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Three artists to develop businesses with new SCAC grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12 July 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission continues its commitment to helping the state’s artists build or bolster sustainable arts careers by awarding three Artists’ Ventures Initiative (AVI) grants for FY2019. AVI grants encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for S.C. artists. Grants can be used to launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture. A total of $15,000 will be distributed evenly to three artists who were among 21 who applied for the grants:

  • Serwah Armah-Koranteng, Richland County;
  • Shauna Cooper, Orangeburg County;
  • Darin Gehrke, Greenville County.
Armah-Koranteng, a fashion designer, plans to use her grant to purchase a truck that will be turned into a sewing training center and mobile boutique – “the first authentic African clothing boutique on wheels in the Carolinas,” she said. “This has been my dream for the past four years of being in business, and I am just steps away from achieving it. Africstyle mobile boutique will be able to continue with its event planning activities, increase its pop-up store opportunities in major cities, and help teach basic sewing skills to customers who visit our boutique.” Cooper, who specializes in hand-molded, artisan-style candles, is owner and creative director of home fragrance and body care products company Wicks + Scents. She plans to use her award to build brand awareness with a mobile-responsive and navigation-friendly website with SEO optimization and purchase of commercial-grade equipment to increase the business’ scalability. Gehrke, a potter, will use grant funds to purchase a pug mill, a piece of equipment that will increase studio efficiency by recycling clay more quickly and thoroughly. It will also improve his studio environment by reducing dust and minimizing the physical stress of preparing clay. “The South Carolina Arts Commission commends these artist entrepreneurs on excellent pitches to our panel that sold their ideas. They contribute to an arts-related economic cluster which adds $9.7 billion to our state economy annually, and these transformative grants are to promote sustainability of these businesses,” said Executive Director Ken May of the arts commission. Beginning this fall, the S.C. Arts Commission will make a call for applicants for the next year’s grant awards. More information is available at SouthCarolinaArts.com 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.

Four artists honored with S.C. Arts Commission fellowships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 June 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina artists in Charleston, Horry, Richland and Spartanburg counties representing four arts disciplines received individual artist fellowships after approval by the S.C. Arts Commission board in Columbia. All individual artists working in prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting were invited to apply for awards for fiscal year 2019. The S.C. Arts Commission board approved $5,000 fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select these fellows after  reviewing anonymous work samples:

  • Rutledge Hammes of Charleston County for prose,
  • Stephen Tulloh of Spartanburg County for poetry,
  • Paul Kaufmann of Richland County for theatre acting,
  • and Kevin Ferguson of Horry County for theatre playwriting.
Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina's exceptional individual artists. They are awarded through a competitive, anonymous process and based solely on artistic excellence. Recognition from fellowship awards often lends artistic prestige and opens doors to other resources and employment opportunities. “Past fellows are quick to share stories about the transformative difference award dollars make and the positive effect on their spirits and their self-perception,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “It can truly be a life-changing experience. South Carolina’s artists are indispensable contributors to quality of life in our communities and make up the core of our creative economy. A fellowship is one of the best ways the people of South Carolina thank them, and our agency is proud to deliver these tokens of gratitude on their behalf.” The panelists who judged each discipline’s nominees work in those disciplines elsewhere. This year’s prose judge was Jamey Hatley of Memphis, Tenn., an author who received a prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016. The poetry judge was poet Shane McCrae of New York City, an NEA poetry fellow and writing professor at Columbia University. Nancy Rominger of Montgomery, Ala., director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, served as the theatre acting judge. The theatre playwriting judge was Betty Peterson, an English professor at Somerset (Ky.) Community College. Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists who work in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: visual arts, craft, and music performance or composition, will be honored in fiscal year 2020. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the S.C. Arts Commission. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grants/artists/fellowships.shtml.

About the FY2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship Recipients

PROSE F. RUTLEDGE HAMMES | Charleston County “What I write, at its very best, is some illegitimate hybrid of South American magical realism and Southern Gothic I like to think of as Southern Fabulism,” Rutledge Hammes says of the sum of his prose. Hammes, who lives in Charleston, is the writer-in-residence and creative writing teacher for the Charleston County School of the Arts. His students, throughout a 10-year tenure, have accounted for more than 3,500 regional and national writing awards. The city’s 2011 “Best Up-and-Coming Writer” is co-author of two published novels. His first solo novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, is to be published under his name this September. He is the winner of six ADDY Awards for copywriting and winner of the Cypress Dome Fiction Awards. His talent extends to poetry, where he was a finalist for both the Montage Poetry Award and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Award for Poetry. POETRY STEPHEN TULLOH | Spartanburg County Stephen Tulloh received his MFA in creative writing from the University of South Carolina. The Spartanburg resident has spent time as a tutor and instructor on the collegiate level, where he develops and implements subject- and student-centered courses which nurture creativity, empowerment, self-actualization. As a writer, though, Tulloh considers himself versatile and meticulous as he creates essays, books, and articles for traditional or digital publication. He blogs and has three credits to his name: two out-of-print collections of essays, activities, and lectures on communication and writing; and 2009’s Symmetry, described as “retrospective, introspective, emotive, and somewhat innovative, the poems and drawings in Symmetry focus on two siblings' relationships – with nature; with one another; with family, friends and foes.” THEATRE: ACTING PAUL KAUFMANN | Richland County Though an actor for most of his life, Paul Kaufmann is a multi-faceted artist: playwright, songwriter, fiction and copy writer, and a visual artist. A resident of Columbia with a bachelor’s in communications from Florida State University, he is a veteran of the city’s theatre scene, serving as a cast member in stage productions at Trustus Theatre and at USC. His resume includes appearances in productions in New York City, Wales and on screen in Third Reel, a Jason Stokes film. He has been the principal at Kaufmann Forensic Actors for 12 years. His company contracts 20 actors from across the U.S. to provide actors to the FBI, ICE and other federal and state agencies for use in scenario-based training, where they portray victims of myriad crimes. THEATRE: PLAYWRIGHTING KEVIN FERGUSON | Horry County He describes himself as a son, friend, actor, counselor, teacher, mentor, playwright, dramaturg, and a literary manager, but “not always in that order,” says Kevin Ferguson of Little River on his website. He is credited with writing six plays: five original, and an adaptation of Dickens’ famed A Christmas Carol. His work was included in a short play anthology in 2015 and he contributed to a nine-vignette collection of works with other playwrights. Ferguson teaches playwriting and dramaturgy at Coastal Carolina University. He earned an MFA in playwriting with a concentration in dramaturgy from Hollins University. He is playwright-in-residence, literary manager, and resident dramaturg at Atlantic Stage in Myrtle Beach. He is also the resident Dramaturg at the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins.

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.

Announcing the 2018 S.C. Novel Prize winner

      LEAD MEDIA CONTACT: Kate McMullen, Hub City Press 864.577.9349|  kate@hubcity.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 June 2018 Winner announced for biennial South Carolina Novel Prize SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, the College of Charleston, and the South Carolina State Library are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize is Scott Sharpe for his manuscript “Whispering into the Wind.” [caption id="attachment_35640" align="alignright" width="250"] Scott Sharpe (2018)[/caption] Scott Sharpe was born and raised in the Sandhills of central South Carolina and graduated from the University of SC with a degree in business. He lives in Eastover and currently works for the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office. When not helping the state rebuild its rural communities or writing, he practices the art of fly-fishing and paddles any body of water big enough to launch his canoe. He has written countless short stories and is currently working on his second novel and a collection of short fiction.  “Whispering into the Wind” follows protagonist Jack Parker’s struggle to find some purpose to his life-long strained relationship with his father and his father’s peculiar actions just before his death. The very issues that separated them in life ultimately lead to understanding and a quiet peace as Jack reluctantly follows in his father’s footsteps. Sharpe’s winning manuscript will be published in 2019 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Jill McCorkle, author of 10 books including “Life After Life” was the judge of the biennial prize this year. The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the following partner organizations:

  • 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.
  • Hub City Press was founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1995 and since then has emerged as one of the South's premier independent presses.
  • The College of Charleston is home not only to a cadre of nationally and internationally recognized writing faculty, but also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, Crazyhorse, published since 1960 and consistently ranked as among the top publishing venues in the nation. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program provides students an immersion in a world of prose and poetry and the practical aspects of establishing a career in the arts.
  • The South Carolina State Library develops, supports, and sustains a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger. The Library serves the people of South Carolina by supporting state government and libraries to provide opportunities for learning in a changing environment.
  • South Carolina Humanities is the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a founding partner of the South Carolina Novel Prize.
For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call:
  • SouthCarolinaArts.com / 803.734.8696;
  • or HubCity.org / 864.577.9349.