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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 grad touts “fantastic” public arts plan for Rock Hill roundabout

From the Rock Hill Herald Article by David Thackham

[caption id="attachment_28428" align="alignleft" width="150"]brandyscholl Brandy Scholl[/caption] In truth, Brandy Scholl got her inspiration from a real-life case of #ThrowbackThursday.
Inspired by a photograph of an old buggy car and a visit to a renovated fabrics manufacturer, the recent Winthrop University graduate brainstormed and designed an intricate public arts project that may adorn the city’s new roundabout by next summer. “It’s a little surreal,” said Scholl, who designed the top concept of her class earlier this spring. “I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that I came up with this out of my head, and now it’s actually being built into this community. Being welcomed... as an artist, it’s the most gratifying thing you could possibly imagine.” Scholl, who now works as a self-employed artist in Greenville, laid out her plan in front of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday afternoon. The idea is to create what she calls a “sensory experience” by decorating the four outside edges of the roundabout circle with flowers and plants which would be adapted to each season. The effect uses the entire space and gives drivers a better visual experience as they make their way around to their exit, says Scholl. The art is funded through a portion of a $50,000 grant the city received last summer from the National Endowment for the Arts. The design drew rave reviews from David Lawrence, project manager for the Knowledge Park project, which lies close to the incoming roundabout. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Lawrence. “It’s a new gateway entering that direction, with everything heading into Knowledge Park. It’s a unique idea, and I hope it’s as colorful as her images.” Scholl’s design includes use of 10 3x3 concrete discs, carved with themes around the city, which will be placed in the ground for pedestrians to step on in between the plants. Construction on the roundabout is going smoothly, says Lawrence, and the site should be open again within the next six months. Once that starts, workers will be able to start laying in Scholl’s design. She’ll present her concept in front of the Rock Hill City Council next month for final approval. It took Scholl nearly three months to fully draw out her plans and put together her concept, which was deemed the best in her class at a board review. She was most inspired by a trip to the Springs Creative textile building on Chatham Ave., where she saw huge rolls of fabric in the warehouse. She also drew parallels from an old archive photo of a vintage Anderson motor buggy from the Rock Hill Buggy Company. “I had three posters of this traffic design hanging up all over my space alone, and I kept seeing a spinning, central part of it,” said Scholl. “That’s where the creation came from.” Although it’ll likely be about 8 to 9 months before she’s able to see the fruits of her labor, Scholl said she’s proud to see that her work has been appreciated. “The more you research, the more you know what you have,” she said. “Just getting to learn about Rock Hill’s history, that I didn’t know about, that was great.”

Winthrop alumna wins top honors at Pittsburgh exhibition

Caroline RustROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop alumna Caroline Rust has won Best of Show for her painting “Billie Holiday Wears a Veil Gifted by John Rawls,” part of a juried exhibition titled “In-VISIBLE” at Point Park University’s Lawrence Hall Gallery in Pittsburgh. John Carson, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art, judged the exhibition, presented by the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. (NAWA), and awarded Rust’s painting Best of Show. Rust, a Rock Hill resident, said she was “most honored” to learn that her painting earned top honors. “I am most honored to receive the Best of Show award for my piece in this exhibit. Pittsburgh and all its creatives are wonderful, as is NAWA and its mission to empower and promote female artists – a mission I believe in stalwartly,” said Rust. The winning painting is part of the “I Have Come to Make a Crooked Line Straight” series she created in 2015 while in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rust explained that “Billie Holiday Wears a Veil Gifted by John Rawls” interweaves the themes and stories surrounding two well-known figures: jazz musician Billie Holiday, whose experiences with racial injustice nonetheless contributed to her talent and added depth to her expression, and philosopher John Rawls, whose “veil of ignorance” theory posits that under the veil people can function as equals without bias or prejudice. “Under the veil we are invisible, without bodies; we are our true essence – that is the gift,” added Rust. Rust, a native of Charlotte, earned her B.F.A. (concentration in painting) at East Carolina University and her M.F.A. (concentration in painting) at Winthrop. She is a member of NAWA, and she is a recipient of artist grants from both the Arts Council of York County and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council. Rust has patrons worldwide who collect her work, and she exhibits annually in both solo and juried exhibitions across the U.S. Learn more about Rust’s artwork on her website, www.carolinerust.com. Via: Winthrop University

Artist Mary Jackson and Sen. Robert “Wes” Hayes to receive Winthrop University’s Medal of Honor in the Arts

Winthrop University’s 12th annual Medal of Honor in the Arts ceremony on April 24 will recognize a rising comedic star, an arts-minded state senator, a celebrated sweetgrass basket weaver and an influential musician involved in civil rights struggles. The 8 p.m. event includes an evening of performances by faculty and students, and a reception in Johnson Hall to honor this year's recipients: Medal of Honor in the Arts- Fortune Feimster - A stand-up comedian from North Carolina who wrote and appeared on E! Network’s “Chelsea Lately” show and is now working on a sitcom produced by Tina Fey. - S.C. Sen. Wes Hayes - A Rock Hill legislator who is one of the most faithful and effective advocates for the arts in the General Assembly. - Mary Jackson - A Charleston master fiber artist whose intricately coiled vessels preserve the centuries-old craft of sweetgrass basketry. - Si Kahn - A Charlotte, North Carolina, resident who has spent 45 years working as a musician and in civil rights, labor and as a community organizer. Winthrop’s Medal of Honor in the Arts event has acknowledged individuals and groups since 2001 who have made a significant contribution to the arts, as well as those who have positively impacted the quality of the cultural life in communities across the Carolinas. Tickets for the April 24 event are $50 each and can be purchased online. A portion of Medal of Honor event proceeds goes to a scholarship fund which helps support talented students who have an interest in pursuing careers in the visual arts, dance, music or theatre at Winthrop. The Medal of Honor scholarship will be presented during the evening to Leianne Nicole Johnson, a junior choral music education major from Gaston, South Carolina. More on the honorees: FORTUNE FEIMSTER * Fortune Feimster is a Belmont, North Carolina, native and Peace College graduate who taught English for a year in Sevilla, Spain, and then headed in 2003 to Los Angeles. She worked as an entertainment journalist for the syndicated newspaper column Beck/Smith. By 2005 Feimster was taking improv and sketch classes at the Groundlings Theatre to meet people. After four years of intense training, she was selected to be in the Groundlings’ prestigious Sunday Company and performed a new sketch show every week for a year-and-a-half. Feimster made her national TV debut on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” where she finished as a semi-finalist. She auditioned twice in front of Lorne Michaels for “Saturday Night Live,” but she got her lucky break from Chelsea Handler who hired her as full-time writer and performer on the E! Network’s popular show, “Chelsea Lately.” Feimster has opened for Chelsea at Caesar’s Palace in Windsor and performed in front of 15,000 people as part of Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchord’s “Oddball Fest.” Her standup was also featured on HBO Canada’s “Funny As Hell.” She’ll be appearing in an upcoming episode of Comedy Central’s storytelling show “This Is Not Happening” and can currently be seen in the Jim Belushi movie, “The Secret Lives of Dorks.” Feimster also has made recent guest appearances on current television shows, such as “Glee” and “Two Broke Girls.” WES HAYES * Robert Wesley (Wes) Hayes Jr. has represented District 15 in the S.C. Senate since 1991, and previously served from 1985-91 in the S.C. House of Representatives. He now chairs the Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee. Born in 1952 in Rock Hill, Hayes attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was elected president of his class and served as a battalion commander. After graduating in 1975, he was stationed at Fort Bragg from 1976-80 as a master parachutist and ranger, and received the Legion of Merit Award. Upon leaving active service, Hayes became a member of the S.C. Army National Guard from 1980-2005, in which he held the rank of colonel. A University of South Carolina School of Law graduate, he first practiced at Harrelson, Hayes and Guyton, and later founded his own firm in Rock Hill. Hayes has been very active volunteering with his church and organizations in York County, particularly with the Boy Scouts of America. The S.C. Arts Commission considers him a champion for the arts because of his tireless dedication and support, his collaboration with arts leadership, and his push for art budget increases and sponsorship of arts legislation. MARY JACKSON * A descendent of the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina, Mary Jackson was born in 1945 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She learned the art of making baskets at the age of four from her mother and grandmother, a skill brought to the United States by their West African ancestors. She did not take up basketmaking as an adult until 1973 when she began producing baskets full time, and has since taught her daughter the art form. Jackson’s work is exhibited widely in national juried shows and is represented in galleries, museums, and public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. A 2008 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius award,” she has been recognized with many other awards such as the Lifetime Achievement in Craft Arts award from the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the S.C. Arts Commission’s Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award in 2011. Jackson is a founding member of the Mount Pleasant Sweet Grass Basket Makers Association. She is a leader in efforts to protect threatened sweetgrass habitats, thus ensuring that there will be access to these resources for future generations of basket makers. SI KAHN *Si Kahn’s family and his own work history are lively and extensive. He has relatives who have been soldiers in the Czar’s army, shoe factory workers, gas station operators, rabbis, civil rights leaders, pick and shovel laborers on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, Jewish faith healers, illegal immigrants, bootleggers, World War I soldiers, Talmudic scholars and a driver for Al Capone. Kahn has spent 40 years as a composer, lyricist and book writer for musical theater. As a musician, he has performed at concerts and festivals in Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Canada and the U.S. He has toured with Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and John McCutcheon, and has shared festival and workshop stages with artists ranging from Ani DiFranco to the Fairfield Four. His musical body of work includes 16 albums of original songs; a CD of original songs for children, Good Times and Bedtimes; and a collection of traditional labor and civil rights songs recorded with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp. One of Kahn’s favorite musical experiences was being asked by publisher Harper-Collins to set to music and record the classic children’s books “Runaway Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon.” He has composed original music and lyrics for half a dozen films and videos, including labor videos. During the civil rights era, Kahn began his organizing career in 1965 in Arkansas with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, more popularly known as SNCC, the student wing of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Kahn also served in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Vietnam era (1965-71). As a member of the 317th Military History Detachment, he co-wrote the official U.S. Army histories of Fort McPherson, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and of the XVIII Airborne Corps in World War II. He received his A.B. degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1965 and in 1995, received his Ph.D. in American studies with a specialization in cultural studies from The Graduate College for Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences of The Union Institute. Medal of Honor medallion: Plural Studios is a design collaboration between husband and wife team Michael Gayk and Winthrop faculty member Courtney Starrett. They create unique wearable and sculptural objects inspired by nature and architecture on a micro-level, with a focus on transitions, connections, intersections and details. Starrett, who joined the Winthrop faculty in 2006, is now on sabbatical as an associate professor of jewelry and metals. Gayk now teaches metals/digital design and fabrication at SUNY New Paltz. For more information about Medal of Honor in the Arts contact Amanda Kibiloski at 803/323-2399 or e-mail her at woolwinea@winthrop.edu. Via: Winthrop University

Rock Hill Designs invites proposals for public art and design features

Application deadline is July 7. The Rock Hill Designs Committee is seeking qualifications from artists and designers in creating distinctive, permanent design features within the Woolworth Walkway, which will serve as the connecting corridor between the recently constructed Old Town Market area and the mid-block of Main Street in the City of Rock Hill. The committee is seeking proposals from artists located in the Southeast region only (S.C., N.C., Ga., Tenn., Va.) due to the high level of community engagement that is expected. The anticipated budget for the artist engagement/design portion of this project is $18,000.  The proposed budget is intended to cover all associated costs for the visioning & design selection process including artist and apprentice fees, materials, travel and convening expenses.  Excluded from this budget is the final implementation and installation of accepted design. The integrated design features will be located in a new walkway being created on the site of the former Woolworth building on Main Street in Rock Hill, S.C., which is currently being demolished.  Main Street Rock Hill has a rich civil rights history: the Woolworth & McCrory’s lunch counters were the location of the “Friendship Nine” sit-in in 1961, which ultimately resulted in the “Jail No Bail” stance that was replicated in civil rights protests across the South. One of the goals of this project is to incorporate this history into a theme of civil rights/social justice within the spaces that will be created. The selected artist will be part of a design team including the City’s selected architect and civil engineer that will incorporate locally inspired themes into the spaces created by the project. Strong preference will be given to artists who demonstrate experience and success with engagement of local residents and students in the creation of locally imagined themes and spaces. Rock Hill Designs is a collaborative effort including the City of Rock Hill, Rock Hill School District 3, Winthrop University, Clinton College, York Technical College, the Arts Council of York County, the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation’s Quality of Life Committee and other interested parties whose goal is to facilitate incorporating locally inspired art into the design of new public investments in the Rock Hill Community. View complete information and apply. Via: Rock Hill Designs

New exhibit in Rock Hill features work by former university president

Misty Morning on the Burgundy CanalThe Arts Council of York County's first exhibit of 2014 features digital photography artwork by former Winthrop University President Tony DiGiorgio. Travels and Flights of Fancy is on display through Feb. 16 in the Dalton Gallery at the Center for the Arts, 121 E. Main St., Rock Hill, S.C. Since the introduction and early development of photography in the 19th century, artists have been enlarging the use and nature of this technological invention as an aesthetic medium. With the advent of digital photography in the late 20th century, pioneering artists have used computer technology to create distinctive works of art that manipulate traditional photographic imagery into never-before-seen views into the world of imagination. DiGiorgio joined this 21st-century art movement a number of years ago and has created unique works of art that have been exhibited and presented as signature gifts to honor long-time friends of Winthrop University, where he was president for 24 years. His work is also displayed in venues across campus to inspire others to explore their own creativity. DiGiorgio’s artistic approach creates striking imagery that introduces viewers to the possibilities of photography in the digital age. DiGiorgio creates representational works of art from his initial digital images as well as abstract art as he explores the visible world along with the inner world of his imagination. Visit the Arts Council of York County's website for more information. Image: Misty Morning on the Burgundy Canal Via: Arts Council of York County  

Dancing, drumming, design: middle school students create at Winthrop University

For the 25th consecutive year, Winthrop University has welcomed gifted and talented students in grades six through eight for an artistic summer filled with music, dance, design, drama and photography. The approximately 300 students, chosen during tryouts from the Clover, Fort Mill, Lancaster, Rock Hill and York school districts, are currently spending the three weeks in the ST-ARTS program working with more than 50 talented artists and musicians from Winthrop, public schools and the S.C. Arts Commission Artists Roster. As part of the ST-ARTS curriculum, students study their “major” arts area and spend time exploring a “minor” art interest as well. They also have the chance to attend arts performances. Examples of classes include hip-hop dancing, puppetry, improvisation acting, African drumming and 3D design. Since its inception in 1989, the program has served more than 8,500 middle school students. According to an article in the Rock Hill Herald, one aspect of ST-ARTS that sets it apart from arts education in schools is the specialized material. Theater students are able to delve into directing and puppetry, while music students explore African drumming and music technology.

At this time of year, Winthrop University’s classrooms are filled with creative middle-schoolers hard at work. This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the university’s ST-ARTS program, where students in sixth through eighth grades spend three weeks exploring the arts. Over the years, more than 8,500 students have participated in the program. ST-ARTS participants audition for and participate in one of the four major arts areas: drama, dance, visual arts and music. “The program is amazing,” said Mary Shockley, a drama teacher. “Arts programs like this one are important because they keep the kids in schools and out of trouble. It helps them express themselves.” She said that many students find a home in the community that the arts offer.
Read the complete article to find out what students and teachers think about the program. Via: Winthrop University, Rock Hill Herald