnny Davis, Jasper; Michael Dantzler, Richland; and Matt Mardell, Colleton. Photo credit: Sherard Duvall, OTR Media.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

Across South Carolina, an initiative called The Art of Community: Rural SC has taken root, creating new networks, community engagement, partnerships and energy to change minds and build communities together.

The initiative, a program of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), poses a central question: “How can we use arts and culture as strategic tools to address local challenges we face?” “It’s growing, and it’s always a learning opportunity,” said Matt Mardell, executive director of the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mardell is one of the ‘mavens’ for The Art of Community; Rural SC. He said that, as part of this network of rural leaders and their teams, he is “hearing others’ creative solutions to issues we all face.” He and his predecessor, Gary Brightwell, have participated in the initiative with five other mavens from throughout a six-county Lowcountry region since it was conceived in 2015 and launched in 2016. Mavens in other counties include: Lottie Lewis of Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel representing Bamberg; Evelyn Coker of Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Hampton; and Johnny Davis representing Jasper County. The growth Mardell references is an expansion of the initiative in 2019 that includes a broader swath of rural South Carolina. Nine additional mavens represent their communities from the mountains to the sea and myriad cultures in between. They include the following community leaders and their corresponding counties: Kayla Hyatt-Hostetler of Aiken; Victoria Smalls of Beaufort; Lydia Cotton of Berkeley; Libby Sweatt-Lambert representing Chester; Luis Rodriguez representing Marion; Marquerite Palmer of Newberry; Betty McDaniel of Pickens; Michael Dantzler of Richland; and Dr. Brooke Bauer with co-maven Laney Buckley of The Catawba Indian Nation in York County. How does the initiative work? “It’s a framework built with four critical components:  mavens, local teams, partners and advisors coupled with a state arts agency willing to invest in rural and tribal communities in a new way,” said Community Arts Development Director Susan DuPlessis of the arts commission. All 15 teams, created and led by the mavens, gather locally and as a statewide network to get to know each other better, to listen, and to consider their local assets and challenges—ultimately, to learn together. "Mavens are 'the bridges' who make this initiative work," DuPlessis said. "Knowing that I have a community beyond my community has bolstered me in my local work," said maven Lottie Lewis of Allendale. As part of this initiative, Lewis led members of her local team on a fact-finding field trip to Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in 2019. They went to explore how another small, rural town had spurred connection and growth using arts and culture. They then planned to integrate some of that learning into their local project. “We learned so much from our new friends in Tamaqua,” Lewis said. “We were inspired by how they engaged their local community to share their ideas about where they live.” Allendale’s local project plan, though, along with the plans of the other 14 sites in this initiative, took an unexpected turn beginning in the spring of 2020. “We all had to shift in how we were engaging with one another and ask what our roles are in this moment of quarantine and separation,” according to DuPlessis who said many of the participating teams shifted their focuses to react to the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting social justice issues. Since March 20, the arts commission has convened mavens in weekly meetings to continue the practice of sharing, listening and learning together. "That's what's been so important to me and other mavens who I now count as dear friends," Lewis said. She also notes the spirit of the initiative which, built on trust and relationships, has allowed for flexibility with grant-funded local projects in this “uncertain time.” Each of The Art of Community: Rural SC teams received a $7,500 grant award in FY20 to engage and build community in ways that use arts and culture strategically. “Project plans in January 2020 didn’t look the same three months later in March,” DuPlessis said. Some communities planning festivals and other gatherings have had to postpone those for now. In a number of cases, mavens and their teams retrofitted their projects to respond to the current context and include the following examples:
  • In Aiken, in addition to getting helpful information out about the pandemic, the local project also incorporated the NextGen fight for equality, justice and respect for all people through the creation of a ‘peaceful protest’ linking them with other students around the country;
  • In Allendale, the local project’s focus became community engagement through a celebration of frontline pandemic workers as ‘hometown heroes;’
  • In Bamberg County, the local team developed a 'Little People's Learning Page' to accompany the local newspaper and address learning in a fun, creative way for students who are isolated from one another;
  • In Barnwell County, the Town of Blackville team developed a new dance called ‘The Wagon Wheel’ to engage its residents on social media in a healthy activity during a time of isolation;
  • In Beaufort County, a collective of Gullah Geechee artists used their voices and talents for public service announcements that address safety protocols for the pandemic;
  • In Berkeley County, a Spanish-language video was created to remind its community of best practices for reducing infection rates; and
  • In Chester County, the town of Fort Lawn team partnered with local businesses and state parks to showcase artists' and entrepreneurs' work to help generate income during this time of economic distress.
[caption id="attachment_45056" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by maven Lottie Lewis,  celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.[/caption] Other participating communities in the initiative bolstered their local project planning by addressing infrastructure and equipment needs as they anticipate future community gatherings, festivals and local engagement as part of their community building strategies. For instance, in Walterboro where the WHAM Festival, originally set for March 27-29, was cancelled, Matt Mardell re-examined the needs for this inaugural event by purchasing displays for exhibits and creating a website for the festival--WHAMfestival.org. The festival is now tentatively set for Oct. 23-25, 2020. Set within the framework of “arts plus economic development,” Mardell said, “I know when the festival does happen, we will be ready and even better prepared for it.” In addition to implementing local projects, all participants are invited to join additional activities and programs to build their own toolkits for considering the importance of ‘place’ in South Carolina and in their personal lives. They include a community writing workshop series; a field school offering instruction in documentary skills; and asset mapping workshops. These offerings are all coordinated by the arts commission’s Folklife & Traditional Arts Program. In addition to these activities, a rural networking program called CREATE: Rural SC engages rural creative professionals who serve as conduits between the mavens, the local creative economies and the arts commission. "These new networks and learning opportunities are bridging gaps and connecting us in ways we need to be connected in rural communities and across the state," Hampton County Maven Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Estill said. All 15 communities, along with the arts commission, partners and advisors constitute a ‘learning community’ that spans the state and the nation. Its story has been shared in national and state conferences from South Carolina to Iowa and Colorado; and from Detroit to Washington, D.C. using the voices and stories of mavens, advisors and emerging creative leaders. Also, with more than 25 partners in its national Advisory Council, this learning community has access to a wide range of sectors, insights, geographies and resources for community building using arts and culture. Co-chairs for the advisory council are Pam Breaux, president and CEO for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), headquartered in Washington; and Bob Reeder, program director for Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), headquartered in New York City. Looking at the value of community engagement in rural America, Co-Chair Pam Breaux cites The Art of Community: Rural SC as an exemplar for state arts agencies across the country. "This work has become a leading example of ingenuity in funding, partnership and framework creation for state arts agencies across the country," she said. Art of Community: Rural SC Director Susan DuPlessis was invited to share the initiative at a National Press Club briefing in Washington in January 2018; Mardell of Colleton County joined her as the local voice and example of growth and development through arts and culture as demonstrated through the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen. More than 25,000 'views' resulted on social media from that presentation. The South Carolina initiative was also included within a rural action guide on developing prosperity, produced by the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and NASAA. “This initiative is about re-imagining 'place' in terms of assets, not deficits,” said Co-Chair Bob Reeder whose professional work in the field of community development crosses the nation. “We're building on the strengths of local communities and the power of a network that connects to state and national resources,” he said. “Ultimately, this work is about changing minds.” Concurring with Reeder, Advisor Dixie Goswami of Clemson, South Carolina noted that the initiative makes visible local people, including young people, as "assets with wisdom and knowledge, not as deficient and needing outside help." Goswami is director of the Write to Change Foundation and director emerita of Middlebury Bread Loaf NextGen Network. "We're a state rich in creativity and ingenuity—and this initiative showcases some of that in our smallest communities" said SCAC Executive Director David Platts. "We are grateful to USDA-Rural Development for first believing in and funding this initiative in 2015. We've built a case for creative placemaking—the strategic use of arts and culture to address community issues—and this platform is being showcased nationally. The arts commission has also garnered more support for this approach from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation as well as funding from the South Carolina General Assembly. The Art of Community: Rural SC initiative is part of the Community Arts Development program of the arts commission and is one of three program areas that also include artist services and arts education. “Through this program, we continue to strive to meet our mission-‘to develop a thriving arts environment’ for the people and places in our South Carolina,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Dee Crawford of Aiken, South Carolina. “The arts are invaluable to our communities, both big and small. They are tools for growth, development and social cohesion in each and every county in our state.” Crawford also serves on the Advisory Council for Art of Community: Rural SC. The South Carolina Arts Commission is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and collaborates in its work with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and South Arts. It received funding from USDA-Rural Development to launch this program in 2015; and additional USDA-RD funding from 2017 to 2019. It also has received support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation for this initiative since 2018. More information about The Art of Community: Rural SC can be found at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/community-development/programs/art-of-community-rural-sc/, including a recently produced film called Meet the Mavens and a brochure featuring all mavens representing 14 South Carolina counties and the Catawba Indian Nation in York County.
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, 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.

Free workshop, lunch coming soon for coastal S.C. artisans

Have you ever wondered what resources are available to help you start, sustain, or grow your business? Is your business in the creative or cultural heritage industries? Are you an entrepreneur whose business intersects with, or has the potential to intersect with the tourism industry? Are you an artist looking to start a business? This is the meeting you must attend…lunch is included! Seating is limited to 40, so register today.

  • DATE:            Saturday, April 14, 2018
  • TIME:            9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • WHERE:      901-905 Front Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
  • COST:            None. (That’s right. Free!)
Meet representatives from the Arts Commission, City of Georgetown Economic Development, CommunityWorks, Conway Innovation Center, Georgetown Innovation Center, and SCORE, along with other organizations that provide resources for small business and entrepreneurs. Network! Ask questions, provide input, and participate in planning to access business resources that can help your business grow. Click here to take a business / entrepreneur needs assessment survey that will help us help you before, during and after the meeting. This meeting is open to entrepreneurs located in Georgetown and Horry counties, but also includes the contiguous counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Dillon, Marion, and Williamsburg. We really want to see artist entrepreneurs!

What else?

Registration is required; walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Limit 2 registrants per business/organization. A registration-ticket will be sent 3 days prior to the meeting via the e-mail address you provide. Register now: Click here to register for this meeting. Registration closes April 9, 2018. This meeting is being facilitated by the SC Arts Commission. Sponsors of the meeting include the SC African American Heritage Commission, creator of the Greenbook of SC; Georgetown Innovation Center; Cultural Council of Georgetown County; Coastal Carolina University; and the City of Georgetown Economic Development Office.
For more information contact Joy Young, SCAC program director for Artists Ventures Initiative and ArtsGrowSC, at jyoung@arts.sc.gov.

Berkeley County music teacher a quarterfinalist for national recognition

From The Berkeley Independent

Linda VersprilleA Berkeley County music teacher has been selected as a quarterfinalist for the 2016 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Award. Linda Versprille, director of Orchestras and the Panjamdrum Steel Band at Sangaree Middle School, in Ladson, S.C., is one of 213 music teachers from 194 cities across 42 states to have been announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. More than 4,500 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. Versprille attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Her Bachelor of Music Degree is in Piano and Music Education General Supervisor’s Curriculum. She is certified in Music K-12 Instrumental, Choral and Piano. Versprille received her Master’s in Education from Lesley University in Creative Arts in Learning and she is currently completing her doctoral coursework at Concordia University, Portland in Transformational Leadership. She has taken more than 80 hours of instruction in piano at the University of South Carolina where she studied with Dr. Charles Fugo and received certification in all levels of Orff Schulwerk at the Eastman School of Music. Versprille attained her National Board Certification in 2007, and is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the South Carolina Music Educators Association and the American String Teachers Association. Versprille has taught school choral music and private piano in Aiken, Augusta, Columbia and Charlotte. After moving to Berkeley County in 2000, she helped pilot the first arts infused magnet school at Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School where she taught general music, strings, band and steel drums. There, Versprille developed the Cainhoy Steel Tigers, which performed at Piccolo Spoleto three times between 2005 and 2007. In 2008, Versprille began developing the strings program at Cane Bay High School. She also was able to build the feeder program through Sangaree Middle School. That same year Versprille created the Panjamdrum Steel Band. Since then, the group has performed at Piccolo Spoleto, this year’s performance being Sunday, May 24 at Second Presbyterian Church. The performance will mark the group’s seventh consecutive performance, the tenth consecutive for a Berkeley County Steel Band, at Piccolo Spoleto. “The skills and talents of the fine arts faculties at Sangaree Middle and Cane Bay High Schools are inspirational. I treasure the collaborative nature of these friends and the constant support given to the arts by my principals, Ms. Sissy Day of Sangaree Middle School and Dr. Lee Westberry of Cane Bay High School,” said Verpsrille. The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists, and will be recognized for his or her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be flown to the host city of the GRAMMY Awards to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. Semifinalists will be announced in September. For information, visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.

Charleston Supported Art (CSA) seeks local, emerging and established artists for second year

After a successful launch in late 2013, Charleston Supported Art, LLC, is gearing up for its second year of local art sponsorship and distribution. On October 1, the group will begin accepting proposals from emerging and established visual artists to create original work for its 2015 seasonal shares. Contemporary visual artists ages 18 and up working in any media and living in the Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties are eligible to apply to the open call jury process, which closes on November 1, 2014. A link to the application as well as answers to frequently asked questions are available at www.CharlestonSupportedArt.com/how-to-apply. Charleston Supported Art (CSA) aims to support artists in the creation of new work, cultivate a culture of support for original work by Charleston area artists, and foster new relationships between buyers and artists with the potential for future art purchases. The program, which is based on the buy-local, from-the-source model of community supported agriculture, was met with great enthusiasm and support from artists and art patrons in its inaugural year. Artists who wish to participate in 2015 must submit an online application via Slideroom including a CV, work samples, and a proposal detailing the nature of the pieces that they intend to create for the program. A minimum of 25 artists will be chosen to move on to Phase II of the selection process and will be asked to create one piece that represents the style and quality of work that they will create for their season. After a review of these works and personal interviews, a total of 12 artists will be selected and will receive a stipend of $1,500 to produce 32 pieces of original fine art or fine craft, such as paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textile, jewelry, and more. A jury panel consisting of the seven co-founders of CSA will make the selections. The panel will seek input from the 2014 roster of artists. CSA’s 2015 program will consist of three seasons – Spring, Summer, and Fall – with four artists per season. The 2015 artists and their season assignments will be publicly announced in January 2015. Seasonal shares will be available for purchase at $425 + tax following the announcement. The public will have an opportunity to meet the artists and view their work at a Meet & Greet event in February 2015. For more information about Charleston Supported Art, visit www.charlestonsupportedart.com. Questions or requests to be added to the CSA mailing list should be directed to info@charlestonsupportedart.com. Images: Work by 2014 artists.

CSAbanner

About Charleston Supported Art, LLC Charleston Supported Art is a platform to connect emerging and established artists and collectors. Launched in November 2013, the program is part of a nationwide movement that has developed in over 40 communities across the country and is the first of its kind in Charleston, SC. Co-founders include Kristy Bishop, Camela Guevara, Stacy Huggins, Karen Ann Myers, Erin Glaze Nathanson, AnneTrabue Nelson and Ann Simmons. Supporters include 1600 Meeting Street, Artist & Craftsman Supply, Básico, Cannonborough Beverage Company, Drill Films, Enough Pie, Frothy Beard Brewing Company, GrowFood Carolina, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Ink Meets Paper, Mixson Bath & Racquet Club, Redux Contemporary Art Center, The Cut Company, Three Little Birds Café, and Tree Climber Productions. Via: Charleston Supported Art

Gullah Geechee artists and residents invited to community meetings

Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organization representatives are invited to a series of networking meetings hosted by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. The goals of the meetings are to identify Gullah Geechee residents who practice or represent one or more of the expressions outlined in the Corridor’s management plan (music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development) and to gather ideas for developing awareness of the Gullah Geechee culture. The Arts Commission and the Corridor are partnering to create networks and resource opportunities.

To RSVP for either meeting, email sbauer@arts.sc.gov or call (803) 734-8687. Be sure to indicate which meeting you will attend: Each meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m.

The first meeting, held in Mt. Pleasant on Oct. 29, attracted a variety of community members.

“Our ultimate goal is to make new relationships that bring new resources to people and create interest in the Corridor – both in the state and beyond,” said Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. “We were pleased to have such a good turnout for the first meeting."

Those attending the meetings are encourage to share a "chatta" -- a seven-word essay describing a Gullah Geechee sentiment. Examples include: "Just the way we live. Embrace it!" and "Gullah Geechee wisdom. Listen to our ancestors." For additional information about the partnership, contact Arts Participation Program Director Susan DuPlessis, sduplessis@arts.sc.gov or (803) 734-8693. About the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated a national heritage area by Congress on Oct. 12, 2006. The Corridor was created to recognize contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as Gullah Geechee, who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida; to assist organizations in the four states in interpreting and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music; and to assist in identifying and preserving Gullah Geechee sites, historical data and artifacts for the benefit and education of the public. South Carolina counties in the Gullah Geechee Corridor are Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion and Williamsburg. For more information, visit www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.

Tri-county area receives grant funds from the S.C. Arts Commission

Thanks to the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts for posting this summary of South Carolina Arts Commission grants in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. And of course, we love the shout out for The Hub and for the S.C. Arts Alliance!

Each fall after an undoubtedly tense state budget season, performing, visual, literary, and arts education organizations across South Carolina cross their fingers waiting to hear whether or not the South Carolina Arts Commission's (SCAC) general operating and granting budget will stay in tact for another year.  Luckily, the 2013-2014 budget was approved as well as a $1 million increase in funds specifically for grants to organizations throughout the state.  The result is an increase in annual general operating and program specific support for the SCAC's grantees with 15% of all grant funds coming to nonprofit arts and arts education organizations in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. Here is a snapshot of overall funding granted to the tri-county for 2013-2014: General Operating Support: $276,648 (22% of total grant awards) Arts in Basic Curriculum Education Support: $35,560 (9.7% of total grant awards) Small Organization grants: $7,200 (17% of total grant awards) Subgranting (Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grants Program): $9,491 (12.5% of all grant awards) Total: $332,034 (15% of total grant awards across all categories) The South Carolina Arts Commission was created by an act of the state legislature in 1967 in order to build a thriving arts environment for the benefit of all South Carolinians.  Since its inception the SCAC has focused its programs and services toward making the arts accessible to all SC citizens regardless of their economic status or location in a rural community of the state.  The SCAC's programs and services are focused in three core areas of: Artist Development, Arts Education, and Community Arts Development. The Arts Commission's primary source of funding is state tax dollars appropriated by the S.C. General Assembly. Grants from the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts comprise the Commission's secondary source of funding. Additional support for Arts Commission projects is provided by private foundations and community sponsors.  After general operating funds, 70% of funding is granted back into communities across the state in order to support the arts and artists as a viable and important part of South Carolina's economy.  In addition to grants, the SCAC is also available to organizations year round and hosts several workshops, facilitates forums and discussions, and is available for consulting on a variety of areas of need such as board development strategies, strategic planning, etc. Organizations receiving funds this year in the tri-county include:
Charleston Chamber Opera Park Circle Film Society* Unedited Artists*
Smalls Institute for Music & Youth Leadership SC Watermedia Society (Dorchester County) Art Forms & Theatre Concepts*
Gibbes Museum of Art* Chamber Music Charleston* Charleston Academy of Music*
Charleston Artist Guild* Charleston Concert Association* Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts
Charleston Stage Company* Charleston Symphony Orchestra* City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs*
City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department* Creative Spark Center for the Arts* Flowertown Players*
Footlight Players* Jazz Artists of Charleston* Theatre Charleston*
McClellanville Arts Council New Music Collective PURE Theatre*
Redux Contemporary Art Center* Robert Ivey Ballet Company* Sculpture in the South
Spoleto Festival USA Summerville Community Orchestra Village Repertory Company*
Alston Middle School Ashley River Elementary H.E. Bonner Elementary
Howe Hall AIMS Elementary Wando High School Windsor Hill Elementary
  *denotes members of the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts For more information on the granting process and for a full list of this year's grantees, please visit the SCAC's website.  For state arts news please visit the SCAC's new blog site, The Hub.  To get involved in arts advocacy statewide and stay up to date on state level decisions affecting the arts please join the SC Arts Alliance and receive their advocacy calls to action throughout the year. The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts staff is also available anytime to answer your questions about the arts in our community and statewide.  Please contact us at info@artscharleston.org or 843.577.5288 if you'd like to get involved in arts advocacy locally, statewide, or nationwide.

Gullah Geechee residents invited to meetings celebrating culture

The South Carolina Arts Commission is pleased to partner with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission to help connect Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organizations to resources and promote the state’s Gullah Geechee culture.

“Our goal is to identify Gullah Geechee residents who practice or represent one or more of the expressions outlined in the Corridor’s management plan,” said Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. “Those areas include music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development. We want to build relationships with Gullah Geechee artists and those who advocate for the preservation of Gullah Geechee culture and traditions. Our ultimate goal is to make new relationships that bring new resources to people and create interest in the Corridor – both in the state and beyond.” Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organization representatives are invited to learn more during a series of networking meetings that will be hosted by both the S.C. Arts Commission and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission:
  • Oct. 29, Mt. Pleasant Waterworks Community Room, 1619 Rifle Range Road, Mt. Pleasant
  • Nov. 19,  The Frissell House at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, Beaufort County
  • Nov. 21, Georgetown County Library Auditorium, 405 Cleland St., Georgetown
Each meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m. “The Gullah Geechee Corridor’s partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission hopefully will develop a template for use with other arts commissions throughout the Corridor,” said Ronald Daise, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission Chairman. “We’re excited that the initial meeting is being held during Gullah Geechee Awareness Month, and we encourage Gullah Geechee artists in each community to participate. All ideas that are expressed will help to develop awareness of authentic representation of Gullah Geechee culture.” Those attending the meetings are encourage to share a "chatta" -- a seven-word essay describing a Gullah Geechee sentiment. Examples include: "Just the way we live. Embrace it!" and "Gullah Geechee wisdom. Listen to our ancestors." View the Oct. 29 mtg invitation. To RSVP for this meeting, email deona@dejogroup.com or call (843) 793-8684. For additional information about the partnership and future meetings, contact Arts Participation Program Director Susan DuPlessis, sduplessis@arts.sc.gov or (803) 734-8693. About the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated a national heritage area by Congress on Oct. 12, 2006. The Corridor was created to recognize contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as Gullah Geechee, who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida; to assist organizations in the four states in interpreting and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music; and to assist in identifying and preserving Gullah Geechee sites, historical data and artifacts for the benefit and education of the public. South Carolina counties in the Gullah Geechee Corridor are Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion and Williamsburg. For more information, visit www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.

OPEN showcases art in tri-county area

Arts organizations and vendors in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley are invited to showcase upcoming projects, performances and other arts opportunities during OPEN, an annual expo organized by the Charleston Regional Arts Alliance. OPEN takes place Sept. 8 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Cistern Yard on the College of Charleston campus. OPENOPEN Arts Expo is a multi-disciplinary arts event, free to the public and featuring the rich variety of arts experiences in the tri-county area with the goal of building arts audiences and breaking down barriers to participate in the joy and festivity of the arts. OPEN registration is $125 for Charleston Regional Arts Alliance members and $250 for nonmembers and vendors. Join the Charleston Regional Arts Alliance for FREE and take advantage of the member rate! Register by emailing lily@artscharleston.org. Registration deadline is Aug. 16 at noon. Via: Charleston Regional Arts Alliance

Columbia and North Charleston seeking artist proposals for murals

The cities of Columbia and North Charleston both seek to commission artists to create public art projects -- a mural for a new city garage in Columbia and a mural for a privately owned storage tank in North Charleston. Columbia project (application deadline June 27 at 3 p.m.) Open to South Carolina artists The city of Columbia Parking Services Department has re-issued a request for proposals for South Carolina artists to submit proposals for the development and completion of an outdoor mural project for the new City Center Garage located at the southwest corner of Sumter and Taylor Streets in the downtown business district of Columbia. The City wishes to engage a South Carolina artist with at least a minimum of five years experience in outdoor murals to design and construct a permanent mural on a concrete block wall on the side of the garage facing Sumter Street. The mural area is 8 feet, 7 inches high and 16 feet wide. Artists must submit a resume, images of their work, and a color rendering of the proposed mural design and palette. Mounting/installation of a piece, modification of the exterior architecture or other means of modification to a building requires prior approval from the City. Also, the art should not damage the natural environment. The process to select and award an artist(s)/project(s) will include a review of proposals by a committee made up of City staff, representatives of the Columbia art community and adjacent property owners based on the selection process and criteria explained in section VI of the bid document.  A recommended proposal will then be sent to Columbia City Council for final approval. To submit an entry, an artist or team of artists must complete an official application and submit their proposal on BID Online by 3 p.m. June 27, 2013. Questions and requests for additional information must be submitted using BID Online.  The deadline for questions and/or additional information is June 24, 2013 at 2 p.m. (EST). City Center garage

Although the City prefers questions to be submitted online, you may contact Kathy Santandreu at 803-545-3473 or kcsantandreu@columbiasc.net if you have difficulty registering through BID Online. North Charleston project (application deadline: hand delivered by June 28 at 5 p.m. or postmarked by June 30) Open to artists in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. The City of North Charleston seeks to commission a graphic artist to design a large outdoor mural for a privately owned storage tank located at 1003 East Montague Avenue near the Olde Village area of North Charleston. Professional graphic artists residing in the Tri-County area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties) are invited to submit their qualifications for the public art project. A committee comprised of city officials, business leaders, and community leaders will select one artist to create the mural design. The total budget for this project is $5,000 and involves all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to: artist's design fees, materials, production costs, travel, documentation, and any permits, license, or insurance. The mural will measure 140’w x 40’h and will be fabricated on cast white vinyl and professionally mounted to the carbon steel tank. Interested artists should contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 or culturalarts@northcharleston.org for the complete commission prospectus. Application materials must be hand delivered by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 28, or postmarked by Sunday, June 30, 2013. Artists will be notified of the commission award by July 10, 2013. ODFJELL Tank Click on image for larger view. For more information, contact Marty Besancon at 843-740-5850 or mbesancon@northcharleston.org. Via: City of Columbia, City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department