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CoroArt contest encourages experimentation

The COROART contest in the U.S. is underway


Coroplast Tape Corporation has delivered a variety of technical adhesive tapes to Winthrop University where visual art students of Shaun Cassidy, professor of fine arts, were invited to reinvent the materials in innovative ways. While there is no specific thematic content or subject direction given, the concept of COROART is focused on experimenting with modern and technical materials. The completed works of art will be displayed first at Coroplast Tape Corporation’s U.S. headquarters in Rock Hill. Select pieces will then be moved to the Arts Council of York County’s Center for the Arts where they will be on display from Nov. 20-24, 2019. A public reception and the COROART Awards presentation will be held at the Center for the Arts on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 from 5-7:30 p.m. The students are contending for the COROART Award presented by the Coroplast Tape Corporation. These awards are accompanied by cash prizes funded by Coroplast, and include 1st Prize ($1,000), 2nd Prize ($500), and 3rd Prize ($250). The 2019 COROART Awards jury includes a panel of three judges: Ashley Beard (Arts Council of York County Board member, art teacher), Harriet Goode (artist, owner: Gallery 5), and Tom Stanley (artist, Winthrop University [retired]). For more information about Coroplast’s commitment to the arts and COROART, visit https://www.coroplast-tapes.com/en/company/coroart-usa/.

ABC Project names new executive director

Dr. Kim Wilson promoted to lead Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 March 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project is announcing the promotion of Dr. Kim Wilson to be the program’s new executive director as of April 1, 2019. Wilson will be responsible for helping 84 schools or districts provide 170,000 South Carolina K-12 students with access to arts-rich education. The program, which is a partnership among the South Carolina Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and the S.C. Dept. of Education, provides critical training and networking for arts teachers who learn best practices from each other. Schools or districts join the program after receiving a grant from the S.C. Arts Commission to support their arts education efforts. The program’s field services coordinator for 18 months, Wilson is a Winthrop University alumna. She earned her doctorate in education this year from Walden University. Her experience in arts education began in community education teaching adult and children’s classes through the University of Vermont and Very Special Arts VT. Afterwards, she served as education director at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit and executive director for Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. Over the last 10 years, Kim has focused on public arts education. After only teaching four years, she was recognized as the 2012 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. Since then, she transitioned into empowering all educators with creativity-fostering teaching practices, including arts-integration strategies through her work with Arkansas A+ Schools. She replaces Christine Fisher, who served as executive director for 18 years and announced her retirement earlier this month. “My commitment to and passion for arts education have been influenced by ABC Project’s accomplishments and the people who contributed to its history. And while my personal arts education journey has taken many forms across several states over the last three decades, all have prepared me for this unique role in my home state. I am honored and eager for the opportunity to lead ABC Project in the next chapter of its rich history,” Wilson said. “In Kim Wilson, the ABC Project has someone with demonstrated success fostering and implementing arts education. In a relatively short time, she’s immersed herself in all facets of the program and contributed to its success. But beyond that, she has incredible passion for what she does and is a natural fit to be the ABC Project’s next leader,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.

About the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

For 30 years, the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project provides leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education (dance, music, media arts, theatre, visual arts and creative writing) for all students in South Carolina. It is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. For more information, visit ABCProjectSC.com.

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 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.

Arts education leader Christine Fisher announces retirement

Fisher led Arts in Basic Curriculum Project for 18 years


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13 March 2019 [caption id="attachment_39351" align="alignright" width="225"]Christine Fisher Christine Fisher[/caption] COLUMBIA, S.C. – Christine Fisher is to retire from the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project this month after spending nearly 20 years working to provide comprehensive arts programs in schools across the state. Fisher, who lives in Florence, began her career in arts education in the classroom, teaching chorus, guitar and musical production at Dillon High School and then elementary general music, beginning band and middle school band in Florence School District One through 2001. She left that year to become executive director of the ABC Project, a partnership among the S.C. Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and S.C. Department of Education that works with schools and districts across the state to maintain and expand arts opportunities for all students. It is based at Winthrop in Rock Hill. Under Fisher’s leadership, the program grew to serve 84 schools or districts and 171,000 students this school year and played an important role in making sure the arts were included in the landmark Profile of the South Carolina Graduate in 2015, a rigorous set of standards for college and career readiness adopted by the state General Assembly in 2016. “Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. Many highlights dot the timeline of Fisher’s career. She was twice selected as a school and district Teacher of the Year, and twice selected as one of the five South Carolina honor roll teachers. Selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1998, she is the only music teacher to hold the honor in the program's history. The S.C. Arts Commission awarded her state’s highest arts award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, in 2006, and she received the Winthrop University Medal of Arts in 2012. “She has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said.

Full Statements on Christine Fisher's retirement

MOLLY SPEARMAN S.C. Superintendent of Education

“Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly.”

KEN MAY Executive Director, S.C. Arts Commission

“The first time I ever heard Christine Fisher speak, she told the moving and powerful story of how the arts, specifically music, saved her life. As I reflect now on her retirement, I realize that all of her work, her entire amazing career, has been about paying forward—at increasing orders of magnitude—the wonderful, transformative gift that she was given. From her early days teaching in Dillon and Florence, to her ground-breaking tenure as State Teacher of the Year, to her long, outstanding service as Executive Director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, she has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for music-making!”

JEFF BELLANTONI Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Winthrop University

“Christine has been an integral part of the arts community at Winthrop University for 18 years. We had the pleasure of recognizing the impact she has made in 2012 when she was awarded our Medal of Honor in the Arts. Her passion and commitment to integrating the arts into education throughout the state is unmatched. Christine’s steadfast support of the arts is evident through her many years of service as an educator and arts advocate, and she will be missed.”


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 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.

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Recording preserves famed organ’s signature sound

Earlier this year, internationally renowned musician Parker Ramsay visited Winthrop University to record an album of George Whitefield Chadwick’s organ music on the university's famed D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ. It is the last recording on the organ before renovations to Byrnes Auditorium that will temporarily prevent its use began. Enthusiasts of the historic organ can still revel in its signature sound captured in the Raven Label recording until the organ is once again available for performances. Winthrop commissioned the organ’s construction in 1952 by the Aeolian-Skinner company. It is named for the Winthrop founder and first president. The large four-manual instrument with 3,788 pipes, the last instrument of famed tonal designer G. Donald Harrison, makes the organ to this day one of the largest in the Carolinas. During its 50th anniversary in 2005, the treasured instrument underwent extensive restoration efforts thanks to generous supporters and Winthrop alumni. Given the Byrnes makeover, admirers said now it is even more critical to preserve both the sound of the instrument and the building, equally highlighted on Ramsay’s recording of Chadwick’s music. “It’s a uniquely American artifact, and this recoding preserves that signature sound … it’s a national treasure in so many ways,” said Murray Somerville, who helped establish the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund along with his wife, Hazel, a Winthrop alumna from the class of 1969. Hazel served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as artistic director of the children's choruses at the Blair School of Music. Somerville, artistic director emeritus of Nashville's Music City Baroque period instrument ensemble, and former Harvard University organist and choirmaster, performed a recital on the classic organ in 2016 and was instrumental in coordinating the production of Ramsay’s CD. Music lovers can purchase the CD in the Winthrop Bookstore during the Nov. 16-17 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend or buy directly from Raven. The recording – featured recently on Michael Barone’s "Pipedreams" radio program – is a debut for Ramsay, a young musician already regarded for his accomplishments and blossoming career on three instruments: organ, harp and harpsichord. The CD features Ramsay on organ playing compositions of George Whitefield Chadwick, who was president of the New England Conservatory in the early 1900's and a noted composer of symphonies and orchestral tone poems. Some of the pieces on this CD are first recordings, enhanced by Byrnes’ acclaimed acoustics. “We have this wonderful memento of [the organ] … and its acoustic setting, in all its tonal splendor,” Somerville said. Other world-famous musicians have visited Byrnes solely to perform on the famous organ, including:

  • Princeton University Organist Eric Plutz, who spent the summer of 2012 recording his “French Trilogy” CD,
  • Juilliard-trained organist Christopher Houlihan,
  • Westminster Abbey organist James O'Donnell,
  • German musicians Christoph Wolff and Stefan Engels,
  • and Canadian organ virtuoso Maxine Thevenot.
For more information about how to give to the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund, contact University Advancement at 803.323.2275.

Greyson Smith joins SCAC as accountant

There's a new face wandering the halls at the S.C. Arts Commission. Greyson Smith (coincidentally a Columbia artist) joined our team Tuesday and is completing his first "full" week as our new accountant. For an agency that is set to distribute some $4 million in grant funding statewide (second time today we've successfully worked that link in...), filling a full-time accountant void is pretty important. The Columbia native graduated from Winthrop University with a bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in accounting, as well as a bachelor's in fine arts. In addition to his years of work experience as an accountant at Companion Life Insurance Company and Enterprise Holdings, Inc., he is also known as an actively exhibiting mixed-media artist and for his past service on the board of directors at 701 Center for Contemporary Art. Welcome, Greyson – we're glad you're here!

S.C. Arts Awards: Tom Stanley

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.
[caption id="attachment_34771" align="alignright" width="205"] Photo by Terry Roueche[/caption]

Tom Stanley

Artist Category Visual artist Tom Stanley, former chair of the Winthrop University Department of Fine Arts, earned a master’s in applied art history and another in painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980. There he learned what it meant to support, trust, and encourage students. After time on college faculties in Arkansas and Florida throughout the 1980s, in 1990 he returned to South Carolina to become the first director of Winthrop University Galleries and became chair of the school’s fine arts department in 2007. During his tenure as chair and gallery director, he worked to increase student and department visibility. He fostered gallery programming partnerships in both Carolinas including the exhibition Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists with the South Carolina State Museum highlighting the importance of these artists to community identity. Stanley and former Winthrop colleague Shaun Cassidy, a sculptor, worked closely with Winthrop, the Wells Fargo Championship, the City of Rock Hill, and Family Trust Federal Credit Union to create ongoing opportunities for students to be commissioned in the production of public art in the region. Stanley also developed an initiative called ACE (Artists and Civic Engagement). It hosted regional artists including Leo Twiggs and Minuette Floyd and brought artist Patrick Dougherty to Rock Hill to create a temporary sapling sculpture titled Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Main Street with the assistance of fine arts students. In recent years Stanley’s creative work has been exhibited in Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia in South Carolina; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; in New Orleans; and internationally in Berlin, Lausanne, Paris, and Portugal. His most recent exhibition was Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art during Spoleto in Charleston. Last year, Stanley completed the public art commission for CATS’ Tom Hunter light rail station in Charlotte, which includes 15 windscreen panels, two benches, seven column claddings, and 32 steel fence inserts. Stanley and Cassidy teamed for public art commissions in Simpsonville, Raleigh, and in Omaha, Neb. In 2010, they completed the 33-ft. high stainless-steel Winthrop Monolith and in 2015 produced the commission Moments on Main Street in Columbia. For more, visit TomStanleyArt.com.
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.

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