2023 S.C. Arts Awards: American College of the Building Arts

Governor’s Award: Arts in Education Category

Graphic with white copy on a dark blue background overlaid on granite blocks. The white text reads South Carolina Arts Awards 2023.

As the day nears for the 2023 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is focusing on this year’s recipients: five receiving the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts from the South Carolina Arts Commission and two receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, managed jointly by the SCAC and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

Charleston’s School of Building Arts became the American College of Building Arts in 2003 in response to real-world implications.

In 1968, the National Trust for Historic Preservation warned that American artisans in the traditional building arts were aging out of the job market as the educational system was eliminating traditional crafts training. No new generation was being trained to create or repair, restore, and preserve American architectural, historic, and cultural treasures. It hit home in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo as owners of historic Lowcountry properties had to look to Europe to find artisans who could repair and restore them.

A group of Charleston’s preservation leaders created ABCA as a unique higher education experience that fills a gap. While many trade schools across America offer technical training and some traditional colleges offer preservation studies, ACBA was the first to combine old-world apprenticeship training with a liberal arts core curriculum. ACBA students graduate with the skills to practice their trade and broad liberal arts foundation that allows them to design while leading their fields. They understand not only how to do something, but to think critically within the context, science, and history of their artisanal specialization; to manage a business; and to communicate effectively with clients.

ACBA students have hones their training through a wide range of community service projects—from repairing windows in the Oval Office, to designing and building a gift shop for Charleston’s Old Powder Magazine (c. 1712), to building attractive and safe bus stops that encourage public transportation use.

The South Carolina Arts Awards are coming live to SCETV on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at 8 p.m. ET.

South Carolina ETV, the state’s public educational broadcasting network, will broadcast the awards ceremony through its 11-station TV network that spans the state. Viewers can access the broadcast via livestream on the homepage of SCETV.org; by using a digital antenna; or through cable, satellite, and streaming live TV providers. Further information about accessing SCETV is available here.