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David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET


This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.  

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid, Part II

Artist Relief and more on CARES Act relief


(Last week's update, Part I, is available here.) This week’s update includes a major announcement about relief for artists and clarification about recovery funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist Relief Fund

You might have read here yesterday that Americans for the Arts and a consortium of funders introduced the new $10 million Artist Relief Fund for artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19. The fund launches with $5 million in seed funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation matched with $5 million in initial contributions from an array of foundations across the United States. Each week through September, Artist Relief will provide grants to 100 artists from multiple disciplines. It relies on the support of a growing number of foundations and individual donors and will continue to evolve over the coming months as the needs of artists shift. Organizers will continue to raise funds to assist with the rapidly escalating needs of the country's artists. Applications are now open, and the deadline to apply for the first funding cycle is April 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Subsequent deadlines are:
  • Cycle II: April 24-May 21 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle III: May 22-June 18 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle IV: June 19-July 23 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle V: July 24-August 20 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
Those in need can apply for assistance here, and those who are able may donate to the fund here.

NEA/CARES Act Relief

Back to CARES Act funding. The CARES Act passed by Congress provides a total of $75 million in funding to the NEA.  The NEA will direct 60% of this funding as direct grants to organizations who have received direct NEA grants in the past four years Those organizations should have received communication from the NEA already. The South Carolina Arts Commission’s disbursement will come out of the remaining 40 percent, which the NEA will apportion among the states according to population. Our team is developing guidelines to get critical relief flowing in South Carolina. An announcement will come soon.
Our most recent study revealed that 115,000 friends and neighbors in South Carolina work in jobs supported by the arts and creative sector. My team and I feel it is important to note that arts relief funding is not a “handout for arts projects,” as some misconstrue. Rather, arts relief supports organizations that provide income and benefits for individuals (and often their families) in arts and creative jobs who might otherwise lose access to basic necessities, not to mention dignity and quality of life, through no fault of their own. Knowing we can help drives us to serve our constituents. For ways you can be involved in advocacy efforts, I again direct you to our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid

The CARES Act and the arts


Additional details have been released on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion bill signed into law last Friday. It offers benefits to South Carolina’s artists and arts organizations, and I want to update you on those. First, though, it is imperative that we get your help by asking you to complete the five-minute Americans for the Arts survey if you have not already done so. The survey aggregates data for each state on the real loss that cancelations and closings will have on arts and culture. South Carolina needs more input to be accurately reflective. Please, no matter your size or reach, stop now and take the survey. You may also update numbers previously submitted. Back to the CARES Act. I am happy to report it includes access to loans, grants and unemployment benefits previously unavailable to many independent artists or arts organizations. In case you missed it, this act also provides $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. State arts agencies like the S.C. Arts Commission will receive 40% of these funds to distribute. We do not yet know when we will receive these funds or have the details of how this grant will be distributed, but we will share details as soon as we know them. The other 60% will be distributed as direct grants from the NEA to local arts organizations and  can be used for operational support. Other aspects of the relief package relevant to the arts sector are loans through the Small Business Administration. Non-profit organizations, sole-proprietorships, and independent contractors are eligible to apply beginning today, Friday, April 3. Some of these loans are “forgivable” to encourage retaining workers and function more like grants. If you are interested in securing one, check  to see whether or not your bank is part of this network or find a list of SBA-approved participating lenders here. Our partner the South Carolina Arts Alliance has comprehensive information available about Small Business Administration loans and grants and unemployment benefits for artists and arts organizations. To learn more or to become involved in further advocacy, visit the South Carolina Arts Alliance website. Artists and other creative workers are eligible for federal unemployment benefits offered to those who are part of the gig economy. The new benefits cover the weeks ending April 4 through July 31. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce administers unemployment insurance in South Carolina. Applications will be made through that agency. For all these things, please keep in mind that patience may be necessary as federal guidelines are interpreted and implemented. Our pledge is to point you in the right direction for assistance. We will continue to collaborate with the South Carolina Arts Alliance to give you timely information.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

David Platts

Platts updates constituents on virus response

Advocacy, policy, and funding updates from the SCAC


The South Carolina Arts Commission is working hard to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 landscape and continue providing excellent service during these challenging times. Despite working remotely, our team remains in frequent contact, collaborating to ensure your concerns receive the prompt attention they deserve. On a larger scale, we are striving to ensure that South Carolina’s arts and culture sector retains access to the latest resources and information it needs both to survive now and to thrive once we emerge on the other side of this situation. To that end, I write to share some recent updates we have made that warrant your attention. By now, I hope you’re aware of the ever-evolving COVID-19 response page on SouthCarolinaArts.com. New to the page are two sections of critical importance:

Advocacy Efforts and Policy Concerns

Our partners in the South Carolina Arts Alliance are actively communicating with federal and state policy makers to ensure the arts and cultural community is included in any kind of recovery relief programs. To learn more about these efforts or to become involved in them, visit the South Carolina Arts Alliance website.

Further, Americans for the Arts is aggregating data on the real loss COVID-19 closings will have on arts and culture. Please fill out the five-minute survey linked here. This will help them acquire important data that best positions arts and culture for a seat at the relief table.

Funding

We are working with state and national partners to stay up to date on opportunities for emergency relief and will continue to communicate often via the “Artists and Arts Organizations” and “Arts Education” tabs on the COVID-19 response page.

At this time we do not have access to emergency assistance funds, but we are communicating with the General Assembly regarding the potential for state disaster funds to be allocated for artists and arts organizations. Along with our partners at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, we are monitoring possible arts and culture emergency relief included for the National Endowment for the Arts in the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill just passed by the U.S. Congress.

The S.C. Arts Commission team understands you are likely to be experiencing high levels of anxiety and worry right now. Your physical and emotional well-being matter to us as much as does the economic impact. Please know we are making every effort to provide you with valuable information as soon as it becomes readily available. Stay home, stay clean, and stay healthy. We are here for you.

Platts outlines SCAC’s FY21 budget request

South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts welcomed arts advocates from across the state and members of the General Assembly to the South Carolina Arts Summit breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 13. He used the opportunity to outline the agency's state appropriations request for fiscal year 2021 (which begins July 1, 2020). Here's a bullet-point summary:

  • Total ask of recurring funding is $5.4 million.
  • The governor’s budget, released in December, called for no increase.
  • Seeking to get to $0.85 per capita from $0.69.
  • Seeking one-time funding of $3.8 million for arts facilities upgrades that would be awarded via competitive grant application and review.
The budget process is underway with subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee, which will send the bill to the full committee for approval before the full House takes up deliberations in March. The Senate will have its turn starting with subcommittees of the Senate Finance Committee before moving to the full committee and then the Senate floor for their own deliberations. There is more to that story, but The Hub is stopping here before getting into full geek-out mode and just check back in periodically because we're here to update you.
The South Carolina Arts Summit is presented by the South Carolina Arts Alliance and welcomes arts advocates to Columbia for two days of learning, networking, and advocacy to legislators.

Riley Institute selects SCAC’s Platts to be Riley Fellow

Joins 13th Diversity Leaders Initiative class


For Immediate Release COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts joins other leaders selected from across the Midlands to participate in the Riley Institute at Furman’s 13th Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) class. [caption id="attachment_43921" align="alignright" width="175"]David Platts official headshot David Platts[/caption] “Discovering ways in which differences can strengthen our organizations is of utmost importance as we seek to grow and support a thriving economy and rich culture,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. DLI class members are identified through a rigorous process including nominations from existing Riley Fellows, application, and interview. Individuals are selected to join the class based on their capacity to impact their organizations and communities. Over the course of five months, Platts will take part in a highly interactive curriculum consisting of case studies, scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that maximize interaction and discussion among classmates and facilitate productive relationships. He will also work with other class members in one of five capstone project groups formed to respond to real issues in the community. “Ensuring diversity is important to me, and it is important to the arts commission. Evaluating our approach to be more inclusive has been a critical initiative early in my tenure here. Being a Riley Fellow will only help me improve our processes at the SCAC,” Platts said. The DLI classes are facilitated by Juan Johnson, an independent consultant and former Coca-Cola vice president. “DLI is unique among South Carolina’s leadership programs. In addition to the opportunity to develop new relationships and take part in positive action in their communities, participants gain deep knowledge of how to effectively manage and lead diverse workers, clients and constituents,” said Johnson. DLI graduates become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide leadership network that includes CEOs of corporations, mayors, city and county council members, legislators, school superintendents, pastors and rabbis, non-profit heads, chamber of commerce directors, and community leaders. In addition to the Midlands, DLI classes are selected annually in the Upstate and Lowcountry. “We now have more than 2200 Riley Fellows statewide. Each new class further extends the reach and impact of leaders willing to work together to make South Carolina a better place to live and work for all its residents,” said Gordon. To see a full list of participants and for more information about the Diversity Leaders Initiative, visit https://riley.furman.edu/diversity.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Eight NEA grants designated for South Carolina

Federal government to provide $155,000 in funding


Chairman Mary Anne Carter announced today that organizations in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive federal funding for arts projects from the National Endowment for the Arts in this round of fiscal year 2020 funding. Overall, 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million will provide Americans opportunities for arts participation, and this year include projects that celebrate the Women's Suffrage Centennial. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support grants throughout the entire country that connect people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “These projects provide access to the arts for people of all abilities and backgrounds in both urban centers and rural communities.” This funding announcement includes the Art Works and Challenge America grant programs.
  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees sorted by city and state.
  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees separated by category: Art Works (sorted by artistic discipline/field) and Challenge America.
  • Click here to use the Arts Endowment’s grant search tool to find additional project details for these and other agency-supported grants.
  • Click here for the lists of the panelists that reviewed the applications for this round of funding.
Eight arts organizations in South Carolina from Abbeville, Aiken, Charleston, Richland, and Spartanburg counties are getting a combined $155,000 to present varied arts programming. Examples include high-profile events like Spoleto Festival USA and smaller public performances at Joye in Aiken and the Abbeville Opera House, among others. The former Tapp's Arts Center, now known as Tapp's Outpost, in Columbia (in the news recently for losing its Main Street space) received $40,000—the largest South Carolina grant—for its Cultural Entrepreneurship Incubator Program. "The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is delighted to hear that federal support is coming to these organizations and programming, all of whom are supported this fiscal year by state funding through Arts Commission grants. The combined support will ensure South Carolina citizens have access to and benefit from the highest quality arts experiences," SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

Art Works

Art Works grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. Cost share/matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. Art Works projects this round include:
  • A $30,000 award to Shreveport Regional Arts Council to support the new arts partnership with historically black universities Southern University at Shreveport and Grambling State University, documenting and celebrating the schools' artist alumni, who will be commissioned for artist talks, workshops, and residencies.
  • A $10,000 award to support the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust’s Yup'ik Dance Festival, where singers and dancers from villages in southwest Alaska will gather to exchange songs and dances, celebrating traditional dance in the region. The event will be the subject of a documentary film that will serve as an educational tool for future dancers.
  • A $45,000 award to support the 2020 Open Style Lab Summer Program in Great Neck, New York, which will bring together emerging fashion designers, product designers, engineers, and rehabilitation therapists to co-design adaptive clothing for people with disabilities.
For fiscal year 2020, the Arts Endowment encouraged Art Works applications for artistically excellent projects that honor the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, celebrating women’s voting rights in the United States. Among the many upcoming projects in this area are:
  • A $20,000 award to the Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky to support Metalworks for the Modern Muse. Master artists will offer metalworking and blacksmithing instruction, highlighting its relevance to Appalachian culture. Intended to serve girls ages 12-14, the project will recognize the contributions of women artists to the suffrage movement and the reforms that laid the groundwork for settlement schools in Kentucky.
  • A $15,000 award to the Chautauqua Institution to support Women’s Suffrage Centennial: Claiming a Voice, Claiming a Vote, a week-long summer opera festival that will highlight new works by a female composer-in-residence. The festival will be preceded by school performances addressing the centennial of women’s suffrage. Selected works will illustrate the challenges women have faced and the victories claimed throughout the past 100 years.

Challenge America

Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Each grant is for a fixed amount of $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. Challenge America projects approved for funding include:
  • A series of multidisciplinary Latinx cultural heritage arts events at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California, a first-time applicant for Arts Endowment funding. Artists will engage with the college’s largely Hispanic district population through workshops, school activities, dance, and music performances. Among the featured guest artists is National Heritage Fellow Ofelia Esparza and a culminating event will include a Dia de los Muertos panel discussion with guest artists.
  • NOMADstudio’s visual art program for incarcerated youth at Florida’s Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Guest artists will work with youth to create a mural and provide instruction on how to produce art independently during studio time. Artworks will be displayed during culminating events at the center and a local art gallery.
  • Theatre for Young America’s production of the play Fair Ball: Negro Leagues in America, about the history of Negro League baseball, and corresponding educational activities that include in-school workshops for K-12 students in rural Kansas.
The next funding deadline for applications to the Grants for Arts Projects category is February 13, 2020. Note: Grant applications previously submitted to the Art Works category will now be submitted to the Grants for Arts Projects category. The next funding deadline for applications to Challenge America is April 9, 2020.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Tuning Up: S.C. Cultural Districts, Canvass forum in the news

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Programs and initiatives led by the South Carolina Arts Commission received prominent mention in the news over the past few days, so we wanted to share.

‘The cool side of the river’: Art helps drive revitalization of Cayce, West Columbia (The State)

Cayce and West Columbia are using art to refresh key parts of their cities, attract public and private investment, and make their cities more appealing to residents and visitors. But can they succeed while avoiding the pitfalls bigger cities have struggled with?

The idea is that by devoting space and money to the arts, these cities can become magnets for new business, growth, tourism and revenue ...

The story went on to talk about creative placemaking and discussed South Carolina Cultural Districts, of which there are currently eight. Read Isabella Cueto's full report here. (Subscription might be required.) Rock Hill public forum makes the news Last week's public forum for Canvass of the People 2020 made it onto CN2 news, which covers Chester, Lancaster, and York counties on Comporium Cable. SCAC Executive Director David Platts was interviewed.

S.C. Arts Commission to receive national grantmaking award

Grant Professionals Association to present award in November


OVERLAND PARK, KAN. – The Grant Professionals Association is announcing that the South Carolina Arts Commission was named its 2019 Grantmaker of the Year for the public sector. The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) is a +3000-member organization dedicated to promoting professionalism and ethics in the grant industry. Formerly known as the GPA Pioneer Award, the Grantmaker of the Year Award recognizes public funders (federal, state and local agencies) and private funders (family, community and corporate foundations) that have improved the way grant professionals do their work and acknowledges outstanding contributions to the field of grantsmanship. S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) Executive Director David Platts will accept the award for the agency Nov. 7, 2019 at the GPA Annual Conference in Washington. “It is so gratifying to receive recognition of this magnitude for the work we do supporting the arts and arts education in South Carolina. Grants from the arts commission ensure artists can commit to their chosen crafts and thrive artistically and make a living here, that our students reap the benefits of a rounded education including arts and creativity, and that all our citizens have access to the many benefits of the arts,” Platts said. In her nomination of the SCAC, Alicia Kokkinis of Charleston said the agency “provides 1:1 technical support throughout the grant making and grant management process. They are readily available by phone and email, which is unusual for a government organization. They develop relationships with potential and current grantees. [SCAC] has a small staff, yet still makes the time to talk to potential and current grantees often. Artists are not typically grant professionals. [SCAC] meets potential grantees where they are without compromising accountability.”
About Grant Professionals Association The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) is an international membership association for everyone in the grants industry. GPA and its affiliates work to advance the profession, certify professionals, and fund professionalism. GPA offers continuing professional development through local chapter meetings, regular webinars, the GPA Journal, and an annual conference. The Grant Professionals Certification Institute oversees the GPC credential based on a body of knowledge for the profession. The Grant Professionals Foundation provides scholarships to individuals to advance their career. Find out more at GrantProfessionals.org. To find out more information about this award, including how to apply and information about previous winners, please visit: https://www.grantprofessionals.org/grantmakeraward
About the South Carolina Arts Commission With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

SCAC statement on Hurricane Dorian

Storm to affect S.C.'s eastern half


Official Statement from S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts

Our state’s governor, Henry McMaster, has declared a state of emergency for South Carolina as Hurricane Dorian’s bands are spreading up our coast. Many of you might feel the effects of this storm. First and foremost, we care about your safety. Please heed warnings and act according to the response recommendations presented by the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Secondly, your artistic well-being also matters to us, and we stand ready to assist you should your livelihood become threatened by the effects of the storm. Our website has emergency preparedness resources for artists and arts organizations. We will continue to provide updated information as necessary. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you feel there are things with which we can be of assistance. Stay safe.