Jason Rapp

Marlanda Dekine wins 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize

SCAC earns publication, cash prize


Hub City Press just announced that Marlanda Dekine is the winner of the fifth New Southern Voices Poetry Prize.

Marlanda Dekine (she/they) is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one's own body. Their work manifest as books, audio projects, and workshops, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. The prize for Dekine's unpublished manuscript, Thresh & Hold, is $1,000 and publication by Hub City Press in spring 2022. Their manuscript was selected as the winner of the prize by award-winning poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Dekine's work has been published or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, POETRY Magazine, Emergence Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, OROBORO, Screen Door Review, Root Work Journal, and elsewhere. They are the founder and former executive director of Speaking Down Barriers, Spoken Word Spartanburg, and other organizations that make space for all beings. Currently, she serves as a Healing Justice Fellow with Gender Benders and the 2021/2022 creative-in-residence with Castle of our Skins. Dekine is the recipient of many awards, including a Tin House Own Path Scholarship (2021), an SC Humanities Award for Fresh Voices in Humanities (2019), Emrys' Keller Cushing Freeman Fellowship (2019), and grants from the S.C. Arts Commission, Alternate Roots, The Map Fund, and other organizations. She holds a bachelor's degree from Furman University, University of South Carolina, and is a third-year master of fine arts candidate (Poetry) at Converse College. Of the collection, Calvocoressi wrote,

"I cannot and will not put Marlanda Dekine’s, Thresh & Hold down. The world it builds, celebrates, and reclaims is a reckoning and a symphony. From the brutality of the rice plantations of South Carolina to the specific privacy found inside one’s Saturn Vue, the breadth of human experience that unfold in these poems cover histories that, we too often forget, are all intimate stories. Dekine reminds us that every moment we read about is a moment some body has fought or celebrated or been unable to live through. The effect of this is that we are brought into the vast music of a world that is endlessly unfolding, It’s fairly common to read poems that speak about community but there are only a handful of poets alive; Nikky Finney, Destiny Hemphill, CA Conrad come to mind, whose poems truly make community as the work blooms before us. This is a poet of that order and ability. I am so blown away by the gift and the challenge of this book. A book that not for one moment looks away from the brutality and beauty of this world. A book that says, 'I am listening to Spirit. I am not dying today.'"

Calvocoressi is the author of the poetry collections Rocket Fantastic; Apocalyptic Swing, which was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, which was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and winner of the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. They are the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award, a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas, the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review, and a residency from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Calvocoressi teaches at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, North Carolina. The other finalists are Reyes Ramirez for Answers Without Questions and Andy Young for Museum of the Soon Departed. The biennial New Southern Voices Prize is sponsored by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. It is open to all poets who have either never published a full-length collection of poetry, or who have only published one full-length collection, and who currently reside in and have had residency in one or more of the following states for a minimum of 24 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The previous winner of this prize was Megan Denton Ray for her collection, Mustard, Milk and Gin which was released by Hub City Press in March 2020.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Phil renews Morihiko Nakahara

Contract extension runs through 2025

Nakahara, wearing a neon yellow Columbia Fireflies jersey, conducts the orchestra at the Fireflies' ballpark at dusk. Nakahara and South Carolina Philharmonic musicians perform to a sold-out concert at the Columbia Fireflies' Segra Park July 3, 2021. Provided photo.

South Carolina Philharmonic Music Director Morihiko Nakahara has renewed his contract with the organization through the 2024/2025 season.

Nakahara joined the S.C. Philharmonic as conductor and music director in 2008. “I am thrilled to continue making music with our committed and talented musicians and sharing that music with listeners throughout the Midlands and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic of the last 15 months cemented my belief that the Philharmonic is a special organization. Our musicians, staff and board members have navigated these challenging times with innovation, determination and an open mind. Music connects us and brings us together, and I look forward to playing my part to connect our orchestra with more South Carolinians over the next few years,” Nakahara said. "We are so pleased and privileged to have Morihiko Nakahara continue as our Maestro for the South Carolina Philharmonic. His leadership is an unequivocal success,” said Concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian. “His work, along that of our wonderful executive director, Rhonda Hunsinger, has put us into a whole new sphere of musical achievements." Immediate Past Board President Lynn Hodge praised Nakahara. “We are very excited to announce Morihiko Nakahara’s contract renewal. His charismatic personality, imaginative programming and dynamic performances have earned him widespread acclaim and a loyal following in the Midlands. The Philharmonic Board greatly values Nakahara’s artistic vision and commitment to ongoing excellence.  We look forward to his continued leadership in taking the Philharmonic to new heights,” Hodge said. A passionate baseball fan, he and the orchestra recently played to a sold-out crowd of around 5,000 at the Columbia Fireflies' Segra Park. The patriotic and Americana-themed concert was performed on the ballpark's infield and concluded with a large fireworks display set to music. Today's news coincides with the recent announcement of the orchestra’s 58th season to begin this fall. The opening Masterworks concert is Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at the Koger Center for the Arts.

Jason Rapp

Wallace Foundation announces investment in arts orgs of color

$53 million over five years to address relevance, resiliency


The Wallace Foundation today announced a five-year, $53 million initiative focusing on arts organizations of color*, and invited eligible arts organizations to apply.

Wallace Foundation logo squareAt the same time, Wallace invited researchers to respond to a request for proposals for the first of several studies associated withthe initiative. All submissions are due August 13, 2021. The initiative will focus on this guiding question: How can and do arts organizations of color, facing strategic challenges, leverage their experience and histories of community orientation to increase their resilience, while sustaining their relevance? There will be two cohorts of grantees; Wallace currently seeks applications from eligible arts organizations of color that would like to be considered for the first cohort. This project is part of the foundation’s efforts to foster equitable improvements in the arts, recognizing that many leaders of arts organizations of color report their contributions are often overlooked and underfunded. The initiative draws on emerging evidence that community orientation—which is central to the approach taken by many arts organizations of color—may contribute to relevance and resilience. By ‘relevance’ we mean that organizations matter to their communities; ‘resilience’ means the organizations’ ability to adapt and thrive. Finally, the initiative builds on Wallace’s history in the 1990s and 2000s of supporting efforts by non-profit arts organizations to more deeply engage the communities of which they are part.

“Equity has long been a central value at Wallace, and we hope this initiative advances that commitment,” said Bahia Ramos, director of arts at The Wallace Foundation. “By listening to and partnering with arts organizations of color, and documenting and studying their work, we hope to highlight their important contributions and better understand the practices that make them matter so deeply to their communities.”


Grantees will take community-oriented approaches as they develop individual projects of their choosing, while learning with and from the rest of the cohort. The initiative will incorporate a strong research focus intended to support grantees in their work by providing them with insights into their efforts as they implement their projects; contribute to the research base on cultural institutions, specifically arts organizations of color; and develop evidence-based, practical guidance. “Our goal is to benefit not only organizations that are selected to be part of the initiative,” Ramos said, “but also other arts organizations of color and the broader field of the non-profit arts.” To select the first cohort, Wallace will consider organizations with annual budgets between $500,000 and $5 million. Drawing from the initial round of applications, Wallace expects to invite approximately 50 organizations to submit proposals. From those, the foundation will select a cohort of 10 to 12 organizations across the visual and performing arts fields, literary and media arts, as well as community-based organizations focused on artistic practice. Heritage museums of color that include contemporary artists are also eligible. Each selected organization will receive five years of funding totaling approximately $2 million to $3 million to develop projects that use community-oriented approaches to meet strategic challenges. In partnership with Wallace, grantees will embark on a planning year for their project—whether it is in progress or something new—and identify any technical supports they might need before beginning four years of project implementation. The grantees will also decide on a name for the initiative—one that captures their collective aspirations and endeavors. Throughout the initiative, grantees will participate in a peer learning community and in research to advance knowledge in the field. Research questions may be refined as projects become clearer after the planning year. Ethnographic researchers will also work closely with each organization to document its history, practices and organizational culture, providing important archival accounts both for the organization and for the field.

Information for arts organizations 

Details on the application and selection process, and what participation in the initiative entails, are available at Wallace’s information hub, www.wallacefoundation.org/ArtsOpenCall. A brief application form is due by August 13, 2021. The initiative will include a second, larger cohort that will focus on organizations with budgets below $500,000. This phase of the initiative is anticipated to begin in late 2022.

Information for arts researchers

The first research component of the new initiative is an up to $3.2 million study of community orientation. Wallace seeks researchers with a deep understanding of arts organizations of color and their relationships with the communities they serve, across a diversity of communities and arts disciplines. The study will focus on the organizations’ activities, the context for those activities, and how they contribute to relevance and resilience. The research will result in a set of public-facing reports and academic papers. The request for research proposals is available at Wallace's information hub, www.wallacefoundation.org/ArtsOpenCall. ​Letters of intent are due by August 13, 2021.

About the Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation’s mission is to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone. Wallace works nationally, with a focus on the arts, K-12 education leadership and youth development. In all of its work, Wallace seeks to benefit both its direct grantees as well as the fields in which it works by developing and broadly sharing relevant, useful knowledge that can improve practice and policy. For more information, please visit the foundation’s Knowledge Center at wallacefoundation.org. *For the purposes of this open call, an inclusive process for inviting submissions, The Wallace Foundation uses the term “arts organizations of color” to describe organizations that have been founded by (in either artistic or administrative leadership) and for communities of color. Wallace recognizes that no one umbrella term can accurately represent the plurality and diversity of arts organizations that serve communities of color including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Arab American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander.

Jason Rapp

Rock Hill teen named youth poet laureate

It's a South Carolina first


Rock Hill was recently the host city for the “One Word Poetry Festival,” a creation of Rock Hill Poet Laureate Angelo Geter.

This three-day festival attracted a large crowd for a first-time event. Many of the events were free, open to the public and well attended. One of the major events was the selection of a youth poet laureate. Thirteen young poets submitted their work and 17-year-old Alexandra Aradas was named the winner. Not only is this distinction an honor for her personally, but also for Rock Hill and South Carolina; she is the city's and state's first youth poet laureate. Aradas is a rising senior at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. While her concentration is creative writing, she hopes to have a career in politics. The Rock Hill Youth Poet Laureate Program celebrates and honors teen poets who exhibit a commitment to not just artistic excellence, but also civic engagement, youth leadership and social justice. The position has a one-year term. Aradas will be celebrated Thursday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts/Arts Council of York County (121 East Main St., Rock Hill).

Submitted material

Spartanburg artist, arts org receive community grants

Chapman Cultural Center awards two


Chapman Cultural Center is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community.

Chapman Cultural CenterBecause of this commitment, a major part of the work we do is centered around funding Spartanburg's arts and cultural community. One of Chapman Cultural Center's major funding opportunities comes in the form of our quarterly Community Grants Program. The Community Grants Program awards up to $5,000 per application and is open to both individual artists and non-profits/government agencies. We're proud to announce we've awarded the following artists and organizations a Community Grant for our Q1 2021-2022 grants cycle! Learn more about their projects and programs below.

Speaking Down Barriers

Black man sits, eyes close, with his right hand over his chest listening to poetry Speaking Down Barriers was awarded a Community Grant for their event "An Evening of Transformation." An Evening of Transformation will feature 8 artists: culinary artists, visual artists, spoken word artists, and musicians. Each will create art for the event that will examine our mission "Equity for all." The artists will present their art and the participants will engage the artist and each other around themes that emerge from each piece. All of the artists will be representing marginalized communities and perspectives. (The tentative date is November 13, 2021, 5:30-8:30 at the United Universalist Church of Spartanburg.)

Quinn Long

Local artist Quinn Long was awarded a Community Grant to help with purchasing a high-end printer to produce copies of her art from home, which will enable her to sell high-quality prints of her original artwork.
Chapman Cultural Center receives general financial support for cultural projects impacting Spartanburg County, funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. The full version of this story appears on the CCC website here.

Jason Rapp

South Carolinian to lead Gullah Geechee commission

Victoria Smalls named ED of multi-state heritage group


The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission announced recently that Victoria Smalls of St. Helena Island will be its next executive director.

Smalls (right) is a National Park Ranger with the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort, a public historian, educator, arts advocate, and cultural preservationist. She also serves as a maven for the S.C. Arts Commission program "The Art of Community: Rural SC," helping her community reimagine itself through an arts lens. Beginning July 26, she will lead the four-state National Heritage Area under the National Park Service that extends from North Carolina to Florida. A "rigorous national search process" was used to identify its new leadership. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to advance the great work of the commission, where I can serve the corridor in a focused capacity—as an advocate and connector—promoting the magnificent richness of the culture, sharing the beauty of the people, and helping to support and uplift our communities," Smalls said. Smalls served on the 13-member federal commission as a South Carolina commissioner from 2016-2020. She will return to lead the corridor with her extensive knowledge as a primary resource in the Gullah Geechee community, working in cultural education and development, across the corridor and internationally. The corridor’s mission is to create and build strategic alliances to strengthen the preservation and stimulation of Gullah Geechee people and communities within the global corridor. The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established in 2006 by Congress to recognize and preserve the cultural treasures of Gullah Geechee people. Gullah Geechee people are direct descendants of enslaved people brought from primarily Africa’s rice-producing regions who were forced to work for almost two centuries on coastal plantations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida. In 2013, the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service approved the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Management Plan in an effort to support the recognition of important contributions made by Gullah Geechee people, their history, traditions and origins. Guiding the Corridor through its reauthorization process this year is an important first responsibility for the new executive director. Dr. Dionne Hoskins-Brown of Savannah chairs the Commission and leaves the role of acting director as Smalls assumes leadership. “I am absolutely ecstatic that we are able to place someone as capable as Ms. Smalls at the helm of our organization. She is eminently qualified, uniquely prepared, and profoundly representative of the community,” Hoskins-Brown said.
A lifelong member and descendent of the Gullah Geechee community, Smalls has emerged as one of the thriving voices in cultural preservation education. Her professional work in Beaufort County in 2012 at the Historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island, one of the country’s first schools for formerly enslaved people. She then served for five years as the director of history, art, and culture and director of the York W. Bailey Museum. In 2019, Smalls returned to Penn Center to serve in various roles, including as a cultural, historical, and creative diplomat and providing leadership and strategic direction while articulating positive impacts of the Penn Center’s 159-year history to the public. She is as a commissioner with the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, through which she assisted in identifying and promoting the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience. Smalls is also a Riley Fellow with Furman University’s Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, which helps leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Smalls has additional experience serving with partnering organizations and commissioned boards that align with the mission of the commission, including:
  • the International African American Museum (IAAM) as program manager,
  • as a cultural consultant for the Joyner Institute for Gullah and African Diaspora Studies at Coastal Carolina University,
  • and most recently with the National Park Service (NPS) as a park ranger at the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort that educates the public on the Reconstruction Era (1861-1900), the historic period in which the U.S. grappled with how to integrate millions of newly freed African Americans into social, political, economic, and labor systems.
In the latter role, she provided education and interpretation at historic sites to diverse visitors, conducted presentations for secondary and higher education audiences, conducted relevant research, and served as the liaison between affiliated networks.

Jason Rapp

Spoleto Festival USA announces new general director

Beginning October 2021, Mena Mark Hanna will become the Festival’s new leader, taking over from current General Director Nigel Redden, who will be retiring after 35 years.

Hanna (right) comes to Spoleto from Berlin’s Barenboim-Said Akademie, where he was Founding Dean. Prior to his tenure in Berlin, he was Assistant Artistic Director at the Houston Grand Opera. “Mena possesses a depth of knowledge and experience across artistic genres, and also—essential for Spoleto and Charleston—understands and is passionate about the power of artistic expression to bridge differences and bring people together,” said Alicia Gregory, President of the Board of Spoleto Festival USA. “The board is unanimous in Mena’s appointment.”

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Federal ARP funding webinar + Dreskin, Flowers news

Good morning! 

"Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

Who's tuning up on a Friday? We are!

Don't miss...

The NEA and South Arts are joining forces to present a webinar on two NEA programs to distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (more info on those here). Join the webinar TUESDAY, JULY 13 FROM 3-4:30 P.M. to explore these new programs, learn how to register your organization to be eligible for federal funding, gain other resources, and participate in a Q&A session. First-time applicants are encouraged to apply, and this workshop will provide content for first-timers as well as previous NEA applicants.

News from State Art Collection artists!

  • Head to Hampton III Gallery for a new exhibition: Jeanet S Dreskin: 100 Years. Four of Dreskin's works are included in the State Art Collection. The exhibition began yesterday and runs through Aug. 21. Preview online here, or visit in person Tuesday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery received the S.C. Governor's Award for the Arts in 2019 in the organization category. 3110 Wade Hampton Blvd., Suite 10 in Taylors. Free.
  • Speaking of Governor's Award recipients, Tom Flowers, a recent, posthumous lifetime achievement recipient, left behind a vast collection of artwork. Beginning tomorrow, some of it could be yours. His family is auctioning off much of it to, in part, fund the scholarship fund in his name at Furman University. Flowers taught there for three decades and was head of the art department as well, and the State Art Collection includes two of his works. The auction runs Saturday, July 10 at noon to Saturday, July 24 at noon.
 

Submitted material

Winners of the 27th annual SOBA Judged Show announced

Winning pieces on exhibit through Aug. 1 at SOBA gallery


Of the 100 local artists who entered The Society of Bluffton Artists’ 27th Annual Judged Show, 18 winners were awarded first, second and third place cash awards in the following categories: oils, acrylics, watercolor, photography, mixed media and other art during an opening reception July 7.

“It was a pleasure to jury this fine collection of art,” said David Rankin, a nationally renowned artist who judged the entries. “It is a vivid testament to the creative efforts of the artists and art community here in Bluffton. Excellence in art is a hard-won achievement that artists struggle to achieve through their individual creative skills, efforts, and inspiration. And this 27th annual compilation is one the local art community can be proud of. I hope you will come walk through this exhibition and enjoy the diversity of styles and achievements.” The Judged Show exhibit is on display through Aug. 1 at the SOBA gallery, on Church Street in Old Town Bluffton. To view all of the winners, visit http://bit.ly/SOBAJudgedShow.

Prize Winners

Dennis Lake walked home with “Best In Show” for “Aegan Blue” at the 27th Annual Judged Show. The “Best In Show” winner for “Aegan Blue” (above) is Dennis Lake. In Category 1: Oils, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Resting Spot,” Jackie Nutter
  • 2nd Place — “Reverie,” Bill Winn
  • 3rd Place — “South From Daws Island,” James Cawley
  • Honorable Mention — “My Happy Place,” Julia Kamenskikh
In Category 2: Acrylic, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Velocity,” Audrey Salkind
  • 2nd Place — “Morning Coffee at Cafe,” Lin Hilts
  • 3rd Place — “Globally Clean,” Cheryl Arnold
  • Honorable Mention — “Friends Forever,” Wyn Foland
In Category 3: Watercolor, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Three Friends,” Brenda Fallon
  • 2nd Place — “Blooming Again,” Barbara Pecce
  • 3rd Place — “The Gathering,” Patricia Wilund
  • Honorable Mention — “Little Ruby,” Loraine Mullaney
In Category 4: Photography, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Anticipation,” Suzanne Fiorino
  • 2nd Place — “A Bird’s Eye View,” Melinda Welker
  • 3rd Place — “Tranquility,” Steven Higgins
  • Honorable Mention — “Chechessee Storm,” Ed Kelly
  • Honorable Mention — “Reflections of Connections,” Jo Paduch
  • Honorable Mention — “Cool Contemplation,” Savannah Kemper
In Category 5: Mixed Media, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Hanami,” Tamara Garvey
  • 2nd Place — “Bucket Full of Blues,” Joan McKeever
  • 3rd Place — “Believe in Spring,” Donna Varner
  • Honorable Mention — “Guardian Angel,” Pam Davis
In Category 6: Other Art, winners are:
  • 1st Place — “Unconsidered Trifles: Dispensary Bottles,” Kara Artman
  • 2nd Place — “Pride,” Mary Burrell
  • 3rd Place — “On the Road to Hanna,” Pat Diemand

About the judge

David Rankin promotes conservation and appreciation of the natural world through his paintings and has worked with organizations such as the International Crane Foundation, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the Corporate Conservation Council-Japan and the Smithsonian Institution. He is a Signature Member of the Ohio Watercolor Society, Artists for Conservation, and the Society of Animal Artists where he has served on the board since 1990. David is one of the true modern-day masters of transparent watercolors, exuding a dynamic passion for the medium in his lectures, demonstrations, and workshop instruction. His art reflects his profound passion for both watercolor and nature. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife, Deanna.

About The Society of Bluffton Artists

SOBA is the heart of the flourishing art hub in Old Town Bluffton’s historic district at the corner of Church and Calhoun streets. As a non-profit art organization, SOBA offers regular art classes, featured artist shows, exhibitions, scholarships, outreach programs and more. The gallery is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sundays. Please visit www.sobagallery.com for a complete calendar of events and other information or call 843.757.6586.

Jason Rapp

Catch American Ballet Theatre in Charleston

ABT Across America on July 17

Presented by the Charleston Gaillard Center


American Ballet Theatre will take to the road this summer, traveling by bus and truck to just eight U.S. cities—including Charleston.

The Charleston Gaillard Center will present ABT Across America for an outdoor performance at The Citadel’s parade ground, Summerall Field. The show will be performed without an intermission. Repertory for ABT Across America will feature Lauren Lovette’s La Follia Variations, a work for eight dancers set to music by Francesco Geminiani, Jessica Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore, a pas deux blending ballet and jazz vocabulary set to songs sung by Tony Bennett, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, a celebration of American jazz music, and a classical pas de deux from ABT’s extensive repertoire. Support for this program is made possible by generous donors who have committed time and resources to the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Dance Initiative.