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Honor the S.C. Arts Awards recipients at luncheon + art sale

Join the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to honor the seven individuals and three groups receiving the South Carolina Arts Awards. [caption id="attachment_34932" align="aligncenter" width="795"] The art sale at the 2017 S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon[/caption] 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Luncheon

  • Wednesday, May 2
  • Art Sale & Champagne Reception begins 11 a.m.
  • Luncheon program begins approx. 12:15 p.m.
  • USC "MyCarolina" Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia
  • Tickets are $50
The luncheon begins at 11 a.m. with Champagne reception and art sale featuring works by Sigmund Albeles, Brian Rutenberg, and 2018 Verner Award recipient Tom Stanley among a host of artists synonymous with the South Carolina art scene. After noon, the ballroom doors open and you’ll be admitted to a three-course meal by Southern Way Catering. Make sure to take note of your table’s centerpiece: each basket will be available in a “wine pull” style sale for $100 for which you can sign up during the art sale. Your surprise basket will include items representing a county or region within the state, and all 46 counties will be represented. Each centerpiece basket is valued at at least $100. The luncheon program features special entertainment by The Blackville Community Choir – a 2018 Folk Heritage Award recipient, readings by South Carolina literary fellows past and present, and recognition of the diverse group of South Carolina Arts Awards recipients. Reserve your place now for just $50.

Art Sale Preview

[gallery ids="34927,34929,34930,34926,34928,34931" orderby="rand"] Catalog Information Jeri Burdick Short with Love Handles 2016 White earthenware 9"  x 9"  x 5" $325 Brian Rutenberg Lake Marion 7 (Study for Gentle Wind) 1997 Pastel on paper 9” x 7” $1,200 Tom Stanley Houses 2017 Acrylic on paper 22" x 15" Courtesy of if ART Gallery $1,200 Sigmund Abeles Evening 1971 Etching 11 3/4” x 11 3/4” $1,800 Benjamin Gilliam Serving Set 2014 Sterling silver 8” long each piece $600 Mike Vatalaro Cedar Lidded Vessel 2017 white stoneware 12” x 6” x 6” $275  

Gov. McMaster to present 2018 S.C. Arts Awards on May 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 April 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seven individuals and three groups visiting the State House to receive the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. will do so from a high-profile presenter: Gov. Henry McMaster. The governor’s office confirmed his third appearance at the annual awards ceremony, his second as governor. Gov. McMaster first presented the awards in 2016 as lieutenant governor in then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s stead. “Gov. McMaster making time for the arts and folklife communities of South Carolina means a lot to all of us, and we’re excited to welcome him back to the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony,” South Carolina Arts Commission Board President Henry Horowitz said. The South Carolina Arts Awards are a joint presentation by 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. Five 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: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
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:
  • The Blackville Community Choir (Blackville): A Capella Spiritual and Gospel Singing
  • Michael King (Greenville): Piedmont blues
  • Henrietta Snype (Mount Pleasant): Sweetgrass basketry
  • Deacon James Garfield Smalls (St. Helena Island): Traditional spirituals
  • Stephen Criswell (Lancaster): Folklife & Traditional Arts Advocacy
The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). South Carolina artists’ work will be on sale from 11 a.m. to noon, supporting S.C. Arts Commission programs. For $100, guests may also participate in a “basket grab” for surprise gift baskets with items representing a county or region of the state. The luncheon program is expected to run from 12:15 to 2 p.m., with readings by South Carolina Literary Fellows and a special presentation by the Blackville Community Choir. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase here or by calling 803.734.8696.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS FOUNDATION The South Carolina Arts Foundation supports and raises awareness of the arts development programs for communities, schools, and artists coordinated by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Arts Foundation pursues creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state as a non-profit, 501(c)3 that’s forged a strategic partnership with the Arts Commission to supports its work and goals. Learn more at SouthCarolinaArts.com/Foundation. 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/.

S.C. Arts Awards: Ballet Spartanburg

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34827" align="alignright" width="205"] Dancer Charlotte Lanning[/caption]

Ballet Spartanburg

Organization Category Ballet Spartanburg’s mission is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance and outreach. In 1966, a group of 85 ballet enthusiasts and visionaries under the leadership of the late Majorie Riggs, met at Converse College and decided that Spartanburg needed to have the opportunity to enjoy live classical ballet. They began working as a group to create a charter named The Ballet Guild of Spartanburg. Memberships were $5 for an Active Member, $15 for a Patron, and $25 for a Sponsor membership. Today, Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, TEDxTryon and in Houston and Forest City. For the past five years, Ballet Spartanburg has retained the only resident professional company in the Upstate, one of only four in the state of South Carolina. The Company has performed in Houston, Texas, and North and South Carolina. The Center for Dance Education began in 1967 under the direction of the late Barbara Ferguson. The Center now instructs 350 students from over 30 ZIP codes, all under the direction on Ballet Mistress Lona Gomez. With an ever-growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/ demonstrations in partnership with Spartanburg school districts with after school programs, in-school performances, artists in residence, and free performances of Peter & the Wolf. Ballet Spartanburg also partners with the City of Spartanburg to offer summer programs for at-risk youth and the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate and offers performances at nursing homes, hospitals, and community events. Celebrating 51 years embedded in the Spartanburg community, Ballet Spartanburg’s programming continues to evolve with the dance needs of the community and its students, adding new variations of dance classes with opportunities to extend dance knowledge, technique and new performances to new audiences. For more, visit BalletSpartanburg.org.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Bank of America

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.

Bank of America

Business Category Bank of America has a rich history of commitment to the arts, which translates into global programs as well as local support for what is most relevant in each community it serves. The bank is one of the leading supporters of the arts globally because they believe that a thriving arts and culture sector benefits economies and societies. The bank supports nonprofit arts institutions that deliver both visual and performing arts, provide inspirational and educational sustenance, anchor communities, create jobs, complement school curricula and generate substantial revenue for local businesses. This sustained commitment not only has helped these institutions flourish, but helps the bank make an important connection to the communities it serves. Just in the last few years in South Carolina, Bank of America has given more than $2 million in support for the arts. Support has been wide in scope across many geographies and arts organizations in the state. A few of the organizations that have received their support over the years include Spoleto USA, Columbia Museum of Art, Gibbes Museum of Art, Chapman Cultural Center, Arts Partnership of Spartanburg, Peace Center, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, S.C. Philharmonic, and Broadway in Columbia. In addition to local grants and sponsorships that the bank has given to support South Carolina arts institutions, Bank of America encourages its 1,500 South Carolina employees to volunteer locally either through Bank of America Community Volunteers organized outreach events or through whatever organization is most important to them. Every employee is offered two hours per week for community volunteerism. In the last five years, South Carolina employees have invested 81,000 volunteer hours. Another important way that Bank of America employees give of their leadership in the community is through board service. Three Bank of America executives in South Carolina serve on the boards of Gibbes Museum of Art and Spoleto USA in Charleston and Columbia Film Society/Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia. A fourth will join the board of the S.C. Philharmonic in 2018. To learn more about Bank of America’s corporate commitment to the arts, visit BankOfAmerica.com/Arts.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Dr. Anne S. Richardson

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.

Dr. Anne S. Richardson

Arts in Education Category Dr. Anne S. Richardson attended Point Park College (now University) in Pittsburgh for a bachelor’s in dance performance and graduated in 1978. She danced professionally with the Pittsburgh Opera Ballet and South Carolina Ballet Theatre and apprenticed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Dance companies at the time weren’t geared to shorter dancers, and it was difficult to get auditions at only five feet tall. She studied jazz dance as well as ballet in college and began to consider teaching, starting off with jazz at Calvert-Brodie School of Dance when she returned to Columbia. “I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, and Columbia and will be forever grateful. Because of what so many of my gifted teachers did for me, it is my dearest wish that I inspire at least one student and support that student’s belief in him or herself,” Richardson said. She started a jazz company, Dansework-Jazz, in 1987 and continued to perform until 1995. At the same time, she began teaching ballet at Hand, and later Crayton, middle schools, and then finally Dreher High School. The demands of being a teacher and performer were tough, and when she added graduate school to her schedule in 1992, she realized she had to stop performing to focus on teaching and pursuit of a master’s in theatre at USC, which she earned in 1997. A master’s in educational administration from USC was added in 2001, and she earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2008. In 2001, Richardson began the dance program with Palmetto Center for the Arts, housed at Richland Northeast High School. Creating a fine arts magnet dance program and working with the faculty and students was gratifying, and it was there that she honed her skills in developing arts-integrated lessons and performances. She found that her varied educational background fit into the arts integration teaching model. When Richardson arrived at Westwood High School five and a half years ago, she worked with the arts faculty and administration to provide students with extraordinary experiences integrating the arts with their subject classes. Richardson successfully wrote the Distinguished Arts Program grant for Westwood beginning in 2014, and in 2015, Westwood became an Arts In Basic Curriculum (ABC) Site. Also in 2015, under Richardson’s leadership, Westwood became the only arts-integrated high school in Richland 2. Affecting the lives of regular students has confirmed to Richardson the importance of the arts to all students—not just those who are gifted and talented. She began the Renaissance Faire at Westwood inspired by the castle-like architecture of the school. Working with other teachers, she created this yearly event that involves students in performances, projects, and presentations about the Renaissance that are presented to the school, Richland 2 students, and the community. In addition, her students write an original production each summer to present in the fall. They research the topic and write a play to tell stories and create characters that they themselves portray. Her students have created the following original performances: Mostly Coastal Ghosts, The Cherokee Project, Gullah Gumbo, Strange Warfare: The Christmas Truce of World War 1, The Secret Room: Tales of the Underground Railroad, and 9/11: The Story of US. In all of these performances, students created characters based on real events and came as close to living the characters’ lives as is possible. The insight into these situations will stay with these students for a lifetime. Providing these experiences is important to Richardson as a teacher. “It is not about my success but rather that of my students,” she said. Richardson believes that her greatest contribution to education is helping students to believe in themselves by first believing in the students. “I know what it is to have doubt as a young dancer and recognize the wonderful transformation that takes place when a teacher takes the time to encourage and inspire a student. My aspiration is to foster original thinking in my students through arts integration, challenging them to create unique performances so that they have to dig deep within to tell stories and affect their audience. They learn to work with others, bringing disparate ideas and untold stories together to make a new whole and inspire the world around them,” she said.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Alan Ethridge

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34788" align="alignright" width="205"] Image courtesy of TownCarolina.com[/caption]

Alan Ethridge

Individual Category Before becoming Metropolitan Arts Council’s executive director in January 2006, Greenville native Alan Ethridge had served as director of marketing and development since January 2004. He did not replace himself upon taking the higher position and has performed the duties of both roles since. Under Ethridge’s leadership, MAC has exceeded the past year’s fundraising goal each year, and in 2016 its endowment surpassed $1 million. His cumulative fundraising total is $15 million, all of which is sent back into the community, fairly and responsibly, to more than 1,300 artists and almost 60 arts organizations. Further credited to Ethridge is his diligence in creating cohesion among the regional arts stakeholders, whereas in the past the atmosphere has been more territorial and competitive. Early in his MAC tenure, he brought larger organizations together through the “Cultural Coalition,” offering an avenue for collaboration that was previously non-existent. Put simply, Ethridge channels his efforts into facilitating the success of others – and his community at large. MAC partners with the city of Greenville to present Thursday night concerts in spring and summer months that attract more than 50,000 in annual attendance. When he began as executive director, 80 artists were participating in Greenville Open Studios – there are now more than 130. Nearly half a million people have visited Greenville artists and purchased more than $2.8 million in local art. After federal funding ended for the SmartArts program in Greenville schools, Ethridge's nearly single-handed efforts not only sustained the program, but enabled it to expand from just two schools to more than 60 and opened the possibility of grant funding to every public-school teacher in Greenville County. In addition to his MAC duties, Ethridge serves on the boards of the Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Artisphere, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Tech Department of Visual Arts. In 2010, Alan received the Excellence in Arts Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. Ethridge was previously director of donor research in the Office for Development at Clemson University, and prior to returning to Greenville in 1989, worked for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in Atlanta and Henderson Advertising in Greenville. He is a 1982 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where he received a bachelor’s in English literature and fine arts.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Tom Stanley

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.
[caption id="attachment_34771" align="alignright" width="205"] Photo by Terry Roueche[/caption]

Tom Stanley

Artist Category Visual artist Tom Stanley, former chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts, earned a master’s in applied art history and another in painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980. There he learned what it meant to support, trust, and encourage students. After time on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida throughout the 1980s, in 1990 he returned to South Carolina to become the first director of Winthrop University Galleries and became chair of the school’s fine arts department in 2007. During his tenure as chair and gallery director, he worked to increase student and department visibility. He fostered gallery programming partnerships in both Carolinas including the exhibition Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists with the South Carolina State Museum highlighting the importance of these artists to community identity. Stanley and former Winthrop colleague Shaun Cassidy, a sculptor, worked closely with Winthrop, the Wells Fargo Championship, the City of Rock Hill, and Family Trust Federal Credit Union to create ongoing opportunities for students to be commissioned in the production of public art in the region. Stanley also developed an initiative called ACE (Artists and Civic Engagement). It hosted regional artists including Leo Twiggs and Minuette Floyd and brought artist Patrick Dougherty to Rock Hill to create a temporary sapling sculpture titled Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Main Street with the assistance of fine arts students. In recent years Stanley’s creative work has been exhibited in Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia in South Carolina; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; in New Orleans; and internationally in Berlin, Lausanne, Paris, and Portugal. His most recent exhibition was Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art during Spoleto in Charleston. Last year, Stanley completed the public art commission for CATS’ Tom Hunter light rail station in Charlotte, which includes 15 windscreen panels, two benches, seven column claddings, and 32 steel fence inserts. Stanley and Cassidy teamed for public art commissions in Simpsonville, Raleigh, and in Omaha, Neb. In 2010, they completed the 33-ft. high stainless-steel Winthrop Monolith and in 2015 produced the commission Moments on Main Street in Columbia. For more, visit TomStanleyArt.com.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Dr. Stephen Criswell

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Dr. Stephen Criswell

Traditional Arts & Folklife | Advocacy Award Dr. Stephen Criswell has worked in the field of folklore for over twenty years. A 1997 graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he has concentrated on the study and preservation of South Carolina traditions, customs, and cultural practices. His research and fieldwork (much of it conducted with his late wife, Samantha McCluney Criswell) have included African American family reunion traditions, Southern foodways, especially Carolina Fish Camps, and literary uses of folk culture. His most prominent contribution is his work as an advocate for Native American culture, with a special focus on Catawba potters and contemporary expressive traditions. In 2005, the University of South Carolina Lancaster hired Criswell and challenged him to build and direct USCL’s Native American Studies program. Thirteen years later, the Native American Studies Center (NASC) houses the largest fully intact collection of Catawba pottery in existence, an extensive archival collection, and a staff dedicated to celebrating and promoting Native American culture. Through the efforts of Dr. Criswell and his colleagues, USCL now offers students a concentration in Native American Studies. Criswell has worked closely with South Carolina tribal leaders and members, the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, and a variety of arts and cultural agencies, to bring greater attention to the history and culture of South Carolina Native communities. Under his leadership, the NASC has mounted thirty-two exhibitions, covering a range of subjects. Since opening in 2012 in the heart of downtown Lancaster, the NASC has seen 30,000 visitors from all over the world, a clear demonstration of raising awareness of the history, culture and traditions of Native people of the South. Criswell has conducted oral history interviews with a host of Catawba potters, including Eric Cantey, Evelyn George, Elsie George, Bertha Harris, Beulah Harris, Cora Harris Hedgepath, and Elizabeth Plyler. His work with these artists provides a public forum that gives voice to Native American community members of whom many might otherwise be unaware. In 2013, the NASC launched the Native American Artist-in-Residence Program, which provides Native artists a venue to present their culture and heritage to a wide audience of students, teachers, community members, and tourists. Criswell’s philosophy is grounded in knowing who we are, who we all are, embracing our different cultures, and learning from each other through the richness of our shared heritage. With this zeal he has written grants to secure funding to create and sustain programs that bring the Native American experience into the conversation of contemporary South Carolina culture. To date, he has secured more than $360,000 in funding from such notable sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Duke Endowment. This funding has created a platform that brings people together to learn, share, and connect through an important, though underappreciated, aspect of South Carolina culture. Traditional artist and educator Beckee Garris of the Catawba Nation states, “Dr. Stephen Criswell has made part of his life’s mission to help people understand the vast cultural histories of the natives in South Carolina. He preserves these histories by collecting our stories and respecting us in the process. I am very fortunate to say he is my mentor and also my friend.” A dedicated scholar, advocate, and mentor, Criswell is a tireless supporter of the traditional arts in South Carolina.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Blackville Community Choir

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Blackville Community Choir

A cappella Spiritual & Gospel Singing | Artist Award The Blackville Community Choir was formed in 1965 by Catherine Carmona of Blackville, South Carolina as the Macedonia Tabernacle Choir. Carmona recognized a need to engage young people in her community in a positive way. With her love of music, she organized the choir, with the help of the Reverend H. B. Johnson, former pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, and Mrs. Mary Johnson Elmore, who was very influential in organizing the choir. Carmona taught the songs she learned as a child, including African-American spirituals and the songs sung by enslaved African-Americans laboring in the fields. Carmona and her sisters grew up singing these same songs in church and at other events throughout the area. The choir practiced at Tabernacle Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church in Blackville. They led the youth choir at both churches, traveled to other states to perform, and sang at nursing homes and at various events throughout the region. The choir’s repertoire is rich and varied – members have always maintained their love of spirituals and singing a cappella. Former directors of the youth choir were Marshall Johnson and Marie Sanders Wilson. In 1976, Sandra Beach became the choir director and the choir changed their name to The Blackville Community Choir. The group expanded to include members from different congregations and continued to sing at churches, festivals, funerals, weddings, banquets, public schools, and college graduations. In 1985, choir members organized the first Blackville Community Youth Choir, through which they continue to pass on their legacy by mentoring young people through music. The Blackville Community Choir considers traditional African-American spirituals important to their community. As a tribute to their ancestors, the choir feels a strong obligation to carry on this musical legacy. Choir members have organized and coordinated several programs, including “The Essence of Our Roots and a Journey Back in Time,” which explored their African-American musical and cultural roots. In 2017, they were involved with “Echoes from the Past,” a summer youth educational project tracing the origins of the spirituals and songs of enslaved Africans in the South. Choir members have been advocates for the arts, organizing an annual program featuring visual and performing artists, collectors, crafters, entrepreneurs, culinary artists, and storytellers. Looking ahead, the choir is planning a Youth Musical Workshop to teach traditional spirituals to young people in the community. Speaking to their joy in singing a cappella, one local minister commented, “They got more harmony than grits.”
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.

S.C. Arts Awards: Henrietta Snype

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Henrietta Snype

Sweetgrass basketry | Artist Award

Henrietta Snype is a native of Mount Pleasant, SC and comes from a long line of Sweetgrass basket makers. Her skill and dedication to the artform have garnered her a reputation as a thoughtful, effective, and innovative artist who weaves history, culture, and love into each basket. Her work has been featured at venues in the Lowcountry and in museums throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art. Her creations have been commissioned by schools, museum shops, business owners, and private art collectors. Each year, she conducts workshops for public and private schools throughout Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties and at venues such as the Preservation Society, the Charleston Area Visitors Bureau, and the annual Sweetgrass Cultural Festival in Mount Pleasant, SC.  Institutions such as The Penland School of Arts in North Carolina and The John C Campbell Folk Art School in Tennessee have invited her to demonstrate and teach. Her workshops provide instruction in the craft and its history, helping participants understand that basket making is an artform with very practical roots.

 

Like many from the small Gullah communities of Four Mile, Six Mile, Seven Mile, Hamlin and Phillip, Henrietta grew up making baskets. She recalls learning the tradition from her mother and grandmother and often recounts memories of watching her elders make baskets. For them, Sweetgrass basketry was both practical and artistic. Henrietta learned the various "sewing" techniques by watching, listening, and practicing. What she has learned, she has passed on to her children and grandchildren. Equally as important, she also learned about the environment – how to recognize and differentiate between grades of sweetgrass and bulrush, safe locations to harvest it, and how to adapt to a changing landscape of gentrification that limits access to the once-abundant Sweetgrass.

 

The Lowcountry tradition of Sweetgrass basket making was born out of a technique that has its roots Senegal and Western Africa. Basket making was long held as a utilitarian craft used in the harvesting and cultivation of rice. Today, baskets are cherished works of art that are both wearable and found decorating walls and tables in hotels, restaurants, and homes across the country. 

 

Henrietta sees her work as a testament to the strength and longevity of Gullah people and her African ancestors. She has a collection of pieces representing five generations of Sweetgrass basket making that includes works from her grandmother, Elizabeth C. Johnson; mother, Mary Mazyck; daughter, Latrelle Snype, grand-daughter, Kayla Snype, and herself. Thousands of youngsters and adults have benefited from her passion, vision, and commitment to the Sweetgrass basket tradition. On the importance of passing on the tradition, she says "I have to take this on a different journey, not just because I want to make a dollar here or there, I want to be able to preserve this…And if we don't teach it to our children – because I consider myself in the middle generation – then there is not another generation.” She is truly a consummate artist, storyteller, and advocate for this Lowcountry tradition.


South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.