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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 fellowships for four South Carolina artists practicing in the dance and writing disciplines 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

SCAC Grants Team to start ‘Grants Coaching’ series

Topics and training series starts July 2


Do you have questions about the South Carolina Arts Commission grants process? Could you use some pointers for managing a grant you already have?

Well, get a coach! Today, the SCAC announces...
Twice a month, our Grants Team will offer professional coaching in Topics and Training video conference sessions. The schedule will look like this

Topics | First Thursdays

  • Grants-related topics with Q&A time at the end
  • First Thursday of the month at 11 a.m., via Zoom

Training | Third Thursdays

  • The Grants Team will be available to answer your questions about the grants process.
  • Hop on to ask your question or stay on to hear other questions. Hop off at any time.
  • Third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m., via Zoom
These sessions are a free service and first-come, first-served based on time of registration. Space is limited, so please do not miss meetings for which you’ve reserved a spot! Find information on the scheduled topics and how to register on SouthCarolinaArts.com.

Jason Rapp

Finalists named for 2020 South Carolina Novel Prize

Winner to be selected next week


The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press announce the three books named finalists in the 2020 South Carolina Novel Competition.

The finalists are: Rebecca Helms of Murrells Inlet for her manuscript Singing in the Corn, Maris Lawyer of Easley for The Blue Line Down, and Susanne Parker of Spartanburg for her novel What Happens to the Children. The winner will be announced next week and will have her book published in 2021 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Stephanie Powell Watts, was the judge of the biennial prize. Watts is the author of the novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us, and a short story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need, which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Her short fiction has been included in two volumes of the Best New Stories from the South anthology and honored with a Pushcart Prize. Born in the foothills of North Carolina, with a PhD from the University of Missouri and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she now lives with her husband and son in Pennsylvania where she is an associate professor at Lehigh University.

Rebecca D. Helms is a South Carolinian novelist, short-story writer, and poet who discovered her love of literature by the time she was only ten years old. Her style is influenced by the grit and grace of the Carolina low-country and her voice is an echo of the maternal village who raised her and showed her the way. Her first novel, Singing in the Corn, carries her readers deep inside every adventure with humor, fear, darkness, and joy—in many scenes, all at the same time. Ms. Helms is currently finalizing her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and works abroad while writing her next novel.

Maris Lawyer grew up in Oconee County, South Carolina, and hasn’t strayed far since. Graduating with a degree in Creative Writing from Anderson University in 2017, she then moved into a tiny apartment in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband, where she spent her evenings hunched over a laptop writing stories. Maris and her husband (and two cats) are now homeowners in Easley, South Carolina, where she still catches a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains every day.

Susanne Parker is a Hub City native and graduate of the Converse College Creative Writing MFA. She loves to read journey and travel narratives when she isn’t embarking on some new adventure herself. Susanne works as a library assistant and spends her free time tending the single, enormous sunflower in her garden and snuggling with her pets. What Happens to the Children is her first novel.


The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, South Carolina Humanities, South Carolina State Library, and the College of Charleston's Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing department. For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call the South Carolina Arts Commission (SouthCarolinaArts.com | 803.734.8696); or Hub City Press (HubCity.org | 864.577.9349).

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

On racial and systemic injustice

Official Statement from the S.C. Arts Commission on racial violence and systemic injustice


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

Grants Roundup: Summer Vacation Edition

Though far from the only thing, grants are among the main things we do here. Because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the number of times people say, "If only we'd known about (X or Y) grant!"

We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays* with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.

*The Roundup might run on Tuesdays when state holidays occur on a Monday.


That's a wrap on FY20

With rolling deadlines suspended temporarily and the closure of applications for the S.C. Arts Commission's Arts Emergency Relief grants Friday night, May 15, "Grants Roundup" is taking a short break, but will be back. The Hub would like to stress that everything these days is fluid, so we'll do our best work to make sure constituents remain updated as grant programs reopen. Thank you for reading. We wish you continued health and a great summer.  

Rolling Deadlines

We have suspended taking applications for these grants for FY2020 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020) to focus our efforts on supporting grantees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Notes

 

Jason Rapp

Grants Roundup: Deadlines for the Week of May 11

Though far from the only thing, grants are among the main things we do here. Because of their importance in our work, and what they mean to so many of you, The Hub wants to help keep Arts Commission grants top-of-mind and reduce the number of times people say, "If only we'd known about (X or Y) grant!"

We can't reach everybody, but we can try. On Mondays* with deadlines on the horizon, "Grants Roundup" highlights first what grants are due that week and then includes what's coming later in increments.

*The Roundup might run on Tuesdays when state holidays occur on a Monday.


This week

These are to serve mainly as final reminders to finish in-progress applications. Most grant applications simply cannot be undertaken well in this short a time frame. Consult an appropriate member of our team with questions.

Next week

  • n/a

Next 30(ish)

  • n/a

Rolling Deadlines

These S.C. Arts Commission rolling deadline grant programs are temporarily suspended to focus our efforts on supporting grantees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Accessibility Grant applications are no longer being accepted for FY2020 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020). For projects occurring in FY21 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) the application will be available in mid-April.

Important Notes


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.

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ to go virtual this weekend

Writing workshop in two parts returns May 9

Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities, is coming back on Saturday, May 9 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... In a reimagined format! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. Denmark Technical College is host of this four-hour writing workshop, which will be conducted over two, two-hour segments. It runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, May 9 and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, May 16. The format is different, but it still draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.771.2477. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. UPDATE: Please make sure you register by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 8. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Thank you. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the S.C. Humanities Council.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the "Art of Community: Rural SC" initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. . She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.
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