← View All Articles

Jason Rapp

Marketing arts orgs through, beyond COVID

Best practices webinars start next week


Along the lines of its concurrent webinar series on organizational fiscal sustainability, the South Carolina Arts Alliance has another lined up to benefit groups it serves.

In partnership with Greenville marketing and web firm Engenius, yesterday they announced another free webinar series for arts organizations focused on marketing best practices as arts organizations move through and beyond the pandemic. The webinars are useful for arts organizations of all sizes, but the SCAA says on its website that small to medium organizations might find the most benefit. Details and registration links are below for each webinar. Like the financial webinar series, the marketing series is free thanks to funding from S.C. Arts Alliance partners the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and S.C. Arts Commission.

Session topics and dates

  1. Marketing When Closed: How to Keep Attendees Engaged
    • Thursday, May 14
    • 2 p.m.
  2. Communicating Once You’re Open: How to Speak to Different Audience Groups
    • Thursday, May 21
    • 2 p.m.
Details on these topics and registration are available by clicking here.

David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET


This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.  

Jason Rapp

Hub follow-up: Artists U ‘shifts’ to Zoom

Free artist working groups start tomorrow

shift key on a laptop keyboard
Artists U is starting SHIFT/South Carolina to get artists talking and working together in a time of crisis so they're ready when the crisis is over. Last week The Hub promoted the informational sessions. (Miss those? Catch up with a recorded version.) With the preliminary stuff completed, Artists U is diving in, and SHIFT/South Carolina starts tomorrow at noon with "Artists in a Time of Crisis."
You can do SHIFT on your own. You can form a working group in your community. You can request to join an existing working group (there’s a place on the signup form for that.) However you choose to participate, Artists U does ask that you sign up for the community and dialogue. There is no cost to participate.
Registered participants get:
  • access to 10 weekly Zoom workshops (live and recorded) on different topics
  • the in-the-works SHIFT workbook
  • regular updates on local and national resources for artists
"I know you will get a lot from our conversations and have ideas and resources to contribute," Andrew Simonet of Artists U said. "And please spread the word. SHIFT is for all South Carolina artists, not just Artists U alums."

Session dates

All live sessions begin at noon on the following dates:
  • April 8, 2020
  • April 15, 2020
  • April 22, 2020
  • April 29, 2020
  • May 6, 2020
  • May 13, 2020
  • May 20, 2020
  • May 27, 2020
  • June 3, 2020
  • June 10, 2020
Did we mention it's free? Here's that sign-up link again.
The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with Artists U on its artist development work and provides operating support to it via grant funding.

Jason Rapp

Artists U grantwriting workshop moves online

Still happening. Still free.

Register ASAP; it's this Friday.


You heard about it on The Hub last month. A lot's happened since. Though many things are postponing or canceling, our partner organization is still presenting this invaluable resource for artists. Online. Register today. Made possible by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, Artists U South Carolina's Andrew Simonet is set to introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants. You'll read some short proposals and act as a panel, scoring and discussing them. No bull, no fancy PowerPoints, just real-world tools for artists who write (or want to write) grants. From Andrew:

I didn't sign up to be a grantwriter. I wanted to be a choreographer. I discovered that, to make my work, I needed to find support. So I embarked on a painful learning process of trial and error, making every possible grant writing mistake. Eventually, I secured grants from funders like Creative Capital, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Rockefeller Foundation, and residencies from Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and Ucross.

I want to share with you everything I've learned. Based on 20 years of grant writing and art making, I will introduce artists to principles for writing simple, clear grants.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 6-9 p.m. ONLINE You'll receive a link to the meeting once you register. Do that here.

Three groups benefit from Chapman Cultural Center grants

SCAC grant enables three Community Grants

[caption id="attachment_33823" align="aligncenter" width="748"]A stack of grant payment requests at SCAC. A stack of grant payments to be processed at the S.C. Arts Commission.[/caption]
Chapman Cultural Center announced three recipients of FY20 2nd Quarter Community Grants last week. From the center's announcement:

"Chapman Cultural Center (CCC) is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community. Because of this commitment, a major part of the work we do is centered around funding Spartanburg's arts and cultural community.

One of Chapman Cultural Center's major funding opportunities comes in the form of our quarterly Community Grants Program. The Community Grants Program awards up to $5,000 per application and is open to both individual artists and non-profits/government agencies. Learn more about the grant application process here."

CCC received one of seven FY20 subgranting grants from the S.C. Arts Commission. Those are awarded to local arts councils around the state for the funds to then be granted to artists, arts organizations, or non-profit community groups in those areas. The three 2nd Quarter Community Grants are going to:
  • Charles Lea Center
  • Spartanburg Festival Chorus
  • Spartanburg Terrace Tennants Association
Click here to read about these groups and their projects.

Sumter community band seeks musicians

'Dust off your old instrument ... and come play with us'


From the Sumter Item:

Among the band's current 40 to 45 members are teachers, military personnel from Shaw Air Force Base, lawyers, doctors, homemakers, farmers, pilots and college students; several are school band directors. Mitchum said members must be at least 18 years old, have experience in a middle or high school band and able to read music. There is no audition. Prospective members should attend a rehearsal in order to register. Dues are $15 a year, which helps defray the cost of sheet music.

A nonprofit organization, SCCB receives partial funding in the form of a matching grant from the S.C. Arts Commission, which in turn receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. The band also belongs to the Association of Concert Bands ...

Mitchum urges interested musicians to register this Thursday, although they may register any Thursday during the band's season. He said,"Dust off your old instrument, if you have one, and come play with us."

Read features contributor Ivy Moore's full story by clicking here.

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.

Submitted material

Dorothy Allison to address Deckle Edge festival this weekend

Author will also receive festival's Southern Truth Award


In its 4th year as the grassroots answer to the S.C. Book Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival announces South Carolina author Dorothy Allison as the keynote speaker for the 2019 festival and the recipient of the second annual Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award. [caption id="attachment_39421" align="alignright" width="226"]Author Dorothy Alliison Author Dorothy Alliison[/caption] Allison will speak at the Booker T. Washington auditorium at the University of South Carolina on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in an engagement sponsored by the USC Women’s and Gender Studies Program. On Saturday, March 23rd at 10 a.m., Allison will address the Deckle Edge Literary Festival in a conversation with Bren McClain, author of One Good Momma Bone (2017, USC Press) at the Richland Library on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia. (McClain is also a 2005 prose fellowship recipient from the S.C. Arts Commission). Allison is the author of Trash (1988), a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, the multi-award winning Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Cavedweller (1998), which became a New York Times bestseller, and more. She has written for the Village Voice, Conditions, and New York Native and won several Lambda Awards. Bastard Out of Carolina was a finalist for the National Book Award, the winner of the Ferro Grumley Prize, was translated into more than a dozen languages and became a bestseller and award winning film directed by Anjelica Huston. Allison is a recent inductee into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Read more about her here. A native of Greenville, Allison’s writings frequently reference the class struggles and social alienation she experienced as a child growing up gay, impoverished, and the first child of a 15-year-old unwed mother in the conservative South Carolina upstate. Bastard Out of Carolina also details the sexual abuse she endured throughout childhood at the hands of her step-father. The New York Times Book Review calls the book, “As close to flawless as a reader could ask for.” Allison will be awarded the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award on Friday evening, March 22nd. The Southern Truth award, whose first recipient in 2018 was Nikky Finney, is awarded to a Southern author whose body of work exemplifies the complexity of the South’s history, celebrates the gifts of the South’s diverse peoples, and enhances the narrative of the South by focusing on the progress we make and the continued work before us. The 2019 Deckle Edge Literary Festival includes an exciting roster of authors, panels, and interviews including, among others, printmaker Boyd Saunders (2002 recipient of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts); Chieftess Queen Quet who is an elder of the Gullah/Geechee Nation; Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Kathleen Parker and more. For more information please visit www.DeckleEdgeSC.org.
Deckle Edge Literary Festival receives funding support from the S.C. Arts Commission.

Juilliard students help high school singers give voice to their art

[caption id="attachment_39376" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Students practices singing in vocal masterclass. Aiken Standard photo.[/caption] From reporting by the Aiken Standard:

High school students gave youthful voices Wednesday to an early art form that dates back to Italy in the late 1500s.

As part of Joye in Aiken's educational outreach program, students from the S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville sang works from early Baroque opera during a master class conducted by students from The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute of Vocal Arts.

Joye in Aiken receives grant support from the S.C. Arts Commission. Read the full story from the Aiken Standard here.

Develop young minds using the arts (and get a grant to do it)

Serve tomorrow today with an AEP grant from the SCAC

Application deadline extended: Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 (for FY20) The deadline for Arts Education Projects (AEP) grant has been extended to Friday, February 15, 2019. AEP grants fund projects and programs that use the arts to meet the educational, developmental, and social needs of South Carolina's K-12 students, whether in-school or otherwise. That's right: these grants are for schools (public or private), community groups, government agencies, faith organizations, and ... well, anybody. The only stipulation is that you have to be using the arts to develop young minds.

So, what does that look like?

Here are two examples of current AEP grantees:
  • The famed Gaillard Center in Charleston received $10,500 for teacher professional development in the arts.
  • The Sue-Ham Community Development Center in Williamsburg County received $8,900 to help underwrite a community theatre production and some associated workshops.
Two groups. One urban, one rural. One large, one small. One doing teacher training, one putting on a show. They encapsulate the best thing about an AEP grant: no matter who you are or where you are, you have access to grant money to using the arts as you impact the next generation. This year's largest grant was $13,500 and the smallest was about $3,500. You can use an AEP grant to cover half of your project's expenses. A panel of arts professionals will review all applications and recommend funding to our board of commissioners. To learn more, visit the grant guidelines.