Jason Rapp

Coastal Community Foundation of S.C. furthers SCAC grantmaking

Getting by with a little help from our friends

Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina

"Though not the only way, grants are among the main ways the SCAC accomplishes its work."

Savvy and/or loyal Hub readers should recognize that sentence as the opening line of the weekly "Grants Roundup" feature from Monday mornings. But did you know that grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission are made possible, except in either infrequent or limited circumstances, by public funding appropriated by the state General Assembly? One exception to that is the regular generous support of the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. In FY21, which marked 17 consecutive years of awards, the fund provided $33,197 to support the SCAC's efforts in subgranting to local arts organizations throughout the state and funding arts projects by individual #SCartists in select counties. Not all of the artists and projects listed below were directly funded by the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund, but including them all could inspire another artist with a project in mind for which they might need a little help. So let's take a look at what artists, sorted by county, were up to in recently closed FY21 thanks to the SCAC's Arts Project Support Grants, funded in part by the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF. (Ed. note: Expect a formal wrap on FY21 to come later this month.)

Julie Hamer | Anderson County

Ceramic artist Julie Hamer upgraded her current kiln and purchased a second pottery wheel with this grant funding. The new equipment allowed her to teach more students and increased her capacity to keep producing her own work while providing facilities for students to complete their projects. During the grant period, she taught in person and online, in group classes as well as private lessons. The second wheel also allowed her to provide demonstrations and introductory throwing opportunities at art events in the area. Her students ranged in age from six to 75, including multiple people who had never had the opportunity to learn pottery and have now gotten experience throwing on a wheel and creating their own works of art. One 75-year-old woman shared that she had wanted to try art her whole life, and Hamer’s pottery class was the very first class ever; now that she has tried it, she wants to do it for the rest of her life. The artist helped multiple students find resources to continue their pottery work, from setting up their own home studios to connecting with established local studios to allowing them to fire their work in her upgraded kiln.

Terrance Washington | Barnwell County

The funding supported artist Terrance Washington’s mobile exhibition of The Lucidity Collection, eight paintings utilizing imagery to evoke thought and conversation, internally or outspoken, colored by aesthetic relevancy of our present condition. The exhibit included live performances by singers and musicians to further elicit emotion and thought along with the visual works. The Lucidity Collection traveled to five different communities (Walterboro, Columbia, Blackville, Aiken, and Hampton) and continues to travel around South Carolina. The mobility of the exhibit allows it to be shown in rural locations without galleries, often in spaces that have other functions such as church halls and conference rooms. The artist reported experiencing professional growth as an artist and inspiring thought within each community.

Bhakti Hough | Lee County

“Jazzy Poetic: The South Carolina Jazz & Poetry Connection – Music and Words for Healing the Nation” was a virtual program featuring poets sharing their thoughts about poetry and reading or reciting from their works. The poets were former SC Poet Laureate Marjory Heath Wentworth; Columbia, SC, Poet Laureate Ed Madden; Len Lawson; and Felton Eaddy. The poets shared their works and explained how they think engaging poetry as reader, listener, or writer can help to ease anxiety and provide hope during the current public health crisis. The event also featured video and audio presentations of Bhakti Larry Hough and the Bhakti Project jazz combo reciting original poetry that paid tribute to other poets, the poetry of Claude McKay, and performing jazz poetry and the music of South Carolina native John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. The project showcased some of the literary and musical artistry to which South Carolina lays claim, raising awareness of the kind and level of jazz and poetry performance that can be produced in local communities, some of which often “flies beneath the arts radar.”

Historic Marion Revitalization Association | Marion County

This project produced the first artistic mural in Marion, SC’s Historic District. A graphic designer was hired to create a "Greetings from Marion, SC" mural, in which photos of historic and significant places from around the area are rendered within the letters of “Marion” to look like a traditional postcard. The mural includes images of cotton fields, the Marion Museum, palmetto trees, tractors, the courthouse, and magnolia flowers. Artist Narzhio was hired to complete the mural in a little over two weeks. The project is paving the way for more art to come to Marion by inspiring further art creation and conversation within the community. The initial goal of the mural was to provide some artistic content in a town that considered itself to have “a nonexistent art scene.” The positive feedback on the project has expanded to include discussion about the mural both on site and on social media, with memories being shared of what it was like in the "good ol' days" and people talking about their favorite part of the mural. The artist has been in talks with several local business owners about more work, and the association has been approached about bringing art to other buildings downtown.

Robert Matheson | Newberry County/Bamberg County

Newberry-based artist Robert Matheson is creating “A Different View of Bamberg County,” a short film designed to introduce viewers to the beauty and assets found in the four largest cities of Bamberg County: Denmark, Bamberg, Olar, and Erhardt. Matheson worked with Bamberg artist James Wilson to collect still photography and drone video footage showcasing community assets found throughout the county. The final product will include voice and music. The video will be distributed via YouTube and social media channels, and the work will be shared with local media outlets and statewide art networks.

Dr. Eunjung Choi | Orangeburg County

With the support of this grant funding, musician Eunjung Choi recorded Celebrating Women Composers, a CD of classical music for piano. The project highlighted classical women composers and their musical influences and impact on Dr. Choi’s professional artistry. The featured composers included Cécile Chaminade, Teresa Carreño, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Amy Beach. This project provided Dr. Choi an opportunity to grow as a professional artist through the exploration of women composers’ piano music. The completed CD can enhance the listeners’ knowledge of classical piano music of women composers with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Stephen Winkler | Orangeburg County

Stephen Winkler, graphic artist and CEO of 75 Flavas, showcased vinyl printing to children of all ages at Garden Oasis: Spring Seedling Day 2021 in Denmark, SC. After a demonstration to learn about heat transfers and t-shirt making, Parents and children produced their own unique shirts starting with the creation of their own vinyl design. Children also decorated raised garden beds in the park with precut vinyl numbers, letters, and flowers provided by the artist. The activities inspired the children to ask questions about starting their own graphic design businesses, and the artist was able to connect with a new community through the arts.

Bullets and Bandaids | Richland County

Bullets and Bandaids is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to further a living anthology of veterans, writers, and artists to celebrate our common humanity through a traveling art project spanning North and South Carolina. By giving veterans a platform to speak their truth, as well as an opportunity for civilians to take an active listening role, the program helps alleviate problems on an individual as well as communal level, covering issues like domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicidal ideation. The program also provides a venue for local artists, writers, and businesses to join in the celebration of their own potential in all the communities they impact. With this funding, the organization was able to set up workshops through Veterans Affairs in Columbia to teach creative nonfiction to veterans from multiple demographics; set up workshops through the Arken Media Group to teach veterans photography therapy; and collect stories from across the Carolinas through online linking through the VAs, as well as independent organizations like Brothers and Sisters Like These, the Charlotte Art League, and local VFWs. The organization continues to collect work by artists from South Carolina, create and edit voiceovers for veterans’ stories, create merchandise designs from veterans and artists, and connect with local writers to amplify veterans’ stories. In addition, this project resulted in three-time presidential advisor Henry Lozano joining the organization’s Board of Directors, providing greater connections within the veteran community and guidance and resources to a degree that was beyond their expectation at this point in their development.

Jason Rapp

For your weekend: SCAC’s Emerging Artists

Multidisciplinary arts for the long weekend


Not that anybody needed to tell you, but we're entering a long weekend.

(For the record, nobody needed to tell The Hub.) The SCAC has a multidisciplinary arts fix for you from the six inaugural Emerging Artist Grant recipients announced late last year: A virtual portfolio from the artists participating in the program's first year went live today on SouthCarolinaArts.com. It's a mini-exhibition of sorts curated by Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts. The multimedia page features works from #SCartists:
  • Luke Hodges (formerly) of Columbia (photography)
  • Chrisjenkins 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)
Here's that link one more time. Have a great weekend!
 

Jason Rapp

Pair of #SCartists get good news

A hot summer continues for a South Carolina poet and one of the S.C. Arts Commission's inaugural Emerging Artist Grant recipients will exhibit in a prominent location this fall.

Close up facial image of Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul First, Marlanda Dekine is having quite a summer. In July, The Hub shared the news that she won the 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize. We are pleased to share now that Dekine is included in the current Poetry Out Loud anthology. Whatever will the next announcement bring? Second, it's going to be an exciting fall for Kimberly Washburn Motte. You might remember her as one of the inaugural recipients of the SCAC's new Emerging Artist Grant. Because you know we love seeing #SCACGrantsAtWork, we were thrilled when she let our team know that five sculptures created as a result of her grant are going on exhibit, just down the road from her Florence home. TRAX Visual Art Center in Lake City is set to include Motte in an upcoming exhibition from Sept. 10 to Nov. 13.

Submitted material

S.C. Phil puts SCAC grants to work

The South Carolina Philharmonic has been awarded a General Operating Support Grant of $37,013 and an Arts Education Project Grant of $10,000 from the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Funds awarded from the General Operating Support grant will go to support the SC Philharmonic’s 2021/2022 season; specifically, production costs and day-to-day operations. Funds awarded from the Arts Education Project Grant will support "Phil the Music," a new education program that will debut in Richland District 1 this year. “Both the general operating support and education grants will enable us to present concerts and programs to those who might otherwise never have the chance to experience live symphonic music,” said Executive Director Rhonda Hunsinger. “We are especially thankful to the Arts Commission for their ongoing support, especially with the challenges we have faced because of the pandemic.”
The SCAC General Operating Support Grant exists to help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities and other organizations throughout the state. The grant provides three years of unrestricted support for basic operations for applicants ranging from emerging to established arts organizations with primary missions involving these artistic functions: producing, service, presenting and/or education. South Carolina Philharmonic’s award of $37,013 will be funded annually for the next three seasons. For 2021/2022, the South Carolina Philharmonic will produce six concerts at the Koger Center in their Masterworks Series including Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony (October 9, 2021), Mozart Symphony No. 40 (November 13, 2021), Beethoven and Blue Jeans (January 15, 2022), American Memories (February 5, 2022), Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (March 19, 2022) and Scheherazade (April 23, 2022). The SC Phil will bring back the extremely popular Halloween Spooktacular to the Koger Center (October 31, 2021), and will return to Harbison Theatre with Holiday and Broadway pops concerts.
The purpose of the SCAC Arts Education Project Grant is to fund projects and programs that use the arts to meet the educational, developmental and social needs of K-12 students. Arts Education Project grants support quality arts education programs in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and through other organizations that utilize the arts to advance learning in students (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). South Carolina Philharmonic’s award of $10,000 will support the SC Phil’s new education program: Phil the Music. 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. Debuting in the 2021/2022 season, the SC Philharmonic’s "Phil the Music" program will partner with middle school music classes in Richland District One. Music educators will have the opportunity to expand their curriculums by offering complimentary audiovisual resources including live recordings of the SC Phil, and virtual interactions with musicians, composers and Music Director Morihiko Nakahara in an “up close and personal” experience. This program was created during the pandemic and specifically designed to offer students a unique environment in which to learn about music, while following COVID guidelines for safety. Season subscriptions are now on sale at SCPhilharmonic.com or patrons can call (803) 771-7937 for more information. Discounts are available for first-year buyers, seniors, students, active-duty and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The South Carolina Philharmonic is committed to performing live symphonic music and providing dynamic educational opportunities in the Midlands. We carry forward a legacy of passion for the music and embrace our responsibility to be a vibrant part of the cultural fabric of our diverse community.
For more information about the South Carolina Philharmonic, please visit SCPhilharmonic.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jason Rapp

Announcing the FY22 SCAC Fellows

for immediate release


Four South Carolina artists exhibiting hard work and exceptional ability in visual art, craft, and media production and screenwriting are recipients of fiscal year 2022 South Carolina Arts Commission fellowships.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) Board of Directors approved four $5,000 fellowships among several other FY22 grant awards to be announced on a later date. The SCAC’s four fellows are:
  • Kristi Ryba of Charleston County in visual art,
  • Clay Burnette of Richland County for craft,
  • Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall of Richland County for media production,
  • and Triza Cox of Florence County for media screenwriting.
Individual artists residing in South Carolina full-time were invited to apply last fall for a fellowship in any of the four categories represented in this cycle. Out-of-state panelists were recruited from each of those disciplines to review applications. Starting with this cycle and going forward, applications are no longer anonymous and awards no longer made solely on artistic merit. The panelists also considered achievements and commitment to the discipline in which artists apply, which can be more than one if separate applications are submitted. Panelists then recommend recipients of each $5,000 fellowship. “Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of exceptional South Carolina individual artists. Recognition from a fellowship lends artistic prestige and can often open doors to other resources and employment opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “We will no doubt hear more from these amazing artists, and we congratulate them on this honor.”

About the FY22 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients

Kristi Ryba | Visual Arts | Charleston County Winner of the 2020 South Arts State Fellowship for South Carolina and a 2018 ArtFields second place award, Ryba’s work has been touring the Southeast in painting and printmaking exhibitions since 1990.  A Magna cum laude graduate of the College of Charleston, Ryba also studied at Vermont Studio School and Studio Camnitzer in Valdotavvo, Lucca, Italy, and has her Master of Fine Arts from Union Institute and University, Vermont College. She has won various awards and scholarships. A founding organizer of Print Studio South, Inc., she served as its president and on its board and has taught locally in both adult and children's programs. Ryba was one of 10 artists featured in a 2002 Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and was invited to exhibit in Contemporary Charleston 2004 and in Helping Hands: an artist's debut among friends in 2005. Her work was featured in the 2018 Biennial in Columbia. Ryba also exhibited at Silo in New York City and her work was in the 2007 SOHO20 Chelsea show honoring The Feminist ART Project. Clay Burnette | Craft | Richland County Clay Burnette is a self-taught pine needle basketmaker who has been coiling longleaf pine needles with waxed linen thread since 1977. Burnette’s work is included in numerous public and private collections—including the State Art Collection—and has been included in more than 250 exhibition venues throughout the U.S. and abroad for 40-plus years. He has also been published in numerous international, national, and regional magazines, catalogs, and fine craft publications. Burnette has taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee since 2015. Images of his work are available at www.clayburnette.com. Sherard Duvall | Media: Production | Richland County Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall is a film and messaging professional from Columbia, S.C. He specializes in visual storytelling, film education, media strategy, diversity consulting and is an advocate of Hip-Hop culture. He’s produced commercial and documentary projects for VH1, Oxygen, and more. A 2021 Liberty Fellow, a 2016 Riley Fellow, a Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholar and one of the founders of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Family Day: Love Peace & Hip-Hop. A 2001 University of South Carolina grad, Sherard is a product of Richland District One schools. Sherard is the Founder and Executive Producer at OTR Media Group, and the proud dad of his son, Cairo. Triza Cox | Media: Screenwriting | Florence County Triza Cox is a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre artist. She is currently the South Carolina Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Her research and creative work center on playmaking using Jungian archetypes, motifs, and symbols of the collective unconscious. Triza holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Louisville and has trained with Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the Mandala Center for Change as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator. Her original plays include A Last Supper; The Willing, which recently received a staged reading with Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina; God in the Midst of it All; and Lil’ Bard which was a semi-finalist in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience 2018 and premiered at Charlotte’s Children Theatre in a staged reading. Triza has received a Kentucky New Voices grant for her playwriting.
A diverse group of panelists reviewed applications from the discipline in which they work. The visual art and craft panelists were Kesha Bruce, a curator and artist programs manager for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; arts consultant and curator Mark Leach based in St. Louis; and Holly Blake, residency manager for Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. Reviewing media production applications were panelists Eleanor Savage, activist and program director with the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Jerome Foundation; and Bill Gaskins, (re)director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s photographic and electronic media graduate program. Writer and producer April Turner of Charlotte was the media screenwriting panelist.
Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists working in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting will be honored in fiscal year 2023. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the SCAC. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grant/fel/.
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 Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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.

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.”

Submitted material

McCormick school a beneficiary of new murals

MACK program completes three new murals at elementary school

Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural “Science Discovery: Oceans” at McCormick Elementary School.

There are now three new murals on the McCormick Elementary School campus that provide engagement for specific educational goals: science, inquiry, and innovation.

These murals, painted by South Carolina artist Damion Johnson, are made possible through the McCormick Art Council (MACK) program "Painting a Brighter Future," a public art program designed to engage our community members, students, and visitors. We are able to combine the intentions of this public art program and help our schools deliver a series of engaging, rich, and vibrant paintings designed to make the student feel immersed in the learning environment. Each mural at McCormick Elementary School adheres to the curriculum standards and pacing guides for lesson plans and utilizes the arts as an important learning partner in providing a quality educational experience to our students.

BONUS CONTENT: Artist Darion Johnson discusses Science Discovery: Oceans on YouTube

This project was made possible through an Arts in Education grant provided through the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also an extension of the school district's participation in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project mission to provide students with quality art education and advance our student's educational experience by providing access to the arts for daily learning experiences. Most importantly, our students and teachers have celebrated the project and are actively enjoying and creating moments of learning engagement. The sheer scope and presence of the learning murals has transformed our school hallways with a quality project that excites, engages, and celebrates art in education. The images are truly spectacular. Our greatest accomplishment is to deliver these high-quality discovery walls for our students to enjoy. The look of awe and amazement on our littlest community members was worth every challenge this school year. We also are very encouraged by the continued greater commitment and value that art has to offer non-art curriculum. We believe these projects have accomplished achieving support and recognition for the value art has in enhancing our student's educational experiences. MACK extends its thanks to everyone involved.

Meet the Artist: Damion Johnson

“Art is the one thing that makes you enjoy the world. Art is far more important, far more than just being important to the world, it is the world. It is the world.” - Damion Johnson

Damion Johnson, a talented artist and native South Carolinian, is the featured artist for this series of educational murals. He is a regional artist, educator, and entrepreneur. His work was featured at the McCormick Arts Council (MACK) in October 2014 and again in September 2016. He is the visual arts teacher at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and was notably selected to represent his school as Teacher of the Year for 2018/2019. He is a professional artist and small business owner who represents the Orangeburg community. Johnson’s artistic journey formally began under the watchful eye of his middle and high school art instructor and uncle John Scott, who planted the seed for developing his artistic trade. Damion continued his studies and earned his bachelor's in professional art from Claflin University and now teaches and operates a successful art studio, as well as a barbershop, to serve his community. His current work honors a process Damion uniquely coins as the ‘capturing what is felt" ideal. His artistic work transforms song lyrics, phrases, and emotions into visual statements. Damion’s art features collage-style compositions where figures often exist on different planes in very involved ways and defines the character of his unique painting style.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Phil to party like it’s 2009

Saturday concert to feature pair of 2009 SCAC fellows


A pair of 2009 South Carolina Arts Commission music fellows will have prominent roles in the South Carolina Philharmonic's next concert this Saturday night in Columbia. The orchestra is continuing its year-long celebration of 250 years of Beethoven with his first piano concerto. Out front on the Steinway will be Phillip Bush: music professor at the University of South Carolina, frequent presenter at the Southeastern Piano Festival, well-traveled and highly regarded concert pianist, recording artist and—oh by the way—the S.C. Arts Commission's 2009 music performance fellowship recipient. The Peabody alum has taken the stage across the U.S. and Japan, where he performed some 25 concerts over a 10-year period. His repertoire includes works from the 16th century to the 21st, as he is a devoted advocate for contemporary music. And that is where John Fitz Rogers comes in. He also received an S.C. Arts Commission fellowship in 2009, his for music composition. To start the concert, the orchestra will reprise his The Passing Sun, a work commissioned by the Phil to celebrate its 50th season in 2014/2015. It is an orchestral piece, but Fitz Rogers has composed for works featuring bassoon, guitar, piano, saxophone, and vocal soloists (with orchestras, including chamber ensembles). He holds degrees from Cornell, Yale, and Oberlin and is currently professor of composition at the UofSC, where he founded and, for a time, directed the widely acclaimed Southern Exposure New Music Series. His works have been recorded and released by multiple labels. The concert is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts (1051 Greene St., Columbia). $16-$50. Click here to learn more.
Learn more about South Carolina Arts Commission fellowship recipients here.