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Tuning Up: Jasper Johns at CMA + more

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...


Jasper Johns gifts on display: The Columbia Museum of Art announced the  exhibition Midcentury Masters: Jasper Johns’ Gifts to the CMA, a varied collection of 35 prints gifted to the CMA by Jasper Johns himself and shown in its entirety for the first time, on view beginning Friday, Nov. 16 through Feb. 24, 2019. With several prints by Johns as well as the work of such postwar heavyweights as Robert Rauschenberg, Josef Albers, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, and Andy Warhol, plus archival materials documenting Johns’ time living and establishing his artistic identity in Columbia, this unique exhibition provides insight into the mind of South Carolina’s most famous artistic son. “Artists, critics, and collectors the world over know the name Jasper Johns, but few know that his career began in Columbia where he studied at USC,” says Chief Curator Will South, who organized the exhibition. “And though he became an international art star, he did not forget South Carolina. This is a show documenting the importance of contemporary art to the collection and celebrating the importance of the museum’s patrons like Jasper Johns.” Read more from CMA here. A sculpture of Johns' is included in the State Art Collection, which is maintained and managed by the SCAC Visual Arts Department. "Curious Case" Q&A with Hammes: The SCAC's current prose fellow recently published his first novel, and F. Rutledge Hammes chatted about it with the Post & Courier.  And speaking of fellows...

Evergreen (for now): Time is running out!

  • Applications for $5,000 individual artist fellowships are due Thursday, Nov. 8. Unrestricted awards will honor achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out!
  • Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina is one letter. Don't wait. Find out more now! (Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)

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SCAC Fellow’s new book out Sept. 25

Charleston writer F. Rutledge Hammes, the S.C. Arts Commission's current fellowship recipient for prose, is set to release his debut novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, on Sept. 25. The book has received glowing praise from writers like New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank who writes, “F. Rutledge Hammes is that rare new voice you run across once or maybe twice in a lifetime. His spectacular debut novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, soars! It is a coming of age cautionary tale about power. It’s a mystery and a love story wrapped up in humidity and pluff mud and it is as fascinating as it is addicting.” Set for release by Atlanta-based SFK Press, Hammes’ debut novel tells the story of the Walpole family who fled their sordid past and escaped to one of the nearly 2,000 uninhabited sea islands off the South Carolina coast. The novel opens with the two Walpole boys taking their little sister out on their john boat for the first time to pirate the waterways for beer and loose change. In the process, their little sister goes overboard and appears to have drowned, until two men with gigantic wings swoop down and carry her body away into the sky. The news of her disappearance hits the family particularly hard, and the mother goes so far as to fashion herself wings and tries to fly. The Walpole boys set off in search of their little sister and, in the process, discover the truth behind the centuries-old Gullah tale of the Flying Men as well as numerous other mysteries native to the South Carolina sea islands. A book release party will be held at Blue Bicycle Books (420 King St., Charleston) on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees, writes, “A Curious Matter of Men with Wings is where magic comes to life in a bold story that celebrates the Gullah world of the South Carolina sea islands. With lyrical prose, the novel takes us into a hidden realm where life is still enchanted and storytelling abounds. In these pages, the transfixing Walpole family grapples with loss, the madness of grief, and ultimately healing, while surrounded by a community whose only salvation lies in the ties that bind them.”


"...It’s a mystery and a love story wrapped up in humidity and pluff mud, and it is as fascinating as it is addicting.” - Dorothea Benton Frank, bestselling author


Hammes was born in South Carolina's Lowcountry, where he fell in love with the waterways, the people, and the folklore that inhabit the sea islands. His whole life, he has been writing about the Charleston area and sea island culture and, for the past decade, he has been teaching the young writers who will keep our lush storytelling tradition alive. Having grown up the oldest in a family of ten, stories of family come naturally to him. His grandparents moved out to the sea islands early in their marriage and made friends in the Gullah community, and he grew up enamored by all the stories and folklore his grandmother told him as a child. Hammes says, “I have long believed that magic is at the heart of Charleston, and so magic must be at the heart of the Charleston novel.” Through A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, Hammes hopes readers will see the redemption that comes to people who keep their promises to one another and stand together regardless of ethnicity, culture and class. Hammes earned his MFA in fiction from Old Dominion University, has had numerous short stories, essays and poems published in various journals and magazines around the country, and is a contributing writer in several books. He is also the 2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow and is presently Director of the Creative Writing program at Charleston County School of the Arts, the most awarded middle- and high-school writing program in the nation. For more information on A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, visit frutledgehammes.com.

Four artists honored with S.C. Arts Commission fellowships

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

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

About the FY2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship Recipients

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

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.