← View All Articles

Submitted material

South Arts grants support “Southern Creative Places”

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine Southern states, has announced $78,189 in grants to 18 communities in the region. South Arts LogoThese grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South. “Creative placemaking uses arts and culture to activate and animate communities,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Creative placemaking puts arts, culture and creativity at the center of planning and problem-solving. It brings people and partners together to design creative solutions to community challenges using arts and culture as catalysts. The results can be more connected communities, enhanced quality of life, more economic opportunities, and the showcasing of a community’s most unique characteristics.” The grants, which must be matched by the recipient organization, support organizations in South Arts’ region. Organizations applied this spring and were recently notified of their status. “In our new strategic plan, South Arts has made a commitment to address the evolving needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs,” continued Surkamer. “Supporting these creative placemaking efforts – from a small-business incubator for creative entrepreneurs to public art projects embracing civic pride and even a project using the arts to promote healthy eating and locally-grown produce – is an important step in serving the cross-sector needs of our region through the arts.” The Southern Creative Places grant program represents South Arts’ first programmatic offering in the arena of creative placemaking, following up on its successful co-sponsorship of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in March 2018 in Chattanooga. For more information about opportunities from South Arts, visit www.southarts.org.


About South Arts South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.
S.C. Grant Recipients
  • The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg received a $5,000 grant to establish a cultural center in the majority Hispanic community of Arcadia.
  • The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs received a $5,000 grant to implement the conNECKted Too project, pairing artists with tiny businesses in an isolated part of Charleston.
  • Fresh Future Farm, Inc. in Charleston received a $3,038 grant for a community mural project celebrating community history and promoting healthy, locally-grown foods.
  • The Holly Springs Center in Pickens received a $4,365 grant to present a festival of Appalachian arts on the grounds of a former school.
  • The Town of Estill received a $3,375 grant to create a mural celebrating diversity.

Submitted material

South Arts awards $27,000 among seven S.C. arts groups

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, has awarded 68 grants totaling $276,949 to arts organization throughout the South. South ArtsThese funds, made possible through partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, support the presentation of touring performing and literary artists in public performances and readings along with educational activities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

“These funds represent a major step for our organization in pursuit of our newly revised mission statement and strategic plan,” said executive director Susie Surkamer (former executive director of the S.C. Arts Commission. - Ed.) “We have refocused our grantmaking guidelines to primarily support Southern artists on tour throughout our communities. The talent and artistry created within our nine states is immense, and deserves to be shared.”

Organizations applied for consideration, making cases for the artistic merit of the proposed artists and the ability to develop audiences. An external panel of arts professionals reviewed each application for funding consideration. The grants must be matched at least dollar for dollar by the recipient organization. These grants represent multiple initiatives by South Arts. Performing Arts Touring grants support engagements of guest Southern artists (theatre, music, opera, musical theatre, and dance) from outside of the presenter’s state. Literary Arts Touring grants support engagements of guest Southern writers (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry) from outside the presenter’s state. Launchpad grants are part of a year-long professional development program for presenters new to the field, and include the opportunity to present artists from an adjudicated roster. Dance Touring Initiative funds are part of an ongoing capacity-building program developing audiences for modern dance and contemporary ballet throughout the region. “We are so proud to support tours of diverse, talented artists representing the breadth of our region,” continued Surkamer. “Some of the highlights this year include Ranky Tanky, based in coastal South Carolina, blending their Gullah heritage with influences of jazz and funk. Rosie Herrera Dance Theater of Miami is one of the nation’s leading contemporary ballet companies, effortlessly working across genres including hip hop, dance theater, and cabaret. Poet Jericho Brown, an associate professor Emory University in Atlanta, is a leading voice with verses exploring race, masculinity, and community.” Applications for South Arts touring grants for nonprofit and governmental organizations in the nine-state region open in the fall each year with deadlines in March and May. Additional information and a full listing of grant recipients is available at www.southarts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

South Carolina's recipients

  • City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs (Charleston) received a $5,800 grant as part of the Dance Touring Initiative.
  • City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs (Charleston) received a $2,354 Literary Arts Touring grant to present P. Scott Cunningham in October 2018.
  • Midlands Technical College (Columbia) received a $5,800 grant as part of the Dance Touring Initiative.
  • Southern Guitar Festival and Competition (Columbia) received a $878 Performing Arts Touring grant to present Jay Kacherski in June 2019.
  • Coker College (Hartsville) received a $5,800 grant as part of the Dance Touring Initiative.
  • Arts Center of Coastal Carolina (Hilton Head) received a $5,569 Performing Arts Touring grant to present Ballet Memphis in January 2019.
  • Wits End Poetry (Greenville) received a $890 Literary Arts Touring grant to present Asia Samson & Daryl Funn in September 2018.

Four artists honored with S.C. Arts Commission fellowships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 June 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina artists in Charleston, Horry, Richland and Spartanburg counties representing four arts disciplines received individual artist fellowships after approval by the S.C. Arts Commission board in Columbia. All individual artists working in prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting were invited to apply for awards for fiscal year 2019. The S.C. Arts Commission board approved $5,000 fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select these fellows after  reviewing anonymous work samples:

  • Rutledge Hammes of Charleston County for prose,
  • Stephen Tulloh of Spartanburg County for poetry,
  • Paul Kaufmann of Richland County for theatre acting,
  • and Kevin Ferguson of Horry County for theatre playwriting.
Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. They are awarded through a competitive, anonymous process and based solely on artistic excellence. Recognition from fellowship awards often lends artistic prestige and opens doors to other resources and employment opportunities. “Past fellows are quick to share stories about the transformative difference award dollars make and the positive effect on their spirits and their self-perception,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “It can truly be a life-changing experience. South Carolina’s artists are indispensable contributors to quality of life in our communities and make up the core of our creative economy. A fellowship is one of the best ways the people of South Carolina thank them, and our agency is proud to deliver these tokens of gratitude on their behalf.” The panelists who judged each discipline’s nominees work in those disciplines elsewhere. This year’s prose judge was Jamey Hatley of Memphis, Tenn., an author who received a prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016. The poetry judge was poet Shane McCrae of New York City, an NEA poetry fellow and writing professor at Columbia University. Nancy Rominger of Montgomery, Ala., director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, served as the theatre acting judge. The theatre playwriting judge was Betty Peterson, an English professor at Somerset (Ky.) Community College. Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists who work in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: visual arts, craft, and music performance or composition, will be honored in fiscal year 2020. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the S.C. Arts Commission. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grants/artists/fellowships.shtml.

About the FY2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship Recipients

PROSE F. RUTLEDGE HAMMES | Charleston County “What I write, at its very best, is some illegitimate hybrid of South American magical realism and Southern Gothic I like to think of as Southern Fabulism,” Rutledge Hammes says of the sum of his prose. Hammes, who lives in Charleston, is the writer-in-residence and creative writing teacher for the Charleston County School of the Arts. His students, throughout a 10-year tenure, have accounted for more than 3,500 regional and national writing awards. The city’s 2011 “Best Up-and-Coming Writer” is co-author of two published novels. His first solo novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, is to be published under his name this September. He is the winner of six ADDY Awards for copywriting and winner of the Cypress Dome Fiction Awards. His talent extends to poetry, where he was a finalist for both the Montage Poetry Award and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Award for Poetry. POETRY STEPHEN TULLOH | Spartanburg County Stephen Tulloh received his MFA in creative writing from the University of South Carolina. The Spartanburg resident has spent time as a tutor and instructor on the collegiate level, where he develops and implements subject- and student-centered courses which nurture creativity, empowerment, self-actualization. As a writer, though, Tulloh considers himself versatile and meticulous as he creates essays, books, and articles for traditional or digital publication. He blogs and has three credits to his name: two out-of-print collections of essays, activities, and lectures on communication and writing; and 2009’s Symmetry, described as “retrospective, introspective, emotive, and somewhat innovative, the poems and drawings in Symmetry focus on two siblings' relationships – with nature; with one another; with family, friends and foes.” THEATRE: ACTING PAUL KAUFMANN | Richland County Though an actor for most of his life, Paul Kaufmann is a multi-faceted artist: playwright, songwriter, fiction and copy writer, and a visual artist. A resident of Columbia with a bachelor’s in communications from Florida State University, he is a veteran of the city’s theatre scene, serving as a cast member in stage productions at Trustus Theatre and at USC. His resume includes appearances in productions in New York City, Wales and on screen in Third Reel, a Jason Stokes film. He has been the principal at Kaufmann Forensic Actors for 12 years. His company contracts 20 actors from across the U.S. to provide actors to the FBI, ICE and other federal and state agencies for use in scenario-based training, where they portray victims of myriad crimes. THEATRE: PLAYWRIGHTING KEVIN FERGUSON | Horry County He describes himself as a son, friend, actor, counselor, teacher, mentor, playwright, dramaturg, and a literary manager, but “not always in that order,” says Kevin Ferguson of Little River on his website. He is credited with writing six plays: five original, and an adaptation of Dickens’ famed A Christmas Carol. His work was included in a short play anthology in 2015 and he contributed to a nine-vignette collection of works with other playwrights. Ferguson teaches playwriting and dramaturgy at Coastal Carolina University. He earned an MFA in playwriting with a concentration in dramaturgy from Hollins University. He is playwright-in-residence, literary manager, and resident dramaturg at Atlantic Stage in Myrtle Beach. He is also the resident Dramaturg at the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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.

Spoleto, Piccolo Spoleto festivals begin today in Charleston

The international arts community turns its attention to South Carolina today as two signature festivals begin at noon. Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festival begin with noon opening ceremonies from the city's famed Four Corners of Law intersection (Meeting and Broad streets). If you're not going to make it down, you can livestream the event thanks to the city of Charleston on Facebook. S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May will be among the dignitaries launching the festival. The S.C. Arts Commission is pleased to provide support for both festivals. They, along with ArtFields in Lake City and Artisphere in Greenville, are our state's three signature arts festivals. Both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto will provide a plethora of performances in all disciplines through June 10. Start making plans to go now!

See you there!

Submitted material

2018 S.C. Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition Winners

Fine craft artists and artisans from across South Carolina were invited to participate in the state’s only juried fine craft competition and exhibition: the 17th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition. Presented May 2-6 as a component of the 2018 North Charleston Arts Fest, the show is organized annually by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. After an extensive pre-jury process, 42 applicants were asked to participate and 81 entries were submitted in the categories of clay, fiber, metal, glass, wood, and 3D mixed media. Cash awards totaling $6,500 were made at the sole discretion of the juror, Rachel Reese, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga. “The quality of artwork submitted is a testament to the ongoing value that visual artists contribute to material culture, and this presentation of artworks exemplifies the vibrancy, imagination, energy, and great talent of South Carolina artists working today,” Reese said. Reese also selected pieces from the show to assemble a South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Traveling Exhibition, which will tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2018/2019 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Galleries, museums, and art centers across the state can request the exhibit to visit their facilities on its tour. Four pieces were selected for City of North Charleston Purchase Awards. These selections will be added to the City of North Charleston’s Permanent Public Art Collection, which is on display within North Charleston City Hall throughout most of the year. Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition: [caption id="attachment_35128" align="alignright" width="250"] "A Lively Live Oak"[/caption]

Best of Show

“A Lively Live Oak” (fiber) by Peg Weschke (Hilton Head Island)

Outstanding Merit

  • “Sashay” (clay) by Gary Huntoon (Travelers Rest)
  • “Mosaic Cherry Bowl” (wood) by Dale Fort (Charleston)

City of North Charleston Purchase Awards

  • “Rising Waters” (encaustic) by Marty Biernbaum
  • “Spot On: Chartreuse Raku #1” (clay) by Nancy Waterhouse (Bluffton)
  • “Summertime Tea Time” (clay) by Marsha Nordyke (Summerville)
  • “A Small Disturbance in the House of Pluto” (mixed media) by Robin Howard (Mount Pleasant)

Honorable Mention

  • “Summertime Delight” (clay) by Marsha Nordyke (Summerville)
  • “Charleston Box #66” (mixed media) by Robin Howard (Mount Pleasant)
  • “Refraction” (fiber) by Connie Lippert (Seneca)
  • “Segmented Bowl” (wood) by Kenny Teague (Charleston)
  • “A Little Birdie Told Me…” (mixed media) by Bob Thames (North Charleston)
  • “A Farewell to Arms” (wood) by Robb Helm Kant (North Charleston)
  • “Featherweight” (stoneware) by Justin Guy (Trenton)
  • “Swirls III” (fiber) by Beth Andrews (Greer)
  • “Three Stone Necklace” (mixed media) by Rachel Weiss (Charleston)
  • “Melting Point” (porcelain) by Annie Rhodes Lee (Folly Beach)
  • “Lean on Me” (clay) by Sherrie Nesbitt (Summerville)
  • “Spot On: Chartreuse Raku #1” (clay) by Nancy Waterhouse (Bluffton)

South Carolina Palmetto Hands Traveling Exhibition Selections

  • “Summertime Delight” (clay) by Marsha Nordyke (Summerville)
  • “A Lively Live Oak” (fiber) by Peg Weschke (Hilton Head Island)
  • “Go Ask Alice” (embroidery on canvas) by Liz Holt (Conway)
  • “Green Vessel” (felted fiber vessel) by Pam Shanley- (Summerville)
  • “Ivy Relief” (wood) by Ben Pendarvis- (St. Helena Island)
  • “Old School” (mixed media) by Patz Fowle- (Hartsville)
  • “Charleston Box #66” (mixed media) by Robin Howard (Mount Pleasant)
  • “Segmented Bowl” (wood) by Kenny Teague (Charleston)
  • "Solution” (metal and wood) by Robb Helmkamp – (North Charleston)
  • “Dr. Seuss Teapot” (clay) by Mark Vail – (Charleston)
  • “Petting Zoo” (fiber) by Evelyn Beck- (Anderson)
  • “Shawl Spring Sunrise” (textiles) by Iryna Toney- (Summerville)
  • “Mosaic Cherry Bowl” (wood) by Dale Fort (Charleston)
  • “Three Stone Necklace” (mixed media) by Rachel Weiss (Charleston)
  • “Lean on Me” (clay) by Sherrie Nesbitt (Summerville)
  • “Spot On: Lapio Raku #2 and Denim #3” (clay) by Nancy Waterhouse (Bluffton)
  • “Sashay” (clay) by Gary Huntoon (Travelers Rest)
North Charleston Arts Fest also featured a judged fine art and photography competition. You can find out the winners of that here.

History-making Claxton nears Poetry Out Loud national title

Clemson football. Coastal Carolina baseball. USC women's basketball. Can Janae Claxton join the list of recent South Carolina national champions? The senior at First Baptist School in Charleston made history in March by becoming South Carolina’s first back-to-back Poetry Out Loud state champion. Yesterday she made more, becoming the first from the Palmetto State to advance from the regional competition at national finals. Will she make even more tonight when the nine national finalists compete to be national champion and win $20,000? It won't be much longer until that question is answered, and you can follow along tonight during the live webcast from the National Endowment for the arts. The competition runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m. The finals host is poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. Guest judges include Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; Lavina Jadhwani, Chicago-based theater director; Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Virgil Suárez, poet and professor of at Florida State University. The featured performer is musician Kaia Kater. Nine student finalists representing high schools from Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Vermont match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in a contest for the title of 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and a $20,000 award. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies. More information about the 2018 National Finals is available here. Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL18.

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.

State to honor five with 2018 Folk Heritage Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 March 2018

  • Four artists and one advocate selected
  • Program managed jointly by McKissick Museum at USC and South Carolina Arts Commission
  • Awards to be presented May 2 at South Carolina Arts Awards Day
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Five South Carolina recipients are to be honored by the General Assembly with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, presented annually to recognize work that keeps the state’s traditional art forms alive. The following five recipients – four artists and one advocate – are being recognized as practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. The 2018 recipients are:
  • The Blackville Community Choir (Blackville): A Capella Spiritual and Gospel Singing
  • Michael King (Greenville): Piedmont blues
  • Henrietta Snype (Mount Pleasant): Sweetgrass basketry
  • Deacon James Garfield Smalls (St. Helena Island): Traditional spirituals
  • Dr. Stephen Criswell (Lancaster): Folklife & Traditional Arts Advocacy
“The work of proliferating our state’s unique cultural heritage is an important one in an age of constant change,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “The intrinsic value of these treasured art forms is the story each tells of where and who we’ve been, and are, as a culture. We should all be grateful for the work these award recipients do on our behalf.” [caption id="attachment_2612" align="alignright" width="150"]Jean Laney Harris Jean Laney Harris[/caption] The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the lieutenant governor and house speaker selects the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state. The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage and Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s awards, sponsored by Colonial Life, are presented at South Carolina Arts Awards Day on Wednesday, May 2 in a morning ceremony at the State House. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). South Carolina artists’ work will be on sale to support the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase through SouthCarolinaArts.com or by calling 803.734.8696. For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards, visit the McKissick Museum website at http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/mckissickmuseum or the S.C. Arts Commission website, SouthCarolinaArts.com.
ABOUT THE FOLK HERITAGE AWARD RECIPIENTS
  • Blackville Community Choir (Artist Category) was formed in 1965 as the Macedonia Tabernacle Choir. In 1976, the choir changed its name to The Blackville Community Choir. The group expanded to include members from different congregations and continued to sing at churches, festivals, funerals, weddings, banquets, public schools, and college graduations. Choir members have been advocates for the arts, organizing an annual program featuring visual and performing artists, collectors, crafters, entrepreneurs, culinary artists, and storytellers.
  • J. Michael King (Artist Category) is a composer, writer, teacher, and accomplished Piedmont blues musician with an insatiable love of traditional South Carolina music. The Piedmont blues, a unique regional distillation of the blues, blossomed in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia near the beginning of the 20th century. Influenced by ragtime music and early banjo techniques, Piedmont blues involves a light, finger-picking style and steady rhythms. A popular instructor, King teaches the Piedmont blues throughout the region. For over 30 years, he has mentored musicians of all ages in and around upstate South Carolina.
  • Even at 98, Deacon James Garfield Smalls (Artist Category) sings songs dating back to the mid-19th century and stands as one the most important active Gullah singers and cultural ambassadors. Smalls received musical training from B.H. Washington, a member of the St. Helena Quartet and music director at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Smalls sang in Washington’s renowned community choir The Hundred Voices, and later led the ensemble. He also served for many years as director of the senior choir at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Beyond his early musical career, Smalls served in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy’s Seabees during World War II. Over the past three decades, Deacon Smalls has led the singing at Penn Center Community Sings, various island churches, and music festivals.
  • Henrietta Snype (Artist Category) is a Mount Pleasant native and third generation sweetgrass basket maker. Snype’s work has been featured at venues in the Lowcountry and in museums throughout the U.S., including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art. Schools, museum shops, business owners, and private art collectors have commissioned works from her. She conducts workshops for public and private schools throughout Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties and does countless demonstrations for all ages.
  • Dr. Stephen Criswell (Advocacy Category) has worked in folklore and anthropology for more than 20 years. His most prominent contribution is his advocacy work for Native American culture, focusing on Catawba potters and contemporary expressive traditions. In 2005, the University of South Carolina Lancaster hired Criswell and challenged him to build and direct its Native American Studies program. After 13 years, the Native American Studies Center (NASC) houses the largest fully intact collection of Catawba pottery in existence and an extensive archival collection. Its new facility has welcomed 30,000 visitors from all over the world since 2012, raising awareness of the history, culture and traditions of Native people of the South.

ABOUT THE FOLKLIFE AND TRADITIONAL ARTS PROGRAM The Folklife and Traditional Arts Program is designed to encourage, promote, conserve and honor the diverse community-based art forms that make South Carolina distinct. The major initiatives of the program serve both established and emerging cultural groups that call South Carolina home. ABOUT MCKISSICK MUSEUM The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and university holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/mckissick_museum/. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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.

Another win at Poetry Out Loud; repeat champ makes Charleston proud

It's a South Carolina first. [caption id="attachment_34461" align="alignright" width="242"] State Poetry Out Loud winner Janae Claxton (center) receives her trophy from South Carolina Arts Commission representatives Zuri Wilson-Seymore, program coordinator (left), and Ashley Kerns Brown, arts education director (right).[/caption] This past weekend, Janae Claxton of Charleston became the first back-to-back champion of the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition, which is organized by the South Carolina Arts Commission. A senior at First Baptist Church School in Charleston, Claxton was judged the winner after three rounds against five other South Carolina finalists Saturday afternoon at Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia. She won an all-expenses-paid trip for herself and a chaperone as she represents the state in the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington. She also won $200. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize.

  • Taylor Elisse Wade of Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster was first runner up, winning a $100 prize for herself and a $200 stipend for her school to spend on poetry books.
  • Alyssa Stone of Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant was second runner up.
Four first-time judges were part of the Poetry Out Loud state finals: Al Black, Dr. Ray McManus, Dr. Charlene Spearen, and Dr. Ernest Williamson III. SCETV's Beryl Dakers served as event host. Claxton recited three poems from memory on her way to the victory: “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams in the first round and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late, Famous General” by Jonathan Swift in the second. Her judges’ score advanced her to the third and final round, where she recited Sharon Olds' “I Go Back to May 1937

Six students advance to state ‘Poetry Out Loud’ finals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 24 January 2018

  • Regional competitions yield six finalists
  • State finals to be held March 10 in Columbia
  • Winner advances to national competition in Washington, D.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Six South Carolina high school students reached the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – after regional competitions in Charleston and Spartanburg this past weekend. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners compete against students in their district to move on to compete in the state finals.  
(l-r: Keegan Dustin, Janae Claxton, Sha'Kaila Stewart, Taylor Elisse Wade, Alexia Story, and Grant Butler)
  The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, will compete Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:
  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Keegan Dustin (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
State winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals, and the state winner's school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Each state’s first runner-up, and that student’s school, receives a cash prize as well. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize.
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.5 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools across the country. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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.