← View All Articles

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.
  • 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.

Winthrop University students’ art featured at new credit union headquarters

From Charlotte Business Journal Article by Ken Elkins, photos by James Sneed

[caption id="attachment_21818" align="alignright" width="250"]Christopher Smalls installs his work, "Transition in Blue," which depicts Rock Hill's transformation from a textile to technology town. Christopher Smalls installs his work, "Transition in Blue," which depicts Rock Hill's transformation from a textile to technology town.[/caption] Lee Gardner believes Family Trust Federal Credit Union may help kindle some careers in the art world by including five students’ work at its new headquarters in Rock Hill. “By working with students from Winthrop University, we not only got meaningful, impactful pieces, but we provided them with a real-world experience that will help launch their art careers,” says the CEO of Family Trust. The credit union opened the doors of the 36,000-square-foot building this week to show off those art installations to members of the media. The headquarters, which will eventually house 60 Family Trust employees, including its administrative team, opens later this year. “We wanted art in our new building to show Family Trust’s ties to textiles and to illustrate our core values and community service,” Gardner adds. “We are so pleased with the results.” Tom Stanley, chair of Winthrop's fine arts department, and Shaun Cassidy, professor of fine arts at the school, are leading the students in the project. [caption id="attachment_21820" align="alignright" width="225"]Nicole Davenport's work, "Shifting Shadows, Constant Care." Nicole Davenport's work, "Shifting Shadows, Constant Care."[/caption] The student artists include:
  • Chelsea Arthur of Greenville is a senior pursuing a bachelor of fine arts in general studio, with emphases in sculpture and jewelry and metals.
  • Nicole Davenport of Anderson is a junior pursuing a degree in general studio, with emphases in sculpture and printmaking.
  • Samantha Oliver of Rock Hill graduated in December with an art degree in ceramics. She is now a non-degree graduate student at Winthrop.
  • Christopher Smalls of Beaufort is a senior pursuing an art degree in jewelry and metals at Winthrop.
  • Kaitlyn Walters of Greenville graduated in December with a BFA in general studio, with emphases in photography and sculpture.
The builder of the Family Trust project is J.M. Cope Construction of Rock Hill. Designers and architects are 505 Design, BB&M Architects and LandDesign, all of Charlotte. Image above: Kaitlyn Walters, with her work "Renew and Restore," made with railroad ties and wood used to build mills. Photo by Stephanie Garrett, FTFCU

Winthrop students tapped to create art for new credit union headquarters

Family Trust Credit Union has commissioned works of art - to be created by Winthrop University students - for its new headquarters, the first building being constructed in Knowledge Park, a textile corridor connecting Winthrop and downtown Rock Hill. CEO Lee Gardner wants visitors to experience the credit union's commitment and values through art. From the Rock Hill Herald:

Personally or professionally you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether it’s yourself, your employees or your business, how things look makes a difference. That’s why Lee Gardner, president and CEO of Family Trust Federal Credit Union, wants to set a high standard when it comes to the credit union’s new headquarters on the corner of West White and Laurel streets in Rock Hill. The new headquarters returns Family Trust to its roots. It was founded in a stock room at the Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Co. in 1957. The design of the new headquarters takes some of its architectural cues from the company’s textile heritage. Construction by J.M Cope is expected to cost between $7 million and $8 million. But it’s more than the building. More than just the front door. When credit union members or others enter the headquarters Gardner wants them to experience Family Trust’s commitment and values through art. Family Trust has commissioned five pieces of art that will have ties to the textile industry, the credit union’s core values and its service to its members and the community. Gardner is relying on the talents of five Winthrop students: • Chelsea Arthur, a senior from Greenville who has experience in sculpture, jewelry and metals. • Nicole Davenport, a junior from Anderson with experience in sculpture and printmaking. • Samantha Oliver of Rock Hill, a graduate student with a bachelor of fine arts in ceramics. • Christopher Smith, senior from Beaufort with experience in jewelry and metals. • Kaitlyn Walters of Greenville, who graduated in December with a bachelor of fine arts and experience in photography and sculpture. Incorporating art into Family Trust offices is not new. The office in York has watercolors of peach sheds and railroad cars. The office in Clover has local photography. But the scale of what Gardner wants at his headquarters is grand. Current plans call for two accent walls to have an art project that includes railroad ties. That idea nicely connects the headquarters to Rock Hill’s history, Gardner said. If the railroad hadn’t come through here, Rock Hill wouldn’t be what it is today. It’s not the first time Winthrop students have been called upon for their talents. Some of the public art in downtown and at City Hall was done by Winthrop students. But it took more than reputation for Winthrop’s students to get the commission from Family Trust officials. The students had to research Rock Hill and Family Trust’s history before developing their concepts. Once they had done that, they presented the concepts to the credit union and the design team for the new headquarters. The meetings tested not only their ideas, but also their presentation skills. Not every concept made the cut. This professional exchange has been a valuable lesson for the students, said Tom Stanley, chairman of Winthrop’s Fine Arts Department. The art should be completed by the end of this semester but likely won’t be unveiled until the new headquarters opens in the first quarter of 2015. Nonetheless, the expectations are high. “It’s amazing what has been proposed,” Gardner said. Gardner said the project is not intended to set a standard for the Knowledge Park, but that’s what should happen. The construction of the Family Trust headquarters is likely to be the first project completed in Knowledge Park, the textile corridor that connects Winthrop and downtown Rock Hill. Other projects should be unveiled soon by the development team of Sora-Phelps. There are great expectations for these projects. If successful, Knowledge Park could change the way people work, live and play in downtown Rock Hill. While the Knowledge Park is a physical area, it also is an economic development strategy to bring high-tech jobs to downtown. Workers of this type, often labeled the creative class, want more than just a place to work and live. They want to enjoy, be connected, interact with their community. And, as Tom Stanley says, Lee Gardner “gets this.” “This is not just an opportunity to put up art,” Gardner said. “This is an opportunity to connect ourselves with our community.”