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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. 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 Awards

Nomination 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?
Verner Award nominations can be made in the following categories:
  • Arts in Education
  • Organization
  • Government
  • Business/Foundation
  • Individual
  • Artist
For complete nomination guidelines or more information about the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com, or contact Senior Deputy Director Milly Hough: mhough@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8698.

Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award

Created 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.
Before submitting a nomination, you are strongly advised to contact Program Specialist for Community Arts & Folklife Dr. Laura Marcus Green to determine whether your nominee is eligible: lgreen@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8764. For more information about the Folk Heritage Award, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

Team additions, senior staff changes to improve SCAC service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14 August 2019


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is announcing additions to the agency’s team of arts professionals and changes to senior staff designed to improve and streamline the constituent service experience. New Executive Director David Platts is making these changes as part of plans being implemented to improve responsiveness to increasing demand for the agency’s services. The changes begin with two full-time staff additions that will provide constituents program-specific access points to arts professionals who can best serve their needs. Ce Scott-Fitts is to join the SCAC Monday, Aug. 19 as artist services program director. Scott-Fitts comes from Charlotte, where she was creative director and founding staff of McColl Center for Art + Innovation. She established an international residency program for North Carolina artists, curated exhibitions, developed the artist-in-residence program, and built the education/outreach and artist services programs. In addition, Scott-Fitts partnered with colleges and universities in both Carolinas, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and others to develop and fund residencies and public art commissions. She taught at Central Piedmont Community College and served on selection panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. An artist herself, she has exhibited throughout the Southeast and her work is held in public and private collections in the U.S., Japan, and the U.K. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. Laura Marcus Green, Ph.D. joined SCAC on a full-time basis in late July. She previously split time between the agency and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum as a result of a folklife and traditional arts partnership between the two. In her new role, she is serving as program specialist for community arts and folklife. She holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and a master’s in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, SCAC, Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.
Further changes include the promotion of Arts Education Director Ashley Brown to senior staff in a new role as deputy director. In addition to continuing as arts education director, Brown will also direct the short and long-term work of the grants, community arts, artist services, and visual art departments. Deputy Director Milly Hough is being promoted to senior deputy director. She will direct the short and long-term administrative, communications, finance, human resources, and operations departments’ work. “Having come to the arts commission from the role of a grantee lets me see some ways we can position ourselves to provide better constituent service. These changes are the start of a process that should ultimately make us even more responsive and efficient,” Platts said. “It is exciting for our team to be fully staffed again. Ce and Laura have the qualifications and experience to benefit the people they serve at a high level, and the expertise Ashley and Milly provide should dramatically enhance internal organization and processes.”

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

SCAC announces $4.4 million in FY20 grants to provide arts access across the state

Funding ‘vital’ for arts experiences, arts education programs

[caption id="attachment_41221" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A summer STEAM camp in 2018. Students participate in a summer STEAM camp in 2018.[/caption]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 August 2019 COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina communities will benefit from $4.4 million in fiscal year 2020 grants to their artists, arts organizations, and schools announced today by the South Carolina Arts Commission. As they return to classrooms this month, around 170,000 South Carolina students will have access to the educational benefits of the arts as part of the school day thanks to Arts in Basic Curriculum Project grants to 83 schools and districts. Other grants range from operating grants and project support for organizations to seed money and fellowships for individual artists, ensuring an assortment of relevant arts experiences across South Carolina. “This public funding approved by the legislature is vital to those who receive arts commission grants, but public support of the arts represents so much more than monetary support,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “To the children who attended STEAM camps this summer in Allendale, Barnwell, and Clarendon counties, it represents exposure to a new world of possibility and engagement. It represents the lights on or rent paid to the small dance company in Columbia, small choir in Pickens, and the new orchestra in Rock Hill. It represents freedom to create for four fellowship recipients, four traditional arts mentors and their apprentices, and three artist entrepreneurs,” Platts said. “Our agency is immensely proud to help make these things possible in and for South Carolina.” Additional grants to be awarded throughout the year offer potential for impact in all counties. Among them are Arts Project Support grants, which offer funding for projects by artists and arts organizations; and Teacher Standards Initiative grants, which help teachers acquire supplies, materials, and expertise to meet the 2017 College and Career Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. Both grants have rolling deadlines, and project support grants are designed to be accessible, streamlining the application process to remove barriers often faced by small organizations and individual artists. In FY19, which ended June 30, the S.C. Arts Commission for the first time placed a grant in each of the state’s 46 counties in a single year. A total of $4,377,035 was awarded. “That is a major milestone, and is the result of listening to the community, ground-level work, and sincere relationship building on the part of our team,” Platts said.

Amounts Awarded to Programs in Primary Grant Categories

Arts in Education: $2,074,476

Grants help fund curriculum planning and implementation, artist residencies, performances, professional development for teachers and summer and afterschool arts programs.
  • Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement: $899,207  Awarded to 83 schools and school districts that are participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which works to ensure every child in South Carolina has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the Arts Commission, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Arts Education Projects: $382,789 Thirty-eight grants funding projects and programs that support quality arts education programs in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that utilize the arts to advance learning in children (social service, health, community, education or other organizations).
  • Education Pilot Projects: $480,000 Ten grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $312,480 Two grants to support management of the ABC Project partnership.

Operating Support: $2,131,603

Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.
  • General Operating Support: $1,909,307 One hundred thirty grants for arts organizations.
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations: $111,972 Forty-six grants for arts organizations with annual expense budgets of less than $75,000.
  • Statewide Organizations: $110,324 Nine grants for arts organizations operating statewide.

Folklife and Traditional Arts: $113,033

Grants support programs that promote a greater understanding and visibility of South Carolina’s many cultures through documentation and presentation of traditional art forms, their practitioners and their communities.
  • Organization grants: $32,000 Six grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000 Four grants that support a partnership between a master artist, who will share artistic and cultural knowledge, and a qualified apprentice, who will then continue to pursue the art form.
  • Partnerships: $71,033 One grant to support management of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Partnership.

Subgranting: $70,000

Seven awards to local arts councils that distribute quarterly grants to organizations and artists in their regions. This program is funded in part by an award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Artists Ventures Initiative: $10,000

Three grants to individual artists for projects designed to help them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers.

Individual Artist Fellowships: $20,000

Four grants to individual artists to recognize and reward their artistic achievements. These were announced in July 2019 after approval by the SCAC Board of Directors.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

Workshops to unite communities’ business, creative sectors

Orangeburg, Georgetown first to benefit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Business and creative sector representatives in two communities will have opportunities to explore potential collaborative efforts there because of a new South Carolina Arts Commission initiative. Logo for AIR Institute of Berea CollegeThe workshop “Art Builds Business Builds Art” is itself the result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and AIR Institute of Berea College in Kentucky, which was created to teach creatives and business people to connect and share their strengths. Funding for the free workshop is provided by SCAC and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (ETF). Business owners and those who work in the business world and creatives—be they chefs, painters, musicians, photographers, graphic designers or from other creative disciplines—are invited to gather at The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium on the campus of South Carolina State University (300 College St.) from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 for the workshop. The workshop is free, light refreshments will be served, and parking is also free. AIR Institute founder Beth Flowers will join workshop facilitators Yvette McDaniel, director of choral activities at Denmark Technical College and chairwoman of Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL), and GP McLeer, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. South Carolina State University and The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium are pleased to bring “Art Builds Business Builds Art” to Orangeburg. Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association, and Simple Chef are also serving as event sponsors. Three days later, a workshop will take place in Georgetown Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 from 1-3 p.m. at the Georgetown County Airport (129 Airport Rd., Georgetown). The new Georgetown Arts & Humanities Council is responsible for bringing ABBBA to the lower Grand Strand. Vanessa Greene is the director of the new council, and she will co-facilitate with Georgetown-based actress and artist Natalie Daise. “The South Carolina Arts Commission sees the business and creative communities as natural partners for community revitalization. In business you need creative solutions to finding competitive advantages, and creatives often need connections offered by business to realize the unique solutions they can offer. ‘Art Builds Business Builds Art’ is an important first step in Orangeburg and for the state as the commission seeks to expand these opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

About AIR Institute

The AIR Institute is an empowering ecosystem that provides artists, businesses and communities the tools, resources, and support to learn, connect, and succeed. The AIR Institute merges the creativity of the arts with the innovation of business to raise the value of arts and creativity in all our communities. AIR has evolved since its humble beginnings in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve transformed from a small town’s big idea to an impactful program that has served several thousand artists, creatives and communities across the United States. Learn more at AirInstitute.org.

New leadership in place at S.C. Arts Commission

  • New fiscal year brings new board, staff leadership
  • Two new board members welcomed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) welcomed a new board chairwoman, new executive director, and two new board members at the start of fiscal year 2020 on July 1. [caption id="attachment_40818" align="alignright" width="250"]SCAC Board Chairwoman Dee Crawford works her way through some paperwork for Executive Director David Platts at a visit to the arts commission July 11, 2019. SCAC Board Chairwoman Dee Crawford works her way through some paperwork for Executive Director David Platts at a visit to the arts commission July 11, 2019.[/caption] At their last meeting in June, the SCAC Board of Commissioners elected Delores “Dee” Crawford of Aiken as its chairwoman. Crawford is a former award-winning owner and operator of seven McDonald’s restaurants employing more than 400 people. She holds a mathematics degree from Fisk University in Nashville, and previously worked for IBM in the Washington, D.C. area. Crawford is a community leader, serving on numerous boards in and around Aiken and is a fellow of the Riley Diversity Leadership Institute at Furman University. She was most recently serving as a vice chair of SCAC and was chair of the search committee that reviewed and interviewed candidates to be the agency’s new executive director. That committee’s work resulted in the hiring of David Platts of Lancaster as executive director, which was also effective July 1. Platts holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina. He has broad experience in education, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in schools across the state. He joins SCAC from Lancaster County School District, where he served as arts and science coordinator for 15 years. In June, the state senate approved two gubernatorial appointees to the SCAC Board of Directors.
  • Bhavna Vasudeva of Columbia is a licensed real estate agent and owner and manager of several rental properties. She has deep community ties, as indicated by her service on high-profile local boards of the American Red Cross, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, and South Carolina Arts Foundation, among others. The UofSC graduate has previously served as a commissioner of the state governor’s mansion.
  • Linda Stern of Columbia returned as a commissioner. Stern, a previous chairwoman of the SCAC Board of Directors, is also a UofSC alumna and is a recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts from SCAC and the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. Active in her synagogue, Stern maintains her own deep community ties with service on multiple boards, including Columbia City Ballet, McKissick Museum, the South Carolina Arts Foundation, the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, EdVenture Children’s Museum, and more.
“We’re delighted to welcome two new commissioners, along with a new executive director, during this time of transition. The new members will contribute greatly, and all of us are ready to begin working to serve South Carolinians and ensure everyone has access to the benefits of the arts in their lives,” Crawford said.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

S.C. Arts Commission names new executive director

David Platts to join agency July 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) Board of Directors is announcing David Platts of Lancaster is to be the agency’s new executive director, effective July 1, 2019. Platts currently serves as arts and science coordinator for Lancaster County School District, a position he’s held for 15 years. He will be the first new executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) in nine years, stepping in to lead an agency of 15 full-time staff who work to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three areas: arts education, artist development, and community arts development. “While I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity, I am even more excited at the thought of serving with this dynamic team as we strive to advance the arts in South Carolina. Having worked with them as a grant recipient, an arts advocate on many levels, and in arts education, I understand the Arts Commission’s essential role. I am excited to make Columbia my home, where together we will continue working to keep the arts in the heart of each South Carolinian,” Platts said. In his current role, Platts supports the Lancaster County School District’s arts teachers and oversees their instructional programs, six of which are for schools participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, a joint program of the SCAC, Winthrop University, and the South Carolina Department of Education. He manages the district’s arts state and federal education grants, some of which come from the SCAC. He is formerly a teacher, assistant principal and principal at elementary schools elsewhere in South Carolina and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina. In addition to his work as an educator, Platts has served locally on the Lancaster County Council of the Arts as a board member and president. He has statewide experience as a member, president, and current treasurer of the Palmetto State Arts Education board and as a current member of the South Carolina Arts Alliance board, where he has been active as an arts advocate. He is involved in his community, serving on the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce board, and is an artist himself: a pianist, he is an accompanist and is involved in music leadership at his church. “We are pleased to identify David Platts as the new executive director of SCAC. We believe he has the right skills to oversee the agency, develop a new strategic plan and implement it over the course of the next 10 years,” SCAC Board of Directors Chairman Henry Horowitz said. “David is assuming leadership of a great state arts agency and wonderful staff and on behalf of the board of directors, we wish him best of success.” Dee Crawford, who will begin serving as chairwoman of the SCAC Board of Directors July 1, was chair of the executive director search committee. “In thinking about the specific roles someone in this job plays, we knew we needed a proven leader and experienced advocate to be prepared for the rigors of running a state agency. David has a broad blend of board leadership and his arts advocacy locally, statewide, and on the national level made him an ideal candidate,” Crawford said. “Further, David is an educator whose deep ties to the Arts Commission’s arts in education programs give him knowledge of the agency. Adding in his strategic planning experience, this is someone forward-looking who is focused on the future of the arts in South Carolina,” she said. Platts will replace Ken May, who retires at the end of June after serving 33 years at the SCAC, the last nine as its executive director.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key 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.

Full Statements

HENRY HOROWITZ, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION “We are pleased to identify David Platts as the new executive director of SCAC. We believe he has the right skills to oversee the agency, develop a new strategic plan and implement it over the course of the next 10 years. David is assuming leadership of a great state arts agency and wonderful staff and on behalf of the board of directors, we wish him best of success.” DEE CRAWFORD, SEARCH COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION “In thinking about the specific roles someone in this job plays, we knew we needed a proven leader and experienced advocate to be prepared for the rigors of running a state agency. David has a broad blend of board leadership and his arts advocacy locally, statewide, and on the national level made him an ideal candidate. Further, David is an educator whose deep ties to the Arts Commission’s arts in education programs give him knowledge of the agency. Adding in his strategic planning experience, this is someone forward-looking who is focused on the future of the arts in South Carolina. His background as a musician will help him relate to our artists as our agency seeks to help them make sustainable careers.” DAVID PLATTS, INCOMING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION “While I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity, I am even more excited at the thought of serving with this dynamic team as we strive to advance the arts in South Carolina. Having worked with them as a grant recipient, an arts advocate on many levels, and in arts education, I understand the Arts Commission’s essential role. I am excited to make Columbia my home, where together we will continue working to keep the arts in the heart of each South Carolinian.”

Media Resources

Print and web formatted images of David Platts are available here. Interview requests for anyone named in this news release and other SCAC board or staff are available. Contact Communications Director Jason Rapp via the information below. The secondary contact is Deputy Director Milly Hough: 803.734.8698 or MHough@arts.sc.gov.

All you need to know about S.C. Arts Awards Day

14 recipients to be honored May 1

  • Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award presented at ceremony
  • S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon & Art Sale to follow

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two awards honoring high arts achievement in South Carolina will be presented to 14 recipients Wednesday, May 1, 2019 during South Carolina Arts Awards festivities at the UofSC Alumni Center in Columbia. The South Carolina Arts Awards, sponsored by Colonial Life, are a joint presentation of 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.

Awards Ceremony

Both awards will be presented at the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia), which begins with a reception from 10-10:45 a.m. The official ceremony begins at 11 a.m. S.C. Arts Commission Board Chairman Henry Horowitz and Executive Director Ken May will be joined by South Carolina First Lady Peggy McMaster to present the awards to each recipient. Nine 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: Tyrone Geter, Elgin
  • INDIVIDUAL: Kathleen Bateson, Hilton Head Island
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION (Individual): Simeon A. Warren, Charleston
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION (Organization): South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, Hartsville
  • BUSINESS: Hampton III Gallery, Taylors
  • GOVERNMENT: Florence County Museum, Florence
  • ORGANIZATION: The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston
  • ORGANIZATION (Special Award): Town Theatre, Columbia
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Cecil Williams, Orangeburg
Four artists and one advocate are being recognized with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award as practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. They are:
  • John Andrew “Andy” Brooks (Liberty): Old-Time Music
  • Dorothy Brown Glover (Lincolnville): Quilting
  • Julian A. Prosser (Columbia): Bluegrass Music
  • The Voices of Gullah Singers (St. Helena Island): Gullah Singing
  • Dale Rosengarten, Ph.D. (McClellanville): Advocacy, African-American Lowcountry Basketry & Southern Jewish Heritage
McKissick Museum will celebrate this year’s Folk Heritage Award recipients at a mixer Tuesday, April 30 from 6-8 p.m., at the Blue Moon Ballroom (554 Meeting St, West Columbia). Admission is free for McKissick members or $5 for non-members. RSVP’s can be made, or tickets purchased, by going here. For more information, or to RSVP or purchase a ticket over the phone, call 803.777.2876.

S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon & Art Sale

The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). Works by South Carolina will be on sale from 11 a.m. to noon, with proceeds supporting S.C. Arts Commission programs. The luncheon program is expected to run from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
  • Unique ikebana flower arrangements, in partnership with Ikebana International Chapter #182 of Columbia, will serve as table centerpieces. Each arrangement, available for sale, will be presented in an included, original vase crafted by a South Carolina artisan.
  • Art experiences will also be sold.
  • The keynote speaker will be S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May, retiring at the end of June 2019 after 33 years at the agency and the past nine as its leader, giving a “State of the Arts” message.
  • Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase through SouthCarolinaArts.com or by calling 803.734.8696.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Five artists to receive 2019 Folk Heritage Awards from state

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

Four artists and one advocate selected

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


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

About the Folk Heritage Award Recipients

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

About the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program

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

About McKissick Museum

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803-777-7251 or visit http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/mckissick_museum/.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

ABC Project names new executive director

Dr. Kim Wilson promoted to lead Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 March 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project is announcing the promotion of Dr. Kim Wilson to be the program’s new executive director as of April 1, 2019. Wilson will be responsible for helping 84 schools or districts provide 170,000 South Carolina K-12 students with access to arts-rich education. The program, which is a partnership among the South Carolina Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and the S.C. Dept. of Education, provides critical training and networking for arts teachers who learn best practices from each other. Schools or districts join the program after receiving a grant from the S.C. Arts Commission to support their arts education efforts. The program’s field services coordinator for 18 months, Wilson is a Winthrop University alumna. She earned her doctorate in education this year from Walden University. Her experience in arts education began in community education teaching adult and children’s classes through the University of Vermont and Very Special Arts VT. Afterwards, she served as education director at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit and executive director for Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. Over the last 10 years, Kim has focused on public arts education. After only teaching four years, she was recognized as the 2012 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. Since then, she transitioned into empowering all educators with creativity-fostering teaching practices, including arts-integration strategies through her work with Arkansas A+ Schools. She replaces Christine Fisher, who served as executive director for 18 years and announced her retirement earlier this month. “My commitment to and passion for arts education have been influenced by ABC Project’s accomplishments and the people who contributed to its history. And while my personal arts education journey has taken many forms across several states over the last three decades, all have prepared me for this unique role in my home state. I am honored and eager for the opportunity to lead ABC Project in the next chapter of its rich history,” Wilson said. “In Kim Wilson, the ABC Project has someone with demonstrated success fostering and implementing arts education. In a relatively short time, she’s immersed herself in all facets of the program and contributed to its success. But beyond that, she has incredible passion for what she does and is a natural fit to be the ABC Project’s next leader,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.

About the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

For 30 years, the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project provides leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education (dance, music, media arts, theatre, visual arts and creative writing) for all students in South Carolina. It is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. For more information, visit ABCProjectSC.com.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Arts education leader Christine Fisher announces retirement

Fisher led Arts in Basic Curriculum Project for 18 years


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13 March 2019 [caption id="attachment_39351" align="alignright" width="225"]Christine Fisher Christine Fisher[/caption] COLUMBIA, S.C. – Christine Fisher is to retire from the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project this month after spending nearly 20 years working to provide comprehensive arts programs in schools across the state. Fisher, who lives in Florence, began her career in arts education in the classroom, teaching chorus, guitar and musical production at Dillon High School and then elementary general music, beginning band and middle school band in Florence School District One through 2001. She left that year to become executive director of the ABC Project, a partnership among the S.C. Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and S.C. Department of Education that works with schools and districts across the state to maintain and expand arts opportunities for all students. It is based at Winthrop in Rock Hill. Under Fisher’s leadership, the program grew to serve 84 schools or districts and 171,000 students this school year and played an important role in making sure the arts were included in the landmark Profile of the South Carolina Graduate in 2015, a rigorous set of standards for college and career readiness adopted by the state General Assembly in 2016. “Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. Many highlights dot the timeline of Fisher’s career. She was twice selected as a school and district Teacher of the Year, and twice selected as one of the five South Carolina honor roll teachers. Selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1998, she is the only music teacher to hold the honor in the program's history. The S.C. Arts Commission awarded her state’s highest arts award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, in 2006, and she received the Winthrop University Medal of Arts in 2012. “She has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.

Full Statements on Christine Fisher's retirement

MOLLY SPEARMAN S.C. Superintendent of Education

“Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly.”

KEN MAY Executive Director, S.C. Arts Commission

“The first time I ever heard Christine Fisher speak, she told the moving and powerful story of how the arts, specifically music, saved her life. As I reflect now on her retirement, I realize that all of her work, her entire amazing career, has been about paying forward—at increasing orders of magnitude—the wonderful, transformative gift that she was given. From her early days teaching in Dillon and Florence, to her ground-breaking tenure as State Teacher of the Year, to her long, outstanding service as Executive Director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, she has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making!”

JEFF BELLANTONI Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Winthrop University

“Christine has been an integral part of the arts community at Winthrop University for 18 years. We had the pleasure of recognizing the impact she has made in 2012 when she was awarded our Medal of Honor in the Arts. Her passion and commitment to integrating the arts into education throughout the state is unmatched. Christine’s steadfast support of the arts is evident through her many years of service as an educator and arts advocate, and she will be missed.”


About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.