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Jason Rapp

Podcast features SCAC’s ‘Art of Community: Rural SC’

Rural shines in podcast series from UofSC

Growing Rural Podcast logo
A rural-focused podcast sat down recently to chat with the South Carolina Arts Commission's Susan DuPlessis, program director of "The Art of Community: Rural SC." "Growing Rural" is a podcast devoted to rural produced by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and its SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. DuPlessis raved to The Hub about it. "I want to say a big thanks to Dr. Kevin Bennett and Alanti McGill for their interest in this initiative and the great way this series of podcasts is casting rural in a new light," DuPlessis said. DuPlessis would know; her work has been shining light on rural since the program launched in 2016. Originally in six "Promise Zone" counties in lower South Carolina, the program has spread to 15 counties total and creates a way to support new leadership, generates energy, and motivates action in our state’s rural communities by addressing long-standing challenges using arts and culture. It unites communities by giving more people a platform. One of those new leaders, Dr. Yvette McDaniel, was featured in an earlier "Growing Rural" episode. You can learn more about "Art of Community: Rural SC" on SouthCarolinaArts.com and by reading its new brochure. To listen to the podcast, visit the "Growing Rural" page.

SCAC posts position with ‘Art of Community: Rural SC’ program

Apply now for the SCAC's new position

Application deadline: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET
The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is seeking an initiative assistant to execute programs and services related to The Art of Community: Rural SC initiative by coordinating related events and activities, communications, media management, constituent services, and by performing a variety of administrative tasks.  The candidate will provide administrative support for service delivery benefiting the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) in the following ways:
  • performing  clerical services that include but are not limited to: managing priority list of actions; typing, scanning, copying, and assembling documents; answering and directing calls; processing mail; arranging for supplies; preparing documents for meetings; taking meeting minutes; organizing data and files; managing media files; creating reports; maintaining and scheduling meeting rooms; setting-up and breaking-down for meetings; providing assistance at events and receptions; and handling logistics arrangements for travel;
  • attending all-staff meetings and/or weekly initiative meetings, as needed;
  • assisting with follow-up and post-project activities such as evaluations, assessments, acknowledgements, travel and expense reports;
  • communicating with Art of Community: Rural SC initiative constituents;
  • and more.
This position is classified as temporary/part-time, with up to 25 hours of work in a week. Pay is hourly. There is possibility of renewal dependent upon job performance and funding.
Preferred qualifications include a bachelor's degree* in arts, business, or public administration and experience in community development and/or project management (but are not required). Minimum qualifications and additional requirements include:
  • an associate's degree and two (2) years of experience in office administration or administrative support;
  • punctuality, regular attendance, and adherence to daily work schedule are essential. Overnight travel, evening, and weekend work is sometimes required, as well as light lifting and long periods of sitting;
  • the employee may be required to operate a state vehicle; must possess and maintain a valid S.C. driver's license;.
  • employment is contingent upon the results of a favorable reference check and a criminal background check, which includes information from the S.C. Law Enforcement Department (SLED).
*Degree must be from an institution of higher learning recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Pay rate and other details may be found by visiting the link below. Punctuality, regular attendance, and adherence to daily work schedule are essential. Overnight travel, evening, and weekend work is sometimes required, as well as light lifting and long periods of sitting. The South Carolina Arts Commission is an Equal Opportunity Employer actively committed to ensuring diversity. Please note application deadline of Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. View the complete list of requirements and job duties and find out how to apply here.  

Tuning Up: On place… who’s here and why

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

With art and advocacy, Native American women in SC are saying, 'We are still here' "Its goal, said commission CEO Terence Lilly Little Water, was to show people that Native American women exist here in South Carolina. And — like other indigenous women around the country — they’re fighting to raise awareness of issues that disproportionately affect their communities.

'We have some extraordinarily talented artists who deserve to have their voices heard,” she said. “Art is a form of using your voice.'" (Read Emily Williams' full story in the Charleston Post & Courier here.)

Along the same lines, "Tuning Up" also presents this story about Americans thriving where they are and not moving all over like we did in the 1980's and 1990's:

Americans have stopped moving, and it could dramatically affect society

"This narrative that Americans are constantly moving within the country is no longer true.

Over the last 35 years, the number of Americans who have moved—within their county, state, or out of state—has steadily declined to nearly half of their previous levels... Rootedness has many positive outcomes, such as greater attachment to place and more meaningful social and community connections. These connections to place may then serve to provide social and economic support during periods of economic uncertainty." (Read Thomas Cooke's full story in Quartz here.)

Not to add to Cooke's report, but the S.C. Arts Commission's program Art of Community: Rural SC is showing that rural communities, often the biggest victims of migration to larger towns and (usually) cities (and their suburbs and exurbs) are rallying. Leading the charge are often artists, who are proving more and more by the day that they can remain in place and be successful themselves while helping lead revitalization.

Traveling Gullah Geechee art exhibit to debut in Hampton

The Hampton County Arts Council announced that the Stanley Arts Building will be the first venue to exhibit the private art collection of Gullah native Victoria A. Smalls. A formal gala will mark the opening of this prestigious exhibit, which will then run through the month of February. The public is invited to come enjoy art featuring notable and emerging artists, entertainment, silent auction and authentic Gullah cuisine at the 7 p.m. Grand Opening Gala on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at the Stanley Arts Building in Hampton. Read more about the art collection from the The Charleston Chronicle here. Smalls is connected to the S.C. Arts Commission through its program the Art of Community: Rural SC, which walks residents of rural communities through reimagining their communities through an arts and culture lens and use those to address long-standing problems. In the process, fresh leaders are identified as new voices bring their own energies to the table and foster greater community involvement.  

Art of Community to present at Rural Arts & Culture Summit 2019

Stories of rural successes head to Minnesota

The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biennial, practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based community development by providing a space for learning, relationship building and celebration of the role of art and creativity in building strong, healthy and resilient rural communities. Since its launch in Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 2011, and three gatherings in Morris, Minnesota hosted by the Center for Small Towns, the RAC Summit has convened more than 1,300 people from across the country, establishing a rich network of exchange among some of the most creative individuals who are driving their rural communities forward. The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is organized by Springboard for the Arts. This year’s collaborating partners are the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Reif Center for Performing Arts, the MacRostie Art Center and Visit Grand Rapids.
  • Oct. 3-5, 2019
  • Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • Reif Center for Performing Arts

Pam Breaux, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, will share creative policy solutions that draw on home-grown arts and cultural assets to address the urgent issues facing rural America. Following this keynote, Breaux will lead a conversation with three national leaders, Susan DuPlessis (South Carolina Arts Commission), Em Johnson (Blue Sky Center), and Michele Anderson (Springboard for the Arts) who are each leading bold arts-based economic and community development strategies in their own communities. (Per the Grand Rapids Herald Review) Breaux serves as national co-chair of the S.C. Arts Commission program "Art of Community – Rural SC" which is directed by DuPlessis. "Art of Community – Rural SC" advances the South Carolina Arts Commission’s commitment to rural development through arts, culture and creative placemaking. The initial pilot project was launched in 2016 in six rural South Carolina counties.

Pew talks ‘Art of Community: Rural SC’

New story takes look at SCAC program

The S.C. Arts Commission pilot program "Art of Community: Rural SC" is turning heads across the U.S. for its success in bringing new voices to the table to address long-standing problems in rural communities through an arts lens. [caption id="attachment_29097" align="alignright" width="251"]Hampton County (Estill) maven Audrey Hopkins Williams (left) and SCAC Community Arts Development Directory Susan DuPlessis (right). Hampton County (Estill) maven Audrey Hopkins Williams (left) and SCAC Community Arts Development Directory Susan DuPlessis (right).[/caption] Community Arts Development Director Susan DuPlessis, who is also the program's director, regularly presents at national and regional conferences, and the program has key figures from around the country on its board (to include Pam Breaux, the executive director of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies). Pew Charitable Trusts released a story on their website today discussing the Smithsonian Institution's "Museum on Main Street" program, with which the SCAC and SC Humanities are partners to bring its traveling exhibition on rural American to small South Carolina towns. The story features DuPlessis and extensive discussion of "Art of Community: Rural SC." To wit:

With the support of U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development funding, the South Carolina Arts Commission identified six leaders, whom they call mavens, in each county to build local teams of residents who were passionate about the community, but weren’t always in positions of power.

“Some of the rural communities we work with are really tired of organizations coming in with solutions, dropping money on a place, nothing significant happening, and then that organization is gone,” DuPlessis said. “Part of what we’re doing is creating pride of place and creating opportunities for people to own their community and see themselves differently.”

Click here to read the full story.

Rural creatives: network on July 25

Network, celebrate, and catch the creative spirit

After a year of creating new connections and networks, CREATE: Rural SC wants you to join us and continue its creative exploration.  Creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, makers, tradition-bearers, mavens, advisors, friends and partners: you are especially invited to be part of this conversation and celebration. On Thursday, July 25, we’ll ask what matters to artists working deeply in communities to make positive change and what matters to communities that host visiting artists.   As we share and network, we’ll learn more about the community-based work of visiting artist Markus Tracy of Nevada who will lead a conversation about his South Carolina experiences in Estill and Blackville this spring and summer. Join us to learn more about staying connected with the S.C. Arts Commission and this program and come meet the agency's new director, David Platts. Light refreshments will be served and a mic provided for artists and others to share brief creative updates and insights. Artists are invited to bring a sample of their artwork for sharing and informal discussion. And perhaps a few of you will bring instruments—these meetings have a history of turning into jam sessions.


We are excited to join with the Estill/Hampton County Team for The Art of Community: Rural SC to support this important meeting and give special thanks to the Town of Estill for its support. In addition, financial support from USDA-Rural Development, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission (which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts) is fostering new ideas, new programs and new projects for community arts development in South Carolina. Special thanks as well to associates affiliated with the Promise Zone region, which includes Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.


Check out this e-vite link and rsvp today: http://evite.me/jBdWNpf5gm
Photo by Isabella Mendes from Pexels

Barnwell: New arts hotspot?

Theatre, literature events coming this weekend

For the unfamiliar, the South Carolina Arts Commission's "Art of Community" rural revitalization work began in six southeastern S.C. counties, one of which is Barnwell. The program uses arts and culture to connect people to where they live and each other in ways not tried before. Its success has turned it into a national model, and expansion to other parts of the state is now happening. This coming weekend, Barnwell residents can look forward to two arts events:
  • Part of "Art of Community," the "Communal Pen" writing workshop series is touring the state helping people connect to where they live through writing. The fifth of six workshops is this Saturday in Barnwell. Co-facilitators Eboni Ramm and Michelle Ross will lead workshop participants as they write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. While you're there, be sure to check out the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural AmericaCrossroads 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" has tracked the exhibition's tour of South Carolina.
  • Circle Theatre's "The Addams Family" is setting up the new musical comedy for a two-week run starting Friday that will include your favorite kooky family, plenty of laughs, valuable lessons and catchy music. Support the arts at Circle Theatre, Barnwell County's community theatre, located at 325 Academy Street. Purchase tickets in advance for $15. Tickets will be $20 at the door if there is space, but shows could sell out.

Hopkins next host of ‘Communal Pen’ writing workshop series

The S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities are excited to continue Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop, just outside Columbia in Hopkins on Saturday, Feb. 16 to help you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. They have two questions:

  1. What are the memories, stories and traditions that make our community home?
  2. 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! Co-facilitators EBONI RAMM and MICHELLE ROSS will lead the 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. This three-and-a-half-hour writing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Historic Harriet Barber House and Grounds (116 Barberville Loop., Hopkins). It 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. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. 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. Enjoy Crossroads at Southeast Rural Community Outreach in Hopkins from Feb. 9 through March 24, 2019. The image at the top of this page is Old Sheldon by Varnville, S.C. artist Ment Nelson, who's no stranger to The Hub. Nelson celebrates his family, culture, and home community through his artwork. He is a Young Voice of the Art of Community-Rural SC initiative, and coordinator of the Creative Connectors, for the Create Rural SC project. On being an artist he says, “You never know who might be intrigued by your story.”
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen co-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 co-facilitator Michelle Ross is a folklorist and adjunct faculty in anthropology at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She holds a master's from the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University. Ross embraces stories of all kinds. She helped establish the S.C. Center for Oral Narrative, through which she has co-created several writing workshops. Ross also works with the Mothers of Angels in telling and writing about grief from the death of a child, and has worked with veterans in telling and writing their stories. Her work has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal and an anthology of mother-in-law essays titled His Mother!; her poetry has appeared in Sandhill and The Petigru Review. For the past five years, she has been working on telling her Pontian Greek family’s refugee story, her most important project to date. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she manages several grant and award programs, and at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, where she develops programming in conjunction with folklife exhibitions. 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.

Wrapping up 2018

'Tis the season, after all.

The South Carolina Arts Commission had a notable 2018:
  • Through staff consultation, grants, and direct programs, our work impacted all 46 South Carolina counties.
  • Our grantees were able to provide more than EIGHT MILLION arts experiences for residents and visitors as a direct result of SCAC grants.
  • "Art of Community: Rural S.C." furthered its reputation as a national model for rural creative placemaking – addressing ongoing challenges in those unique communities with arts and culture-based solutions.
And there's plenty more. Today, we're making public a brief annual report that sheds light on FY18's accomplishments and outlines what and where grants and programs were put to use, from the three “corner” counties of Oconee, Horry, and Beaufort to the 43 arranged inside. You're invited to have a look.

Holiday Schedule at the SCAC

Many of the SCAC staff have already exited stage left for well-deserved annual leave, but others remain and constituents can still expect service with some exceptions: the office will close with other state agencies on weekends, from Dec. 24 to 26, and on Jan. 1. You can expect content on The Hub and Facebook to continue, though it will be less frequent. Whatever you celebrate this season (and even if you don't), the board and staff of the Arts Commission wish you the happiest, merriest, most festive time and peace and prosperity in the New Year!

Liked what you saw in the annual report? 

The South Carolina Arts Foundation would like to hear from you.