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Jason Rapp

It’s time to honor stewards of S.C.’s folklife and traditional arts

Nominations sought for Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina want to honor exceptional practitioners and advocates working in the Palmetto State’s folklife and traditional arts.

Eligible artists and advocates fitting those descriptions can now be nominated for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the General Assembly to honor the work of stewarding and furthering the traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. The South Carolina Arts Commission and UofSC’s McKissick Museum jointly 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, bluegrass and old-time fiddling, hammock making and boat building, among many others.
  • Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups who 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.
The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 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 program guidelines and nomination instructions for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com. The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, along with the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, will be presented at the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony in the spring. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the first virtual South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony, which occurred in July rather than May. A decision on how and when the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards will be presented is to be announced at a later date.
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 McKissick Museum The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum, located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe, has more than 140,000 objects in its collection, including one of the most extensive natural science collections in the Southeast. For visitation information, online exhibits, and more, please visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

Jason Rapp

Nominations being taken to honor S.C.’s arts luminaries

Governor’s Awards for the Arts recognize arts achievement, influence, and support

Nomination window closes Friday, Nov. 6, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is once again seeking to honor persons or organizations in South Carolina who exhibit the highest levels of achievement, influence or support of the arts.

Eligible persons fitting that description can now be nominated for the South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Arts, which recognizes South Carolinians who exhibit outstanding achievement or support of the arts. The Governor’s Awards use a simple, online nomination process, and all it takes to make a nomination is one letter. The nomination letters are due Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Nomination letters for the Governor’s 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?
Governor’s 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 South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or contact Senior Deputy Director Milly Hough: mhough@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8698. The Governor’s Awards, along with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, will be presented at the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony in the spring. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the first virtual South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony, which occurred in July rather than May. A decision on how and when the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards will be presented is to be announced at a later date.

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.

Jason Rapp

Unrestricted $5,000 grants to reward eligible #SCartists

S.C. Arts Commission opens applications for FY22 Fellowships

  • Open to artists in visual arts, craft, media production & screenwriting
  • Deadline to apply is Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

For Immediate Release COLUMBIA, S.C. – Resident South Carolina visual, craft, and media production or screenwriting artists can now apply for unrestricted, $5,000 fellowships from the South Carolina Arts Commission to recognize and reward their talents. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) will grant four awards of $5,000 each to artists whose work comes from one of those four different artistic disciplines. The deadline to apply is Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists and are made through a highly competitive process. New for the FY22 cycle, the application process is no longer anonymous and awards no longer made solely on artistic merit. Consideration will also be given to achievements and commitment to the discipline in which artists apply. Artists may apply for more than one discipline, but must complete separate applications in full. Fellowships lend prestige to an artist’s reputation and can open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. Four per year are awarded by the SCAC to artists working in rotating disciplines. A lengthy list of accomplished fellowship recipients is available here. “The South Carolina Arts Commission wants to provide artists financial resources so that they may focus solely on their craft,” SCAC Artist Services Program Director Ce Scott-Fitts said. “These unrestricted grants enable artists to continue developing and creating art.” A diverse group of panelists from each discipline will judge the applicants. To apply, artists must:
  • be 18 years of age or older at the time of application,
  • be U.S. citizens and South Carolina resident with a full-time residence in state for two years before applying,
  • not be a degree-seeking, full-time student during the award period,
  • plan to remain in-state through the fellowship period (July 2021 through June 2022).
Applications may only be submitted online by midnight Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. To learn more and apply, visit the fellowships grant page on SouthCarolinaArts.com. Further questions about applying can be answered by Artist Services Program Director Ce Scott-Fitts (cscottfitts@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8203).
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.

Jason Rapp

FY21 S.C. Arts Commission grants to fuel state’s creative sector

$4.1 million to support arts, cultural work in at least 41 counties

[caption id="attachment_45056" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Group picture with big, colorful cutout letters spelling "thank you." The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by Maven Lottie Lewis, celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing grants totaling $4.1 million awarded in at least 41 South Carolina counties to support arts and culture work in the new fiscal year.

The grants, approved by votes of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors on June 18, will be distributed during the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 grant period to artists and organizations who applied for grants that support the agency’s work to further arts education, artist development, and community arts development across South Carolina. “This is a significant investment of public funds that will further the work of South Carolina’s creative sector. It will support quality arts education programming for South Carolina students. It will support many of the 115,000 jobs in and supported by our $9.7 billion arts and creative sector. It will also help make arts programming that is more representative and more accessible to all South Carolinians and our visitors,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud and excited to help provide those benefits for the people of South Carolina.”
Individual Artist Fellowship grants, announced earlier this month, and Artist Ventures Initiative grants further the agency’s artist development work by enabling creatives in South Carolina to focus on the creation of art. In the case of the Artist Ventures Initiative, those grants help an artist turn the art into sustainable income as they give artist entrepreneurs seed money to create an arts-based business or strengthen an existing one with needed materials or training. Four grants of each type, totaling just less than $37,000, were awarded. Arts education grants are heading to 76 schools and seven districts across the state, strengthening arts in school curriculum with a combined investment of $896,000. Education Pilot Project grants use $295,000 to help South Carolina organizations provide musical learning, summertime STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) camps, and professional development. Grants totaling $85,400 supporting the SCAC’s community arts development work are going to the 15 counties where The Art of Community: Rural SC is addressing local issues with arts and culture. These grants also keep unique South Carolina arts and cultural traditions alive by funding eight Folklife & Traditional Arts Apprenticeships for artists and folklife work done by four organizations. Also funded is the SCAC’s folklife partnership with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum. 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. 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.

Amounts awarded to programs in primary grant categories

Arts in Education: $1,463,832 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: $770,000  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 SCAC, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Education Pilot Projects: $295,000 Grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $272,832 One grant to support management of the ABC Project partnership.
Operating Support: $2,040,978 Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.
  • General Operating Support: $1,908,066 One hundred twenty-nine 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: $20,940 Six grants for arts organizations operating statewide.
The Art of Community: Rural SC: $85,400 Using arts and culture to address issues in rural communities with the help of local partners. Folklife and Traditional Arts: $104,033 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: $23,000 Four grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000 Eight 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: $69,000 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: $16,700 Four 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 2020 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.

Susan DuPlessis

Rural arts and culture initiative expands to 15 counties

Addressing local issues with S.C. Arts Commission program

[caption id="attachment_45057" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mavens join heads and hands to celebrate their local communities and discuss shared challenges in a January meeting in Eastover, South Carolina, hosted by Michael Dantzler. Shown l to r, mavens and their corresponding counties: Brooke Bauer, Catawba Indian Nation/York; Marquerite Palmer, Newberry; Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Betty McDaniel, Pickens; Victoria Smalls, Beaufort; Evelyn Coker, Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Hampton; Libby Sweatt-Lambert, Chester; Luis Rodriguez (seated), Marion; Johnny Davis, Jasper; Michael Dantzler, Richland; and Matt Mardell, Colleton. Photo credit: Sherard Duvall, OTR Media.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

Across South Carolina, an initiative called The Art of Community: Rural SC has taken root, creating new networks, community engagement, partnerships and energy to change minds and build communities together.

The initiative, a program of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), poses a central question: “How can we use arts and culture as strategic tools to address local challenges we face?” “It’s growing, and it’s always a learning opportunity,” said Matt Mardell, executive director of the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mardell is one of the ‘mavens’ for The Art of Community; Rural SC. He said that, as part of this network of rural leaders and their teams, he is “hearing others’ creative solutions to issues we all face.” He and his predecessor, Gary Brightwell, have participated in the initiative with five other mavens from throughout a six-county Lowcountry region since it was conceived in 2015 and launched in 2016. Mavens in other counties include: Lottie Lewis of Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel representing Bamberg; Evelyn Coker of Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Hampton; and Johnny Davis representing Jasper County. The growth Mardell references is an expansion of the initiative in 2019 that includes a broader swath of rural South Carolina. Nine additional mavens represent their communities from the mountains to the sea and myriad cultures in between. They include the following community leaders and their corresponding counties: Kayla Hyatt-Hostetler of Aiken; Victoria Smalls of Beaufort; Lydia Cotton of Berkeley; Libby Sweatt-Lambert representing Chester; Luis Rodriguez representing Marion; Marquerite Palmer of Newberry; Betty McDaniel of Pickens; Michael Dantzler of Richland; and Dr. Brooke Bauer with co-maven Laney Buckley of The Catawba Indian Nation in York County. How does the initiative work? “It’s a framework built with four critical components:  mavens, local teams, partners and advisors coupled with a state arts agency willing to invest in rural and tribal communities in a new way,” said Community Arts Development Director Susan DuPlessis of the arts commission. All 15 teams, created and led by the mavens, gather locally and as a statewide network to get to know each other better, to listen, and to consider their local assets and challenges—ultimately, to learn together. "Mavens are 'the bridges' who make this initiative work," DuPlessis said. "Knowing that I have a community beyond my community has bolstered me in my local work," said maven Lottie Lewis of Allendale. As part of this initiative, Lewis led members of her local team on a fact-finding field trip to Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in 2019. They went to explore how another small, rural town had spurred connection and growth using arts and culture. They then planned to integrate some of that learning into their local project. “We learned so much from our new friends in Tamaqua,” Lewis said. “We were inspired by how they engaged their local community to share their ideas about where they live.” Allendale’s local project plan, though, along with the plans of the other 14 sites in this initiative, took an unexpected turn beginning in the spring of 2020. “We all had to shift in how we were engaging with one another and ask what our roles are in this moment of quarantine and separation,” according to DuPlessis who said many of the participating teams shifted their focuses to react to the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting social justice issues. Since March 20, the arts commission has convened mavens in weekly meetings to continue the practice of sharing, listening and learning together. "That's what's been so important to me and other mavens who I now count as dear friends," Lewis said. She also notes the spirit of the initiative which, built on trust and relationships, has allowed for flexibility with grant-funded local projects in this “uncertain time.” Each of The Art of Community: Rural SC teams received a $7,500 grant award in FY20 to engage and build community in ways that use arts and culture strategically. “Project plans in January 2020 didn’t look the same three months later in March,” DuPlessis said. Some communities planning festivals and other gatherings have had to postpone those for now. In a number of cases, mavens and their teams retrofitted their projects to respond to the current context and include the following examples:
  • In Aiken, in addition to getting helpful information out about the pandemic, the local project also incorporated the NextGen fight for equality, justice and respect for all people through the creation of a ‘peaceful protest’ linking them with other students around the country;
  • In Allendale, the local project’s focus became community engagement through a celebration of frontline pandemic workers as ‘hometown heroes;’
  • In Bamberg County, the local team developed a 'Little People's Learning Page' to accompany the local newspaper and address learning in a fun, creative way for students who are isolated from one another;
  • In Barnwell County, the Town of Blackville team developed a new dance called ‘The Wagon Wheel’ to engage its residents on social media in a healthy activity during a time of isolation;
  • In Beaufort County, a collective of Gullah Geechee artists used their voices and talents for public service announcements that address safety protocols for the pandemic;
  • In Berkeley County, a Spanish-language video was created to remind its community of best practices for reducing infection rates; and
  • In Chester County, the town of Fort Lawn team partnered with local businesses and state parks to showcase artists' and entrepreneurs' work to help generate income during this time of economic distress.
[caption id="attachment_45056" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by maven Lottie Lewis,  celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.[/caption] Other participating communities in the initiative bolstered their local project planning by addressing infrastructure and equipment needs as they anticipate future community gatherings, festivals and local engagement as part of their community building strategies. For instance, in Walterboro where the WHAM Festival, originally set for March 27-29, was cancelled, Matt Mardell re-examined the needs for this inaugural event by purchasing displays for exhibits and creating a website for the festival--WHAMfestival.org. The festival is now tentatively set for Oct. 23-25, 2020. Set within the framework of “arts plus economic development,” Mardell said, “I know when the festival does happen, we will be ready and even better prepared for it.” In addition to implementing local projects, all participants are invited to join additional activities and programs to build their own toolkits for considering the importance of ‘place’ in South Carolina and in their personal lives. They include a community writing workshop series; a field school offering instruction in documentary skills; and asset mapping workshops. These offerings are all coordinated by the arts commission’s Folklife & Traditional Arts Program. In addition to these activities, a rural networking program called CREATE: Rural SC engages rural creative professionals who serve as conduits between the mavens, the local creative economies and the arts commission. "These new networks and learning opportunities are bridging gaps and connecting us in ways we need to be connected in rural communities and across the state," Hampton County Maven Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Estill said. All 15 communities, along with the arts commission, partners and advisors constitute a ‘learning community’ that spans the state and the nation. Its story has been shared in national and state conferences from South Carolina to Iowa and Colorado; and from Detroit to Washington, D.C. using the voices and stories of mavens, advisors and emerging creative leaders. Also, with more than 25 partners in its national Advisory Council, this learning community has access to a wide range of sectors, insights, geographies and resources for community building using arts and culture. Co-chairs for the advisory council are Pam Breaux, president and CEO for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), headquartered in Washington; and Bob Reeder, program director for Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), headquartered in New York City. Looking at the value of community engagement in rural America, Co-Chair Pam Breaux cites The Art of Community: Rural SC as an exemplar for state arts agencies across the country. "This work has become a leading example of ingenuity in funding, partnership and framework creation for state arts agencies across the country," she said. Art of Community: Rural SC Director Susan DuPlessis was invited to share the initiative at a National Press Club briefing in Washington in January 2018; Mardell of Colleton County joined her as the local voice and example of growth and development through arts and culture as demonstrated through the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen. More than 25,000 'views' resulted on social media from that presentation. The South Carolina initiative was also included within a rural action guide on developing prosperity, produced by the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and NASAA. “This initiative is about re-imagining 'place' in terms of assets, not deficits,” said Co-Chair Bob Reeder whose professional work in the field of community development crosses the nation. “We're building on the strengths of local communities and the power of a network that connects to state and national resources,” he said. “Ultimately, this work is about changing minds.” Concurring with Reeder, Advisor Dixie Goswami of Clemson, South Carolina noted that the initiative makes visible local people, including young people, as "assets with wisdom and knowledge, not as deficient and needing outside help." Goswami is director of the Write to Change Foundation and director emerita of Middlebury Bread Loaf NextGen Network. "We're a state rich in creativity and ingenuity—and this initiative showcases some of that in our smallest communities" said SCAC Executive Director David Platts. "We are grateful to USDA-Rural Development for first believing in and funding this initiative in 2015. We've built a case for creative placemaking—the strategic use of arts and culture to address community issues—and this platform is being showcased nationally. The arts commission has also garnered more support for this approach from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation as well as funding from the South Carolina General Assembly. The Art of Community: Rural SC initiative is part of the Community Arts Development program of the arts commission and is one of three program areas that also include artist services and arts education. “Through this program, we continue to strive to meet our mission-‘to develop a thriving arts environment’ for the people and places in our South Carolina,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Dee Crawford of Aiken, South Carolina. “The arts are invaluable to our communities, both big and small. They are tools for growth, development and social cohesion in each and every county in our state.” Crawford also serves on the Advisory Council for Art of Community: Rural SC. The South Carolina Arts Commission is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and collaborates in its work with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and South Arts. It received funding from USDA-Rural Development to launch this program in 2015; and additional USDA-RD funding from 2017 to 2019. It also has received support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation for this initiative since 2018. More information about The Art of Community: Rural SC can be found at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/community-development/programs/art-of-community-rural-sc/, including a recently produced film called Meet the Mavens and a brochure featuring all mavens representing 14 South Carolina counties and the Catawba Indian Nation in York County.
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, 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.

Jason Rapp

SCAC announces four 2021 fellowship recipients

Individual excellence in writing, dance honored


for immediate release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Hard work and exceptional abilities are earning four South Carolina artists practicing in the dance and writing disciplines fellowships from the South Carolina Arts Commission for fiscal year 2021.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) Board of Directors approved four $5,000 fellowships among several other FY21 grant awards to be announced at a later date. The SCAC’s four fellows are:
  • Sarah Blackman of Greenville County in prose,
  • John Pursley III of Greenville County for poetry,
  • Erin Bailey of Richland County for dance choreography,
  • and Tanya Wideman-Davis of Richland County for dance performance.
Individual artists residing in South Carolina full-time whose work covers prose, poetry, dance choreography, and dance performance were invited to apply last fall for fiscal year 2021 awards. Out-of-state panelists from each discipline reviewed applications and, based solely on blind reviews of anonymous work samples, recommend recipients of each $5,000 fellowship. “Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of exceptional South Carolina individual artists. Recognition from a fellowship lends artistic prestige and can often open doors to other resources and employment opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. A diverse group of panelists judged the nominees applying to the FY21 disciplines in which they work. The poetry panelists were Joseph Bathanti, writer-in-residence at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina; author Sandra Beasley, an instructor with the University of Tampa who lives in Washington; and publisher Lucinda Clark, principal with the Poetry Matters Project in Augusta, Georgia. Author/educator Catherine Reid of Burnsville, North Carolina and Charlie Vazquez, a consultant in New York City, judged the prose applicants. Panelists of the dance performance applicants were Laurel Lawson of Atlanta, Georgia with Full Radius Dance and Tamara Nadel of Minneapolis, Minnesota with Ragamala Dance Company. Maura Garcia, principal of Maura Garcia Dance in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Patrick Makuakane of San Francisco, California with Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu Dance Company served as panelists of the dance choreography applicants. Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists working in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: visual arts, craft, media: production, and media: screenwriting will be honored in fiscal year 2022. 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 SCAC. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grant/fel/.

About the FY21 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients

Sarah Blackman | Prose | Greenville County Sarah Blackman is the director of creative writing at the Fine Arts Center, an arts-centered public high school in Greenville, South Carolina. Her poetry and prose have been published in a number of journals, magazines, and anthologies and she has been featured on the Poetry Daily website. Blackman is the co-fiction editor of Diagram, the online journal of experimental prose, poetry and schematics; and the founding editor of Crashtest, an online magazine for high school age writers she edits alongside her Fine Arts Center students. Her story collection Mother Box, published by FC2 in 2013, was the winner of the 2012 Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. Her novel, Hex, was published by FC2 in April 2016 and in 2018 she joined its board. John Pursley III | Poetry | Greenville County John Pursley III teaches contemporary literature and poetry at Clemson University, where he also directs the annual Clemson Literary Festival. He is the author of the poetry collection, If You Have Ghosts (Zone 3 Press), as well as the chapbooks, A Story without Poverty (South Carolina Poetry Initiative) and A Conventional Weather (New Michigan Press), among others. In addition, he works as the poetry editor of Burnside Review and is an assistant editor for the South Carolina Review. His poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, AGNI, Colorado Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Erin Bailey | Dance: Choreography | Richland County Erin Bailey is a South Carolina native who discovered her passion for dance at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville. She has degrees from Columbia College (BFA) and Texas Women’s University (MFA) and has her certification and licensure in massage. She is an adjunct dance professor at Columbia and Coker colleges and the University of South Carolina. Bailey has worked and performed with Columbia area dance companies since 2004 and has performed nationally and internationally at festivals like Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston. In 2018 she founded and remains artistic director of Moving Body Dance Company. She has twice received awards for her choreography work. Photo by Jesse Scroggins. Tanya Wideman-Davis | Dance: Performance | Richland County Tanya Wideman-Davis is the co-director of Wideman Davis Dance and is on faculty as associate professor at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Theatre and Dance and African American Studies. With an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she completed her Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF (2012). Tanya has danced with many world-renowned companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Ballet NY, and as guest artist with Ballet Memphis, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and Quorum Ballet (Portugal).  She received international acclaim as “Best Female Dancer of 2001-2002” from Dance Europe magazine. Photo by Sammy Lopez.

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.

Jason Rapp

2020 S.C. Arts Awards to be presented online


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Postponed from their May 6 intended date because of the pandemic, the South Carolina Arts Awards will instead honor exceptional South Carolinians in a professionally produced streaming presentation planned for Monday, July 13, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and frequent partner McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina will honor the six recipients of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards in a special online presentation. The virtual ceremony will be presented live, at no cost to viewers, on the SCAC’s Vimeo page and YouTube Channel. SCAC Executive Director David Platts will be the lead host of the virtual ceremony and will be joined in a special location by a surprise co-host. UofSC McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz will announce the Folk Heritage Award recipients, and Platts will announce the Verner Award recipients. Mini-films by South Carolina filmmakers Drew Baron, Patrick Hayes, Roni Henderson, Lee Ann Kornegay, and Ebony Wilson will be debuted to tell each recipient’s story. The filmmakers worked under the direction of producer Betsy Newman. Location shooting for the ceremony and production of the stream are being provided by Midlands-based iSite Multimedia and Fisher Films. The Verner Award recipients were announced in February. In the following categories, the recipients are:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Philip Mullen, Columbia
  • ARTIST: Glenis Redmond, Mauldin
  • INDIVIDUAL: Mary Inabinett Mack, St. Helena Island
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Cindy Riddle, Campobello
  • BUSINESS: United Community Bank, Greenville
  • ORGANIZATION: Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston
The Folk Heritage Award recipients were announced in March. They are:
  • Kristin Scott Benson (Boiling Springs): Bluegrass Banjo
  • David Galloway (Seneca): Spiritual Gospel Singing
  • Voices of El Shaddai (Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area): Lowcountry Gospel Music
  • Judy Twitty (Gilbert): Quilting
  • Vennie Deas Moore (Georgetown): Folklore and Cultural Preservation

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 the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum, located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe, has more than 140,000 objects in its collection, including one of the most extensive natural science collections in the Southeast. For visitation information, online exhibits, and more, please visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

Jason Rapp

Fourth time a charm for new S.C. Poetry Out Loud champion

Persistence rewarded in final attempt

for immediate release 22 May 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – She earned her way to the state finals every year of her high school career and in the fourth and final attempt, the payoff finally arrived for a Lancaster student.

Judges selected Andrew Jackson High School senior Taylor Wade as state finals competition champion in the national recitation contest Poetry Out Loud, administered in South Carolina by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Seven other South Carolina high school students competed with Wade in a virtual state finals. The annual competition was scheduled to be held in Columbia on March 14, but was canceled by the SCAC to conform with guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonita Peeples, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for the SCAC, arranged for a virtual competition. The eight finalists sent videos to be reviewed by the judges: Paul Kaufmann, Darion McCloud, Kimberly Simms, and Dr. Nancy D. Tolson. Wade recited “Dead Butterfly” by Ellen Bass and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Israfel” in preliminary rounds. She and two other students advanced to the final round, where she recited “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Years and received the four judges’ highest score. In a typical year, Wade would have joined finalists from the other 49 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in Washington to compete for a $20,000 cash prize at the national finals. In lieu of that competition, the champion of each state that held or will hold a state finals will receive a $1,000 prize. In states where the finals were canceled, the state arts agency will receive $1,000 to either award to a state champion named at a later date or divide among the students who advanced to the state finals.

About Poetry Out Loud

Now in its 14th year, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

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.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Awards postponed because of COVID-19 concerns

Official Statement from the S.C. Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Awards scheduled for May 5-6, 2020 are being POSTPONED until further notice. This postponement includes the May 5 McKissick Mixer with Folk Heritage Award recipients and the May 6 South Carolina Arts Awards luncheon and public ceremony. With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and all the associated closings, leadership from the South Carolina Arts Commission and University of South Carolina McKissick Museum decided together that now is the time to postpone. Even in a best-case scenario regarding virus transmission, the work necessary to prepare for the awards festivities will be hampered by current schedule alterations and those that might still come. Further, absent a firm idea of when the festivities could realistically take place, the best thing to do is remove this uncertainty to focus instead on health and safety. The S.C. Arts Commission and UofSC McKissick Museum will work to find more suitable dates and times to honor and thank the recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards for their achievements and contributions to arts and culture in South Carolina.

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 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 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Poetry Out Loud finals now canceled

For Immediate Release COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is canceling the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Columbia. Earlier this week, the event was altered to become a private event for the eight finalists, their chaperones and a teacher, and event staff. As a precaution to prevent any possible transmission of COVID-19, the agency made the difficult decision to cancel the annual event. The Poetry Out Loud state finals were scheduled to take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Richland Library Main location.


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.