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Recent acquisitions star in new McKissick Museum exhibit

Thank You, Love McKissick opens today

Features dozens of new acquisitions


The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum is proud to announce its next major exhibition, Thank You, Love McKissick, to run from May 20 to Dec. 7, 2019. Organized as an exploration of recent acquisitions, this new exhibition allows the public a glimpse of what, why, and how the museum builds its permanent collection. Thank You, Love McKissick is a celebration of the efforts of our donors, visitors, and institutional partners who help the museum tell the story of Southern life. McKissick Museum is excited to highlight new additions of art, silver, textiles, minerals, pottery, political memorabilia and objects related to the history of the University of South Carolina. Over 120 objects, including McKissick’s most recent gift of amethyst, smoky quartz, and mica crystals from Ron Koning will be on display for the first time. According to Curator of Collections Christian Cicimurri, “Thank You, Love McKissick serves as our way of sharing McKissick’s collections with the public and thanking all the donors who make this happen. We couldn’t possibly tell the story of Southern life without them.” Donors and the public are invited to the opening reception on May 28, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. This free reception will also include a gallery talk from our Curator of Collections, beginning at 6 p.m. Light refreshments to be served. Other exhibit-related events include:
  • Under the Dome: McKissick Museum’s Behind-the-Scenes Tours
    • July 11, 2019 – 5:30-7 p.m.
    • 14, 2019 – 5:30-7 p.m.

Join McKissick Museum’s Curator of Collections Christian Cicimurri and Curator of Collections Management Mark Smith for a glimpse ‘under the dome’. At McKissick Museum, less than 2% of its objects are on display at any one time, so this is your chance to see what you might have missed on your last visit. Visitors will get a behind the scenes look at the museum’s storage areas and a variety of objects not on display. Don’t miss this unique experience to learn more about the University of South Carolina’s museum and its expansive collections.

  • Lunch & Learn: Object Care for Collectors
    • Sept. 12, 2019 – 12-1 p.m.

McKissick’s Lunch & Learn series explores object care with Curator of Collections Christian Cicimurri. Bring your lunch and learn as she shares on how to care for your treasures based on museum standards. Lunch & Learn programs are free and open to the public, but space is limited.


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 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The museum is closed Sundays and university holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit http://www.sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

Five artists to receive 2019 Folk Heritage Awards from state

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

Four artists and one advocate selected

S.C. Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC manage program


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The General Assembly is to honor five recipients with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, presented annually to recognize work that keeps the state’s traditional art forms alive. Four artists and one advocate are to be recognized 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. The 2019 recipients are:
  • John Andrew (Andy) Brooks (Liberty): Old-Time Music
  • Dorothy Brown Glover (Lincolnville): Quilting
  • Julian A. Prosser (Columbia): Bluegrass Music
  • Voices of Gullah Singers (St. Helena Island): Gullah Singing
  • Dale Rosengarten, Ph.D. (McClellanville): Advocacy, African-American Lowcountry Basketry & Southern Jewish Heritage
Print and web images of recipients available here. The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House selects the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state. “The work of proliferating our state’s unique cultural heritage is an important one in an age of constant change,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “The intrinsic value of these treasured art forms is the story each tells of where and who we’ve been, and are, as a culture. We should all be grateful for the work these award recipients do on our behalf.” The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award and Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards are to be presented at the South Carolina Arts Awards sponsored by Colonial Life on Wednesday, May 1 in a morning ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon where South Carolina artists’ work will be on sale, all to support the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase through SouthCarolinaArts.com or by calling 803.734.8696. McKissick Museum will host a mixer to celebrate this year’s Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients on Tuesday, April 30 from 6-8 p.m., at the Blue Moon Ballroom in West Columbia (554 Meeting St, West Columbia). Admission is free with a McKissick membership, or $5 for non-members. Please RSVP or purchase your ticket by going here. For more information, or to RSVP or purchase a ticket over the phone: 803.777.2876. Guests are encouraged to buy/reserve their tickets by Friday, April 26. Only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the event, and admission will be on a first-come, first served basis. For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards, visit the McKissick Museum website at http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/mckissickmuseum or the S.C. Arts Commission website, SouthCarolinaArts.com.

About the Folk Heritage Award Recipients

John Andrew (Andy) Brooks (Artist Category, Old-Time Music) first plucked the strings of a banjo when he was 4 years old. Since, he’s picked up guitar and fiddle and gone so far as to win the 2016 S.C. Fiddle Championship while placing second in banjo that year. His passion for traditional Southern music has resulted in a collection of hundreds of tunes he knows and plays by heart. An avid educator, Brooks has taught for the Young Appalachian Musicians After School Program and the Oconee Heritage Center, and this summer will teach Appalachian banjo at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Brooks plays for dances and hosts jams where musicians of different skill levels and repertoires share and learn from one another. In 2016, he co-founded the Old Keowee Contra Dance to benefit the Oconee Heritage Center’s music progra Brooks’ art form, old-time music, blends historic influences from Africa and the British Isles and features sacred and secular songs. Brooks, who calls Liberty, S.C. home, considers old-time music a community-based tradition, in which everyone contributes to the music, through dancing, playing or singing. Dorothy Brown Glover (Artist Category, Quilting) is well-known for her distinctive use of traditional quilt design elements and patterns from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in 1925, Glover creates exquisite quilt tops incorporating improvisational design methods that were popular among quilters whose social and economic status did not allow for the purchase of store-bought fabric for use in quilt making. Glover gracefully transforms thoughts and visions onto fabric and encourages other quilters, regardless of skill level, to experiment with patterns, colors, and designs. She generously shares her knowledge with all who want to learn and makes herself available to younger artists who seek out her experience and guidance. Glover lives in Lincolnville, S.C. Julian A. Prosser (Artist Category, Bluegrass Music) loved the sound of music played by his grandfather and uncles, growing up on the family farm. When he was 11, Prosser earned the money to buy his first guitar and was soon also playing banjo and guitar. By 1938, Prosser and some friends put together The Carolina Hillbillies, but it never reformed after World War II claimed several of the band. Prosser later took up bluegrass again, and in 1978 he, his son, and some friends formed The Carolina Rebels bluegrass band, and they’ve been playing ever since. Prosser has mentored many younger local musicians, including three fellow Jean Laney Harris Award recipients. Prosser remains a passionate advocate for bluegrass music and is recognized as both a pioneer and master of his craft by many local bluegrass performers. Now 93, he continues to be a driving force to keep local bluegrass alive and well in the Palmetto State. Prosser lives in Columbia, S.C. Voices of Gullah Singers (Artist Category, Gullah Singing) is made up of Gracie “Minnie” Gadson, Rosa Mae Chisholm Murray, and Deacon Joseph Murray. Each singer has a long and distinguished performing career, with deep roots in the praise house tradition. As a trio over the past 5 years, Voices of Gullah have performed at many events including Penn Center’s annual Heritage Days, The Original Gullah Festival, and local praise house services. Recently, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina presented the trio to seven schools in Beaufort and Jasper counties as part of their program, Reach: A Gullah Musical Journey. The singers truly enjoy singing for students and teaching the next generation their rich legacy of Gullah-Geechee spirituals. The Voices of Gullah Singers are based in St. Helena Island, S.C. Dale Rosengarten, Ph.D. (Advocacy Category, African-American Lowcountry Basketry & Southern Jewish Heritage) has been researching the sweetgrass basketry tradition for over 30 years. Her fieldwork with basket makers and archival research on the tradition’s evolution have culminated in landmark projects like McKissick Museum’s 1986 exhibit, Row upon Row, Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry and Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Tradition (2008), both of which toured nationally. Rosengarten coordinated a 1988 conference in Charleston which resulted in agreements between basketmakers and elected officials on land concerns and the importance of the tradition. She has authored numerous publications on Lowcountry baskets and their history. Her knowledge and connections to basketmakers have been essential to numerous cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Underground Railroad History Museum. In 1995, Rosengarten was hired as a historian and curator at the College of Charleston Addlestone Library in recognition of her work on South Carolina and Southern Jewish traditional life. She has dedicated her professional and personal life to advocating for the ways traditional arts link us to a shared human experience greater than our singular activities, thereby enriching contemporary society. Rosengarten lives in Charleston, S.C.

About the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program

The Folklife and Traditional Arts Program is designed to encourage, promote, conserve and honor the diverse community-based art forms that make South Carolina distinct. The major initiatives of the program serve both established and emerging cultural groups that call South Carolina home.

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/.

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.

Extension announced for folklife project grants

Furthering South Carolina's living traditions

Application deadline now Friday, March 22
The S.C. Arts Commission's Folklife & Traditional Arts (FLK) Grants support non-profit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state. Traditional arts are expressions of shared identity that are learned as a part of the cultural life of a particular group. This shared identity may be rooted in family, geographic, tribal, occupational, religious, ethnic or other connections. As expressions of a living culture, traditional arts have been handed down from one generation to the next and reflect the shared experience, aesthetics and values of a group. The purpose of the FLK Grant is to ensure that South Carolina’s living traditions remain vibrant and visible parts of community life. To this end, we fund projects that may include the following:
  • Presentation of Traditional Artists through workshops, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, radio programs, recordings, etc.
  • Documentation of Traditional Arts and/or Folklife of S.C. (Such a project must result in some form of public presentation.)
  • Cultural Survey – Fieldwork done to identify traditions and traditional artists
  • Production, Documentation and/or Distribution of a traditional artist’s work; for example, the production of publicity materials
  • Acquisition of difficult-to-obtain materials or equipment needed to create traditional art
  • Conservation – Projects, such as apprenticeships, that serve to keep a traditional art form vibrant and visible
Projects can receive funding up to and including $6,000. These grants go to non-profit organizations and government entities and must be matched 1:1. Priority for funding is given to projects that provide recognition and support for South Carolina’s traditional art forms and their practitioners. Read more about FLK Grants from the S.C. Arts Commission here.
The Folklife and Traditional Arts Program is a partnership with McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. 
The main image on The Hub's home page is 2018 Folk Heritage Award recipient J. Michael King of Greenville.

Folk traditions alive and featured at S.C. State Fair

Starting today, join the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum at the South Carolina State Fair for FOLKFabulous@theFair. This year, our signature folklife festival celebrates South Carolina’s vibrant pottery traditions, drawing on two McKissick exhibitions: Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler and Place It/Face It: Pottery by Eugene. Also featured are Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative artists, highlighting the Folklife & Traditional Arts Program of McKissick Museum and the S.C. Arts Commission. FOLKFabulous@theFair brings together outstanding tradition bearers from around the state, so that we may better know and appreciate our region’s unique cultural heritage. FOLKFabulous@theFair is not an event to simply observe, but also an invitation to participate and engage with artists and cultural traditions that make the Palmetto State home. Come to the Rosewoods Building to enjoy arts displays, demonstrations and hands-on craft activities, an exhibit featuring South Carolina’s pottery heritage, concerts and hands-on music workshops, and our oral history station. New this year, Share Your Fair Story offers visitors an opportunity to record their South Carolina State Fair memories in preparation for the Fair’s 150th Anniversary in 2019. You won’t want to miss the chance to join in a community drum circle, try your hand at making a pot or a story quilt block, or contribute to our yarn-bombing display. You’ll also find music to move your heart and dancing feet: Piedmont Blues by Freddie Vanderford & Millbilly Three, bluegrass by Kristin Scott Benson & Friends, and a cappella spiritual and gospel singing by the Blackville Community Choir. Keith BrownFeatured ceramic artists and organizations include:

  • Rosa & Winton Eugene
  • Justin Guy of Old Edgefield Pottery
  • Catawba potter Keith Brown (right)
  • Columbia Art Center
  • South Carolina Clay Conference & Newberry Art Center
  • Southern Pottery
Find detailed program listings at: www.scstatefair.org. Don’t forget to plan a visit to McKissick Museum to view the exhibitions that inspired this year’s festival:
  • Swag & Tassel: The Innovative Stoneware of Thomas Chandler brings new archaeological and archival research to bear on our understanding of a 19th-century Edgefield potter (Aug. 2018-July 2019).
  • Place It/Face It: Pottery by Eugene is the first retrospective exhibition of ceramic art by self-taught, African-American potters Winton and Rosa Eugene of Cowpens. This husband-and-wife artistic team have produced a body of functional wares that speak to southerners’ shared experience of place, and sculptural works that address issues of particular concern to them (Aug. 18-Dec. 15).
McKissick Museum is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. FOLKFabulous@theFair is made possible with generous support from the South Carolina State Fair, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

FOLKFabulous@theFair 2018 Schedule

  • All activities in the Rosewoods Building, unless otherwise indicated with an *
  • See online or printed schedule for exact times and details. All events & activities are free with Fair admission.
Daily Events
  • McKissick Museum Exhibit: Pottery in South Carolina McKissick Museum introduces visitors to South Carolina’s pottery traditions. Learn about the building, glazing, and firing techniques used by historical and contemporary potters, and the minerals used to make clay bodies and glazes. Featured traditions include Southern alkaline pottery, Catawba pottery and more. Also, find out more about folklife and traditional arts.
  • Share Your Fair Story As we gear up for the South Carolina State Fair’s 150th Anniversary next year, McKissick Museum would like to gather your stories and memories of Fair traditions and experiences. Stop by and share your favorite memory of your family’s quilts, canned or baked goods, or other State Fair traditions.
  • Hands-on Experiences FOLKFabulous@theFair offers daily opportunities for hands-on experiences. No previous experience necessary to participate! Kindle your creativity.
  Wednesday, October | 12-6 p.m. Yarn Bombing ~ Yarn Bombers of Columbia Ever notice the yarn masterpieces adorning trees, parking meters and more on Columbia’s Main Street? The Yarn Bombers of Columbia decorate the Rosewoods Building, host an open stitching circle, and speak about their work.* *Yarn Bombers of Columbia onstage interview will be held in the Home Arts area, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience ~ Columbia Art Center The Columbia Art Center presents pottery displays and offers hands-on experiences in throwing and coiling clay pieces. Potters will have work for sale.   Thursday, October 11 | 12-6 p.m. Speaking with the Clay: A Tribute to David Drake ~ EboniRamm and Columbia Art Center Create your own story in clay! Poet EboniRamm and Columbia Art Center’s talented potters lead participants in tapping their creativity and experience to combine pottery and poetry. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience ~ Columbia Art Center The Columbia Art Center presents pottery displays and offers hands-on experiences in throwing and coiling clay pieces. Potters will have work for sale.   Friday, October 12 | 12-8:30 p.m. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience ~ Columbia Art Center The Columbia Art Center presents pottery displays and offers hands-on experiences in throwing and coiling clay pieces. Potters will have work for sale. Find Your Rhythm: Community Drum Circle ~ Columbia Community Drum Circle Join in a community drum circle! Drums provided. Since 2004, the Columbia Community Drum Circle has provided a safe, non-intimidating, family friendly space for anyone wanting to explore the joy of group drumming.   Saturday, October 13 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience: Rosa & Winton Eugene Rosa and Winton Eugene of Cowpens, SC demonstrate and talk about their work, highlighting techniques and forms that explore scenes of the rural south and the Eugenes’ experience as African Americans and concerned citizens of the world. They will offer a display, with pieces for sale, and a hands-on pottery activity.   Sunday, October 14 | 1-6 p.m. Hands-On Experience ~ Southern Pottery | 1-4 p.m. Participate in a clay experience: build your own mask or a face jug. South Carolina Treasures: Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative
  • Bluegrass Concert ~ Kristin Scott Benson & Friends | 3-4 p.m., WLTX Stage Join Kristin Scott Benson and an all-star cast of today's top bluegrass artists, including Shawn Lane, Marcus Smith, and Alan Bibey, for an impromptu set of top-notch music, also featuring Samantha Morgan, a recent apprentice in the SC Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative.
  • Bluegrass Banjo Workshop ~ Kristin Scott Benson & Samantha Morgan | 4:30-5:30 p.m. Come explore the roots and contemporary styles of bluegrass banjo, with Master Artist, Kristin Scott Benson, and Apprentice, Samantha Morgan. This will be an intimate, highly interactive workshop, with a Q and A session.
  Monday, October 15 | 12-6 p.m. South Carolina Treasures: Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative Catawba Pottery ~ Keith Little Bear Brown & Teresa Harris Master Catawba potter Keith Brown and apprentice Teresa Harris display and demonstrate their work, talk about their apprenticeship, and offer hands-on instruction in the pinch pot technique.   Tuesday, October 16 | 12-6 p.m. South Carolina Treasures: Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Gullah Sweetgrass Basketry ~ Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Association Learn about Gullah Geechee history and the sweetgrass basket tradition. Enjoy a display and demos featuring multiple basket weavers, and take part in a hands-on activity.   Wednesday, October 17 | 12-6 p.m. South Carolina Treasures: Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award
  • A Cappella Spiritual & Gospel Singing ~ Blackville Community Choir | 12-2 p.m. The Blackville Community Choir has been gracing church services, weddings and other community gatherings since 1965. Come hear them in concert and join in a community singing session.
  • Indian Clay Traditions ~ Folk Artist Jugnu Verma | 2:30-5:30 p.m. Explore the origin and evolution of Indian tribal and folk art forms and their influence on modern Indian art and life, with Indian folk artist Jugnu Verma. Try your hand at Lippan, a form of clay art traditionally used to adorn homes in the hot, arid region of Kutch, India. Or, decorate a Diya, the clay vessel used to hold candles during Divali, India’s annual festival of lights.
  Thursday, October 18 | 12-6 p.m.
  • Immortal images: Decorating Techniques of Old Edgefield Pottery Justin Guy creates and talks about Edgefield Pottery and its design elements. He will teach how to create elemental designs using pen and ink, drawing inspiration from what is around us in our daily lives and environment.
  • Yarn Bombing ~ Yarn Bombers of Columbia The Yarn Bombers of Columbia return to the State Fair to host an open stitching circle and speak about their work. Stitch your own creation and add it to the display! Yarn Bombers onstage interview will be held in the Home Arts area, 3:30-4:30
  Friday, October 19 | 12-6 p.m. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience ~ Newberry Arts Center & South Carolina Clay Conference The Newberry Arts Center & South Carolina Clay Conference present pottery displays and offer hands-on experiences in creating clay pieces. Potters will have work for sale.    Saturday, October 20 | 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Pottery Display and Hands-On Experience ~ Newberry Arts Center & South Carolina Clay Conference | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Newberry Arts Center & South Carolina Clay Conference present pottery displays and offer hands-on experiences in creating clay pieces. Potters will have work for sale. South Carolina Treasures: Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative
  • Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award | 3-3:30 p.m., 5:30-6 p.m. Piedmont Blues Concert ~ Freddie Vanderford & Millbilly Three Come hear South Carolina Piedmont blues legends Freddie Vanderford and the Millbilly Three, carrying on a Palmetto State tradition from the Upstate. (Millbilly Three concerts on the WLTX Stage.)
  • Piedmont Blues Harmonica Workshop | 4-5 p.m. Join Master Piedmont Blues harmonica player Freddie Vanderford and Apprentices Mattie Phifer Suber and David “Shag” Stepp for a hands-on Piedmont Blues harmonica workshop. Harmonicas provided.
  Sunday, October 211-5 p.m. South Carolina Treasures: Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Hands-on Family & Memory Quilt Workshop ~ Peggie Hartwell Create your own fabric story block, exploring the use of color and design to find your "voice on cloth." Materials provided. See a pop-up display of quilts by Peggie Hartwell, who depicts her family stories, African American culture and history, and current world issues in her detailed and colorful work.

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: Dr. Stephen Criswell

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 Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Dr. Stephen Criswell

Traditional Arts & Folklife | Advocacy Award Dr. Stephen Criswell has worked in the field of folklore for over twenty years. A 1997 graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he has concentrated on the study and preservation of South Carolina traditions, customs, and cultural practices. His research and fieldwork (much of it conducted with his late wife, Samantha McCluney Criswell) have included African American family reunion traditions, Southern foodways, especially Carolina Fish Camps, and literary uses of folk culture. His most prominent contribution is his work as an advocate for Native American culture, with a special focus on Catawba potters and contemporary expressive traditions. In 2005, the University of South Carolina Lancaster hired Criswell and challenged him to build and direct USCL’s Native American Studies program. Thirteen years later, the Native American Studies Center (NASC) houses the largest fully intact collection of Catawba pottery in existence, an extensive archival collection, and a staff dedicated to celebrating and promoting Native American culture. Through the efforts of Dr. Criswell and his colleagues, USCL now offers students a concentration in Native American Studies. Criswell has worked closely with South Carolina tribal leaders and members, the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, and a variety of arts and cultural agencies, to bring greater attention to the history and culture of South Carolina Native communities. Under his leadership, the NASC has mounted thirty-two exhibitions, covering a range of subjects. Since opening in 2012 in the heart of downtown Lancaster, the NASC has seen 30,000 visitors from all over the world, a clear demonstration of raising awareness of the history, culture and traditions of Native people of the South. Criswell has conducted oral history interviews with a host of Catawba potters, including Eric Cantey, Evelyn George, Elsie George, Bertha Harris, Beulah Harris, Cora Harris Hedgepath, and Elizabeth Plyler. His work with these artists provides a public forum that gives voice to Native American community members of whom many might otherwise be unaware. In 2013, the NASC launched the Native American Artist-in-Residence Program, which provides Native artists a venue to present their culture and heritage to a wide audience of students, teachers, community members, and tourists. Criswell’s philosophy is grounded in knowing who we are, who we all are, embracing our different cultures, and learning from each other through the richness of our shared heritage. With this zeal he has written grants to secure funding to create and sustain programs that bring the Native American experience into the conversation of contemporary South Carolina culture. To date, he has secured more than $360,000 in funding from such notable sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Duke Endowment. This funding has created a platform that brings people together to learn, share, and connect through an important, though underappreciated, aspect of South Carolina culture. Traditional artist and educator Beckee Garris of the Catawba Nation states, “Dr. Stephen Criswell has made part of his life’s mission to help people understand the vast cultural histories of the natives in South Carolina. He preserves these histories by collecting our stories and respecting us in the process. I am very fortunate to say he is my mentor and also my friend.” A dedicated scholar, advocate, and mentor, Criswell is a tireless supporter of the traditional arts in South Carolina.
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: Blackville Community Choir

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 Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Blackville Community Choir

A cappella Spiritual & Gospel Singing | Artist Award The Blackville Community Choir was formed in 1965 by Catherine Carmona of Blackville, South Carolina as the Macedonia Tabernacle Choir. Carmona recognized a need to engage young people in her community in a positive way. With her love of music, she organized the choir, with the help of the Reverend H. B. Johnson, former pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, and Mrs. Mary Johnson Elmore, who was very influential in organizing the choir. Carmona taught the songs she learned as a child, including African-American spirituals and the songs sung by enslaved African-Americans laboring in the fields. Carmona and her sisters grew up singing these same songs in church and at other events throughout the area. The choir practiced at Tabernacle Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church in Blackville. They led the youth choir at both churches, traveled to other states to perform, and sang at nursing homes and at various events throughout the region. The choir’s repertoire is rich and varied – members have always maintained their love of spirituals and singing a cappella. Former directors of the youth choir were Marshall Johnson and Marie Sanders Wilson. In 1976, Sandra Beach became the choir director and the choir changed their name to The Blackville Community Choir. The group expanded to include members from different congregations and continued to sing at churches, festivals, funerals, weddings, banquets, public schools, and college graduations. In 1985, choir members organized the first Blackville Community Youth Choir, through which they continue to pass on their legacy by mentoring young people through music. The Blackville Community Choir considers traditional African-American spirituals important to their community. As a tribute to their ancestors, the choir feels a strong obligation to carry on this musical legacy. Choir members have organized and coordinated several programs, including “The Essence of Our Roots and a Journey Back in Time,” which explored their African-American musical and cultural roots. In 2017, they were involved with “Echoes from the Past,” a summer youth educational project tracing the origins of the spirituals and songs of enslaved Africans in the South. Choir members have been advocates for the arts, organizing an annual program featuring visual and performing artists, collectors, crafters, entrepreneurs, culinary artists, and storytellers. Looking ahead, the choir is planning a Youth Musical Workshop to teach traditional spirituals to young people in the community. Speaking to their joy in singing a cappella, one local minister commented, “They got more harmony than grits.”
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: Henrietta Snype

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 Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Henrietta Snype

Sweetgrass basketry | Artist Award

Henrietta Snype is a native of Mount Pleasant, SC and comes from a long line of Sweetgrass basket makers. Her skill and dedication to the artform have garnered her a reputation as a thoughtful, effective, and innovative artist who weaves history, culture, and love into each basket. Her work has been featured at venues in the Lowcountry and in museums throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art. Her creations have been commissioned by schools, museum shops, business owners, and private art collectors. Each year, she conducts workshops for public and private schools throughout Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties and at venues such as the Preservation Society, the Charleston Area Visitors Bureau, and the annual Sweetgrass Cultural Festival in Mount Pleasant, SC.  Institutions such as The Penland School of Arts in North Carolina and The John C Campbell Folk Art School in Tennessee have invited her to demonstrate and teach. Her workshops provide instruction in the craft and its history, helping participants understand that basket making is an artform with very practical roots.

 

Like many from the small Gullah communities of Four Mile, Six Mile, Seven Mile, Hamlin and Phillip, Henrietta grew up making baskets. She recalls learning the tradition from her mother and grandmother and often recounts memories of watching her elders make baskets. For them, Sweetgrass basketry was both practical and artistic. Henrietta learned the various "sewing" techniques by watching, listening, and practicing. What she has learned, she has passed on to her children and grandchildren. Equally as important, she also learned about the environment – how to recognize and differentiate between grades of sweetgrass and bulrush, safe locations to harvest it, and how to adapt to a changing landscape of gentrification that limits access to the once-abundant Sweetgrass.

 

The Lowcountry tradition of Sweetgrass basket making was born out of a technique that has its roots Senegal and Western Africa. Basket making was long held as a utilitarian craft used in the harvesting and cultivation of rice. Today, baskets are cherished works of art that are both wearable and found decorating walls and tables in hotels, restaurants, and homes across the country. 

 

Henrietta sees her work as a testament to the strength and longevity of Gullah people and her African ancestors. She has a collection of pieces representing five generations of Sweetgrass basket making that includes works from her grandmother, Elizabeth C. Johnson; mother, Mary Mazyck; daughter, Latrelle Snype, grand-daughter, Kayla Snype, and herself. Thousands of youngsters and adults have benefited from her passion, vision, and commitment to the Sweetgrass basket tradition. On the importance of passing on the tradition, she says "I have to take this on a different journey, not just because I want to make a dollar here or there, I want to be able to preserve this…And if we don't teach it to our children – because I consider myself in the middle generation – then there is not another generation.” She is truly a consummate artist, storyteller, and advocate for this Lowcountry tradition.


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: Deacon James Garfield Smalls

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 Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Deacon James Garfield Smalls

Traditional spirituals | Artist Award Deacon James Garfield Smalls sings songs that date back to the mid-19th century and, at 98, stands as one the most important active Gullah singers and cultural ambassadors. Smalls’ repertoire includes many of the songs documented in the ground-breaking songbook Slave Songs of the United States. The songbook was informed by the fieldwork of William Allen, Charles Ware, and Lucy McKim, who visited St. Helena Island in 1860. In addition, Smalls is a walking archive of the sacred songs that rang through the small confines of the Lowcountry praise house. His songs and inspirational words serve to educate younger generations, challenging them to learn about their rich history. As a young man, Smalls received musical training from B. H. Washington, a member of the St. Helena Quartet and the musical director at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Smalls sang in Washington’s renowned community choir The Hundred Voices, and he later assumed leadership of the ensemble. Smalls also served for many years as the director of the Senior Choir at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Beyond his early musical career, Smalls served in the U.S. Navy Seabees, carrying out his duties in the Pacific during World War II. Upon his return home to St. Helena Island, he supported a wife, Alvena Smalls, and family, worked a civil service job, managed a farm, and participated in programs at Penn Center. For more than 40 years, Smalls was active in the Penn Echoes, a musical ensemble comprised of Penn School graduates. Of the original 33 praise houses in the Lowcountry, St. Helena Island has two of the last remaining buildings, Jenkins and Croft. Historically, within the safety of the praise house, enslaved Africans would pray, sing, and perform the West African-derived ring shout. In the praise house, there are no instruments – only feet stomping and hand-clapping, which relate to West African clapping and drumming traditions. These rhythms, and the call-and-response style, speak to the creativity of enslaved Africans, who forged a new form of music from both African and European influences. Smalls first led Croft Praise House, but decreasing membership required joint services with members from the Jenkins Praise House. During the service, he sings many of the songs the community considers “his” songs, such as “In that Great Getting Up Morning,” “Don’t Let the Devil Fool You,” “Ride On, King Jesus,” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”  Smalls fondly remembers staying with his grandmother, who instilled in him the importance of praise house services. Smalls was featured in an episode of the SCETV program “Carolina Stories,” in which Gullah scholar Emory Campbell stated that the praise house is “one of the most vivid legacies of Gullah life.” Over the past three decades, Deacon Smalls has participated in singing at Penn Center Community Sings, various island churches, and music festivals. His is a vital connection to the past, a time when the old songs were sung by everyone on the island. He embodies a life of dedication to community and the expressive power of sacred music.
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: J. Michael King

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is going to take 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award 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 Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34675" align="alignright" width="215"] Photo by Donna Michelle Gregory[/caption]

J. Michael King

Piedmont blues | Artist Award Michael King is a composer, writer, and accomplished Piedmont blues musician with an insatiable love of traditional South Carolina music. He plays in the time-honored style of bluesman Reverend Gary Davis, a Laurens County native who played throughout Greenville and Spartanburg counties during the 1930s and '40s. The Piedmont blues, a unique regional distillation of the blues, blossomed in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia near the beginning of the 20th century. Influenced by ragtime music and early banjo techniques, Piedmont blues involves a light, finger-picking style and steady rhythms. King focuses on the music he heard and learned as a teenager. The guitar stylings of South Carolina bluesmen like Blind Willie Walker, Josh White, and Pink Anderson are tremendous influences. He apprenticed under Ernie Hawkins, who studied with Gary Davis in the mid-1960s. King’s blues pedigree is indeed rich. King has composed and performed music for four documentaries by filmmaker Stan Woodward, including Puddin' Pot, a short film produced in 2002 exploring the community-based foodway tradition. He was instrumental in co-producing a recording of Piedmont blues classics entitled Blues Haiku. King also produced his own CDs, Carolina Bar-B-Q and Meat and Three, two collections of Piedmont blues and string band music featuring tunes about South Carolina's distinctive cuisine. King plays frequently with fellow musicians and Folk Heritage Award recipients Steve McGaha and Freddie Vanderford and has presented the South Carolina blues story to thousands of students and tourists throughout the state. He conducts educational programs about South Carolina Piedmont blues for Southside High School and the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center in Pickens, and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. A popular instructor, King teaches the Piedmont blues throughout the region. His teaching approach combines the history, music theory, and technical aspects of Piedmont blues. For more than 30 years, he has mentored musicians of all ages in and around upstate South Carolina and has taught the nuances of Piedmont blues to high school students in North Carolina. Michael King has devoted his life to the Piedmont blues. The music has been his primary passion and endeavor – truly his livelihood. King is respected by his fellow musicians as both an excellent musician and an outstanding ambassador for South Carolina Piedmont blues.
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.