← View All Articles

Arts Commission announces five 2018 recipients of Verner Awards for the Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 February 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing the five South Carolinians to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts – the highest arts honor in the state – in 2018. The following five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Dr. Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
“Each recipient of these Verner Awards is an outstanding ambassador for our state and contributes greatly not just to the arts community, but the overall quality of life," S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz said. "Such dedication to the arts benefits South Carolina’s people and, as we’ve just learned, adds to the arts’ $9.7 billion impact on our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission nears completion of its 50th anniversary celebration, we are honored to recognize organizations and individuals who live out the service, commitment and passion that helped the arts here thrive throughout the last half century.” A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the Board for final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation from each category. The 2018 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. Awards will be presented Wednesday, May 2 in a morning ceremony at the State House. 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 to support the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and are to be available for purchase by mid-March. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon, call 803.734.8696 or visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.
  • Tom Stanley (Artist Category) is the recently retired chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts. He was the first director of the university galleries and became department chair in 2007. The native Texan earned two graduate degrees from USC and taught on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida before returning to South Carolina. He increased student artist and department visibility while at Winthrop through partnerships in both Carolinas. His work has been exhibited throughout the southeast and in four European countries, and he has completed commissions for public art in several states. He resides in Rock Hill.
  • Alan Ethridge (Individual Category) became executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville in 2005 and maintains the position after previously serving as its director of marketing and development. A tireless and selfless advocate of the arts, he has universal recognition in the Upstate for playing a critical, leading role in fostering a growing arts environment. Ethridge is a summa cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University and previously worked in fundraising at Clemson University. He resides in Greenville.
  • Dr. Anne S. Richardson (Arts in Education Category) entered the teaching profession in the late 1980s while continuing to dance professionally until 1995. She started a jazz dance company in Columbia in 1987 and taught ballet in various public schools while earning her graduate degrees. In 2001 she began the dance program at Palmetto Center for the Arts. She aspires to create original thinking through arts integration in her students at Westwood High School in Blythewood, where she is a drama teacher and former chair of the fine arts department. She resides in Columbia.
  • Bank of America (Business Category) has a rich history of commitment to the arts, which translates into global programs as well as local support for what is most relevant in each community it serves. In South Carolina, the bank has given more than $2 million to support the arts across the state and arts disciplines in recent years, its associates have contributed 81,000 volunteer hours in the last five years, and associates will serve on four boards in 2018. Its South Carolina headquarters are in Columbia.
  • The mission of Ballet Spartanburg (Organization Category) is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance, and outreach. Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. It is headquartered in Spartanburg.

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.

TD Bank helps SmartARTS expand in Greenville schools

From the Greenville News Article by Paul Hyde, photo by Heidi Heilbrunn

[caption id="attachment_27694" align="alignleft" width="225"]Alan Ethridge Alan Ethridge, executive director, Metropolitan Arts Council[/caption] The Metropolitan Arts Council’s arts-integration program in local schools got a hefty boost with a $200,000 pledge from TD Bank on Tuesday. The program, SmartARTS, uses the visual and performing arts to engage students and improve achievement in the core academic subjects in dozens of Greenville County schools. Cal Hurst, regional vice president of TD Bank, announced the grant at a Tuesday press conference in downtown Greenville. “SmartARTS has a proven track record of success in improving academic achievement through integration of the arts into the standard curricular of our public schools,” Hurst said. The pledge will establish the TD Center for Arts Integration at MAC’s office at 16 Augusta Street. “TD Bank believes in investing in the communities in which we serve by carefully selecting projects and programs of cultural and education value,” Hurst said. The money, to be paid over several years, will be used “to continue and expand the SmartARTS program,” said Alan Ethridge, executive director of MAC, the Greenville arts umbrella organization. SmartARTS currently has a budget of $225,000 annually. That money is used to train teachers and artists to partner in the classroom. Arts integration “is a natural way to engage students and to keep their interest,” said Mary Leslie Anderson, principal at League Academy of Communication Arts. SmartARTS helps students “to be analytical, critical, reflective thinkers,” Anderson said. In a classroom with an arts-integration component, an English teacher might use landscape or abstract paintings to inspire student essays. He or she might use self-portraits throughout history to encourage students to write reflections about themselves. Science teachers might use creative movement to help younger students understand cloud formation. The arts build student confidence and teach broad “21st century skills,” said Elaine Donnan, magnet coordinator at League Academy “Students will take these creative and problem-solving skills and the confidence they get through these programs and apply them to everything they do in the future,” Donnan said. League Academy, a magnet middle school with students in grades six through eight, has a particularly strong commitment to the SmartARTS program. “We try to get as many teachers as we can to do the SmartARTS training in the summer,” Anderson said. “It really helps the newer teachers especially to understand what arts integration looks like.” SmartARTS began in 2002 with three federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling $2.1 million, said Charles Ratterree, MAC board chairman and assistant director of the Fine Arts Center. Beginning in two high-poverty schools, SmartARTS subsequently expanded to meet the demand from other schools, including the Charles Townes Center, Greenville’s public school for the highly gifted. After federal funding expired in 2007, the MAC board decided to continue the program with local funding. “Since then, over $2.1 million has been raised to expand SmartARTS,” Ratterree said. “It has trained over 200 artists and more than 250 teachers during its training institutes.” More than 60 Greenville schools have participated in a SmartARTS project since 2002, Ethridge said. SmartARTS helps to bridge the gaps teachers often find between students’ different learning styles, Ethridge said. Ratterree drew attention Tuesday to TD Bank’s strong commitment to Greenville. “For MAC to be able to share in the phenomenal philanthropy of TD Bank is a real privilege,” Ratterree said. “This collaboration between the two organizations is further evidence of TD Bank’s commitment to making Greenville the best city it can possibly be. Since its founding locally in 1986, TD Bank has provided million of dollars in charitable support for Greenville-area initiatives. This is a staggering accomplishment, and one of which the entire community can be very proud.” TD Bank’s Hurst said the arts contribute substantially to a city’s economic vitality. “We recognize the value of the arts to a community’s growth and prosperity,” Hurst said. “It’s something we’ve seen vividly in Greenville.” For more information about the SmartARTS program, call MAC at 864-467-3132.

Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council marks new fundraising record

From The Greenville News Article by Paul Hyde

[caption id="attachment_25924" align="alignright" width="300"]greenvilleMACawards Lorraine Goldstein and Hal Weiss accept the 2015 MAC Lifelong Support of the Arts Award at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Gunter Theatre on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.[/caption] Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council raised a record of more than $2 million in 2015, MAC board chairman Charles Ratterree announced Tuesday. Most of the money generated helps to support dozens of Greenville arts groups and artists. “This allows us to provide record high grants to individuals, arts organizations and arts education programs,” said MAC executive director Alan Ethridge. Among MAC's grants recipients, eight local arts groups received $25,000 each in operating support. Those organizations are Artisphere, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Little Theatre, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Peace Center, the South Carolina Children’s Theatre and the Warehouse Theatre. MAC also committed $10,000 to the Greenville County Museum of Art to purchase works by Greenville-area artists for its permanent collection. To support its grants, MAC receives donations from a variety of sources: individuals, corporations, foundations, the city of Greenville’s accommodations tax, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Greenville’s arts scene has never been more vibrant and prosperous, Ratterree said, speaking at MAC’s annual meeting at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre. “We are in the midst of an arts renaissance in Greenville, with over 60 arts nonprofits that display not only the incredible talent in our community but an enthusiasm for sharing with others,” Ratterree said. “One of the great things about Greenville is the idea that the arts are for everybody. Many arts events are free and open to the public.” Now in its 43rd year, MAC also provided $111,336 for specific programs or projects to 60 schools, individual artists and local arts organizations, Ratterree said. Ratterree announced that last year’s Open Studios, a weekend MAC event that spotlights Greenville’s visual arts community, involved 132 artists, generated a record $277,548 in sales and was attended by 41,284 people. Before announcing MAC’s annual awards, Ethridge remembered Sherwood Mobley, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s executive director who passed away Feb. 26. MAC honored several Greenville arts leaders. The MAC Visionary Award went to Sally Potosky and Caroline McIntyre, sisters who lead the Greenville Chautauqua Society. The MAC Lifelong Support of the Arts Award was presented to local arts philanthropists Lorraine Goldstein and Hal Weiss. The Carl R. Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education went to Dr. Gary Robinson, a faculty member of the Fine Arts Center and longtime director of the Young Artist Orchestra, one of the ensembles of the Greenville County Youth Orchestras. The Young Supporter of the Arts Award was presented to Elizabeth and Michael Fletcher. Elizabeth Fletcher is the vice president for strategy and business development for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Michael Fletcher is a real estate broker and attorney. The TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership awards went to: McKinney Dodge Ram Chrysler Jeep & Mazda (businesses under 100 employees) and BMW Manufacturing Company, LLC (businesses with 100 or more employees). The Put Your Heart in the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carl Sykes.

Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council marks new fundraising record

From The Greenville News Story by Paul Hyde

Greenville's Metropolitan Arts Council raised a record of $2 million in 2014, MAC executive director Alan Ethridge announced this week. Most of that money helps support dozens of Greenville arts groups and artists. "This allows us to provide record high grants to individuals, arts organizations and arts education programs," Ethridge said. "It's groundbreaking." At its annual meeting, MAC recognized several Greenville leaders for their support for the arts. Steve Brandt, who retired last fall after a long career as publisher of The Greenville News, received the Lifelong Support of the Arts Award. Since arriving in Greenville in 1978, Brandt has served on the boards of several Greenville arts organizations — including stints as chairman of Artisphere and the Peace Center. Brandt, as publisher of The Greenville News, supported extensive arts coverage by the newspaper. "Steve is an eloquent, wildly intelligent, thoughtful leader who is tremendously good at building consensus," said Peace Center president Megan Riegel. "He was the perfect executive to chair the Peace Center's board during its $23 million capital campaign." Thanks to increases in fundraising, MAC is providing more financial support to local arts organization than ever before, Ethridge said. Nine local arts organizations will receive $25,000 each in operating support. Those organizations are Artisphere, Carolina Ballet Theatre, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Little Theatre, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Peace Center, the South Carolina Children's Theatre and the Warehouse Theatre. Those grants were $10,000 per organization in 2006. They've steadily increased to the current $25,000 per organization, thanks to MAC's fundraising, Ethridge said. Now in its 42nd year, MAC also provided a record-high of $193,321 in project support grants for specific programs. Those grants went to 19 schools, 20 individual artists and 53 arts organizations. Ethridge announced that last year's Open Studios, a weekend MAC event that spotlights Greenville's visual arts community, involved 121 artists, generated $215,880 in sales and was attended by 44,801 people. "It was a great year," Ethridge said. Ethridge announced also that MAC's endowment had raised $768,117. MAC plans to use income from the endowment to provide additional financial support to Greenville arts organizations. The endowment made its debut last year with an eventual goal of $25 million. Such a hefty endowment could produce an income of $1 million in annual support for Greenville arts organizations. The endowment is a long-term project but MAC plans to embrace ambitious fundraising goals every year — including a goal of $1 million in 2015. Most of that is expected to come from individual and corporate sources. Only a small portion is likely to be raised from government contributions, Ethridge said. "It's going to ensure the sustainability of the artists and arts organizations that make Greenville a truly fabulous city," Ethridge said. For its general budget, MAC receives donations from a variety of sources: individuals, corporations, foundations, the city of Greenville's accommodations tax, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. MAC recognized several arts leaders at its annual meeting. Kerry Murphy, executive director of Artisphere, received the MAC Visionary Award. Shirely Sarlin, a veteran Greenville stage actress, was recognized with the Put Your Heart in the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award. The TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership awards went to: Productions Unlimited, Inc. (businesses under 100 employees) and Greenville Heath System (businesses with 100 or more employees). The Carl R. Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education went to Jon Jeffrey Grier, instructor of advanced placement music theory, advanced topics in music and honors music history at the Fine Arts Center, the magnet school for young students in the arts. Kacee Lominack, development assistant for the Greenville Symphony, received the Young Supporter of the Arts Award.

Local (Greenville) artists open their studios Nov. 8-9

The 13th annual Greenville Open Studios takes place Nov. 8-9 and features 129 artists and their studios. Visit the Metropolitan Arts Council's website for a list of the artists, maps, an app and more info. From The Greenville News (Editorial):

Greenville did not become known for its arts and culture by accident. It took much hard work, a bold vision and an appetite for taking risks to create a lively and welcoming environment that has both inspired artists to push forward with their calling and nurtured a community that has appreciated and rewarded those artists. Much as Artisphere has done in the spring to promote the arts and publicly declare this community’s love and support for them, Open Studios has done in the fall by allowing people to take a tour of the world of local artists. Like most local events that have exploded in popularity, Open Studios started small, in November 2002. The idea for the event came with Patti Brady when she moved to the Upstate from San Francisco, according to a Greenville News story by Ann Hicks, who was the newspaper’s arts writer at the time. Brady had experience with such projects on the West Coast, and wanted to bring the concept to Greenville where the public could visit artists’ studios. Fifty-nine artists signed up for the first Open Studios tour in 2002 that had a simple mission, according to the story: “Meet the artists. Ask questions. Watch them create. Buy original artwork.” At that time Open Studios had goals similar to what they are today. From the beginning Open Studios gave voice to local artists so they could make people familiar with what they do and how they do it, according to that first news story. And the event helped artists create a sense of community, and people who once worked alone started to know each other. From these experiences a deeper appreciation for the arts and greater familiarity with local artists took root in our community. And those local artists began to meet and collaborate. This weekend 129 artists will be participating in Open Studios, and 29 of them will be new to the event. Artists will showcase their work in a variety of media that includes painting, sculpting, print-making, stained glass, metalsmithing, textiles, mosaics, ceramics and mixed media. As Alan Ethridge, executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council that coordinates this event, wrote in an op-ed on these pages on Sunday, “These artists have invested their valuable time and resources to ensure that the weekend promises something for everyone from an avid art collector to a first-time buyer or a curious observer.” Here’s how Open Studios works: There are many ways that you can see where the artists and their studios are located. You can dig out your official catalog that ran last week in this newspaper, you can call the MAC office at 864-467-3132 or you can visit www.greenvilleARTS.com. You also can download an app at www.greenvillearts.com. (Don’t simply go to your phone’s App Store or you could end up with a tour in another state). Open Studios traditionally has taken place on Saturday and Sunday, and this year the hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. Some studios will be open on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and those are listed in the materials about the event. After you plan your tour, get ready to meet some great local artists and interact with them inside their studio. You can talk about what inspires them, ask questions about how they approach their painting or sculpture, and even watch them while they work. You also can purchase some of the best local art you will see in our area. More than 350,000 people have visited various studios since this event began in 2002, and those patrons have purchased about $2 million in art from our local artists. Sculptor Dave Appleman, who will be participating for his fourth year in Open Studios, explained the appeal of the event to Greenville News arts writer Paul Hyde. “I’ve enjoyed it because it gives artists an opportunity to talk about our work. People have a lot of questions and I enjoy talking about what I do and showing my work.” The arts are vital to Greenville. The arts enhance our community’s quality of life and give greater meaning to the lives of people who live here. Make no mistake though, the arts are a powerful tool for economic development and most certainly have played a major role in the growth and success of the Greenville area. They help attract not only businesses and entrepreneurs to our community, but also they bring money into our community. The arts account for an overall annual economic impact of about $200 million in Greenville County. Events such as Open Studios would not be possible without generous corporate support, the expertise of groups such as the Metropolitian Arts Council, and, of course, the artists themselves who are eager to share of their time and talent. This year’s event is free as Open Studios has been since its humble beginnings. The 2014 presenting sponsors are Regions Bank and SEW Eurodrive. Other sponsors and volunteers also have helped bring this event back for its 13th year. Map out your plans for the weekend. Visit as many studios as you can. Talk to some great local artists. And don’t go home empty-handed.

G.P. McLeer

The arts — a tool in every community’s toolbox

Thanks to G.P. McLeer for sharing his thoughts on this topic. Building a community is hard work. Imagine a room of 100 hungry, tired and opinionated toddlers, and then try to create a place where every child walks around with a smile on their face, content with their surroundings. This is essentially what building a modern community is like. When community leaders sit down to plan how to better develop their city/town/state, they have a lot of things to consider: public safety, public health, infrastructure, logistics, opinions (a lot of those), industry needs, residential needs, quality of life enhancements - the engines of growth that make this “machine” move forward. Community leaders, volunteers, officials and stakeholders can all be considered the “builders” of a community, and the community itself a monstrous machine. To build, maintain, fix and continue to develop this machine, the builders have an equally large tool box full of helpful instruments that assist in measuring, tightening, loosening, adjusting and building additional components. For the builders of a community, these tools include things such as sewer and power lines, asphalt, garbage trucks, police cars, hospitals, fire stations, arts centers or councils, parks, zoning requirements, codes, laws, regulations and city hall. Wait a minute -- did I just say "arts centers and councils?" Yes, I did. No longer should someone see the arts as a sign of solely a “healthy," “successful” or “rich” community.  The arts are not solely a sign of success; they are not an amenity, a frill or elitist. The arts are one among many tools to be used by communities at all stages – developing, new, old, successful, struggling – to assist in constructing the framework of a place that is more than an interstate stop or a point on a map, but a place called home, a place called vacation, a place that puts a smile on every “toddler's” face. The arts are in every community's tool box, but it is up to its leaders to take out the arts and apply them to their machine.  A community that ignores the arts as a tool, but rather regards the arts as an added benefit, neglects not only the functionality of its community, but sets their community afloat without any agent to bond the people together. A community that doesn't acknowledge art as a vital component of infrastructure, or at the very least an important part of their machine,  is broken before it's even turned “on." When successful communities revitalize themselves, re-identify themselves, or develop themselves, they include the arts. In 1982, more than a dozen corporate leaders from Greenville, South Carolina, traveled to Memphis, Tennessee – not to discuss business stats or company policies -- but to talk arts. As Greenville began looking at revitalizing its downtown, corporate leaders took notice of the important role their companies could play in helping arts organizations re-invigorate the community.  This trip, organized by Greenville's Metropolitan Arts Council and the Memphis Arts Council, sparked a discussion that no doubt was the starting point for using the arts as a tool for community development. Greenville is the perfect example of what is possible when the arts are viewed as a tool and is one of the most creatively inspired and arts friendly downtowns in the country.  Meanwhile, Fountain Inn, S.C., is well on its way to capitalizing on its arts offerings, and right here in Mauldin, we're working hand-in-hand with our community leaders to ensure that our programs at the Mauldin Cultural Center are geared towards strengthening our great community. I urge you all to start looking at the arts not just as a way to advance your local arts organization's mission, but as a vital tool in building your community. G.P. McLeer is executive director of the Mauldin Cultural Center in Mauldin, South Carolina.  


Greenville Open Studios offers peek into creative process

Seasoned collectors, first-time buyers and the curious general public can meet and watch artists at work during Greenville Open Studios Nov. 3 - 4. The self-guided tour features 140 Greenville-area visual artists with locations throughout a 15-mile radius of downtown Greenville, including Easley, Greer, Travelers Rest and Dacusville. A catalogue of participating artists and detailed maps of studio locations are available from the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council and at each artist's location. You can also use an available smart phone app to create a list of studios and plan your route. Greenville Open Studios hours: Saturday, Nov, 3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov, 4, Noon – 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (select artists) "Fair and Square," an exhibition of one 12”  x  12” (x 12”) work of art from each of the participating artists, will be on display in the Metropolitan Arts Council's gallery at 16 Augusta Street from October 26 through December 3.  The exhibit is an excellent way to become acquainted with the artists’ work and marvel in the talent of Greenville’s visual artists. For more information, visit the Metropolitan Arts Council's website. Via: Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council, Indie Craft Parade


Artisphere issues call for visual artist entries

[gallery link="file"] The ninth annual Artisphere festival in Greenville, S.C., announces the 2013 Call for Visual Artist Entries.  Consistently ranked a top art show in the country, Artisphere received 884 applications for the 2012 event, and organizers expect more competition for the 120 spots in 2013. The festival is scheduled for May 10-12, 2013. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 18, 2012, at www.zapplication.org.  Artists may apply in 18 different medium categories including ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber, furniture, jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and more.  A panel of four arts professionals will review applicants in a blind jury process. Artists may also apply for the Emerging Artist Scholarship, a program open to artists living in Greenville, S.C., who have developed a solid body of work within the last two years but who are not currently earning a living as a professional artist.  Scholarship applicants will be subject to the same jury process as other applicants. Painter Julie Hughes Shabkie was the first Emerging Artist Scholarship recipient at the 2012 Artisphere festival. She received marketing materials and guidance, free booth space and use of display screens during the festival. "The scholarship allowed me to participate in Artisphere for the first time,” remarked Shabkie.  “As the festival draws both tourists and local attendees, I was able to introduce my work to art enthusiasts from within our community and outside it as well." “The Emerging Artist Scholarship was extremely successful in its first year and a great addition to the Artisphere festival,” stated Metropolitan Arts Council Executive Director Alan Ethridge.  “I am confident this new program will continue to create more opportunities for local artists by opening the door for new business and recognition.” For more information about the festival, the application process, or to download a paper application, visit the Artisphere website. Photos: Examples of art work from 2012 Artisphere artists. via: Artisphere