McKissick Museum seeking folklife program director
Application deadline: Friday, Oct. 4, 2019
The University of South Carolina McKissick Museum is looking for a folklife program director to implement folklife-related public programs and research. The position is funded by a renewable folklife partnership grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). That grant enhances McKissick Museum’s ability to document for archival purposes the cultural practices of tradition bearers in South Carolina and to raise public awareness and appreciation of these practices through a variety of public program formats. The new folklife program coordinator collaborates both with McKissick’s chief curator of folklife & fieldwork and the SCAC’s program specialist in community arts & folklife to conduct fieldwork related to the SC Tradition Bearers Survey Project and SCAC’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative. The role will also involve coordinating major annual public programs, including:
- the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards (FHA) ceremony:
- a McKissick Mixer featuring Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award (FHA) recipients:
- FOLKFabulous, a 12-day public program series organized in partnership with the South Carolina State Fair in conjunction with the Museum’s year-long folklife exhibition(s).
Nominations open for S.C.’s top arts awards
Let's honor exceptionalism in the arts[caption id="attachment_41457" align="aligncenter" width="600"] S.C. First Lady Peggy McMaster (L) and former SCAC Board Chairman Henry Horowitz (R) present the Verner and Folk Heritage awards to 2019 recipients in May 2019.[/caption]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22 August 2019 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission, in conjunction with its partners, wants to honor the next round of exceptional arts and folklife practitioners, professionals, and advocates in the Palmetto State. Eligible persons fitting those descriptions can now be nominated for the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts or the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Both awards honor South Carolinians who create or support the arts, and both award programs use a simple, online nomination process. Nominations for both awards are due Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Both awards will be presented at the South Carolina Arts Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. An art sale and luncheon by the South Carolina Arts Foundation will follow the ceremony.
Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's AwardsNomination letters for Verner Awards should describe the nominee's exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina and should address any characteristics included in the category descriptions. The letter should answer these questions:
- What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
- How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
- What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
- What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state's highest award in the arts?
- Arts in Education
Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage AwardCreated by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. The S.C. Arts Commission partners with USC's McKissick Museum to manage the awards. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. Nominations are accepted in two categories:
- Artists: South Carolina artists who have dedicated their lives to the practice of art forms that have been passed down through their families and communities and who have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive. Past awards have recognized art forms such as basket making, gospel singing, fiddling, hammock making and boat building.
- Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups that have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.
About the South Carolina Arts CommissionWith 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 grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
- arts education,
- community arts development,
- and artist development.
McKissick Museum exhibit has quilting buffs covered
'Piece by Piece' showcases quilting traditions[caption id="attachment_41358" align="aligncenter" width="600"] English-style pieced quilt medallion from the 1950s. Provided by McKissick Museum.[/caption]
The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum is proud to present the seventh rendition of its Diverse Voices exhibition series, “Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection.” On display through July 18, 2020 “Piece by Piece” illustrates the evolution of this textile tradition over the past 150 years. From the early use of chintz fabrics to the widespread popularity of solid colors, these quilts reflect traditions with roots in Europe, Africa, and the American South. Visitors will have the opportunity to view 40+ quilts over the course of the show, chosen from McKissick Museum’s extensive quilt collection. Because of the fragile nature of historical textiles, individual quilts will be only be displayed for a limited time, with three rotations occurring throughout the year, according to the museum. Throughout the exhibition, panels explore the lives of these textile artists like quiltmaker Hattie Mitchell Grubbs, who was born in Barnwell and lived to be 97. Saddler Taylor, McKissick’s chief curator of folklife and fieldwork, is excited about the exhibition. “Quilts carry a strong sense of familial intimacy and human connection. It's strangely ironic that we know so little about many of the makers. This exhibition features beautiful examples of Southern quilts; but more importantly, we want to tell the story of some of the makers. Only then can the quilts be fully appreciated," Taylor said.
“Piece by Piece” is accompanied by a robust programming calendar, beginning with an opening reception with light refreshments on Sept. 12, 2019 from 5:30-7 p.m. This free reception will feature a curator-led gallery talk beginning at 6 p.m. FOLKFabulous@theFair Oct. 9-20 2019 This year, our signature folklife festival celebrates South Carolina’s rich textile arts heritage, including Native American, African American, and Mennonite quilting traditions, in conjunction with the McKissick exhibition Piece by Piece: Quilts from the Permanent Collection. You’re invited 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, concerts and hands-on music workshops. You won’t want to miss the chance to try your hand at making a story quilt block or contribute to our yarn-bombing display. FOLKFabulous 2019 is free with SC State Fair admission. Lunch & Learn: “Quilts and the Stories of My Life” with Peggie Hartwell Oct. 14, 2019 (12-1 p.m.) Grab your lunch and learn more about the life and work of 2017 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Winner Peggie Hartwell. Peggie is a fourth-generation African-American quilter and textile educator who is nationally recognized for her unique storytelling form. Lunch & Learn events are free and open to the public; space is limited. Lunch & Learn: “Interpreting Civil War Quilts: It Gets Complicated” with Jane Pryzybysz Nov. 13, 2019 (12-1 p.m.) Explore the interpretation of civil war era quilts with McKissick Museum's Executive Director, Dr. Jane Pryzybysz. An Afternoon with Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi (Fall 2019) Recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship and Founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network. The Quilt History Project – A Look Back (Fall 2019) Laurel Horton, lead scholar on McKissick Museum's Quilt History Project in 1984-1986. Quilt Documentation Days (Spring 2020) Dr. Jane Przybysz, Executive Director, McKissick Museum. Quilts and Wellbeing (Spring 2020) Marsha MacDowell, textile scholar and project director of The Quilt Index. Faculty, Michigan State University, Curator of Folk Arts at the Michigan State University Museum. Lunch & Learn: “The Blythewood Survey Project” (Spring 2020) Kem Smith, project director for the Blythewood Quilt Survey Project.
McKissick’s calendar of events is updated frequently and available online. Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated. “Piece by Piece” and associated programming is made possible through support from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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 MuseumThe 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
About the Folk Heritage Award RecipientsJohn 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 ProgramThe 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 MuseumThe 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 CommissionWith 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.
Extension announced for folklife project grants
Furthering South Carolina's living traditionsApplication 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
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. Featured 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
- 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).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
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.
S.C. Arts Awards: Dr. Stephen Criswell
2018 Recipient Feature SeriesAs 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 CriswellTraditional 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.