Jason Rapp

New residents introduced by Richland Library

Artist, entrepreneur selected for short-term residencies


With the New Year underway, Richland Library is thrilled to announce two new additions to the residency program: Tammaka Staley as the artist-in-residence (AiR) and Kevin Williams as the entrepreneur-in-residence (EiR).

Headshots of Tammaka Staley (left) and Kevin Williams (right) Tammaka Staley (left) and Kevin Williams (right) A native of Columbia, Staley runs a performance art and speaking brand called Talks with Tammaka, and she’s the founder and executive director of Youth Affirming Sex Education (YASÉ), LLC. She hosts writing workshops to teach youth and young adults how to construct poems and improve stage performance. Staley also facilitates dialogues in public and online spaces about various gender, racial and sexuality inequities. Founder of Cognizant Leadership, LLC and owner of Escapology Columbia, Williams combines visual learning tools, escape room experiences, and team retrospectives to help individuals and groups learn more about themselves and create lasting change. He has more than 25 years of business experience in a variety of technical and leadership positions both nationally and abroad. During their residencies, Staley and Williams plan to:
  • serve as liaisons to the artistic and entrepreneurial communities
  • work with our staff to offer online programs, which are free and open to the public
  • host online office hours or virtual appointments to interact with local residents and answer their questions
  • curate digital content to highlight and share their expertise
Williams’ residency extends through May 2021, and Staley’s residency continues through June 2021. The library’s residency program aims to connect the community directly with local working artists, entrepreneurs and writers. Learn more here: https://www.richlandlibrary.com/residents.

About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Submitted material

Mary Anne Carter, NEA chair, steps down

From National Endowment for the Arts Public Affairs.  


As the Biden administration prepares to take the reins of government, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter is stepping down from her position leading the National Endowment for the Arts effective today.

In a note to staff she said, “A new team should have a new leader. I will leave with warm feelings towards all of you and pride in our work.” She outlined four goals that guided her throughout her tenure and noted her belief that those goals were not only met but often exceeded. Protecting and Strengthening the Agency
  • The agency saw modest budget increases for the past four years. The current agency budget is the seventh largest budget in its history.
  • When an amendment came up in the House of Representatives to cut the agency’s funding, it received the least number of votes in a decade.
  • The “wasteful public spending” list compiled and distributed by Senator Rand Paul has not included any agency grants or projects for the past two years, notable since the agency was regularly featured.
  • Chairman Carter’s prioritized regular agency communication with members of Congress.
Messaging Chairman Carter made a strategic decision to change the way the Arts Endowment talked about the arts. Two specific changes included highlighting the arts as:
  • Economic engines for state and local communities. The creation of individual state fact sheets emphasized the arts in economic terms and have been downloaded and quoted numerous times by the field, communities, and elected officials.
  • A part of health/well-being/healing. The Arts Endowment expanded into this growing area of interest in the arts via the launch of the Sound Health Network and the agency’s first report on arts in opioid recovery, among other examples.
Outreach Chairman Carter regularly spoke about the importance that all Americans have access to the arts. During her tenure, the agency emphasized reaching out to typically underserved communities, making them aware of federal culture resources. These include:
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The agency developed an outreach plan that included events, work opportunities, and targeted information. To date, more than half the nation’s HBCUs have been contacted by the Arts Endowment’s HBCU team.
  • Native Americans. The Arts Endowment was the catalyst for the first-ever convening of Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians, called Native Arts and Culture: Resilience, Reclamation, and Relevance. The gathering allowed participants representing more than 40 tribes and nations a chance to discuss issues affecting Native arts and culture today.
  • Folklife/Traditional Artists. The National Folklife Network initiated in 2020 is the first stand-alone initiative in the Arts Endowment’s support of the folk and traditional arts in more than 30 years.
Building the Bench Another priority for Chairman Carter was educating people outside the arts field, such as elected officials at the state and local levels, on the importance of the arts. This effort included:
  • S. Conference of Mayors (UCM). Expanded the existing relationship such that the agency was featured in their annual conference and as a partner in UCM’s City Song Project.
  • Speakers of the House in the states. This was an influential group to engage with regarding the importance of funding the arts at the state level.
  • Chambers of Commerce. Uniting Chambers of Commerce with their local arts organizations further builds upon economic development for their communities.
  • Health/medical field. Working with neurologists, oncologists, medical colleges, etc. through the Arts Endowment’s Office of Research & Analysis helped build movement for integrating the arts into our health and well-being.
Additionally, the agency expanded its relationships with other federal government agencies such as:
  • Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The agency expanded the number of Creative Forces clinical sites, supported community-based arts programs around these sites, and provided telehealth services as part of the network.
  • Department of State (DoS). Projects that engaged DoS include the United States/Japan Creative Artists Program that worked towards events during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, co-hosting an event in Malaysia with the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, and hosting the 2020 Americas Cultural Summit that is being rescheduled.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For the first time, the agency deployed staff after a natural disaster to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This led to the request for the agency to join FEMA’s disaster and economic recovery teams.
  • Department of Education (DoE). The agency committed more funding to the Arts Education Partnership, encouraging the DoE to do the same and resulting in the largest single year increase.
Other unique accomplishments include sponsoring a children’s booth at the National Book Festival in 2019 and publishing Creativity and Persistence, Art that Fueled the Fight for Women’s Suffrage to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment. Chairman Carter concludes, “Lastly, I am most proud and humbled by something I never saw coming—the pandemic. This team’s response to the crisis situation swells my heart with pride. All of us shifted overnight to at-home offices, continued operation excellence, and maintaining the confidence of those we serve. Nothing mentioned above compares to that. Thank you.”

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Jason Rapp

SCAC commitments to DEI, rural aided by grant from Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.

$14,339 grant expands agency work in Lowcountry


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A grant awarded to the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) by Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (CCF) supported commitments to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion and reaching rural communities.

Visit the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina's website at https://coastalcommunityfoundation.org/That perfectly complements the SCAC’s new strategic plan, released in late 2020, which calls for it to “promote equitable access to the arts” through a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the agency has a commitment to expanding arts opportunities in rural communities through such initiatives as its nationally recognized program The Art of Community: Rural SC. Extenuating circumstances in FY19 led to $500 from that year’s Expansion Arts Fund award being held over to FY20, bringing that year’s funding to $14,839. This is how the funds were distributed by the SCAC:
  • Aldwyth, an individual artist in Beaufort County, was granted $2,500 to support the creation of works for Pictures of Nothing or Mr. Varnedoe, Why Abstraction?, a multi-disciplinary exhibition focused on Kirk Varnedoe’s book, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock. Pandemic restrictions continue to postpone the public display of the works created by Aldwyth and an assistant.
  • Fletcher Williams, an individual artist in Charleston County, was granted $2,500. He worked with a local fabricator and a team of assistants to create the mobile walls for his Picket Fence – Promiseland Consisting of sculpture and large-scale paper art, the installation encouraged visitors to imagine and observe the Aiken-Rhett House as possibly seen through different eyes, times, and sets of experiences. Though delayed, the project opened and was used as a tool to address current events, serving both artistic and social-awareness goals while engaging new patrons who may have previously been unaware of or disinterested in the arts.
  • Marlanda Dekine, an individual artist in Georgetown County, received $2,500 for research related to the experiences of the artist as a Gullah-Geechee descendant living in South Carolina “with a rootedness in Africana & Caribbean being and creolization.” Written and recorded interviews, community engagement, and tours of local museums and plantations assisted in the completion of written-word poetry. The culmination of this work is to be a serial poem offered through spoken word as a site-specific soundscape, or aural architecture, as well as in live performances for the community, with discourse and audience interaction as part of the final product. In this context, Dekine acts as a conduit and witness of present, past, and future.
  • Community arts organization Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Colleton County received $7,339 from the Expansion Arts Fund to support the development of WHAM!, Walterboro History, Art, & Music, a new public festival. They’ve used an indefinite delay to reexamine how they implement content for the rural community they serve. By reconceptualizing the initial project, they’ve seen increased interest from artists representing a broader segment of the community and now have a more flexible framework that can be used and reused at any time.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ returns to Lowcountry in February

Two-part writing workshop 'visits' McClellanville

Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is back for starting Saturday, Feb. 20 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit Water/Ways, McClellanville Arts Council is co-host of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! Although Communal Pen is a virtual program, the Water/Ways exhibit will be on display at the McClellanville Arts Council from Jan. 18 through March 1.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. "Communal Pen: Water/Ways" coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.

Jason Rapp

Midlands school’s dance team receives honors

Brings home 8 awards from international competition


From ColaDaily.com:

Dancers from East Point Academy competed in the virtual Taoli World Dance Competition in December, earning a total of eight awards. East Point competed against more than 600 nationwide performers in the competition.

“I feel their performances were outstanding," said dance teacher, Yihao Chen. "I am proud to teach them.”

In addition to winning eight awards, the team also earned the opportunity to compete in the final round of the competition in California in the upcoming summer.

Read more and see a list of dancers receiving awards in Meera Bohnslé's ColaDaily.com story here.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: NFL features S.C. artist, new Orangeburg Co. FAC website

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...
It's a cold damp morning, and more coffee is in order. Grab yourself a cuppa and check out these tidbits:
  • New Year, New You Website. The Hub got word yesterday that Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center just introduced a new-look OrangeburgArts.com for the new year. If you have ever been involved with such a project, you know that they deserve kudos for this undertaking (IYKYK, as the kids say). The home page uses eye-catching images to drive home their mission and uses other pages to highlight 14 area communities and artists who call the area home. Great work!
  • Game recognize game. The NFL playoffs began this past weekend (and abruptly ended for The Hub Sunday night). Maybe not the most important thing on most Hub readers' radars, but the NFL rolled out a new program, NFL Artist Replay, to bring recognition to BIPOC artists. One happened to be Ija Charles, whom the league asked to contribute to Artist Replay. #SCartists' Charles is known around the Midlands for mural work in Cayce, West Columbia and the Richland Library Main branch. Her work for the NFL is below, and you can read more and watch video from WLTX TV 19.
Ija Charles' work for NFL Artist Replay. Ija Charles' work for NFL Artist Replay. Image courtesy of WLTX.com.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: More on ‘Save Our Stages’ relief

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...

Happy New Year from the SCAC

South Carolina Arts Alliance does deep dive on SOS

The Hub is catching up from a nice holiday break and wants to ensure readers are armed with proper information. ICYMI last week, after a delay President Trump signed an omnibus spending slash COVID-19 relief bill negotiated among Congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The SCAA has more in a recent blog post that's worth your time. "Within the ... is $15 billion for shuttered live venues. Known first as the Save Our Stage (SOS) Act, filed this summer, this funding was folded in to the COVID relief bill after a large grassroots push across the country." Read their breakdown by clicking here.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Governor’s School for Arts recognized for arts ed research

Link uncovered between drama curriculum and reading success


The Arts Schools Network Board of Directors has awarded the Research Initiative-Institution Award to the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

The award honors an organization for its commitment to ongoing research and the dissemination of knowledge in research in arts education. The Governor's School's research initiative, implemented by the Office of Outreach in partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance, examines the potential impact that drama curriculum has on reading motivation and success for young children. Melissa Brookes, managing director for ASN, said, “Each year the Arts Schools Network board of directors take great pride in honoring and recognizing schools and individuals for their extraordinary efforts and impact throughout arts education. This year, we are thrilled to recognize the Governor’s School as the winner of our Research Initiative Award.” In the Spark! outreach program that this research is based on, at-risk third-grade readers attending the state mandated Read-To-Succeed summer program are exposed to drama principles in addition to their reading requirements. Now in its third year, Spark! participants are showing increased gains in creativity measures like fluency and originality, along with critical reading measures required by MAP testing, when compared to similar students not exposed to the drama component. “While we are only three years into this five-year initiative, the combination of creativity gains and reading gains together are what draws us further into this research, and we’re very excited to see these promising trends,” said Carol Baker, outreach director at the Governor’s School. “We’re grateful for this acknowledgement from the Arts Schools Network and for the ongoing support and participation of our partners, the South Carolina Arts Commission, who is funding this project, and the USC Department of Theatre and Dance, who is compiling and analyzing the data.”

About the Research

Dr. Peter Duffy, who heads the Master of Arts in Teaching program in theatre education at the University of South Carolina is leading this research which combines the qualitative measures of theatre making and creativity with quantitative methods of reading and motivation. “This research matters because it examines how story, motivation, and embodied learning through drama can impact a child’s desire to read, and how this component can affect the way young readers interact with their reading materials,” said Duffy. “We are studying how more creative teaching methods can motivate readers to really know the story inside and out. “Our research suggests that students who engage in the drama work make small but important improvements in their overall reading scores. Gathering five years of data will help us see whether these trends hold overtime, giving us a stronger impression of the real impact these programs can make.” The Spark! program was initiated at Kenneth Gardner Elementary in Williamsburg County School District, and thanks to two years of early positive findings, received increased funding to expand to Hardeeville Elementary in Jasper County School District. Both districts serve high poverty, rural, under-resourced populations and neither has a certified drama teacher at any level. Each school offers a multi-week summer remedial reading camp for rising fourth-grade students at risk of retention due to low test scores. The summer camp is part of the Read-to-Succeed program and is the last possible opportunity for these young students to increase their scores enough to move on to the next grade. How this research impacts arts education funding priorities “The Spark! outreach program’s research into the relationship between drama and reading in young, at-risk readers, provides compelling evidence of the correlation between creativity and reading retention,” said David Platts, executive director of the SCAC. “Working with Dr. Duffy and his team at the University of South Carolina and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities has demonstrated how these types of programs, while specifically designed to help students, also provide vital information for agencies such as ours as we analyze and prioritize our programming decisions. Good decisions and responsible stewardship of public funds are possible only with the availability of solid and meaningful research and data.” Getting students back on track “Ultimately, this is about improving reading skills and reading motivation of young students in South Carolina,” said Dr. Cedric Adderley, Governor’s School president. “We know that early reading comprehension is the key to success, and in this day and time, when we’re seeing reading regression in elementary school students due to pandemic-imposed virtual learning, we hope that programs like Spark! will be part of the solution to getting these students back on track.” “At the Governor’s School, we see first-hand how incorporating the arts into education can help improve student engagement, academic success, motivation, and hope for the future,” continued Adderley. “Now our challenge, as an arts resource and research center for teachers and students throughout the state, is to expand these proven programs to impact more students in need.”

About SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. In the public, residential high school, students refine their talents in an arts-centered community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students. The Governor’s School serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org

About the Arts Schools Network

Dedicated to excellence and leadership in arts education, Arts Schools Network, a non-profit association founded in 1981, provides arts school leaders, innovative partners and members of arts education institutions with quality resources, support and networking opportunities. Visit www.artsschoolsnetwork.org to learn more.
Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Artisphere sponsor, Mellon museum grants

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...
Artisphere's title sponsor re-ups. Artisphere announced a continued three year partnership with TD Bank, who has been the presenting sponsor since the festival’s inception in 2005. The festival takes place every year the second full weekend in May, during Mother’s Day weekend. The three-day event has something for patrons of all ages, with art, music, food, interactive exhibits, and more along the popular Main Street corridor. Though 2020’s festival was virtual, Artisphere is planning for a safe return in 2021. Museum struggles continue. One-third of American museums are at risk of closure, according to a recent American Alliance of Museums study. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced the second round of the Art Museum Futures Fund, distributing additional emergency COVID-19 grants totaling $3 million to provide much-needed support to small arts and cultural institutions across the U.S. Unfortunately none of the first- or second-round grantees are South Carolina institutions, but we post to remind our readers that your local museum, art or otherwise, is likely feeling the pain of the pandemic. Support them, other local arts organizations, and #SCartists in any way you can.

Submitted material

Richland Library looks for first 2021 Artist-in-Residence

Residency runs January through May

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, December 31, 2020

In an effort to showcase the talents of area artists and provide a direct connection to the local arts community, Richland Library is currently accepting applications for our next artist-in-residence.

The focus of this residency, which runs January-May 2021, is to address the needs of local professional and emerging artists who are impacted by racial, gender, and socio-economic inequities and biases. Responsibilities consist of:
  • serving as a liaison between the library and area artists
  • curating digital content, such as art-making tutorials and studio tours
  • working closely with our arts librarian to offer online programs, which are free and open to the public
  • hosting online office hours to share expertise with others and answer questions
The residency also includes an online gallery exhibit of the artist's work on the library's website as well as a monthly stipend. We encourage artists spanning all mediums (traditional/fine art; sculpture; performance; filmmaking; musical; etc.) to apply. The deadline is Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Applications and additional information are available here: https://www.richlandlibrary.com/services/become-artist-residence Initially developed in September 2016, the concept behind Richland Library's artist-in-residence is to establish partnerships with local, working artists and to provide creative and educational opportunities to local residents in a way that supports cultural and artistic exchange. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803.587.3637 or email estoll@richlandlibrary.com.
Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.