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Behind the Scenes: Verner Statue unpacking day

Today is a special day at the South Carolina Arts Commission, one that comes around every year about this time. Verner Award statue unpacking day. They were delivered earlier in the week, but this... this is a Friday kind of job. The boxes should come with a label that says, "Do Not Open 'Til X-mas Friday." So this morning, Arts Commission staff members (and devoted Verner Award statue caretakers) Kevin Flarisee and Victoria McCurry broke away from the ongoing Janae Claxton victory party long enough to carry out this task reserved only for a privileged few. Fortunately for you, The Hub – relentless in its pursuit of the best possible Hub-erage of South Carolina Arts Awards Day – was there to chronicle everything. Let's peek behind the curtain and see how it went.


Click on each image to enlarge. [gallery ids="35015,35016,35017,35012,35013"]
The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts will be presented to their five recipients Wednesday, May 2 at a 10:30 a.m. State House ceremony. It is open to the public. You can also still get last-minute tickets to the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon that follows the ceremony at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., $50). The luncheon includes an art sale from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., three-course meal, special recognition of the award recipients, and a unique fundraiser featuring the table centerpieces – one of which you can purchase the opportunity to take home. As you can see above, we have plenty of packing peanuts.

Honor the S.C. Arts Awards recipients at luncheon + art sale

Join the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to honor the seven individuals and three groups receiving the South Carolina Arts Awards. [caption id="attachment_34932" align="aligncenter" width="601"] The art sale at the 2017 S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon[/caption] 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Luncheon

  • Wednesday, May 2
  • Art Sale & Champagne Reception begins 11 a.m.
  • Luncheon program begins approx. 12:15 p.m.
  • USC "MyCarolina" Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia
  • Tickets are $50
  • Sponsored by Colonial Life
The luncheon begins at 11 a.m. with Champagne reception and art sale featuring works by Sigmund Albeles, Brian Rutenberg, and 2018 Verner Award recipient Tom Stanley among a host of artists synonymous with the South Carolina art scene. After noon, the ballroom doors open and you’ll be admitted to a three-course meal by Southern Way Catering. Make sure to take note of your table’s centerpiece: each one celebrates South Carolina’s rich and diverse cultural heritage with locally sourced products and crafts from counties throughout South Carolina – a nod to the fact that the S.C. Arts Commission provides services and grants to all 46 counties in our state. You can purchase an opportunity to own one of these county baskets for $100. The luncheon program features special entertainment by The Blackville Community Choir – a 2018 Folk Heritage Award recipient, readings by South Carolina literary fellows past and present, and recognition of the diverse group of South Carolina Arts Awards recipients. Reserve your place now for just $50.

Art Sale Preview

[gallery ids="34927,34929,34930,34926,34928,34931" orderby="rand"] Catalog Information Jeri Burdick Short with Love Handles 2016 White earthenware 9"  x 9"  x 5" $325 Brian Rutenberg Lake Marion 7 (Study for Gentle Wind) 1997 Pastel on paper 9” x 7” $1,200 Tom Stanley Houses 2017 Acrylic on paper 22" x 15" Courtesy of if ART Gallery $1,200 Sigmund Abeles Evening 1971 Etching 11 3/4” x 11 3/4” $1,800 Benjamin Gilliam Serving Set 2014 Sterling silver 8” long each piece $600 Mike Vatalaro Cedar Lidded Vessel 2017 white stoneware 12” x 6” x 6” $275  

Gov. McMaster to present 2018 S.C. Arts Awards on May 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 April 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seven individuals and three groups visiting the State House to receive the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. will do so from a high-profile presenter: Gov. Henry McMaster. The governor’s office confirmed his third appearance at the annual awards ceremony, his second as governor. Gov. McMaster first presented the awards in 2016 as lieutenant governor in then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s stead. “Gov. McMaster making time for the arts and folklife communities of South Carolina means a lot to all of us, and we’re excited to welcome him back to the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony,” South Carolina Arts Commission Board President Henry Horowitz said. The South Carolina Arts Awards are a joint presentation by the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to award the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. Five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized with Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
Four artists and one advocate are being recognized with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award 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. They 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
  • Stephen Criswell (Lancaster): Folklife & Traditional Arts Advocacy
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 from 11 a.m. to noon, supporting S.C. Arts Commission programs. For $100, guests may also participate in a “basket grab” for surprise gift baskets with items representing a county or region of the state. The luncheon program is expected to run from 12:15 to 2 p.m., with readings by South Carolina Literary Fellows and a special presentation by the Blackville Community Choir. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase here or by calling 803.734.8696.
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. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS FOUNDATION The South Carolina Arts Foundation supports and raises awareness of the arts development programs for communities, schools, and artists coordinated by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Arts Foundation pursues creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state as a non-profit, 501(c)3 that’s forged a strategic partnership with the Arts Commission to supports its work and goals. Learn more at SouthCarolinaArts.com/Foundation. 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 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm 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/.

S.C. Arts Awards: Ballet Spartanburg

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34827" align="alignright" width="205"] Dancer Charlotte Lanning[/caption]

Ballet Spartanburg

Organization Category Ballet Spartanburg’s mission is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance and outreach. In 1966, a group of 85 ballet enthusiasts and visionaries under the leadership of the late Majorie Riggs, met at Converse College and decided that Spartanburg needed to have the opportunity to enjoy live classical ballet. They began working as a group to create a charter named The Ballet Guild of Spartanburg. Memberships were $5 for an Active Member, $15 for a Patron, and $25 for a Sponsor membership. Today, Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, TEDxTryon and in Houston and Forest City. For the past five years, Ballet Spartanburg has retained the only resident professional company in the Upstate, one of only four in the state of South Carolina. The Company has performed in Houston, Texas, and North and South Carolina. The Center for Dance Education began in 1967 under the direction of the late Barbara Ferguson. The Center now instructs 350 students from over 30 ZIP codes, all under the direction on Ballet Mistress Lona Gomez. With an ever-growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/ demonstrations in partnership with Spartanburg school districts with after school programs, in-school performances, artists in residence, and free performances of Peter & the Wolf. Ballet Spartanburg also partners with the City of Spartanburg to offer summer programs for at-risk youth and the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate and offers performances at nursing homes, hospitals, and community events. Celebrating 51 years embedded in the Spartanburg community, Ballet Spartanburg’s programming continues to evolve with the dance needs of the community and its students, adding new variations of dance classes with opportunities to extend dance knowledge, technique and new performances to new audiences. For more, visit BalletSpartanburg.org.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Bank of America

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.

Bank of America

Business Category Bank of America has a rich history of commitment to the arts, which translates into global programs as well as local support for what is most relevant in each community it serves. The bank is one of the leading supporters of the arts globally because they believe that a thriving arts and culture sector benefits economies and societies. The bank supports nonprofit arts institutions that deliver both visual and performing arts, provide inspirational and educational sustenance, anchor communities, create jobs, complement school curricula and generate substantial revenue for local businesses. This sustained commitment not only has helped these institutions flourish, but helps the bank make an important connection to the communities it serves. Just in the last few years in South Carolina, Bank of America has given more than $2 million in support for the arts. Support has been wide in scope across many geographies and arts organizations in the state. A few of the organizations that have received their support over the years include Spoleto USA, Columbia Museum of Art, Gibbes Museum of Art, Chapman Cultural Center, Arts Partnership of Spartanburg, Peace Center, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, S.C. Philharmonic, and Broadway in Columbia. In addition to local grants and sponsorships that the bank has given to support South Carolina arts institutions, Bank of America encourages its 1,500 South Carolina employees to volunteer locally either through Bank of America Community Volunteers organized outreach events or through whatever organization is most important to them. Every employee is offered two hours per week for community volunteerism. In the last five years, South Carolina employees have invested 81,000 volunteer hours. Another important way that Bank of America employees give of their leadership in the community is through board service. Three Bank of America executives in South Carolina serve on the boards of Gibbes Museum of Art and Spoleto USA in Charleston and Columbia Film Society/Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia. A fourth will join the board of the S.C. Philharmonic in 2018. To learn more about Bank of America’s corporate commitment to the arts, visit BankOfAmerica.com/Arts.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Dr. Anne S. Richardson

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.

Dr. Anne S. Richardson

Arts in Education Category Dr. Anne S. Richardson attended Point Park College (now University) in Pittsburgh for a bachelor’s in dance performance and graduated in 1978. She danced professionally with the Pittsburgh Opera Ballet and South Carolina Ballet Theatre and apprenticed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Dance companies at the time weren’t geared to shorter dancers, and it was difficult to get auditions at only five feet tall. She studied jazz dance as well as ballet in college and began to consider teaching, starting off with jazz at Calvert-Brodie School of Dance when she returned to Columbia. “I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, and Columbia and will be forever grateful. Because of what so many of my gifted teachers did for me, it is my dearest wish that I inspire at least one student and support that student’s belief in him or herself,” Richardson said. She started a jazz company, Dansework-Jazz, in 1987 and continued to perform until 1995. At the same time, she began teaching ballet at Hand, and later Crayton, middle schools, and then finally Dreher High School. The demands of being a teacher and performer were tough, and when she added graduate school to her schedule in 1992, she realized she had to stop performing to focus on teaching and pursuit of a master’s in theatre at USC, which she earned in 1997. A master’s in educational administration from USC was added in 2001, and she earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2008. In 2001, Richardson began the dance program with Palmetto Center for the Arts, housed at Richland Northeast High School. Creating a fine arts magnet dance program and working with the faculty and students was gratifying, and it was there that she honed her skills in developing arts-integrated lessons and performances. She found that her varied educational background fit into the arts integration teaching model. When Richardson arrived at Westwood High School five and a half years ago, she worked with the arts faculty and administration to provide students with extraordinary experiences integrating the arts with their subject classes. Richardson successfully wrote the Distinguished Arts Program grant for Westwood beginning in 2014, and in 2015, Westwood became an Arts In Basic Curriculum (ABC) Site. Also in 2015, under Richardson’s leadership, Westwood became the only arts-integrated high school in Richland 2. Affecting the lives of regular students has confirmed to Richardson the importance of the arts to all students—not just those who are gifted and talented. She began the Renaissance Faire at Westwood inspired by the castle-like architecture of the school. Working with other teachers, she created this yearly event that involves students in performances, projects, and presentations about the Renaissance that are presented to the school, Richland 2 students, and the community. In addition, her students write an original production each summer to present in the fall. They research the topic and write a play to tell stories and create characters that they themselves portray. Her students have created the following original performances: Mostly Coastal Ghosts, The Cherokee Project, Gullah Gumbo, Strange Warfare: The Christmas Truce of World War 1, The Secret Room: Tales of the Underground Railroad, and 9/11: The Story of US. In all of these performances, students created characters based on real events and came as close to living the characters’ lives as is possible. The insight into these situations will stay with these students for a lifetime. Providing these experiences is important to Richardson as a teacher. “It is not about my success but rather that of my students,” she said. Richardson believes that her greatest contribution to education is helping students to believe in themselves by first believing in the students. “I know what it is to have doubt as a young dancer and recognize the wonderful transformation that takes place when a teacher takes the time to encourage and inspire a student. My aspiration is to foster original thinking in my students through arts integration, challenging them to create unique performances so that they have to dig deep within to tell stories and affect their audience. They learn to work with others, bringing disparate ideas and untold stories together to make a new whole and inspire the world around them,” she said.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Alan Ethridge

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34788" align="alignright" width="205"] Image courtesy of TownCarolina.com[/caption]

Alan Ethridge

Individual Category Before becoming Metropolitan Arts Council’s executive director in January 2006, Greenville native Alan Ethridge had served as director of marketing and development since January 2004. He did not replace himself upon taking the higher position and has performed the duties of both roles since. Under Ethridge’s leadership, MAC has exceeded the past year’s fundraising goal each year, and in 2016 its endowment surpassed $1 million. His cumulative fundraising total is $15 million, all of which is sent back into the community, fairly and responsibly, to more than 1,300 artists and almost 60 arts organizations. Further credited to Ethridge is his diligence in creating cohesion among the regional arts stakeholders, whereas in the past the atmosphere has been more territorial and competitive. Early in his MAC tenure, he brought larger organizations together through the “Cultural Coalition,” offering an avenue for collaboration that was previously non-existent. Put simply, Ethridge channels his efforts into facilitating the success of others – and his community at large. MAC partners with the city of Greenville to present Thursday night concerts in spring and summer months that attract more than 50,000 in annual attendance. When he began as executive director, 80 artists were participating in Greenville Open Studios – there are now more than 130. Nearly half a million people have visited Greenville artists and purchased more than $2.8 million in local art. After federal funding ended for the SmartArts program in Greenville schools, Ethridge's nearly single-handed efforts not only sustained the program, but enabled it to expand from just two schools to more than 60 and opened the possibility of grant funding to every public-school teacher in Greenville County. In addition to his MAC duties, Ethridge serves on the boards of the Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Artisphere, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Tech Department of Visual Arts. In 2010, Alan received the Excellence in Arts Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. Ethridge was previously director of donor research in the Office for Development at Clemson University, and prior to returning to Greenville in 1989, worked for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in Atlanta and Henderson Advertising in Greenville. He is a 1982 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where he received a bachelor’s in English literature and fine arts.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Tom Stanley

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34771" align="alignright" width="205"] Photo by Terry Roueche[/caption]

Tom Stanley

Artist Category Visual artist Tom Stanley, former chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts, earned a master’s in applied art history and another in painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980. There he learned what it meant to support, trust, and encourage students. After time on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida throughout the 1980s, in 1990 he returned to South Carolina to become the first director of Winthrop University Galleries and became chair of the school’s fine arts department in 2007. During his tenure as chair and gallery director, he worked to increase student and department visibility. He fostered gallery programming partnerships in both Carolinas including the exhibition Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists with the South Carolina State Museum highlighting the importance of these artists to community identity. Stanley and former Winthrop colleague Shaun Cassidy, a sculptor, worked closely with Winthrop, the Wells Fargo Championship, the City of Rock Hill, and Family Trust Federal Credit Union to create ongoing opportunities for students to be commissioned in the production of public art in the region. Stanley also developed an initiative called ACE (Artists and Civic Engagement). It hosted regional artists including Leo Twiggs and Minuette Floyd and brought artist Patrick Dougherty to Rock Hill to create a temporary sapling sculpture titled Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Main Street with the assistance of fine arts students. In recent years Stanley’s creative work has been exhibited in Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia in South Carolina; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; in New Orleans; and internationally in Berlin, Lausanne, Paris, and Portugal. His most recent exhibition was Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art during Spoleto in Charleston. Last year, Stanley completed the public art commission for CATS’ Tom Hunter light rail station in Charlotte, which includes 15 windscreen panels, two benches, seven column claddings, and 32 steel fence inserts. Stanley and Cassidy teamed for public art commissions in Simpsonville, Raleigh, and in Omaha, Neb. In 2010, they completed the 33-ft. high stainless-steel Winthrop Monolith and in 2015 produced the commission Moments on Main Street in Columbia. For more, visit TomStanleyArt.com.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

Tuning Up: Chills, Thrills, and Kills with ‘Grave Intentions’ + more

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...


  • Deadline extension! We first brought this to you in early February, but it's so cool we wanted to bring it back: Filmmakers and screenplay writers are invited to participate in a new project from Death Cat Entertainment – its “Grave Intentions" Anthology.  If your work fits the horror genre (including suspense, thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural, etc.), go here for more information.
  • An inspiring student from Ninety-Six who attends the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, an ABC Project school in Greenwood, is "enthralling with her voice" according to the Greenwood Index-Journal.
  • Performing artists, here's a GREAT opportunity for you: apply now to be one of up to 16 groups presented in a juried showcase at South Arts' Performing Arts Exchange conference in Orlando this coming October. Present your best from industry pros from across the Southeast at an annual conference that supports the presentation and touring of performing artists along the east and gulf coasts.
  • ICYMI: this week, the Arts Commission announced the recipients of the 2018 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts.

Arts Commission announces five 2018 recipients of Verner Awards for the Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 February 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing the five South Carolinians to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts – the highest arts honor in the state – in 2018. The following five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Dr. Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
“Each recipient of these Verner Awards is an outstanding ambassador for our state and contributes greatly not just to the arts community, but the overall quality of life," S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz said. "Such dedication to the arts benefits South Carolina’s people and, as we’ve just learned, adds to the arts’ $9.7 billion impact on our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission nears completion of its 50th anniversary celebration, we are honored to recognize organizations and individuals who live out the service, commitment and passion that helped the arts here thrive throughout the last half century.” A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the Board for final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation from each category. The 2018 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. Awards will be presented 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 are to be available for purchase by mid-March. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon, call 803.734.8696 or visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.
ABOUT THE VERNER AWARD RECIPIENTS
  • Tom Stanley (Artist Category) is the recently retired chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts. He was the first director of the university galleries and became department chair in 2007. The native Texan earned two graduate degrees from USC and taught on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida before returning to South Carolina. He increased student artist and department visibility while at Winthrop through partnerships in both Carolinas. His work has been exhibited throughout the southeast and in four European countries, and he has completed commissions for public art in several states. He resides in Rock Hill.
  • Alan Ethridge (Individual Category) became executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville in 2005 and maintains the position after previously serving as its director of marketing and development. A tireless and selfless advocate of the arts, he has universal recognition in the Upstate for playing a critical, leading role in fostering a growing arts environment. Ethridge is a summa cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University and previously worked in fundraising at Clemson University. He resides in Greenville.
  • Dr. Anne S. Richardson (Arts in Education Category) entered the teaching profession in the late 1980s while continuing to dance professionally until 1995. She started a jazz dance company in Columbia in 1987 and taught ballet in various public schools while earning her graduate degrees. In 2001 she began the dance program at Palmetto Center for the Arts. She aspires to create original thinking through arts integration in her students at Westwood High School in Blythewood, where she is a drama teacher and former chair of the fine arts department. She resides in Columbia.
  • Bank of America (Business Category) has a rich history of commitment to the arts, which translates into global programs as well as local support for what is most relevant in each community it serves. In South Carolina, the bank has given more than $2 million to support the arts across the state and arts disciplines in recent years, its associates have contributed 81,000 volunteer hours in the last five years, and associates will serve on four boards in 2018. Its South Carolina headquarters are in Columbia.
  • The mission of Ballet Spartanburg (Organization Category) is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance, and outreach. Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. It is headquartered in Spartanburg.

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.