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SLAY, Lowcountry artists, slay

"Support Lowcountry Artists Y'all" debuts Wednesday


Local artists have joined together to respond to the havoc that SARS-COV-2 and Covid-19 have caused for the world and the arts community. SLAY is an acronym for "Support Lowcountry Artists Y'all." This is a relief effort for the arts community led by noted Bluffton based artist Amiri Farris. Farris wanted to do something about the many Lowcountry artists who experienced a significant loss of income when the COVID-19 virus caused the cancellation or rescheduling of many local art shows, festivals, and galas. Knowing that many in the art community are facing similar difficulties, he assembled SLAY as a collaborative of artists to create content to inspire and engage the community, recover some of that income, and raise funds at this critical time. [caption id="attachment_44582" align="alignright" width="175"]Amiri Geuka Farris' handwashing artwork Handwashing artwork by Amiri Geuka Farris[/caption] SLAY’s founding roster includes:
  • Amiri Farris
  • Natalie Daise
  • Michael Dantzler
  • Sophie Docalavich
  • Dr. Thaddeus Jones
  • Ment Nelson
  • Victoria A. Smalls
  • Calvin Woodum
Heather Bruemmer, executive director of SLAY, knows well the challenges SLAY wants to address. "Many artists, musicians, and other creatives will be left behind by The CARES Act," Bruemmer said. "If you are selling your artwork here and there at shows, or are a recent graduate just getting started, you are going to be left out. The relief only covers people who had an established LLC filed prior to January 31st or were getting paid as independent contractors via IRS Form 1099. Many small independent artists won't qualify." Bruemmer continued, "Worse, recent art school grads who were claimed by their parents last year won't receive the $1,200 per person assistance either. We could lose a generation of young artists who have to set aside their craft. These are the types of artists who are often also without health care. The need is urgent and legitimate." The group is moving quickly to respond to these challenges. SLAY has incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and is expected to launch the website www.SLAYart.org April 1. The initial site will accept donations and requests for relief. As it grows, plans call for the site to be monetized through a membership model. Through this virtual co-op, donor members will receive unique content created solely for this platform from SLAY's roster of established and emerging Lowcountry artists, all of whom have experienced cancellations in recent weeks. A mix of online content, downloads, and mailed deliverables is planned. Farris states that the group will welcome new artists who are passionate about this work and have a connection to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia to join the effort. At this time the group is focused on serving the coastal counties of South Carolina and Georgia, along with the rural areas that comprise the South Carolina Promise Zone.

BONUS CONTENT: Does his name sound familiar? Learn more about Amiri Farris at the South Carolina Arts Commission COVID-19 response page.

SLAY’s goal is to be able to offer financial support to all kinds of artists and creatives who experience financial hardship during this difficult time. They will be able to apply for relief through a simple application on our web portal and can receive up to $500 in assistance rapidly via the Zelle app. This work will benefit the general public as well as the art world. SLAY will create high quality, contemporary art that comforts, inspires, and educates about practices which will need to be a long term "new normal" in our world long after the immediate threat from COVID-19 has diminished. To this end, public health experts have been engaged to advise on messaging and content that will be beneficial to the overall fight against the virus.

Tuning Up: Experience the arts this weekend

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...


[caption id="attachment_40184" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Jennifer Wen Ma’s team installs a version of Cry Joy Park at Beijing’s Tang Contemporary in October 2018. (Courtesy Halsey Institute) Jennifer Wen Ma’s team installs a version of Cry Joy Park at Beijing’s Tang Contemporary in October 2018. (Courtesy Halsey Institute)[/caption]

Hey, look; we made it.

Friday is here. You've been looking forward to it since 8:30 or 9 a.m. Monday, and it's finally here. The Hub will be mowing and pitching in on some house cleaning for sure, but a good weekend has more to it than the mundane. We are here to help. BLACKVILLE The 8th Annual Blackville Music & Art Festival is bringing a weekend full of entertainment and activities to downtown Blackville this weekend, May 17-19. Organizers promise a carnival, parade, car & bike show, several live performances, art displays, vendors, and live artist demonstrations by South Carolina artists Edmon Glover Richburg, Ment Nelson, and Terrance Washington. CHARLESTON Not an exhibition per se, but how about something that keeps on giving? Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is offering BOGO memberships (for all membership levels!) until May 31. It's part of their May giving campaign. Use this deal to enjoy Cry Joy Park—Gardens of Dark and Light from Jennifer Wen Ma (opens Saturday).  Ma helped design the stunning opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. COLUMBIA Your last chance to see Jackson Pollock: Mural is Sunday, when the exhibit at Columbia Museum of Art closes. The museum devoted two galleries not just to the mural that launched his fame but to the techniques and creation that made it what it is. LAKE CITY Join ArtFields in Lake City for a dual gallery opening on May 18th from 6-8 p.m. at TRAX Visual Art Center and Jones-Carter Gallery. On opening night, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and drinks while you view artwork from Beverly Buchanan, Jenny Fine, and Jerry Siegel. Additionally, Fine and Siegel will be present to talk about their work and the inspiration behind their pieces.

Rural creatives, S.C. Arts Commission to launch program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 31 May 2018 Secondary Media Contact: Susan DuPlessis, Program Director sduplessis@arts.sc.gov | 803.734.8693 (direct) COLUMBIA, S.C. –  The South Carolina Arts Commission and a newly formed team of creative professionals are launching CREATE: Rural S.C. with a networking and informational meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at the American Legion Hut in Hampton, S.C. “This new program is part of our greater work in community arts development with a special lens on rural communities,” said South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. “It’s an extension of what we began two years ago with our initiative called The Art of Community: Rural SC with six ‘mavens’ in six Lowcountry counties. As we build the narratives of place, we want to know who the creatives are: the innovators, artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. Who are the tradition bearers?” To fuel local connection and discovery, the arts commission has enlisted the help of 12 "creative connectors" who will be asking for creative contacts across Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties. Amber Westbrook will manage the program from the Arts Commission office, and visual artist Ment Nelson of Hampton County has agreed to serve as the local coordinator and liaison for the following ‘creative connectors:’

  • Marcus Johnson (Allendale)
  • Shakora Bamberg (Bamberg)
  • Naviree Johnson (Bamberg)
  • James Wilson (Bamberg)
  • Terrance Washington (Barnwell)
  • Bobby Harley (regional)
  • Ian Dillinger (Colleton)
  • Tamara Herring (Jasper)
  • Joanna Brailey (Jasper)
  • Amanda Whiteaker (regional)
  • Ashley Jordan (regional)
For the next three months, these individuals will be reaching out to people they know, businesses, organizations and local associations to discover who fits under the creative umbrella. They will share their findings with the S.C. Arts Commission as it builds a creative network in this rural region. Those identified will be invited to networking meetings in local communities. “We want an expansive list of folks and businesses that includes those who are well known and less well known but who are actively creative within their communities,” May said. The program is funded in part by grants from USDA-Rural Development as well as from a Neighborworks America grant won by Center for a Better South. “Part of this new program is to explore and develop the many assets of our places.  And we believe the creatives embedded within our small, rural communities are part of the lifeblood of community and what makes our places special,” said Susan DuPlessis, community arts development director at the arts commission. “Leadership, resource and professional development are important goals in this program as well as creating networking opportunities.” Networking meetings are also scheduled for July 10 in Allendale County and Aug. 28 in Bamberg County. A fourth gathering will be held Sept. 19-21 in Barnwell County, where national, state and local advisors for The Art of Community: Rural SC will explore the richness of rural South Carolina and opportunities for framing stories in ways that build upon assets and consider local challenges in new ways that use arts and culture as instruments for change. “One of the highlights of the September gathering will be to showcase some of the creatives who are discovered through CREATE: Rural SC and hear their stories about innovation, making and creation in rural communities,” DuPlessis said.  “And at the same time, we hope to put some of our local talent to work hosting and planning each of these networking meetings. We will be listening, connecting and learning from them as we support their next steps in entrepreneurship and creative expression.” For more information about The Art of Community: Rural SC, go to http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/artofcommunity/index.shtml.

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.

Ment Nelson brings pride of place to ‘Souf Cak’

It's a great day in South Carolina Souf Cak. One can easily envision that phrase appearing among Ment Nelson's tweets at some point, if it's not in the 3,100+ already tweeted. His mission statement on the social media platform is "I make it cool to be from South Carolina," so we posit that our lede is not a stretch. But don't take The Hub's word for it; the Post & Courier undoubtedly has more cachet and on Monday made the case for Nelson's innate coolness with a wonderful story you should read if you haven't already:

As an emerging artist who has gone from bagging groceries to collaborating on a New York gallery show in the span of two years, Nelson doesn't draw a line between his portraits, his hip-hop songwriting, his computerized artwork and his ebullient social-media presence. He'll use any format that gets the job done, up to and including posing for a selfie with a roost full of chickens.
Hat tip to P&C writer Paul Bowers. Artists from South Carolina are certainly germane to a Hub story, but Ment is also working on a new initiative we're going to begin talking about soon called "Create: Rural S.C." The S.C. Arts Commission will lead research on South Carolina’s creative cluster, with a deeper examination of the creative economy in the state’s rural Promise Zone (Barnwell, Bamberg, Allendale, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton Counties), a priority community of the USDA-RD (the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development). A cohort of “Next Generation” creative professionals in the Promise Zone will assist in all aspects of the development and roll-out of the plan. This program is an outgrowth of the SCAC's "The Art of Community: Rural S.C." initiative, which is active in each of the Promise Zone counties as the umbrella organization for this program and already bearing fruit in the region. Hear more from the young voices of "Create: Rural S.C." in this video. YOUNG VOICES VIDEO 5 MINUTES from Cook Productions on Vimeo.