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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.

Arts Commission announces five 2018 recipients of Verner Awards for the Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 February 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing the five South Carolinians to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts – the highest arts honor in the state – in 2018. The following five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Dr. Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
“Each recipient of these Verner Awards is an outstanding ambassador for our state and contributes greatly not just to the arts community, but the overall quality of life," S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz said. "Such dedication to the arts benefits South Carolina’s people and, as we’ve just learned, adds to the arts’ $9.7 billion impact on our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission nears completion of its 50th anniversary celebration, we are honored to recognize organizations and individuals who live out the service, commitment and passion that helped the arts here thrive throughout the last half century.” A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the Board for final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation from each category. The 2018 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. Awards will be presented Wednesday, May 2 in a morning ceremony at the State House. 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 to support the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and are to be available for purchase by mid-March. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon, call 803.734.8696 or visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.
ABOUT THE VERNER AWARD RECIPIENTS
  • Tom Stanley (Artist Category) is the recently retired chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts. He was the first director of the university galleries and became department chair in 2007. The native Texan earned two graduate degrees from USC and taught on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida before returning to South Carolina. He increased student artist and department visibility while at Winthrop through partnerships in both Carolinas. His work has been exhibited throughout the southeast and in four European countries, and he has completed commissions for public art in several states. He resides in Rock Hill.
  • Alan Ethridge (Individual Category) became executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville in 2005 and maintains the position after previously serving as its director of marketing and development. A tireless and selfless advocate of the arts, he has universal recognition in the Upstate for playing a critical, leading role in fostering a growing arts environment. Ethridge is a summa cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University and previously worked in fundraising at Clemson University. He resides in Greenville.
  • Dr. Anne S. Richardson (Arts in Education Category) entered the teaching profession in the late 1980s while continuing to dance professionally until 1995. She started a jazz dance company in Columbia in 1987 and taught ballet in various public schools while earning her graduate degrees. In 2001 she began the dance program at Palmetto Center for the Arts. She aspires to create original thinking through arts integration in her students at Westwood High School in Blythewood, where she is a drama teacher and former chair of the fine arts department. She resides in Columbia.
  • Bank of America (Business Category) 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. In South Carolina, the bank has given more than $2 million to support the arts across the state and arts disciplines in recent years, its associates have contributed 81,000 volunteer hours in the last five years, and associates will serve on four boards in 2018. Its South Carolina headquarters are in Columbia.
  • The mission of Ballet Spartanburg (Organization Category) is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance, and outreach. Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. It is headquartered in Spartanburg.

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.