Jason Rapp

Meet the SCAC’s Catherine Ntube

Specialist for Arts Organizations and Education


2020. What a time to start a new job.

In the midst of the pandemic, Catherine Ntube joined the South Carolina Arts Commission as its specialist for arts organizations and education. Those are big pieces of the SCAC pie, so there's sure to be a learning curve as you acclimate. Except pandemic. Except the entirety of your new team is working virtually as a result of said pandemic. Except the people you were hired to serve were mostly (at the time) doing likewise. Except... it didn't matter. Ntube (that's EN-too-bay) hit the ground running anyway and has been ably serving in any way she's needed. She's instituted new Think Tank conversations for S.C. arts organizations and pitches in often to advise current and potential grantees working in arts ed or community-based arts. Now that state agencies are back in the office, she is finally in hers and finally getting (distanced) face-time with her new colleagues. Need her help? Try reaching her via cntube@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8694.

About Catherine Ntube

Catherine Ntube comes to the SCAC from eight years in the classroom, where she taught 4th grade general ed, 6th grade writing, and college-level English. While teaching, she maintained a writing practice and passion for the literary arts, serving as poetry editor of Yemassee Journal, receiving fellowships from The Watering Hole and Cave Canem, and serving as a contracted grant writer for small arts organizations with Red Olive Creative Consulting. She earned an master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of South Carolina, an master of arts in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor's in history & literature from Harvard University.    

Jason Rapp

New poster series promotes vaccine effort

Creativity + Public Health from the SCAC


Plan your vaccine—that’s the latest message on a series of public health posters created over the last 12 months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the cross-sector initiative of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) called The Art of Community: Rural SC, a community of artists, makers, organizations and local voices have helped support and advance what it means to be healthy and safe through quarantine, closing and opening schools, restaurants, offices and more.
  • BONUS CONTENT: Lea esta historia en español a continuación.
Working with artist Amiri Farris of Bluffton, the SCAC team has used artful and timely messaging to remind people to social distance, wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs, make self-care a priority, uplift and thank essential workers, and love community. “These posters use the full spectrum of ‘rainbow colors’ that get people’s attention,” Farris said. Having empathy for one another is something Farris stresses. “I really want to hug people but we can’t do that, so these posters are a way to reach out to people; to thank workers who are all keeping us all safe and healthy; and to remind us to maintain healthy protocols during times of crisis.” With the expansion of the vaccine eligibility to include a wider array of individuals, this latest poster is just in time. “Special thanks to our internal team who has worked behind the scenes to get these posters created and out—Laura Marcus Green, Abigail Rawl and Jason Rapp,” said Community Arts Program Director Susan DuPlessis. “And to our public health partners who value the role of arts and culture in our state—including the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, UofSC schools of public health and medicine.” “And an extra thanks to Maribel Acosta of Art Pot in Berkeley County who helped us create Spanish-language versions of these posters so they have an impact with even more people in our state,” Green said. “We know there is an intersection with the arts and everything in our lives, but it’s especially gratifying in times like these to see how arts and creativity can help our public health experts promote important messages so many people need to hear,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “Partnerships like these further the public value of arts and creativity to all South Carolinians.” The Art of Community: Rural SC is a place-based initiative working in 14 rural communities and the Catawba Indian Nation. “Using arts and culture strategically to advance local places is the essence of our approach. These posters are a great example of what it means to lift local voices and amplify creative spirits for the good of everyone,” DuPlessis said. “We are truly in this moment together.”

The latest statistics on COVID-19 in South Carolina

  • 455,495 total cases
  • 7,851 confirmed deaths
  • as of March 16, 2021
Source: South Carolina Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

Creatividad + Salud Pública del SCAC

Planifique su vacuna- Este es el mensaje más reciente de una serie de carteles de salud pública creados durante los últimos 12 meses en respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19.

Como parte de la iniciativa intersectorial de la Comisión de Artes de Carolina del Sur llamada The Art of Community: Rural SC (El arte de la comunidad: Rural SC), una comunidad de artistas, creadores, organizaciones y voces locales han ayudado a apoyar y promover lo que significa estar sano y seguro a través de la cuarentena, con el cierre y apertura de escuelas, restaurantes, oficinas y más. En colaboración con la artista Amiri Farris de Bluffton, Carolina del Sur, el equipo de la Comisión de las Artes ha utilizado mensajes ingeniosos y oportunos para recordar a las personas la distancia social, lavarse las manos, cubrirse los estornudos y la tos, hacer del cuidado personal una prioridad, animar y agradecer a los trabajadores esenciales y el amor a la comunidad. “Estos carteles utilizan el espectro completo de los colores del arco iris que llaman la atención de la gente,” dijo Farris. Tener empatía el uno por el otro es algo que Farris enfatiza. “Tengo muchas ganas de abrazar a la gente, pero no podemos hacer eso, así que estos carteles son una forma de llegar a las personas; agradecer a los trabajadores que nos mantienen a todos seguros y saludables; y recordarnos que debemos mantener protocolos saludables en tiempos de crisis.” Con la expansión de la elegibilidad de la vacuna para incluir una gama más amplia de personas, este último cartel llega justo a tiempo. “Un agradecimiento especial a nuestro equipo interno que ha trabajado entre bastidores para crear y publicar estos carteles: Laura Marcus Green, Abigail Rawl y Jason Rapp,” dijo la directora del programa de artes comunitarias, Susan DuPlessis. “Y a nuestros socios de salud pública que valoran el papel de las artes y la cultura en nuestro estado, incluido el Departamento de Salud y Control Ambiental, la Oficina de Salud Rural de Carolina del Sur, la Escuela de Salud Pública de la Universidad de Carolina del Sur y la Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Carolina del Sur.” “Y un agradecimiento adicional a Maribel Acosta de Art Pot, en el condado de Berkeley, que nos ayudó a crear una versión en español de estos carteles para que tengan un impacto a más personas en nuestro estado,” dijo Green. "Sabemos que hay una intersección con las artes y todo en nuestras vidas, pero es especialmente gratificante en tiempos como estos ver cómo las artes y la creatividad pueden ayudar a nuestros expertos en salud pública a promover mensajes importantes que muchas personas necesitan escuchar", dijo el Director Ejecutivo de SCAC, David Platts. "Asociaciones como estas mejoran aún más el valor público de las artes y la creatividad para todos los carolinos del sur." El arte de la comunidad: Rural SC es una iniciativa de educación basada en la región, que trabaja en 14 comunidades rurales y la nación indígena Catawba. “Usar el arte y la cultura de manera estratégica para promover los lugares locales es la esencia de nuestro enfoque.  Estos carteles son un gran ejemplo de lo que significa levantar las voces locales y amplificar las mentes creativas por el bien de todos,” dijo DuPlessis. "Realmente estamos juntos en este momento."
  • 455,495 casos totales
  • 7,851 muertes
  • 16 de marzo de 2021
Fuente: South Carolina Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

Submitted material

Lend your leadership to the creative industry

Winthrop University Master of Arts in Arts Administration Degree Program

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Saturday, May 1, 2021 (in-seat program)
The Arts Administration program prepares individuals interested in contributing to the creative industry as innovative leaders. Through in-depth preparation, these arts leaders learn how to inspire audiences and their organizations, increase financial support, manage resources, and create innovative strategies that sustain organizations and enable them to prosper, even in challenging times. The two-year program is offered in two formats: online and in-seat (one weekend a month only). Both formats are perfect for working professionals. Admission Deadlines: May 1, 2021 for the in-seat program and rolling admission for the online program. For more information and to discuss which format best serves your schedule and learning style, contact Program Director Robert Wildman at wildmanr@winthrop.edu.

Jason Rapp

Love at first arc for S.C. welder

New direction leads to arts entrepreneurship


The Hub was honestly not expecting a don't-miss story from The Welder.

Shame on us. Do yourself a favor and read the story of Kristen Albro of Charleston from the Illinois-based trade publication. Writer Amanda Carlson does a terrific profile of the unexpected blacksmith. Here's a small excerpt:

As a veteran of the Air Force, Albro spent her time in service as an aircraft mechanic. Later she earned a degree in criminal justice with a minor in intelligence and homeland security from The Citadel. Seeing the writing on the wall about a white-collar desk job, the lifelong artist did a little soul-searching about what exactly would make her happy. Working with your hands can lead to many pathways, but she landed on welding because she wondered if she could somehow incorporate that into her art.

Carlson mentions Albro's techniques and inspiration and how the two came together to form her entrepreneurial artistic venture. We'll stop there, because you should just go read it right now (TheFabricator.com).
Photo by Kateryna Babaieva from Pexels

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

Six emerging artists to receive inaugural SCAC grant

Up to $1,500 grant includes mentorship, more


Visual artists working in ceramics, sculpture, and photography and performing artists working in dance and music are inaugural recipients of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s new Emerging Artist Grant.

For the purpose of the grant, emerging artists were defined as being at an early stage in their artistic career development with no basis in age. The six South Carolina artists each receive an up to $1,500 Emerging Artist grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) in the current fiscal year (2021). They are:
  • Luke Hodges of Columbia (photography)
  • Chris Jenkins of Irmo (performing musician)
  • Kimberly Washburn Motte of Florence (visual artist, sculpture)
  • Kela Portee of Ravenel (film photography and multimedia artist)
  • Sonny Sisan of North Charleston (craft artist, ceramics)
  • Ashlea Sovetts of Myrtle Beach (performing dance and choreographer)

In addition to financial support, the artists will benefit from mentorship and professional support facilitated by the SCAC and Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts. The combined benefits are intended to deepen artistic practice and foster artistic excellence; encourage career growth, advancement, and sustainability; and provide professional development and opportunities for collaboration. “It means a lot to be recognized as an artist in your state. Programs like this will not only propel our next generation of artists, but also provide the fuel for them to keep the legacy alive for years to come,” Jenkins said. “As a full-time professional and mother of two children, my own art making is often pushed to the back burner. To have the opportunity to build community with a group of talented artists and to meet regularly with a mentor allows me to prioritize my own artistic process,” Motte said. While the mentorship and networking components of the program begin next month and run through June 2021, several of the artists expect the benefits to last well beyond that. Sovetts is eager for the additional insight from the group to help her grow, and Hodges points to the validation the program provides. “This opportunity is so much more than a confidence booster—it's an affirmation that my creative work matters,” he said. Portee foresees the opportunity to be challenged, while Jenkins added that he hopes other South Carolina artists will see they no longer have to travel or leave altogether for the knowledge he hopes to gain. The application period for the next round of the Emerging Artist Grant is to begin in Fall 2021. The SCAC will announce it here on The Hub, on its social media at @scartscomm (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and other channels.
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. 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 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.

Submitted material

Poetry Society of S.C. turns 100

Join us for our centennial year


The Poetry Society of South Carolina turns 100 years old this coming January.

Since 1921 the Society has sponsored readings, lectures, and other events featuring the likes of Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Amy Lowell, Harriet Monroe, Archibald Rutledge, and legions of other renowned and emerging poets. If you write poetry or enjoy it as a reader or hearing it in recitation, we invite you to become a member and join us this spring as we launch our centennial year. Beginning in January, we have monthly readings and writing workshops scheduled for broadcast over Zoom and hopefully in-person, should pandemic protocols allow. All readings are open to the public and free. In addition to a Poetry Showcase, our January reading at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8 will feature a brief history by President Jim Lundy, who has written a book, due out soon, about the society’s first 100 years. We’re also pleased to announce that thanks to generous support from South Carolina Humanities, writing workshops—which are normally for a fee—will be free this spring as well. Registration through our website is required to receive the Zoom link for each event. You can become a Poetry Society member at our website (www.poetrysocietysc.org) or by sending a check to The Poetry Society of SC, P.O. Box 1090, Charleston, SC 29402. An individual membership is $30 ($15/student). Benefits include:
  1. monthly newsletters with member news along with dates, times, and locations for each month’s readings and writing workshops;
  2. online access to readings and writing workshops;
  3. eligibility for spring and fall poetry contests with cash prizes and winners published online and in the Yearbook.
To be eligible for our spring contests, you must join before the February 15 contest deadline. Consult Arts Daily for details regarding monthly events.

Submitted material

College of Charleston’s Valerie Morris announces retirement

Long-time, accomplished arts dean exiting the stage


For 22 years Valerie Morris, dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts, has sat in the audience at music and dance performances, theater productions and art lectures and presentations.

She has served as a member of various boards and joined committees to raise funds. A perennial champion of the arts, Morris has always been there, standing off stage, determinedly cheering. And it’s an essential role in a city where the arts often take center stage. “I have known Dean Morris for years as a fellow Rotarian and through her leadership in Charleston’s thriving arts community,” says Charleston Mayor John T. Tecklenburg. “Simply put, she’s been amazing in her impact on the arts scene here in Charleston, along with her personal joie de vivre!”
Morris’s “joie de vivre” or enthusiasm for the arts began at a young age. Growing up in Beverly, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, she first became interested in the arts at the age of six after an aunt took her to see the movie Hans Christian Anderson starring Danny Kaye. Then she became very active in the local children’s theater and “used every excuse to spend backstage” at the North Shore Music Theatre, the largest operating regional theater in New England. “I guess from the age of 6, I always felt pushed towards the arts,” Morris said, noting that in high school her focus shifted to public speaking and promoting the arts, which won her an award for marketing her high school’s productions. “First, I wanted to perform, then I realized I wanted to be around artists of all types, and to help them achieve their goals.” And that first meant achieving her goals. Morris received her bachelor’s degree in speech arts from American University and a master in speech with a theatre administration emphasis from the University of Michigan. Her career in the arts really picked up when she joined the faculty of American University’s Department of Performing Arts, where she became the founding director of that institution’s Arts Management program. According to Karen Chandler, associate professor of arts management at the College, Morris forged a path for women in the field. “When I entered the field in the early ’80s, Valerie was one of a handful of women arts leaders who had founded and very successfully developed a program in arts management (at American University),” says Chandler, who also worked alongside Morris at American University.
Morris came to the College as dean of the School of the Arts in the fall of 1998. Since then, she has helped establish the undergraduate Arts Management Program and the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Cultural Management, as well as the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program. Under Morris’s leadership, the School of the Arts has grown and flourished, including earning the South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Arts, the state’s highest award in the arts. Other highlights of Morris’ tenure include helping to launch the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts in January 2010. The $27.2 million dollar, 70,000-square-foot building is a testament to the growth of the school from a small fine arts department into a comprehensive arts school with seven academic departments and programs. Morris also expanded the School of the Arts Council and, in 2003, established the Friends of the School of the Arts, a membership program that funds scholarships, student travel for competitions and productions, visiting artists, faculty research and development, and international recruitment efforts. And Morris’s hard work has garnered the attention and support of some of CofC’s most esteemed arts alumni, including acclaimed painter Brian Rutenberg (Class of 1987). “To excel as an artist, one needs to be organized, possess a clear-eyed vision and have a great sense of humor. These same qualities apply to leading an entire art school,” says Rutenberg. “Valerie has all of these attributes, plus she is a skillful communicator. Her creation is the world-class reputation that the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston enjoys today. We are all the beneficiaries of her effort.”
As for what comes next, Morris says her future will always include the arts as well as a focus on family. “I’m keeping active on local, regional and national boards,” she says. “Eventually, my husband and I plan to spend considerable time on the West Coast, where my children and grandchildren live.” To honor Morris’s 22 years of service to the College and the School of the Arts, longtime College of Charleston advocates, donors and volunteers Jean and Tap Johnson have established a scholarship in her name. It’s a fitting honor for someone who has done so much for CofC. “Valerie has been a consummate mentor, advisor and colleague over the past 25 years. But more importantly, she is a trusted supporter and dear friend,” says Chandler. “She deserves to do whatever she wants now, feeling satisfied about the outstanding contributions she’s made to the arts infrastructure in so many places – and especially here at CofC.”

Jason Rapp

A look at SLED’s forensic artists

Bringing descriptions to life


Most of the time, being the subject for a professional artist is an aspiration, if not a treat.

If you are a subject for artists Deborah Goff or Lara Gorick, you've made some questionable life choices. Both are senior special agents with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and both use their artistic skills to help law enforcement find alleged criminals on the lam. WCBD TV-2 in Charleston aired a fascinating story with the SLED agents last week. It takes a good look at the process of putting a forensic sketch together and the services these unique #SCartists provide:
  • composite sketches
  • forensic facial reconstructions
  • post-mortem images
  • and age progressions.
It's definitely worth a watch:

Jason Rapp

Greenwood arts giant retires

But Anne Craig has not gone away


Anne Craig officially retired as director of the Arts Center of Greenwood in March this year, but continued serving through September in an advisory role.

Anne Craig (Index-Journal photograph) Though she no longer has a title, she can still be found in the anchor facility of the city's cultural district (which she is credited with turning into a reality). Instead of meetings, her time is spent developing watercolor skills in a downstairs studio office. St. Claire Donaghy of the Greenwood Index-Journal has a new story online that is a nice look back over Craig's professional accomplishments:

Craig said renovation of the federal building, GCT and The Museum contributed to momentum for shops and restaurants to open in Uptown.

“Before the three cultural entities of the district were renovated and open, you could ride through Uptown on the weekends and there was not a car to be seen,” she said. “Now, I ride through, and it’s packed.”