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2019 Verner Award to honor nine South Carolinians

State's highest arts honor recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions

Awards to be presented May 1 at S.C. Arts Awards

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Nine South Carolinians are to be honored by the South Carolina Arts Commission with the 2019 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts—the state’s highest arts honor. The following recipients from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:  Cecil Williams, Orangeburg
  • ARTIST:  Tyrone Geter, Columbia
  • INDIVIDUAL:  Kathleen (Kathi) P. Bateson, Hilton Head Island
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Simeon Warren, Charleston (Individual) S.C. African American Heritage Commission, Hartsville (Organization)
  • BUSINESS:  Hampton III Gallery, Taylors
  • GOVERNMENT:  Florence County Museum, Florence
  • ORGANIZATION: Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston Columbia Stage Society (Town Theatre), Columbia (Special Award)
Print and web images of recipients available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/plf40ffa55oxh5g/AAAksiSWeKNQxxytp5yBM8DQa?dl=0 “It is an honor and privilege to recognize individuals and organizations who live out the service, commitment and passion that help the arts thrive in South Carolina,” S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz said. “Each of the Verner Award recipients makes a tremendous contribution not just locally, but they are honored for broad impact on the state’s arts community and beyond. These are outstanding ambassadors for our state." A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors 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 2019 Verner Awards will be presented with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards at South Carolina Arts Awards sponsored by Colonial Life on Wednesday, May 1 in a morning ceremony at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon. 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

Cecil Williams (Lifetime Achievement), an Orangeburg native, is a professional photographer, videographer, publisher, inventor, author, and architect best known for his photographic documentation of the struggle to achieve freedom, justice, and equality during the Civil Rights struggle. By the age of 9, he had already begun his career in photography and by 15 was working professionally as a freelancer for such publications as JET and the Afro-American, and as an Associated Press stringer. The teenaged Williams documented segregated life in the Jim Crow era and the Clarendon movement that led to Briggs v. Elliott in the 1950s, countless protests and then desegregation at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina and was there for the Orangeburg Massacre in 1968. Williams, who received an art degree from Claflin University, owns Cecil Williams Photography, LLC and was recently appointed by Claflin as its historic preservationist. Williams is also recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest award to an individual, and Governor’s Award in the Humanities from SC Humanities. In a career that spreads across continents, Tyrone Geter (Artist Category) has built an international reputation as a world-class artist, painter, sculptor, illustrator, and teacher. Recently retired associate professor of art at Benedict College in Columbia, Geter received his Master of Fine Arts from Ohio University in 1978 with an emphasis on painting and drawing. In 1979, he relocated to Africa, living, drawing, and painting among the Fulani and local peoples of Northern Nigeria, “a lesson in the creative process that no art school would ever teach me.” Since, he has illustrated 30 children’s books, exhibited on four continents, and after relocating to South Carolina, until recently taught painting and drawing at Benedict and curated its Ponder Fine Arts Gallery. Kathleen (Kathi) P. Bateson (Individual Category) is president/CEO and executive producer of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina – a past Verner Award recipient in the organization category. She is past president of the S.C. Arts Alliance board, served as chair and founding co-chair of the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head; and was a founding member and is chair of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s Women in Philanthropy. Bateson is founder and president of Management for the Arts, a national firm specializing in NPO organizational restructure, institutional planning, strategic positioning and new business ventures. She has served as a cultural representative on international delegations to South Africa, China and Japan, and is herself a goldsmith and professional set designer. Simeon A. Warren (Arts in Education Individual Category) is a cathedral-trained stone carver, sculptor, and conservator. He holds a degree from the Glasgow (Scotland) School of the Arts, and his career has led to stone work at or on some of England’s major cathedrals (and even Buckingham Palace). In 2001 he emigrated to Charleston, where he was a founding faculty member at what became the American College of Building Arts in 2004. He developed college-level courses for professors, delivered the college’s licenses to recruit and to teach, hired the college’s faculty, and served as dean from 2006 to 2013. Warren owns a private architectural stone practice and is developing The Stone People Project, among other public art projects. The S.C. African American Heritage Commission (Arts in Education Organization Category) identifies and promotes the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina, and assists and enhances the efforts of the S.C. Department of Archives and History. SCAAHC is a leader in integrating the arts into education resources, publishing the “Supplement to the Teacher’s Guide Integrating Art into Classroom Instruction” in 2016 and a subsequent revision last year. Since 1970, Hampton III Gallery (Business Category) has supported professional living artists and the estates of professional artists in or from South Carolina ranging from post WWII to the present. Hampton III Gallery’s vision of supporting artists and educating the public to the rich heritage of South Carolina artists continues into 2019. South Carolina’s oldest gallery has more than 500 paintings, sculptures and original prints in inventory. Changing exhibitions, artists’ talks, and special events provide educational opportunities for all. Consultation is available for private and corporate collections. Exhibitions change every 6-8 weeks. The public is invited to all events. The Florence County Museum (FCM) (Government Category) reflects the region’s rich artistic, cultural and historic heritage. Its permanent collection currently includes eight works by celebrated 20th century African American artist and Florence native, William H. Johnson and it is home to The Wright Collection of Southern Art, a volume of over 140 works representing some of the finest in 20th century Southern art (including some by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner). The FCM provides a platform for contemporary artists as host of the Pee Dee Regional Art Competition, South Carolina’s oldest juried art competition, since 1954. Since 1905, the Gibbes Museum of Art (Organization Category) has been a center for creativity for the visual arts. It provides more than 100 educational programs and events. Nine galleries spanning 300 years of art history are showcased to 60,000 visitors a year who discover, enjoy, and are inspired by the creative process. The museum loans 50 objects a year to the major U.S. art museums. Dynamic year-round programming engages, and the Gibbes continually develops new multi-dimensional education and outreach programs that expand the museum experience while offering exhibitions that stay relevant to current topics. Celebrating its 100th season in 2018/2019, Columbia Stage Society’s Town Theatre (Organization Category Special Award) provides quality, live, family-oriented community theatre and entry-level experience for those who wish to participate on or off stage. Every performance has open auditions, with all community members being encouraged to attend. On stage, Town Theatre’s current and alumni performers have appeared on Broadway, network television and in major feature films. Off stage, ample opportunity exists for community members to get involved as costumers, as set and backstage crew, by helping in the box office, or as ushers and house managers.

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 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.

Florence County Museum launches first 50th Anniversary Fellowship Exhibition

[caption id="attachment_31300" align="alignright" width="250"]Terry Jarrard-Dimond Terry Jarrard-Dimond[/caption] The Florence County Museum is the first organization to launch an exhibition of South Carolina Arts Commission Fellows as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration. Evidence, an exhibition of works by veteran South Carolina artist Terry Jarrard-Dimond, is on display June 20 - December 3. Jarrard-Dimond received the S.C. Arts Commission Craft Fellowship Grant in 1987 and is represented by three works in the State Art Collection. The Florence County Museum has a unique relationship to the history of the S.C. Arts Commission. The first president of its board of trustees was E.N. Zeigler, who later became a state senator and the author of the legislation that created the Arts Commission in 1967. The Fellowship Exhibition program was developed to celebrate 50 years of public support for the arts in South Carolina, with emphasis on the achievements of artists who have received the commission’s Visual and Craft Fellowship awards. The exhibition is supported in part by First Citizens. Since 1976, the South Carolina Arts Commission's Fellowship program has recognized the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. Fellows are among the most artistically accomplished artists in the state. Find out more about the exhibition. Find out about other 50th Anniversary Fellowship exhibitions.

Florence Film Society aims to cultivate community through new film series

From SCnow.com

Article and photo by Deborah Swearingen

[caption id="attachment_25799" align="alignright" width="250"]Florence Film Society Tim Streit, left, and Andrew Bates began the Florence Film Society in 2013 as a way to connect with other area film lovers and promote art.[/caption]

FLORENCE, S.C. – Nearly three years ago, Tim Streit and Andrew Bates set out on a mission to cultivate an artistic community for film lovers through the Florence Film Society.

“We see a big opportunity to fill a void here in this city. You’ve got to travel 60 miles in any direction to find an art house cinema. We want to create that environment and culture here, places like the Nickelodeon (in Columbia), places like the Terrace Theater in Charleston,” Bates said.

To further its mission, the Florence Film Society is now hosting a quarterly art house film series in conjunction with the Florence County Museum and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance.

The first screening will be held March 26 in the Waters Building in downtown Florence.

Called “The Other Brother,” the documentary was directed by Kristy Higby and produced by Mark E. Flowers, both North Carolinians. It tells the story of two estranged brothers at very different spectrums in the art world.

“It’s really a wonderful look at sibling estrangement and what’s really beneath all of that. (It’s) a really well-told story,” Bates said.

The documentary has a run time of 71 minutes and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with both the director and the producer of the film.

The society previously held monthly screenings at Lula’s Coffee Co. in Florence, and Bates and Streit agreed that they could not have done it without the guidance and support from the coffee shop.

“It just developed into this very symbiotic relationship where they spent so much time pouring into us and cheering us on, helping us, to succeed in this town,” Bates said. “We kind of feel really extreme gratitude to Lula’s and their staff for being so generous with their resources.”

But Bates and Streit see the new partnership with downtown organizations as a way to connect with the greater Florence artistic community.

“We’re kind of trying to look for those sources where we can plug in and get involved with like-minded people and extend that influence,” Streit said.

The society’s co-founders agreed that they hope to build a community and foster education about film and art house cinema.

And ultimately, they would love to open an art house cinema in Florence.

When Streit discovered that the Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia began as the Columbia Film Society, he said he felt hopeful that something similar could one day flourish in Florence.

Both Bates and Streit lived elsewhere for college but felt called to come back to Florence to enhance the city they grew up in and play an active role in its revitalization.

“It is what you make it, so we took that philosophy with the film society,” Bates said. “Like, we could keep going to Columbia and experiencing what’s already there or we could build something here.”

Most important, though, they want to encourage open-mindedness because independently produced films are not going to attract everyone.

But, Streit said, it’s important to give it a chance and remember that there’s always something new to discover.

“Even if you’re not a film buff or a film nerd, I always find that if you pay attention, there’s something in the movie that might strike you,” he said. “And it might not even be what the filmmaker intended, which, I guess, is the beauty of art, you know.”

Thinking about films opens up different conversation doors than other art forms, Bates said.

“It forces you to think, and I think in our culture and society today it’s so important to think for yourself,” he said. “And if you’re influenced by film that makes you think in a different way than you did before, maybe, it opens your mind to a different way of living.”

Saturday’s screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the main room of the Waters Building on South Dargan Street. Admission is free and open to the public.

The other films being screened in the series are “Slow West,” “The Seventh Seal” and “The Great Dictator.”

For more information, email flofilmsociety@gmail.com, visit www.florencefilmsociety.com or search for the Florence Film Society on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.