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NEA awards grants to S.C. Arts Commission, others in state

$933,900 coming (back) to South Carolina

$80 million awarded across U.S. by NEA


WASHINGTON—The National Endowment for the Arts announces $80.4 million for 1,114 new awards located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. jurisdictions. This is the Art Endowment’s second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2019, and these awards continue the Arts Endowment’s commitment as the only arts funder reaching the entire country. Awards from this round of funding come from four categories: Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships and Research: Art Works, plus a renewal in NEA Research Labs. “Reflecting the diverse artistic richness of our nation, these Arts Endowment-funded projects are varied in their size, scope, and artistic discipline,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The projects also illustrate the unique geographic reach of Arts Endowment funding, serving Americans in places large and small in all corners of the country.” Grants recommended in this round are listed in two ways:
  • State/jurisdiction and listed by city/town and
  • Funding category (Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships, and Research: Art Works) and then listed by artistic discipline/field.
In the first funding round of fiscal year 2019 announced on February 13, 2019 the Arts Endowment made 1,145 grants totaling $27 million. Other awards will be made in the coming months through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. All current grants can be viewed through the Arts Endowment’s grants search.
SOUTH CAROLINA: 5 awards totaling $933,900
  • Columbia Film Society, Columbia $22,500; Art Works - Media Arts
  • South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia $811,400; Partnerships (State & Regional)
  • Greenville Symphony Association/Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville $10,000; Art Works - Music
  • City of Rock Hill $75,000; Our Town - Design
  • Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg $15,000; Art Works - Literature
Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director: “At the Arts Commission, our grant will be put to use serving communities throughout the state. It will fund community arts development initiatives that seek to foster the creativity and unity needed to address the unique issues facing rural South Carolina communities. It will further our goals to provide every South Carolina child with access to an arts-inclusive education. It will also let us help our artists develop their skills to grow businesses that contribute to the state’s $9.7 billion creative economy.”
ART WORKS II: 977 awards totaling $23,983,500 Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s largest category with projects supported in 13 artistic disciplines and fields in this Art Works II group, ranging from arts education to visual arts. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with a median amount of $20,000. Examples of Art Works-supported projects in this round are:
  • A $10,000 award to the Madison Public Library Association in Madison, Wisconsin (a first-time Arts Endowment grantee) to support programming at the Wisconsin Book Festival featuring award-winning authors of genres such as literary fiction, poetry, and science.
  • A $10,000 award to Shreveport Opera in Shreveport, Louisiana to support the Shreveport Opera Xpress educational touring program, which offers performances and activities for public school students in central and south Louisiana.
  • A $15,000 award to the Pioneer School of Drama in Danville, Kentucky to support Voices Inside: The Northpoint Prison Writing and Performance Project, where theater professionals will conduct workshops for inmates at the Northpoint Training Center.
  • A $20,000 award to Cultural Resources in Rockport, Maine to support the Wabanaki Arts Mentorship Program, where accomplished Wabanaki artists will instruct youth in basket-making techniques and cultural knowledge.
  • A $30,000 award to the City of Phoenix to support a partnership with the city’s Neighborhood Services Department and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture to provide grants for intergenerational arts projects.

OUR TOWN: 57 awards totaling $4,115,000 Our Town is the Arts Endowment’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. Two program areas are place-based projects with grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, and knowledge building projects with grant amounts ranging from $25,000-$100,000. This year’s cohort is remarkable for its diversity. Approximately a third of the recommended grantees are first-time applicants to the Arts Endowment. The types of communities vary widely with 18 recommendations for projects in rural or tribal communities. And project types range from cultural planning to festivals and cross several artistic disciplines. Examples of Our Town-supported projects are:
  • A $25,000 award to the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in Hogansburg, New York, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will undertake a project to engage local artists and designers to develop public art and architecture that reflects Akwesasne Mohawk culture.
  • A $50,000 award to the City of Granite Falls in Minnesota to establish an artist residency program within local government. The program is the first of its kind in a small, rural setting, and has the potential to serve as a national model for other small communities.
  • An $85,000 grant to the Santa Fe Art Institute to re-enliven the shuttered campus of the former Santa Fe College of Art and Design by inventorying the campus’s cultural assets and creating community arts events to build enthusiasm around the campus’s development potential and to advance community goals.
In addition to funding, the Arts Endowment advances creative placemaking through publications and resource development. Those resources are available on the creative placemaking page.
STATE AND REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: 64 awards totaling $51,456,500 Through partnership agreements, the Arts Endowment translates national leadership into local and regional benefit. Every U.S. state and jurisdiction has its own state arts agency that coordinates cultural policies and invests in arts programming on behalf of, or as part of, state/jurisdiction government. The geographically-defined consortium of state arts agencies known as regional arts organizations are funded to manage programs across state, national, and international borders. Together, these organizations receive 40 percent of the Arts Endowment’s grantmaking funds each year to support their activities and to leverage state and other public and private funds. Partnership Agreements help support life-long learning in schools and communities, community economic development through creative districts, and arts participation through artist tours, festivals, readings, and exhibits. Some examples of state and regional programming funded by partnership agreements are:
  • The Delaware Division of the Arts and Delaware State Parks have been working together since 2008 to offer arts-in-the-park programming that has increased the number and diversity of visitors to state parks.
  • Through its Arts and Military Initiative, the Oklahoma Arts Council works with the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs and a local partner to provide arts activities to residents at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Norman.
  • Through its Launchpad initiative, South Arts is providing mentorships and other professional development services to presenting organizations beginning or expanding in the South Arts region.
RESEARCH: ART WORKS: 15 awards totaling $724,000 Research: Art Works supports research that investigates the value or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and with other domains of American life. Some examples of this year’s awardees are:
  • A $20,000 award to MINDPOP in Austin, Texas will support a study led by researchers from the Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin that examines relationships between schools and arts partners participating in a collective impact arts education project.
  • An $88,000 award to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio will support a randomized controlled trial examining the arts’ ability to improve health, resilience, and well-being in individuals with chronic health conditions.
Final reports for previously-awarded Research: Art Works grants are posted on the study findings page of the Arts Endowment website. A renewal of an NEA Research Lab to the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform for $150,000 will support research that examines the impact on social, emotional and other individual characteristics of elementary school students who participate in field trips to arts institutions.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA 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 NEA 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. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.
Image by Kendall Hoopes/Pexels

Tuning Up: new HCWP writer-in-residence + weekend plans

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...


Andrew Dally wants you to be his friend. He joins Hub City Writer's Project as writer-in-residence this fall September to December. Andrew Dally is a poet and programmer from Bethlehem, Penn. He received his MFA from the University of Mississippi, where he served as editor of the Yalobusha Review and a curator for the Trobar Ric reading series. He's done programming and graphic design work for The Washington Post and The Gates Foundation, and his poems can be found in The Boiler, LEVELER, and Blunderbuss Magazine. As a writer-in-residence at Hub City, he'll be working on a book of poems about McDonald's, Bashō, and artificial intelligence titled (get this!) Medium Extra Value – when he's not "going bonkers with gratitude and anticipation." And he wants you to be his friend. Here's to hoping he gets plenty of Sparkle City charm. Welcome, Andrew. Weekend plans?
  • Maybe they should involve Spartanburg Art Museum. Newsweek picked "SAM" as one of the nation's most interesting museums to visit recently. Yes, it was in conjunction with National Museum Day last week, but we're guessing the South's oldest contemporary art museum won't turn you away this weekend. Go here for hours. Free.
  • The Living Earth Show gets Southern Exposure. Bay Area-based guitar and percussion duo The Living Earth Show first came to the attention of the Columbia’s music community when they won the June 2017 SAVVY Chamber Competition, a chamber music competition that evaluates ensembles on both artistic excellence and innovative event design. They return to help Southern Exposure New Music Series opens its season of free concerts this Friday (tomorrow!). Arrive early for this popular series as seats fill to capacity. Sponsored in part by Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory, the outlandishly creative duo is working with music students and faculty in a UofSC residency this week, which culminates with the concert. Friday, 7:30 p.m. at USC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St. Columbia). Free.

Aiken, Spartanburg SCAC grantees receive new NEA awards

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that a total of $30,000 is heading to two South Carolina grantees among the FY18 award recipients – both of whom the S.C. Arts Commission is happy to assist with operating support grants of its own. Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the U.S. benefit from NEA grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2018, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu (right). “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”


Grant Awards in S.C.

Aiken The Aiken Music Festival (Joye in Aiken) is the recipient of a $10,000 Challenge America grant to support the "Joye in Aiken" music festival and its related educational activities. Founded in 2008 under the name Juilliard in Aiken, Joye in Aiken is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the best in the performing arts available to our citizens, and especially our students. In 2016, Joye was recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for its educational outreach program, now being recognized by the new NEA grant. Spartanburg Hub City Writers Project is to receive a $20,000 Art Works grant for literature in support of the publication and promotion of books of fiction and poetry. Since 1995, the Hub City Writers Project has published 80 titles and 700 writers, established an independent bookstore, and provided creative writing education to thousands. Hub City Writers Project was awarded the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award in the arts organization category in 2002.

Nine students ready to compete for state Poetry Out Loud championship

Congratulations to the nine high school students advancing to the state finals in the South Carolina Arts Commission's Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The students will compete for South Carolina's spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. State finals take place March 11, from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C. The public is invited to attend.

Finalists:

Region 1: Upstate
  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Simone Rice, Dorman High School, Spartanburg County
  • Livia Salle, NEXT High School, Greenville County
Region 2: Midlands
  • Taylor Wade, Andrew Jackson High School, Lancaster County
  • Emilie Martin, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County
  • Alyssa Williams, Spring Valley High School, Richland County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Janae Claxton, First Baptist Church School, Charleston County
  • Abby Edwards, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • Julie Crosby, Goose Creek High School, Berkeley County
Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year, advancing from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. The state champion will compete in the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C. The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library. [caption id="attachment_29712" align="aligncenter" width="560"]POLcollage2017 Top row, l to r: Alyssa Williams; Region 3 participants. Bottom row, l to r: Region 2 finalists Taylor Wade, Emilie Martin, & Alyssa Williams; Region 1 finalists Jamie Montagne, Livia Salle & Simone Rice; Region 2 judges[/caption] Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship. Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1; One Columbia, Richland Library and S.C. Center for Oral Narrative at USC Sumter in Region 2; and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.

For more information, contact Frances Kablick Keel at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov.

Public invited to Poetry Out Loud competitions

[caption id="attachment_25675" align="alignright" width="250"]Nicole Sadek Nicole Sadek, 2016 S.C. Poetry Out Loud champion[/caption] Since school began in the fall, high school students around the state have been memorizing poetry, practicing recitation skills and polishing performances to compete in Poetry Out Loud school-level competitions. School-based winners are competing in three regional competitions taking place January 21 and 22 in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. Winners from each regional competition will advance to the state finals taking place March 11 in Columbia. The competitions are free and open to the public. Regional competition schedule:

  • Region 1 (Upstate) Jan. 21, from 2 - 4:30 p.m. Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus, 220 E. Kennedy St., Spartanburg, SC 29302 (Please use entrance at back of building.) Counties: Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee, York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Anderson, Laurens, Union, Chester, Abbeville, McCormick and Greenwood Partner: Hub City Writers Project
  • Region 2 (Midlands) Jan. 21 from 2 - 4:30 p.m. Richland Library Main (second floor), 1431 Assembly St., Columbia, S.C. 29201 Counties: Edgefield, Saluda, Newberry, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Darlington, Marlboro, Aiken, Lexington, Richland, Sumter, Florence, Marion, Dillon and Calhoun Partners: One Columbia, South Carolina Center for Oral Narrative-USC Sumter and Richland Library Main
For 11 years, the South Carolina Arts Commission has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the Poetry Out Loud National Poetry Recitation Contest to South Carolina. The Arts Commission engages regional partners to promote participation and to manage regional competitions. Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year. The state champion will compete in the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C. About Poetry Out Loud Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The national winner received a $20,000 scholarship.  

Inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival to honor traditions and forge new ground

Note: One Columbia for Arts and History received a South Carolina Arts Commission Quarterly Grant to help support the Deckle Edge Literary Festival. The inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival, taking place Feb. 19 – 21 in Columbia, S.C., features readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a range of other literary events for many interests and all ages. Events take place in or near downtown Columbia, and many events are free. A sample of events: Friday, Feb. 19

  • 1 - 2 p.m.: Top 20 "Outside the Box" Book Marketing Ideas, Shari Stauch, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 2 - 3 p.m.: Plotting Strategies for Short Stories, Novels, and Plays, $30 per person, Paula Gail Benson, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 7 p.m.: Opening Night Celebration - Concert and Burlesque Show, Columbia Museum of Art, $10
Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 9 - 10 a.m.: S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Workshop for Kids, free, presented by The Watering Hole Poetry Organization, Tapp's Art Center
  • 11 a.m. - noon: Hub City Press Executive Director Betsy Teter moderates a panel of First Novel Prize winners Matt Matthews, James E. McTeer and Susan Tekulve, Columbia Museum of Art
  • 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Conversation with Southern Superstar Mary Alice Monroe, Columbia Museum of Art
Sunday, Feb. 21
  • 9 - 10:15 a.m.: Overcoming Creative Anxiety: 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Writing & Remain Calm, Cassie Premo-Steele, $30 per person, location TBA
  • 1 - 2:30 p.m.: Writing and Healing with Ed Madden, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Seibels House
  • 3 - 4 p.m.: IndieSC Launch - Calling all indie authors and aspiring writers in S.C! Presentation of free self-publishing platform by the South Carolina State Library, Columbia Museum of Art
View the full schedule online. Read a Free Times article about the festival. While Deckle Edge has its roots in the storied tradition of South Carolina’s literary life, festival organizers are committed to forging new ground and hope to appeal to regional and national audiences while remaining a community-focused effort. Festival partners make up an extensive network of South Carolina literary and cultural organizations, including Richland Library, the University of South Carolina PressHub City Writers Project, the S.C. Center for Children’s Books & LiteracyEd Madden and the Columbia Office of the Poet LaureateSouth Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, the Low Country Initiative for Literary ArtsJasper Magazine, Richland County schools, and others. Deckle Edge is built on the strong foundation of the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities CouncilSC , which announced the festival’s dissolution this past summer. The Humanities CouncilSC is now actively pursuing a variety of year-round statewide literary initiatives and has been supportive of the plans for Deckle Edge as a new literary event to be hosted in Columbia. “The S.C. Book Festival was a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we’re grateful to the Humanities CouncilSC for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Darien Cavanaugh. “We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will.” In addition to local talent, the festival will highlight a handful of New York Times bestselling authors from the Carolinas, beloved favorites from past S.C. Book Festivals, and many voices not previously heard from at South Carolina literary events. “This is Columbia’s literary festival,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Annie Boiter-Jolley, “but it’s also joining the larger conversation about literature of and in the South. We look forward to sharing our vision with writers and readers, and to hearing from them as to what Deckle Edge might become in future years.” Via: Deckle Edge Literary Festival

Hub City Writers Project celebrates 20 years of shaping a Southern literary community

From the Spartanburg Herald-Journal Story by Laura J. Perricone, photo by Tim Kimzey

[caption id="attachment_18710" align="alignright" width="285"]Hub City Writers Project anniversary At top, front row from left to right, John Lane and Betsy Teter; back row, Meg Reid, Anne Waters, Michel Stone and Rachel Richardson.[/caption] Spartanburg was on the threshold of an artistic renaissance when a small group of writers launched a plan for a literary awakening that would preserve the essence of a town poised for creative growth. The year was 1995, and the movement was so successful that eventually anything involving homespun writers, artists and even musicians became synonymous with a single brand name — The Hub City Writers Project.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the three friends who had a hand in the inception of Hub City Writers Project said they never imagined the independent publisher would grow into a nationally recognized literary enterprise. But with 70 books and 700 writers published under its name (a few having cut their teeth on its label), even bestselling authors are lining up to share in the success of this former dream-child of visionaries. Betsy Teter, executive director of Hub City Writers Project, and her husband John Lane, Wofford poet and author of a dozen books, are two of the early founders of the nonprofit group located in the historic Masonic Temple building in downtown Spartanburg. For them, the 20-year mark is a huge accomplishment given that few organizations of this type exist in the country. The literary model they adopted has three components: Publishing, programs and an independent bookstore, with proceeds going right back into the organization. As simple as it seems, Teter said the only way it works is with the backing of the community. “Literary groups in other places have tried to follow our model, but they don't have the community support,” Teter said. “I'm very proud this happened in Spartanburg. I tell people this is a very unlikely story in a very unlikely place.” The early days The idea for Hub City was conceived in a coffee shop just a stone's throw away from the organization's current downtown site. It was there Lane met up with Teter, a former business writer for the Herald-Journal, and journalist Gary Henderson to discuss ways of turning Spartanburg into a center for literary arts while preserving the town's rich history through “place-based” writing. Lane, himself, had recently moved back to the area to teach at Wofford, but his travels made him yearn for a literary community, a stomping ground where like-minded people could exchange ideas. Back then, that stomping ground was this coffee shop where all three writers laid out their ideas on a single napkin. “We were sitting there talking and Betsy reached over and picked up a napkin and wrote down how to structure Hub City and what to call it,” Henderson said from his home in Costa Rica. “It's really a legend how it started.” The brainstorming resulted in what Lane called the “first wave of public creativity,” which resulted in the publication of Hub City Anthology in April 1996. The book was a resounding success not just for its literary content, but for the foresight the group had to resurrect the town's old nickname. Back then, the Hub City moniker that once alluded to Spartanburg's history as a crossroad for trains, was nearly extinct. Lane's vision for a literary arts community enticed the group to join the name with the Depression era Federal Writers Project. Thus, Hub City Writers Project was born as a nod to both historic references. On the day of the book release, which was held at the train depot, more than 600 books were sold. Henderson said people were lined up to get their copy and meet the band of authors that contributed to the book. “There were people everywhere. There must have been 1,500 people there. It was just amazing,” Henderson said. Initially, there was never a discussion of putting out another book after Hub City Anthology, but the swell of public interest changed all that. Soon more place-based books were being pumped out by Hub City and met with as much fanfare as the first. There were books written on peaches, textiles, music and military training camps, and the pool seemed endless. “In the early days, we didn't know how many books (we would publish),” Lane said. “We were working in a literary vacuum and had a complete history to draw from.” It became obvious at the train station that the small independent publisher was headed for more than a single book release. No place like home Teter's house was where much of Hub City's business took place initially. Her dining room table was a makeshift desk and the fax machine, which ran day and night, sat beside her bed. Five years later, Hub City Writers Project moved into a single room in a slowly deteriorating Montgomery Building and then into a former car dealership on South Daniel Morgan Avenue, now known as the Hub Bub Showroom. In 2006, the City of Spartanburg allocated $500,000 to open The Showroom Gallery and Performance Hall, where musicians, artists and writers shared a single venue. Teter suddenly found herself at the center of the arts and entertainment business. Through her efforts, Hub Bub was pushed into the limelight, generating another creative movement in the community. With two successful entities vying for her attention, Teter longed to concentrate on developing the literary community she, Lane and Henderson had hoped for. At this point, Teter said, Hub City was still in want of an independent bookstore, which was vital to the organization's survival. The sale of books was the only way Hub City could continue offering creative writing programs and place-based publications. That would happen in 2010, when Hub City received enough donations and financial assistance to renovate the ground floor of the historic Masonic Temple for The Hub City Bookshop. The store is now the face of Hub City and is stocked with more than 5,000 titles that Teter said appeal to serious readers. Little River Coffee Shop and Cakehead Bakeshop are located in the same space, increasing the foot traffic for both locations. Hub City has moved beyond concentrating on local writers, though that is still the heart and soul of the organization. Anne Waters, manager of the Hub City Bookshop, said the store attracts authors of national appeal like Dorothea Benton Frank and Ron Rash, who are frequent visitors to the area. Often, she said, visiting authors end up participating in future programs. And in recent years, Hub City has published top writers from Richmond and Charlottesville in Virginia, Greensboro and Wilmington in North Carolina, Atlanta, and Montgomery, Alabama. “Each thing builds upon the other,” she said. “The momentum is so strong and the notoriety keeps increasing.” Planting the seed One of Hub City's biggest success stories took place in 2012 with the publication of Michel Stone's debut book, “The Iguana Tree.” Today, Stone is a nationally acclaimed novelist who credits Teter for helping the novel sell all over the United States and become Hub City's best-seller. “I could not have had a better experience. Betsy is so unique and wonderful, and she is so good about supporting her authors,” Stone said. “Hub City Press publishes six books a year and because of that they are so invested in each book. I'm sure the great reviews “The Iguana Tree” got was in part because Betsy was so good in pounding the pavement in getting the book out there.” Stone, a Spartanburg resident, said it was actually Hub City who inspired her to write a novel in the first place. Her introduction to Hub City began years ago when she entered the group's annual short story competition and won. Her prize was a free admission to the Hub City's Writing In Place workshop held at Wofford College. While there, the instructor asked participants to think of an object and describe it. Stone said she immediately thought about a rocking chair in her daughter's room, and she started writing about it. As the lessons continued and the subject matter grew more intense, Stone ended up describing a scene that she would later use in “The Iguana Tree.” “So, Hub City was instrumental in the very first sentence of my novel,” she said. Having received excellent reviews for her book, Stone found herself traveling across the country to give talks and sign books. Stone said “The Iguana Tree” was selected to be used by four colleges in their curriculum and as a community read in a small town called Hermiston, Oregon. “They flew me out there and treated me so kindly. All the kids in the high school ... all read the book and they had my name on the marquee welcoming me to Oregon. It was the most incredible experience in my life.” Now, Stone, who has completed a second novel, serves as chairperson on Hub City's 15-member board. She has also taught youth writing groups for the organization and is hands-on with other Hub City writing programs. “Hub City is very important to Spartanburg,” she said. “It's my favorite thing about Spartanburg.” The small publisher/bookstore is also catching the attention of other nationally recognized names. Just recently, the prolific bestseller James Patterson gave Hub City Bookshop a $6,000 grant in his efforts to support independent bookstores. It was just another shot in the arm for Hub City and another example of how authors have become the organization's advocate. Programs for writers Hub City also prides itself on introducing young writers to the area. Meg Reid, assistant director of Hub City, said the organization receives 100 applications from across the nation each year for its writers-in-residency program, which is housed in a bungalow on Spring Street in Hampton Heights. Only three candidates are selected for the year. Reid, who moved from Wilmington, N.C. to work for Hub City, said she is amazed at how the community has rallied around the Hub City Writers Project and is in awe of the continued growth of a program that focuses on authors, writers and readers. “People here care and are working hard (to keep it going),” she said. “This shouldn't work but it does ... it's difficult to say how because nothing like this ever existed before.” Teter agreed, saying no one could have predicted Hub City would have grown from an idea on a napkin to a nationally recognized literary center. “If someone told me 10 years ago that we would have a storefront on Main Street, I'd say they were insane. But now people say they move here because of Hub City Writers Project.” 20-year celebration To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Hub City is planning a street party for the public and a weekend of literary activities May 8-10. For Spartanburg natives and friends Teter, Lane and Henderson, it seemed like a good way to honor their Southern roots, even if one of them moved on. “I have left Spartanburg but part of me is still there,” said Henderson. “Hub City was the best thing that happened to me. If nothing else, Hub City Writers Project gave Spartanburg a new identity and put back energy into the town.” Friday, May 8 Lit Crawl, 5–7 p.m. (Growler Haus, Delaneys, and Hub City Bookshop) Book release event for “Minnow” by James McTeer, 7:30 p.m., Hub City Bookshop Saturday, May 9 Anniversary Street Party 5–8 p.m., West Main Street in front of Hub City Bookshop Music, Kids events (free books for children), Author signing tent, silent auction Sunday, May 10 Benefit Brunch for The Writers House Residency Program, 10:30 a.m. Indigo Hall Tickets: 864-577-9349  

New Wofford College class connects students to community arts organizations

From Wofford College's The Old Gold and Black (student-run newspaper) Story by Sarah Madden

What do six seniors, a junior, six freshmen and community arts professionals have in common? The newest art history course, Community Engagement in the Arts seminar class, draws these people together to provide students with hands-on experience and changed perspectives on the arts community and its organizations. The class meets once a week for discussions with guest speakers from Spartanburg arts organizations, but the core of the course is centered around 40-50 hour practicums, which are similar to internships. In a practicum, students are “working on an individual mission related to the organization’s mission,” says Dr. Karen Goodchild, associate professor of art history. According to Goodchild, the class focuses on exploring how and why arts organizations are founded, funded, programmed and maintained. First-year student Michal Busbee says that this course has encouraged her dream of becoming a museum curator. “The course, while enabling me to see the practical side of art and get hands-on experience in my dream career, is also pushing me to go outside my comfort zone and get involved with the community outside of Wofford,” she says. Senior Sarah Baldwin finds this class, with its mixture of discussion, guest speakers and hands-on experience, to be her most applicable course taken at Wofford. “It bridges my educational experience and future career plans,” she says. “I have not just learned the material, I have also acquired experience working independently with an organization on a project that allows me to practice and apply what I have learned in class in a ‘real-world’ setting.” These individualized practicums range from working with Wofford’s archivist cataloging art pieces to helping Hub City Writer’s Project interview artists for a soon-to-be-published book on regional public art to collecting and transcribing oral histories of Northside residents for the Northside Initiative’s “Porch Stories” project. Senior art history major Sari Imber has been working with Hub City Press in downtown Spartanburg. “The experience has been incredibly eye-opening in terms of my career search this year, and I have learned a lot about the many aspects of the art industry…that I otherwise would have never been exposed to in a traditional lecture-based setting.” While the seniors tend to point to the applicability of the class to the real world, the younger students attest to a new perspective on Sparkle City. First-year student Julie Woodson, for example, says that before taking this class she had no idea how much there was to do in Spartanburg. “[The city] really has a lot to offer. There are so many arts organizations in Spartanburg, and they are always hosting gallery openings, art shows or other events (which usually offer free food).” The long-term benefit is clear to Woodson. “We have all gained a ton of experience, contacts and skills that will most definitely be beneficial when we graduate. I would love to see more classes and areas of study that encourage students to get involved in Spartanburg,” she says. This class also has been well received in the community, says Jennifer Evins, CEO and president of The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg. “One of the greatest benefits came from dialogue with students about how the local arts community could engage college students more. Some very good ideas resulted, and we hope to implement them with their assistance,” she says. “I believe that this new engagement seminar will continue to help develop a closer relationship with the Wofford College community, and it will give students practical experience in arts administration and arts program development.” “Community Engagement in the Arts has undoubtedly been the most useful, meaningful and challenging class I have had the opportunity to take at Wofford,” says Imber. Baldwin agrees. “Not only that, but it has allowed me to network and establish myself in a work environment, an experience I would have lacked if I had not been given the opportunity to leave the classroom." Image: "The value of the arts on communities is immense,” says former Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnett, one of the many guest speakers.
 

The link between the arts and the economy: spotlight on four communities

South Carolina Arts Commission staff presented "Cultural Arts as a Tool for Community and Economic Development" at the Fall 2013 meeting of the South Carolina Community Development Association, an association of the Municipal Association of South Carolina. This article in the February issue of Uptown, the MASC's newsletter, illustrates how four communities in South Carolina have used the arts to benefit community development.

As local officials continue to work toward making their hometowns thrive, some have started looking hard at the link between culture and the economy. Why do we live where we live and why do we stay there? A report released by the American Planning Association in 2011 entitled, “Economic Vitality: How the arts and culture sector catalyzes economic vitality,” outlines four key points to community development through the arts. This article uses South Carolina case studies to illustrate how the arts have enhanced local communities in South Carolina. Keypoint #1: Economic development is enhanced by concentrating creativity through both physical density and human capital. By locating firms, artists and cultural facilities together, a multiplier effect can result. Case study: The Salkahatchie Arts Initiative This is the story of five counties that felt under-recognized: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, and Hampton. These counties make up the Salkahatchie region of the state. Before I-95 opened up in 1968, this region had plenty of cars driving through when people were traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard. After 1968, the majority of travelers never saw those towns. A visitor driving through this part of South Carolina today may be struck by the abundance of old abandoned hotels. “This area was particularly hit by the fact that I-95 didn’t come through their counties,” says Susan DuPlessis of the South Carolina Arts Commission. According to DuPlessis, by creating the Salkahatchie Arts Initiative, the local communities have mined their existing cultural and natural assets instead of creating something new. The communities are making the region a destination for tourists interested in the arts, heritage and nature-based tourism. In 2006, the Salkahatchie Arts Center was created in Allendale. At the center, local artists sell their wares. More than 100 artists have sold almost $200,000 worth of items to date. Also, there is a storytelling element, according to DuPlessis. Local artists created “Salk Stew,” which is a play with music and stories that is updated annually. Here is an excerpt of a review of “Salk Stew” from an issue of the Hampton County Guardian. Sure, everybody loves a good classic community theater number like The Sound of Music, but this is a one-of-a-kind classic that you can’t get anywhere else: a play based on true stories from real people in our community, stories that are acted out on the historic planks of the Palmetto Theater by local actors. As far as community theater goes, it doesn’t get any better than that. “These artistic endeavors resonate with local residents about who they are and what they have,” DuPlessis said. “These endeavors are part of their authenticity,” and they are improving the economy and quality of life in the Salkehatchie Region. Keypoint #2: The recognition of a community’s arts and culture assets (and the marketing of them) is an important element of economic development. Creatively acknowledging and marketing community assets can attract a strong workforce and successful firms, as well as help sustain a positive quality of life. Case study: Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg “Writers are very interested in a sense of place,” says Betsy Teter, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project. In 1995, a small group of writers in Spartanburg asked themselves what they could do to improve their city. “We created some books that celebrated what was uniquely Spartanburg. To date, we have published more than 500 writers and sold more than 100,000 books,” she says. In 2006, Hub City created an alternative arts initiative called HUB-BUB in a partnership with the City of Spartanburg. Headquartered in a former Nash Rambler car dealership downtown, HUB-BUB offers more than 100 nights a year of art, culture and entertainment, as well as a nationally recognized artists-in-residence program. The mission of that spin-off organization is to build community through dynamic arts and ideas in downtown Spartanburg. The City of Spartanburg provides $120,000 in funding each year to HUB-BUB. HubBub groupRight: HUB-BUB in Spartanburg offers more than 100 nights a year of art, culture and entertainment. In 2010, the Hub City Writers Project converted an 83-year-old, 5,000 square-foot Masonic temple in downtown Spartanburg into an independent bookstore, coffee shop and a bakery. “The Hub City Writers Project is at the center of our creative energy in our community in a unique and important way,” said Bill Barnet, Spartanburg mayor at the time of the project’s launch. “From the energy of that group comes a great deal of pride,” he added. Keypoint #3: Arts and cultural activities can draw crowds from within and around the community. Increasing the number of visitors as well as enhancing resident participation helps build economic and social capital. Case study: SC Jazz Festival, Cheraw Cheraw is an older, rural town with a population of 6,000. Many South Carolinians don’t know that Cheraw is the birthplace of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. After a Ken Burns PBS special about Gillespie aired in 2001, town officials decided to seize the moment and create a jazz festival honoring him. “We had already built a statue and created a park in his honor,” said Phil Powell, tourism director for the Town of Cheraw. “But we wanted to take this opportunity to educate our community about the arts.” According to Rusty Sox at the South Carolina Arts Commission, planning for the South Carolina Jazz Festival began in 2005 with the first festival held the next year. It was and still is organized by a committee of local residents and staffed by town employees and volunteers. In the second and third years, they received a Cultural Tourism Grant from the S.C. Arts Commission to help with marketing. Cheraw Jazz FestivalRight: Beginning in 2006, the South Carolina Jazz Festival is held each year in Cheraw Powell encourages other municipalities to not try to do too much out-of-the-gate when planning festivals for their town. “Jazz works well in hot, local, out-of-the-way places, so it worked well here,” he says. Lindsay Bennett, who partnered with town officials on the jazz festival and is the executive director of the Cheraw Arts Commission, stressed the importance of getting community buy in. “Town of Cheraw officials view the event as a cultural tourism experience and continue to provide financial support,” she added. Keypoint #4: Planners can make deliberate connections between the arts and culture sector and other sectors, such as tourism and manufacturing, to improve economic outcomes by capitalizing on local assets. Case study: Emerald Triangle, Greenwood “We think we’re the perfect example of how investing in the arts brings about community development,” explained Anne Craig, executive director of the Arts Center of Greenwood. According to Craig, the Emerald Triangle in Greenwood came to fruition by having all the pieces fall into place. As with many South Carolina cities, Greenwood’s downtown was saturated with office space causing many people to feel like the sidewalks rolled up at 5 p.m. In 2003, two important things happened. Greenwood officials drafted a master plan for a “clearly defined city center and outdoor gathering space.” A major aspect of the plan was to enhance the city’s cultural assets to bring people back downtown. From the plan, a vision for the Emerald Triangle emerged involving three major cultural institutions in downtown Greenwood: the Arts Council of Greenwood County, the Greenwood Community Theatre and the Greenwood Museum. Today, the Emerald Triangle has become a nine-acre triangular shaped area in the heart of Greenwood’s downtown business district. The second important thing that happened in 2003 was the closing of a 30,000 square-foot historic federal building, which housed an old courthouse and post office. A public/private partnership, created by the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, the Self Family Foundation, the Arts Council of Greenwood County and the Greenwood City Council, purchased and renovated the historic federal building. [caption id="attachment_11355" align="alignnone" width="280"]Greenwood Federal Building Greenwood Federal Building[/caption] Over the years, the three cultural institutions have experienced a huge increase in tourists. In 2010, the groups attracted about 8,000 tourists. In 2012, the figure rose to more than 18,000. [caption id="attachment_11368" align="alignnone" width="280"]Greenwood Tourism Report Greenwood Tourism Report[/caption] “We had a beautiful building, an excellent leadership team, and a city government with a vision,” concluded Craig. “We had the right people at the right time.”
Via: Municipal Association of South Carolina

Hub City Bookshop at the center of Spartanburg’s literary community

Christopher George reports on the success of Hub City Bookshop for OurUpstateSC.info:

The bricked sidewalk meanders a bit as it works its way west from Morgan Square in Downtown Spartanburg, and it seems only fitting that it should for a city that has taken its own winding revitalization path. As anyone here will tell you, it wasn't all that long ago when those picturesque paths on W. Main Street were mostly empty past the clock tower and the famed statue that gives Spartanburg's town square its name. Today though, the western end of downtown-known as the Grain District since 2010-is bustling with activity, and at its center, in the ground floor of an 85-year-old Masonic Temple, is Spartanburg's nexus of literary community, Hub City Bookshop. Sitting adjacent to Little River Coffee Bar and Cakehead Bakeshop (both of whom lease space from Hub City), and with covered outdoor seating available under the Masonic Temple's columned facade, Hub City Bookshop is far from typical in this age of big box stores and online retailers. Sure, the 2,000-square-foot space houses many of the same bestsellers you can find in those big chain stores, but like a lot of independent bookstores, the staff-along with a cadre of volunteers-at Hub City are true literary aficionados with the "staff picks" shelf to prove it. But none of that really sets Hub City Bookshop apart from other independent bookstores. What does is the shop's unique place in the community. Hub City Bookshop is a Spartanburg original in every sense, particularly in the role it serves as the retail face of the Hub City Writers Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bolstering Spartanburg's vibrant literary community. In the 15 years prior to the opening of their same-named bookstore, the HCWP had made a name for itself in the independent publishing world. Focusing on both fiction and nonfiction works with "an emphasis on the Southern experience" and "a strong sense of place," the HCWP had released dozens of titles by local and regional writers through its publishing arm, Hub City Press, but after Spartanburg's last independent bookstore closed in 2006, the organization was in serious trouble. "Local book sales of Hub City Press titles had plunged. In fact, they had dropped to a dangerous level and we were beginning to discuss the survival of the press," recalls Hub City Writers Project Executive Director Betsy Teter. Walking past the Masonic Temple, whose lower level had been empty for some time, Teter came up with the idea for a bookshop, a place that would allow the HCWP to do something most other independent publishers can't, control its own destiny. Supporters in Spartanburg rallied behind the idea, raising $300,000 to renovate the space, allowing Hub City Bookshop opened its doors in July of 2010. Over three years in, Hub City Bookshop is thriving and has allowed the organization behind it to continue serving the Spartanburg community exactly as Teter had hoped. "By opening the store, our local book sales increased by $25,000 in the first year and have stayed at that level since," she offers. The bookshop serves as a showcase for the organization's own releases, and creates an important, stable funding stream for the rest of the HCWP's mission, funneling proceeds from book sales back towards publishing and literary programming which includes creative writing workshops, scholarships, two writer-in-residence programs, and dozens of literary events each year. Crucially, the bookshop has become the location for many of those literary events Hub City brings to Spartanburg, featuring writers from around the country. As much as the HCWP has bolstered Spartanburg's literary community through giving local writers an outlet that otherwise wouldn't exist, so too Hub City Bookshop has given those local writers and readers a space they didn't have before, providing a boost to Spartanburg's bourgeoning downtown as well. "Hub City has always had a second mission to help build a sense of community in Spartanburg, and providing redevelopment in the central business district through a gathering spot such as this, brings local people together in important ways," said Teter.