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New this year – Verner Award nomination process has moved online

(Image: Quentin Baxter of Charleston receiving the 2017 Verner Award in the Artist category from Gov. Henry McMaster and S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz.) Recognize South Carolina innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts with a nomination for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts — the state’s highest arts award! The nomination process is now a simple online process  — just upload a letter of nomination by Nov. 1. Verner Award StatueThe nomination letter should describe the nominee’s exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina and address any characteristics included in the category descriptions (see below). It should include specific examples and relevant data wherever possible. The letter should be structured to answer the following questions:

  • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
  • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
  • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state’s highest award in the arts?
Note: a nomination letter is different from a support letter. Letters of support are not required as part of the nomination process. Nominations are accepted in these categories:
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION – open to S.C. individuals and institutions whose primary function is arts education. May include arts educators (teachers, consultants, principals, administrators), schools, school districts, college/university arts departments, etc.
  • ORGANIZATION – open to S.C. organizations that contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts. May include arts discipline organizations, arts councils, arts advocacy groups, guilds, arts departments of organizations, educational institutions, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT – open to S.C. agencies and institutions generally described as units of state, county or municipal governments that have served their communities in outstanding ways through the arts, OR elected or appointed officials who, in their official capacities, have demonstrated notable support for the arts through leadership and public policy.
  • BUSINESS/FOUNDATION – open to SC individuals, or companies and foundations whose participation, support, and/or contributions have benefited the maintenance and growth of the arts.
  • INDIVIDUAL – open to S.C. individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through their leadership, support, and advancement of the arts. May include arts professionals such as managers, administrators; or arts supporters such as patrons, promoters, donors, etc.
  • INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – open to S.C. artists of exceptional talent and creativity, in any discipline, whose contribution to the arts has helped guide and influence directions, trends and aesthetic practices across the state or to national or international levels
Find complete nomination guidelines and submission instructions online.

Joe Riley to receive McNair Award at SC Arts Awards Luncheon

[caption id="attachment_30719" align="alignright" width="225"]Joe Riley The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr.[/caption] The South Carolina Arts Foundation will honor Joe Riley, former mayor of Charleston, with the 2017 McNair Award for his dedication in ensuring that the arts continue to play a vital role in our communities. The McNair Award will be presented at a luncheon showcasing the South Carolina Arts Awards, which also honor recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The luncheon takes place in Columbia May 2, beginning with an art sale at 11 a.m. at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St.. The luncheon follows at 12:30 p.m. Established in 2007, the McNair Award is named for the late Governor Robert E. McNair, who signed legislation to create the Arts Commission in 1967 to “ensure that the arts continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens." Originally presented posthumously to Governor McNair, the award continues to honor outstanding leaders who have built on the legacy of the award's namesake: working diligently to make South Carolina a place where the arts thrive for the benefit of all South Carolinians. Luncheon tickets are $50. Reserve tickets online or by calling (803) 734-8696. (Verner Awards and Folk Heritage Awards will be presented May 2 at 11:30 at the Statehouse. The awards ceremony is open to the public.)  

Congratulations to the 2017 Verner Award recipients!

Verner Award StatueCongratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts! The S.C. Arts Commission annually presents the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. Awards will be presented May 2 (time and location to be announced). Established in 1972, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. This year’s recipients:

“Each of these Verner Award recipients has contributed greatly to the arts community as an outstanding ambassador for our state," said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. "Their dedication to the arts benefits South Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission marks its 50th anniversary, we are honored to recognize these organizations and individuals who embody the service, commitment and passion that helped build our state’s half century of leadership in the arts.” Also on May 2, the S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Award Luncheon, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. An art sale begins at 11 a.m. at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St. in Columbia, with the luncheon following at noon. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased online. The 2017 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon, call (803) 734-8696 or visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. Image: First row, left to right: Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs, Quentin Baxter, Betsy Teter. Second row: Brenda McCutchen, City of Beaufort/USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, S.C. Humanities, Stringer and Rainey Foundations

Brosius to leave Columbia Museum of Art for new opportunity 

Karen BrosiusColumbia Museum of Art Executive Director Karen Brosius informed board members and staff today of her acceptance of the president position with a national nonprofit organization in early 2017. “It has been wonderful working here in South Carolina and with the talented staff at the CMA,” says Brosius. “I love this museum and this community. Together, our collective team has achieved many great accomplishments, so I leave secure in the incredible future this organization has ahead of it.” Under Brosius’ 12-year leadership, the CMA has transformed into a vibrant, essential institution and a jewel in the cultural life of Columbia and the State of South Carolina. Her vision gave rise to a dramatic increase in landmark exhibitions, signature art works and major collections, family-friendly programming, arts education outreach and innovation, and state and national renown. She stabilized finances early on, more than doubled the museum’s annual budget, and tripled its endowment. This year, the museum received accolades as the recipient of the 2016 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Arts Award in South Carolina- the only museum to have ever won this award twice- as well as the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, America’s highest honor given to a museum and awarded at the White House in June. “This year’s National Medal recipients show the transforming role of museums and libraries from educational destinations to full-fledged community partners and anchors,” says Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are proud to recognize the extraordinary institutions that play an essential role in reaching underserved populations and catalyzing new opportunities for active local involvement.” As the CMA’s executive director, Brosius has brought great dynamism to the museum after its relocation to Main Street in 1998 and championed the creativity and vision that are the hallmarks of all of the museum’s activities. She has been widely recognized for her achievements in Columbia including receiving the Chairman’s Award from City Center Partnership, the Excellence in Community Leadership Award from the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Palmetto Center for Women Award for service to the community, and the Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of the Congaree, among others, and for her board leadership in civic and cultural organizations across the city and state. Her career at the CMA culminates in the achievement of a successful five-year capital campaign – the first one since the museum moved into its new Main Street location – an important next step for the museum to strengthen its future and fund new initiatives and renovation plans, which will begin in 2017. “As we have reached our campaign objectives with great support from the community, the museum is well-poised for unveiling its next exciting phase, which centers around three main goals: meet the growing demand of our audience through expansion of the galleries and education spaces, transform the museum through strategic projects meant to make a difference for our audience and community, and strengthen our financial core through the crucial growth of our endowment and the stability it provides in perpetuity,” says Brosius. The CMA has flourished into an organization that gives back to its community in many ways and welcomes people from around the state and country as well as from overseas. The museum currently generates more than $23 million in economic activity annually and supports more than 370 jobs in the Columbia area alone, according to findings in its most recent independent impact study. “Karen leaves us with much love and respect for the way she has grown and transformed the CMA into a gem in Columbia and cornerstone of activity and community engagement in the Midlands,” says CMA board chair Scott R. McClelland. “She has made an extraordinary difference in the arts, cultural, and education community in South Carolina. She has achieved amazing things for us here at the CMA and I’m sure will be an incredible asset in her new role.” The CMA board will hire a search firm with expertise in the arts and anticipates selecting a firm and starting the search process in the first quarter of 2017. “We’re going to take the right amount of time to identify the candidate who will lead the next chapter in the CMA’s future and continue to expand our offerings and engage people in loving art and its role in a vibrant, healthy community,” says McClelland. Via: Columbia Museum of Art

Remembering Mac Arthur Goodwin

macarthurgoodwin2Our good friend Dr. Mac Arthur Goodwin passed away October 24. He was an early architect of the state's arts education programs and policies at both the South Carolina Dept. of Education and the South Carolina Arts Commission. A long-time South Carolina Arts Alliance board member and former president of the board, Goodwin was a part of the founding of many arts organizations around the state. He received the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts in 1990. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church, 1500 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC 29210. In July 1990, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal ran this article to highlight Goodwin's Verner Award:

Twenty years ago, Mac Arthur Goodwin's greatest pleasure came from standing over the shoulder of a young student, helping him to shape a line - to discover for himself the wonders of art. Today, it comes in standing over the shoulders of some 600, 000 students - in helping to shape for the public school system the future of arts in South Carolina. The progression, the artist says, has been a natural one. Who better to advocate the arts than someone who has worked its front lines? Who better to build constituencies than a teacher who has seen, first hand, the impact art can have? His success as artist-turned-art-consultant for the state Department of Education is one reason why the former Spartan was awarded this year's Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award - the governor's most prestigious commendation for work in art education. Ask him about it, and he will likely joke, "It's not like I'm the father of art in South Carolina or anything." Few, however, deny his influence: first in Spartanburg, where he helped make District 7's program a model for the state; now in Columbia, where he has worked for the past six years to make South Carolina's arts program one of the premiere in the country. "We've been fortunate here in that we've had an education department that believed in art, legislators who thought it important enough to fund, and support on the district level," he maintains. As a result, the state that ranks among the lowest nationally in Scholastic Aptitude Test scores ranks as one of the most aggressive in its approach to the arts. Not only does South Carolina have more than 2,000 art and music teachers, Goodwin says it's one of a handful of states that require of their students a defined number of arts-related units. Even the financial devastation of Hurricane Hugo last September didn't shake the commitment, he notes. Proof that the support is here to stay. It is for this reason that the Orangeburg native is frequently invited throughout the country to talk about what it takes to build strong arts constituencies, and what role art should play in the classroom. "Certainly, there's a lot more involved than just teaching specific skills," the soft-spoken instructor asserts. He believes the well-planned curriculum builds confidence in its students, is an effective teacher of cultural heritage, and a way to foster in students their own aesthetic perception. "In many ways, art really teaches them to think," he says, "and when you measure what schools should be doing for our students, isn't this a lot more important than test scores?" Because there are no right and wrong answers, it also offers students a much-needed opportunity to succeed. He believes these secondary benefits are many - skills and attitudes to draw on for a lifetime. Suggesting how curriculums can best achieve them is the thrust of his work with the Education Department, where he spends a large part of his time going from district to district to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of individual programs. It's a different satisfaction from teaching, he says. Less personal, if more far reaching. "Certainly, though, no better." What he says has improved is the environment in which today's art teachers function - one that is different in many ways from the one he entered out of Claflin College more than 25 years ago. Then, art was a luxury, and its teachers often viewed as glorified bulletin board makers. "I was lucky that my family had no negative feelings about it," he says, "but in school I did have the occasional comment that I was too bright or my grades were too good for me to become an art teacher." Still, it is all he ever wanted to do. "Even as a young child I was fascinated with drawing," he says, confessing that his mother still possesses quite a few embarrassing testaments to his early fascination with shape and perspective, color and shadow. He doesn't recall thinking of himself as unusual: a young black man bent on obtaining an art education degree to employ in the elementary school grades. Maybe because several of his boyhood friends pursued art careers, inspired by what he describes as an extraordinary junior high school program. Maybe because it seemed so natural, his love of working with young people and his innate abilities in art. His earliest jobs were at segregated schools, sometimes implementing the art program all by himself. He came to Spartanburg in 1965, teaching at Carver High School and moving to Spartan High several years later when the two schools merged. He taught in District 7 until 1985, when he accepted, with mixed emotions, the position with the state department and the necessary move to Columbia. "Spartanburg is still home," he insists, noting that he and his wife, Juanita, maintain a house here and visit as frequently as possible. He also maintains his membership with Southern Exposure, a Spartanburg-based group of professional artists who exhibit in a variety of media. These days, his own art is frequently squeezed into late-nighters, during which time he pours all of the emotions of his days. His work, usually ethereal images done in pencil, has evolved in as many ways as the artist himself: Always fascinated by multiple dimensions, he has gone from using layers of paper and Plexiglas to achieve this effect to accomplishing it on a single sheet. His signature is a haunting juxtaposition of faces and social imagery, frequently incorporating pertinent words, poetry or phrases in what he creates. "Very strong, very socially related," is how Cassandra Baker, executive director of the Spartanburg Arts Council, describes it. She knows Goodwin not only through his work, which is included in the Council's permanent collection, but through what she describes as his "hundreds of volunteer hours" spent strengthening the arts on a community-wide level. It was Goodwin, for example, who developed the policy for Arts Council exhibition still used today. It was Goodwin who volunteered his time to conduct workshops on such topics as how to improve the production of slides so necessary to showing artists' work to best advantage. Although the point has long passed since he could make his living through his own art, this has never been Goodwin's focus. Eloquent on other topics, he is almost reserved when talking about himself and his work. "To teach," he says quietly, "has been my life. To further the arts." Susie Surkamer, deputy director of the S.C. Arts Commission, notes that it is something he has accomplished on a state, regional and national level. "The impact he has had has been just tremendous."    

SC poet Nikky Finney earns place in history at new DC museum

Remembering Sidney Palmer

Sidney PalmerWe are saddened to note the passing of Sidney Palmer: musician, composer, conductor, photographer, director of stage and screen, trailblazer in the arts and public broadcasting. He lived an incredible life in the arts right here in South Carolina, and the Palmetto State awarded him its highest honor in the arts, the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, in 1981. Read the obituary.

Nominate your local arts hero for a Verner Award!

Recognize South Carolina innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts with a nomination for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts — the state’s highest arts award! The nomination process is simple — just email, mail or hand deliver a letter of nomination by Nov. 1. Verner Award StatueThe nomination letter should describe the nominee’s exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina and address any characteristics included in the category descriptions (see below). It should include specific examples and relevant data wherever possible. The letter should be structured to answer the following questions:

  • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
  • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
  • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state’s highest award in the arts?
Note: a nomination letter is different from a support letter. Letters of support are not required as part of the nomination process. Nominations are accepted in these categories:
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION – open to S.C. individuals and institutions whose primary function is arts education. May include arts educators (teachers, consultants, principals, administrators), schools, school districts, college/university arts departments, etc.
  • ORGANIZATION – open to S.C. organizations that contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts. May include arts discipline organizations, arts councils, arts advocacy groups, guilds, arts departments of organizations, educational institutions, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT – open to S.C. agencies and institutions generally described as units of state, county or municipal governments that have served their communities in outstanding ways through the arts, OR elected or appointed officials who, in their official capacities, have demonstrated notable support for the arts through leadership and public policy.
  • BUSINESS/FOUNDATION – open to SC individuals, or companies and foundations whose participation, support, and/or contributions have benefited the maintenance and growth of the arts.
  • INDIVIDUAL – open to S.C. individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through their leadership, support, and advancement of the arts. May include arts professionals such as managers, administrators; or arts supporters such as patrons, promoters, donors, etc.
  • INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – open to S.C. artists of exceptional talent and creativity, in any discipline, whose contribution to the arts has helped guide and influence directions, trends and aesthetic practices across the state or to national or international levels
Find complete nomination guidelines online. Image: Gov. Nikki Haley with 2016 Verner Award recipients Hootie and the Blowfish

Sculpture by the late Mac Boggs on display at Chapman Cultural Center

Mac BoggsChapman Cultural Center has received the modern stainless steel sculpture, Chariot (pictured above), made by the late Mayo Mac Boggs, one of Spartanburg and South Carolina’s most noted artists. It is now displayed on Chapman’s campus, thanks to the artist’s widow, Ansley Boggs, Ed.D., an education professor at Converse College. Created in 2005, the piece was first named Constellation. However, in 2010, during Boggs’s 40th year Retrospective Exhibition on the college campuses of Converse, Wofford, and USC-Upstate, he redubbed it Chariot. In recent years, the piece has been showcased at USC-Upstate’s library. Boggs passed away in March 2014. Boggs had a long and celebrated career in the arts, after humble beginnings as the son of a welder in a Kentucky industrial city. In addition to his more than 40 years of teaching art at Converse College, he kept an active and productive career in creating art. Some of his noted achievements include receiving the 2013 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for arts education, the highest arts award given in South Carolina; being named “Professor Emeritus of Art” by Converse College in 2013; and being named “Honorary Artist of Spartanburg” in 1991. Boggs’s art is included in the Presidential Libraries of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. His work is located internationally in permanent collections of numerous corporations. In addition, he received many sculpture commissions for city parks, public libraries, college campuses, schools, local businesses, and private residences, one of which was for the home of author Lillian Jackson Braun. Regarding his inspiration and preferred medium, Boggs once said: “The welded steel sculpture has remained a constant as my medium of expression. I love the look, feel, taste, smell and sound of steel. My great-grandfather was a blacksmith in Kentucky; both my grandfathers and my father were welders and steelworkers. I grew up watching steel pouring from the blast furnaces and the nightly spectacular display of slag being dumped from huge, railroad-sized crucibles. I walked the railroad tracks and picked up scrap metal that had fallen from freight cars. The ironworker’s material and process were an everyday part of my childhood in Ashland, Kentucky. I have taken this material and its process and made art, continuing a family tradition of ironwork.” In his artist statement, dated March 2011, he wrote: “There are many things one can do to occupy his time while on this earth. I prefer to have non-verbal conversations with my soul. My art is the residue.” Chariot can be viewed daily at Chapman Cultural Center. Via: Chapman Cultural Center

Find arts experiences, wearable art and more at the South Carolina Arts Gala!

Tickets are $75 and available at the door This year's South Carolina Arts Gala, taking place May 11 at 7:15 p.m. at 701 Whaley in Columbia, will feature a bluegrass and gospel concert, the Lee Central High School drumline and a dance party by the Root Doctors. In between the music, an art sale will feature unique works by South Carolina artists and arts experiences showcasing cultural and culinary arts. One of the arts experiences available for purchase takes place May 14 during Artisphere, Greenville's signature cultural event. A Goat, a Waterfall & Artisphere - Yeah THAT Greenville will accommodate 24 guests for an art-filled day trip that ends with dinner and wine pairings at The Lazy Goat restaurant. Another arts experience is a popular encore from last year's sale - Desi Delights at the Taj Palace will feature Indian cuisine, a henna artist, a dhoul drummer and spirits. In addition to glass, pottery, paintings, and sculpture, the sale includes wearable art by Beth Melton, a fiber artist from Rock Hill, and jewelry in a range of styles by four artists. Returning favorite Cindy Saad of Columbia will be joined by Jane Pope of Spartanburg, Danny and Sherry Hansen of Batesburg-Leesville, and Jo Ann Graham of St. Helena Island. Pope's work has been featured in numerous national publications, including Vogue and Southern Living, and the Hansens design and craft pieces for the History Channel's popular drama, Vikings. Graham’s jewelry has been featured regionally in galleries and festivals in Charleston, St. Helena, Savannah and Atlanta. Prior to the gala, a concert will honor recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards and feature a poetry reading by Verner Award recipient Nikky Finney. The concert takes place at 6:15 p.m. in the Granby Room at 701 Whaley. (Note venue change -- the concert was previously scheduled for Southside Baptist Church.) The South Carolina Arts Gala is presented by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. Gala proceeds benefit schools and communities around the state through the South Carolina Arts Commission’s arts education and arts development programs. Last year, the S.C. Arts Foundation contributed more than $55,000 to programs such as artist fellowships, arts education and artist training. Tickets are $75 and available at the door! Find out more here.