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Florence is the newest South Carolina Cultural District

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named downtown Florence as the newest state-recognized cultural district. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. The cultural district designation was created by the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014. The City of Florence and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance worked with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture. "This cultural district designation from the South Carolina Arts Commission is a tremendous honor," said Florence City Council member George Jebailey. "This designation recognizes the hard work done over the last 17 years by a community committed to a unified vision to create a detailed master plan establishing a purposeful clustering of multiple arts venues in downtown Florence. Through the collaboration of the many public-private partners working together on this unified vision, we have seen the master plan become a reality leading to this important designation. We anticipate that many new opportunities will now be available for us to promote both the City of Florence and the entire Pee Dee Region as an important destination for arts, culture and entertainment." “Receiving the S.C. state recognition of a designated cultural district will assist in our ongoing marketing of downtown Florence as a tourist destination,” said Florence Downtown Development Manager Ray Reich. “The Vision 2010 Initiative that was created in 2000, as well as the 2010 Downtown Master Plan, envisioned downtown as a place featuring a string of cultural pearls. The first pearl in the string was the library, followed by the Florence Little Theatre, and then the FMU Performing Arts Center, followed by the new museum, as well as many other cultural amenities that have been developed in recent years in our beautiful and historic downtown. This designation affirms that we are well in our way to achieving the vision of a string of cultural pearls. However, this is just the beginning, and while we have created an outstanding foundation, the work will not stop as we continue to work together as a community to live up to our new community brand of being a community full of life and moving full forward with more amenities.” Florence Regional Arts Alliance Executive Director Sandy Cook added, “We are very excited for this award, which shows Florence’s continued commitment to preserve and support the arts.  We thank all of our stakeholders for their collaborative efforts in making this happen.” The participation of those stakeholders is key, according to S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district. A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.” The cultural district program was developed after reviewing successful programs in other states and gathering input from leaders representing several sectors, including economic development, tourism, local government and the arts. Florence joins Beaufort, Bluffton, Columbia’s Congaree Vista, Lancaster, Rock Hill and Spartanburg as S.C. cities and areas that have earned cultural district status. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Texas. S.C. cities, towns and rural communities interested in exploring a cultural district designation are invited to contact their Arts Commission county coordinator or call (803) 734-8696. Complete guidelines are available at www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. About the S.C. Arts Commission The South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. The Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts through staff assistance, programs, grants and partnerships 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 www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Hilton Head Island seeks culture and arts network director

Apply by March 22 GreenTownLogo-72R-5inThe Town of Hilton Head Island is seeking a dynamic and creative individual to become its first culture and arts network director. The new director will lead the process to create and implement a civic plan for enhancing the Island’s existing entertainment, arts, culture and heritage (EACH) assets and for identifying new assets for development. Working with other stakeholders, the director will elevate the marketing of these assets in a way that showcases them as successfully as other Island amenities, with a focus on new ways to reach both residents and visitors. This position is the first of its kind in Beaufort County and will offer the successful candidate a challenging and rewarding opportunity to steer the town’s future in these important areas. The successful candidate will be able to interact effectively with multiple audiences, quickly grasp the current situation and determine possibilities for enhancement and development. The ability to communicate with the following constituents is required: leaders of various EACH organizations, Island residents and visitors, Town government and the Island’s marketing entities (Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and its Visitors and Convention Bureau). The successful candidate will also be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills or abilities in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, facilitation, group presentations, use of social media platforms and technology resources, and administrative management. Currently the Island has a world-class symphony, a vibrant theater scene, a rich music community, nationally recognized artistic talent, and a storied but under-told heritage. We are seeking a candidate who can showcase these assets (and others) to expand their reach and broaden our Island’s appeal to both residents and visitors. Application deadline is March 22. Complete details and application instructions are online.  

Winthrop grad touts “fantastic” public arts plan for Rock Hill roundabout

From the Rock Hill Herald Article by David Thackham

[caption id="attachment_28428" align="alignleft" width="150"]brandyscholl Brandy Scholl[/caption] In truth, Brandy Scholl got her inspiration from a real-life case of #ThrowbackThursday.
Inspired by a photograph of an old buggy car and a visit to a renovated fabrics manufacturer, the recent Winthrop University graduate brainstormed and designed an intricate public arts project that may adorn the city’s new roundabout by next summer. “It’s a little surreal,” said Scholl, who designed the top concept of her class earlier this spring. “I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that I came up with this out of my head, and now it’s actually being built into this community. Being welcomed... as an artist, it’s the most gratifying thing you could possibly imagine.” Scholl, who now works as a self-employed artist in Greenville, laid out her plan in front of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday afternoon. The idea is to create what she calls a “sensory experience” by decorating the four outside edges of the roundabout circle with flowers and plants which would be adapted to each season. The effect uses the entire space and gives drivers a better visual experience as they make their way around to their exit, says Scholl. The art is funded through a portion of a $50,000 grant the city received last summer from the National Endowment for the Arts. The design drew rave reviews from David Lawrence, project manager for the Knowledge Park project, which lies close to the incoming roundabout. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Lawrence. “It’s a new gateway entering that direction, with everything heading into Knowledge Park. It’s a unique idea, and I hope it’s as colorful as her images.” Scholl’s design includes use of 10 3x3 concrete discs, carved with themes around the city, which will be placed in the ground for pedestrians to step on in between the plants. Construction on the roundabout is going smoothly, says Lawrence, and the site should be open again within the next six months. Once that starts, workers will be able to start laying in Scholl’s design. She’ll present her concept in front of the Rock Hill City Council next month for final approval. It took Scholl nearly three months to fully draw out her plans and put together her concept, which was deemed the best in her class at a board review. She was most inspired by a trip to the Springs Creative textile building on Chatham Ave., where she saw huge rolls of fabric in the warehouse. She also drew parallels from an old archive photo of a vintage Anderson motor buggy from the Rock Hill Buggy Company. “I had three posters of this traffic design hanging up all over my space alone, and I kept seeing a spinning, central part of it,” said Scholl. “That’s where the creation came from.” Although it’ll likely be about 8 to 9 months before she’s able to see the fruits of her labor, Scholl said she’s proud to see that her work has been appreciated. “The more you research, the more you know what you have,” she said. “Just getting to learn about Rock Hill’s history, that I didn’t know about, that was great.”

Group gets $50,000 grant to help Conway become an art district

From MyHorryNews.com Article by Kathy Ropp

Conway has a large number of talented artists and musicians who want to see the city emerge as an arts mecca, and now it looks as if they will have the money to make that happen. Conway Cultural Development Corporation President Dr. Dennis Stevens says the Knight Foundation has recommended that Conway get a $50,000 grant for the arts, and the Waccamaw Community Foundation has signed off on it. The only thing the area’s artists need now is the support of the Conway City Council, whose members did not discuss the issue in March after hearing from representatives of the S.C. Arts Commission, who explained the process of making Conway a cultural art district. One of the presenters, Joy Young, the SCAC’s arts coordinator for Horry and Georgetown counties, returned to Conway recently to meet with more than 35 artists and musicians in an informal setting to assess the arts possibilities in Conway and see what’s needed to move the city forward. Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy attended that meeting at Conway Glass where she offered encouragement to the group. The SCAC is in the nascent stage of creating a network of art districts throughout the state. Areas already carrying the label of cultural art district are Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Lancaster, Beaufort, the Congaree Vista area in Columbia and, the most recent city to join the group, Bluffton. Florence is working now to create a district in that city. “It’s not really a network like an art trail or anything like that,” Stevens said. “I think it’s more driven by the place and the resources that are in the place and enhancing the community and cataloguing resources. I think they have a specific vision that enables the place to enhance itself. “It’s less about the network of communities and more about the individual place putting forth its best assets.” Stevens says the agency defines the arts broadly so the term includes visual and performing arts, theatre and all kinds of music. Even a writer attended the recent gathering at Conway Glass. One idea Stevens likes is stepping up arts education in low-income areas, perhaps in the Whittemore Park or Racepath communities in Conway. This could be done with an artist-in-residence who might give art lessons, help youngsters secure orchestra instruments or, perhaps, help improve the looks of some of the U.S. 378 corridor, a project getting a lot of attention from Conway City Council recently. Becoming a cultural arts district will open the door for state grants, coordination with other cities and counties and advice from the SCAC. The Cultural Arts Development Corporation is already talking with consultants who can help the group get the process moving and guide its leadership in the direction Conway should go; however, the consultants won’t be signed until at least August when Stevens hopes everybody is on board and the Knight Foundation money is in-hand. If Conway City Council gives its blessing to the program, a board of stakeholders will be created to help guide the process. Supporters of the program say the arts and culture are economic engines that draw people to an area to shop, dine, buy gas and stay over night, and they make a city more livable. They point to Asheville, N.C., and Walterboro in this state to prove their point. Rusty Sox with the SCAC says the art districts program is relatively new, existing for only about 18 months now. He says developing the districts has given him interesting travel around South Carolina. The state’s mission is to create an environment where the arts thrive for all South Carolina citizens, he told Conway City Council back in March. The program hopes to provide quality arts education for youngsters in kindergarten through 12th grade, help artists develop their talents into sustainable careers and improve life for South Carolinians. He says the SCAC can help by offering the assistance of its staff, developing partnerships with other organizations, implementing professional development and training through conferences and meetings, and giving grants to individual artists, schools and arts programs. Some of their ideas include creating studios where people can watch artists work; opening retail shops, galleries, art centers, educational spaces and more. The program takes note of significant architecture and uses nontraditional settings, bank lobbies for instance, to offer art displays. Some cities also offer storytellers and performers. Through all of these activities the arts enthusiasts hope to celebrate and capitalize on an area’s local identification, or, in other words, the things that make each community unique. After the stakeholders are appointed, they will take public input, designate a cultural district and solidify a list of goals. Communities must be reviewed and recertified every five years to remain cultural art districts. Young and Sox recommend identifying a compact, walkable, easily-navigable area for an art district. They categorize it as a place where people can park and walk. Conway and its surrounding areas already have a good start on promoting the arts, according to area artists. Another issue that Stevens and Barbara Streeter with CREATE! Conway are pursuing is an office for arts groups. Streeter and other artists asked at a recent public hearing at Conway City Hall for space for art exhibits and performances in the old Conway Post Office/Horry County museum. Stevens points out that during the tenure of the late Mayor Greg Martin, he helped work on Conway’s comprehensive plan, which calls for a Waccamaw artisans center. He’d love to work out something with the Burroughs Company to see the center located in Conway’s riverfront district. Stevens says once the CCDC has its grant money he expects things to start happening quickly. By the fall of this year he hopes to hold some public meetings to discuss the needs of the arts and cultural community and to start things in motion to meet those needs. “I think everybody is engaged and excited about the possibility of arts and culture in Horry and Georgetown, but specifically what Conway can do to facilitate that,” he said. “There’s no central leadership now. We’re trying and we’re trying to do it in a new way.” Stevens says anyone who’s interested in becoming part of the process should talk with a member of city council because they’re the ones who will ultimately make the decision. “If they say no, I don’t know what comes next,” Stevens said.

A look ahead at the arts in 2016 in SC

Arts Commission director talks issues in coming year From The State Article by Erin Shaw

Ken MayKen May, the executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, is dedicated to building a thriving arts environment for the benefit of all South Carolinians. The organization focuses mainly on artist development, arts education and community arts development. Here, May discusses what he expects to happen with the arts in South Carolina in the upcoming year. “I think 2016 is going to be an interesting, busy year,” he said. “There are several things that have been put into motion over the last several years that I think are going to have an impact.” POSITIVES: I’ve never before seen the broad recognition of the importance of arts education that I see now. I think everybody realizes this is an issue that we need to make progress on. It’s a good time for education and a good time for arts education. Arts education has always been a big issue for us. Our mission is to make it possible for all citizens to benefit from the arts. ON TASK: Last year we put together an arts education task force to assess the progress we’ve made so far and to identify next steps. One of the things we found – which was not surprising, but still sobering – was that quality arts education is happening in places with supplemental funding. Students in high poverty schools are therefore much less likely to have access to the arts. We really need to find new approaches to reach those high poverty areas. Last year, we requested and got $1 million from the Legislature specifically for arts education. We’re using that to really get going on the recommendations from the task force. ABBEVILLE LAWSUIT: The state Supreme Court decided the Abbeville school equity lawsuit (Abbeville County School District v. State of South Carolina) a year ago and ruled that the state had failed to provide a minimally adequate education for students in the state’s poor, rural districts. The House Education Task Force built into its recommendation a piece that relates to arts education. It includes more school day arts offerings and supporting after-school and summer programs that would be arts-related. It’s really exciting that they did that, and it will make 2016’s legislative session interesting to watch to see what actually gets done. MORE CULTURAL DISTRICTS: We’re seeing the rise of cultural districts in towns and cities across the state. There’s really a growing recognition among civic leaders that the arts are powerful drivers in revitalizing urban neighborhoods. What’s happened in the Vista and downtown Greenville are examples. A couple years ago, we got authority to officially designate cultural districts. We rolled out the program last year and to date we have five designations, with several more in the queue. And I think we’ll see that as a continuing trend. TRANSITIONS: Many arts leaders are nearing retirement, so we will be seeing leaders leaving their posts and seeking new ones to take their place. For example, Betty Plumb, the executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance and a key player in arts advocacy for the last 27 years, will be stepping down next fall. As for new hires, the Arts Commission is getting a new staff member to focus on arts education. We haven’t had any staffing in that area since 2010. We also jointly hired a new coordinator for folk and traditional arts with McKissick Museum. So, we’re excited about those incoming transitions. WISH LIST: By this time in 2016, it would be exciting if the Legislature took the first steps on the recommendations in the Abbeville case and if we were in the mix helping get started on those solutions. I would like to see several more cities with cultural districts and have us working with those cities collaboratively. I would like to see artists working together in small clusters at the community level to really begin to tackle their careers and figure out their strategies. And I hope to see our new staffers on board and doing great new stuff.

Lancaster and Spartanburg are the state’s newest Cultural Districts

The South Carolina Arts Commission has named downtown Lancaster and a portion of downtown Spartanburg as state-recognized cultural districts. A cultural district is an easily identifiable geographic area with a concentration of arts facilities and assets that support cultural, artistic and economic activity. The cultural district designation was created by the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014. [caption id="attachment_21765" align="alignleft" width="250"]Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg's 1Spark Festival[/caption] Each city's leading arts organization worked with local leaders and Arts Commission staff to develop a map of cultural assets and a strategic plan for the district. City officials will use the cultural district designation to attract visitors and residents to downtown and promote the area as a hub of arts and culture. Related: Chapman Cultural Center invites Spartanburg artists to submit qualifications for cultural district logo design. [caption id="attachment_21763" align="alignright" width="250"]Lancaster, SC Downtown Lancaster[/caption] “The recognition as a cultural district will help enhance the vibrant arts initiatives in Lancaster,” said Cherry Doster, marketing and development manager for "See Lancaster." “The cultural district designation is another way to help increase support of existing businesses and attract new ones.” City of Lancaster Administrator Helen Sowell remarked, “The City of Lancaster is honored to have received this award.  Our city is fortunate to have a number of local artists who have educated our citizens to understand the importance of art not just to the community, but especially to our school children. Our own resident artist, Bob Doster, has worked tirelessly to teach our children to embrace their creativity and  to explore and appreciate all forms of art.” Non-arts businesses and organizations are important pieces of a cultural district, says S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “A successful cultural district attracts creative enterprises, such as galleries and theatres, whose patrons want to dine out and shop, so nearby retail and other businesses benefit from that increased economic activity.” “The cultural districts legislation is a new initiative that promotes  the value of the arts and the benefits of economic growth to promote a thriving local arts environment,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “This program was developed after reviewing successful cultural district designations in other states and gathering input from key S.C. stakeholders, including representatives from economic development, tourism, local government and the arts.” Lancaster and Spartanburg join Rock Hill as the state's first three cultural districts. Other states with similar cultural district programs include Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas and Colorado. South Carolina cities, towns and rural communities interested in cultural district designation are invited to contact Rusty Sox, (803) 734-8899. Image above: Downtown Lancaster

Orangeburg contest brings children’s artwork to store windows

From the Orangeburg Times and Democrat Article by Gene Zaleski, photos by Larry Hardy

Paint a Good Word contestEdisto High School junior Hannah Fanning, 17, has loved art for a long time. "I don't know where it came from," Fanning said. "I remember myself in kindergarten begging for more painting materials. Art and drawing have always been a passion." Her love propelled Fanning to submit an entry into the Paint A Good Word project. Paint A Good Word is an art contest for children in grades K-12. Area children were asked to paint their interpretation of “good words,” including many of the Orangeburg County Community of Character traits as well words such as peace, joy, family, love, laugh and more. The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, which helped initiate the program, received 326 entries. Of those, 50 were selected and posted in windows of downtown merchants the first week in April. Some art is also displayed in vacant buildings. (Visit http://www.ocfac.net/ for a list of selected artists and locations.) For her piece, Fanning chose the word “dance.” "I chose it because when you dance, you move and it is all emotional,” Fanning said. “I move and put my emotions into my artwork." Fanning's art is located in Orangeburg Furniture Exchange on Middleton Street. It consists of silhouettes of a man and woman dancing over the letters of the word dance. About 18 schools are represented among the top 50. Fifth-grade Holly Hill Elementary School student Cierra Randolph drew about the word “inspire.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is in Smoak's Hardware on the 1100 block of Russell Street. "My grandmother always tells me she wants me to inspire people,” Randolph said. Randolph used colored pencils, markers, highlighters and a “little bit of crayon” to create her work over a five-day period. Holly Hill fifth-grader Cumauri Boyd chose the word “freedom.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is displayed at the Chamber of Commerce office on Riverside Drive. "In school I learned a lot about slavery and I started to think about slavery and how they got treated," Boyd said. "I thought how the Civil War ended slavery and they then had their freedom." Boyd's artwork shows a person's hand wrapped with broken chains. "I have been drawing for a long while," Boyd said. "The thing I like most about drawing is showing everyone what you have accomplished." Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association Executive Director Jennifer Hoesing said merchants report that people are coming in to vote for their favorites. "Part of the purpose of the program is to get more people downtown, and into businesses where they haven't been in a while,” she said. Orangeburg Furniture Exchange President Sandy Bryant said the program has been positive. "We have had several people come in and sign up," Bryant said. When asked if the program has increased foot traffic in the store, Bryant said many people have come in strictly for the Paint a Good Word project. But anything organizers can do to help is good, he said. The Paint A Good Word project was created to showcase the talents of Orangeburg's children and youth, Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center Executive Director Beth Thomas said. All the entries submitted will be on display at the center for the entire month of November. "It is also to bring attention to the Fine Arts Center, DORA and the Chamber that really exist for the betterment of the community," Thomas said. "it is about creating an awareness and getting children, teachers and parents involved in the same project." The Fine Arts Center, DORA, Chamber of Commerce, Community of Character, Orangeburg County Development Commission, city of Orangeburg and The Times and Democrat worked together on the project. Organizers also thanked Williamson Printing, Office Max Orangeburg, Emery Marketing, WORG-FM, Major Graphics and Sun Printing. The public is asked to vote for their favorite in each grade category by visiting participating merchants. The winners in each category will receive a new iPad Mini 2. The categories are from kindergarten to 5th grade, 6th grade to 8th grade and 9th grade to 12th grade. Ballots are available at all participating Paint A Good Word merchants. A complete list of the merchants and artists can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website at orangeburgchamber.com, DORA's website at orangeburgdora.com and the Fine Arts Center website at ocfac.net. To be counted, a ballot must include the voter’s name and contact information. A person may vote more than once but can only vote one time at each participating location. The artwork will be on display through June 1 with the final vote occurring shortly after that date.

S.C. Arts Commission accepting applications for arts education program director

The South Carolina Arts Commission continues to accept applications for an arts education program director and anticipates beginning the application review process within a few weeks. The most highly qualified candidate will have experience in K-12 arts education, community arts development, and leadership in the arts. The candidate must also have the ability to build and maintain relationships across a broad section of artists, business, government, arts, education, nonprofit and community leaders to support S.C. Arts Commission programs and services statewide.

Job responsibilities:  Design, manage and implement the statewide arts education program and work with constituents, grantees, educators, artists, organizations and partner agencies. Provide consulting and technical assistance to arts organizations, non-arts organizations, schools, artists, and individuals within assigned counties or regions of the state. Preferred qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in arts education, an arts discipline, arts administration, or education. Five (5) years combined professional experience in any of the following:
  • Arts education
  • Arts education programming
  • Community arts development
  • Certified K-12 classroom teacher
  • Educational administration
Find the complete job description and application instructions online.

Job opening for arts education program director

Come work for the South Carolina Arts Commission!  We have an opening for an arts education program director. The position will remain open until filled. The most highly qualified candidate will have experience in K-12 arts education, community arts development, and leadership in the arts. The candidate must also have the ability to build and maintain relationships across a broad section of artists, business, government, arts, education, nonprofit and community leaders to support S.C. Arts Commission programs and services statewide.

Job responsibilities:  Design, manage and implement the statewide arts education program and work with constituents, grantees, educators, artists, organizations and partner agencies. Provide consulting and technical assistance to arts organizations, non-arts organizations, schools, artists, and individuals within assigned counties or regions of the state. Preferred qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in arts education, an arts discipline, arts administration, or education. Five (5) years combined professional experience in any of the following:
  • Arts education
  • Arts education programming
  • Community arts development
  • Certified K-12 classroom teacher
  • Educational administration
Find the complete job description and application instructions online.