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.  

Submitted material

Trustus Theatre names Chad Henderson producing artistic director

Trustus Theatre On Monday, the Trustus Theatre board of directors voted to end the organization’s search for a managing director that began in September 2019 and named Artistic Director Chad Henderson as the producing artistic director. Henderson will now serve the organization in an executive capacity to lead artists, staff, board and the community in realizing the theatre’s mission. He is a native of Spartanburg and began working at Trustus Theatre in 2007 as the marketing director after graduating from the University of South Carolina. After an eight-year career as a professional director, he became Trustus' third artistic director at the start of the theatre’s 31st season in 2015. This is Henderson’s fifth season as the artistic leader of the organization, and the South Carolina Theatre Association recognized him with the 2019 Founders Award last season in recognition for his contributions to South Carolina theatre the previous year. The theatre intends to hire an administrative assistant of production in the coming months to assist in the management of productions, contribution programs, and communications.


Sumner Bender, president of Trustus Theatre’s board, is confident in the board’s decision to make Henderson the producing artistic director. “Over the past several years, Trustus Theatre has been in a structural transition,” said Bender. “One of the only constants during that change has been Chad Henderson. The board of directors worked diligently over the past year to assess and evaluate the responsibilities and duties for an organizational leader. Many of those duties were already being performed by Mr. Henderson. A theatre organization is mutable, just like many smaller arts organizations, and it must be able to recognize when that change is needed. Therefore, when hiring an organizational leader, you can only hope for one that understands the mission, is a champion for the vision, and willing to work hard to maintain that integrity. We’re lucky that Mr. Henderson possesses all of those qualities and will continue to serve as a leader for Trustus Theatre.” Henderson is honored by the opportunity to serve Trustus in this new capacity. “Trustus has been my artistic home for over fifteen years,” said Henderson. “Being given the chance to lead the organization in this capacity is humbling, and it is also energizing. I can’t quantify what this theatre has given me since its co-founders Jim and Kay Thigpen hired me right out of college, but I constantly endeavor to give back in whatever way I can. While our strategies may transform on occasion, the organization continues to be a vital cultural institution in South Carolina. My hope is that my service to the organization can position it for continued success in the next 35 years by celebrating artistry, community, and the power of storytelling.”
Trustus Theatre is currently in its 35th season as the Midlands’s contemporary professional theatre. Founded in 1985 by Kay and Jim Thigpen, Trustus Theatre boasts two performing venues with the Thigpen Main Stage seating 132 and the Trustus Side Door Theatre seating 50. The theatre and the Trustus Company endeavor to enrich the lives and deepen the experiences of their artists and patrons by producing works that examine humanity in the 21st century. The theatre’s goal is to select challenging scripts that will start and nurture dialogues that promote discussion within the community with productions that are brought to life through dynamic storytelling and inventive designs.

Tuning Up: The Lowcountry is hopping

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...


You love to see it.

SCAC grantee Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston (FY20 General Operating Support) was the subject of the "Non-Profit Minute" from LowcountryBizSC late last week:

Verner Award recipients unite!

Verner Award recipients Nikky Finney (2016, Lifetime Achievement) and the Gibbes Museum of Art (2019, Organization) will collaborate tomorrow night, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Finney, along with author of Charleston-based novel The Cigar Factory Michele Moore and professor and director of southern studies at the College of Charleston Julia Eichelberger join the museum to consider the literary traditions and social landscape that gave rise to voices like Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston. This event is inspired by the exhibition Central to Their Lives: Women Artists in the Johnson Collection and is designed to put the stories and experiences of southern women artists in dialogue with the experiences of southern women writers. Guests will also have an exclusive opportunity to purchase copies of Finney's newest publication Love Child's Hotbead of Occasional Poetry, which will not be available to the general public until April. Finney and Moore will be signing copies of their works after the program. Learn more about the speakers and register here. (Member, non-member, and student rates apply; 135 Meeting St., Charleston)

Artist Minute, Feb. 18

The Artist Minute is up on LowcountryBiz, and you will want to make sure you listen to and watch Quiana Parler of Ranky Tanky fame.

What’s that? Accessibility Grants from the SCAC

'Trustus in the Round' a result of grant


It's a small grant category, but it helps South Carolina organizations do big things in the arts. Notice we didn't say "arts organizations" there. That's because Accessibility Grants are intended help South Carolina organizations make arts programs and existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. Non-profit organizations, units of government, and designated S.C. Department of Disabilities & Special Needs boards who provide arts programming can use an Accessibility Grant to get up to $2,500 to improve access to that programming. Sounds nice, and you should definitely read more about these grants, but what does it look like in real life? Well... Trustus Theatre in Columbia wanted its audiences to experience "theater in the round" for three consecutive productions in early 2020. Extensive renovation to the main stage would be required to convert it to a round configuration. But a problem arose: even though it's temporary, the round stage would nonetheless compromise current accessibility enjoyed by Trustus' disabled patrons. The answer was to remove 88 fixed seats to integrate accessible seating into the temporary stage structure which, when complete, would be able to reintegrate some of the removed fixed seating while allowing ramp access to patrons who need it. A $2,500 Accessibility Grant from the S.C. Arts Commission made that happen. And, because partnerships are a key way SCAC accomplishes its work, it's here that we'll note Trustus partnered with ABLE SC to develop a viable solution. The round stage debuts Feb. 7 with the theater's production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Tuning Up: GCCA announces board, Baroque dancing

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...


  • Greenville Center for Creative Arts announces 2020 board. The board will be chaired by artist Patricia Kilburg. Yvonne Julian is vice-chair, Bill McClendon continues as treasurer, and Jim Gorman is serving as secretary. GCCA welcomes Tony Callander and Gorman as new board members. Who else is on the board? Find out here.
  • Baroque dancing is not the past tense of break dancing. (We think.) This is unique, so take heed: Baroque dancer Paige Whitley-Bauguess (below) joins Columbia Baroque Friday, Jan. 24 to present enchanting interpretive dances with music of Lully, Schmelzer, and Telemann. The next morning, she is giving a free Baroque dance class. People with New Year's Resolutions to try new things in 2020, this is calling your name. Concert and dance class details here.
Both GCCA and Columbia Baroque receive support from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Great work, grantees!  

SCAC Fellow searches for light

Linda Fantuzzo opens new exhibition


Painter Linda Fantuzzo debuts a new body of work in the solo exhibition, Linda Fantuzzo: Penumbra, opening at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston.  The landscape and interior paintings in this exhibition are rendered with a quiet, abstracted simplicity, while the inclusion of stairs, ladders, windows and doors suggest an unseen yet palpable human presence. The title Penumbra is a term referencing light’s transitions – it is the partially shaded area of the shadow cast by an object. In these works Fantuzzo connects the literal transitions of light, always changing, to the metaphorical transitions and impermanence of the human experience.

Hosted by: City of Charleston, Office of Cultural Affairs

Location: City of Charleston, Office of Cultural Affairs, 34 Prioleau St., Charleston

Linda Fantuzzo received the South Carolina Arts Commission's visual arts fellowship in 2017.

Exhibition Dates: Jan. 17-March 1, 2020

  • Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 12-5 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays
An opening reception is Jan. 17 from 5 -7 p.m. It is free and open to all.

Arts Access SC presented statewide award

United Cerebral Palsy of S.C. honors accessibility efforts

Arts Access SC Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepts the award from UCP.
Arts Access South Carolina was named "Community Partner of the Year" by United Cerebal Palsy of South Carolina at an awards reception Monday evening in Columbia. Arts Access SC Chairman LaMondre Pough makes remarks at the awards presentation.Executive Director Julia M. Brown-DuBose accepted the award on behalf of Arts Access SC, a nonprofit organization that provides South Carolina children, youth, and adults with disabilities quality arts experiences, working with artists; educators; arts administrators; health, human, and social service professionals to establish inclusive spaces, programs, and communities dedicated to the arts and people with disabilities. (Arts Access SC is a South Carolina Arts Commission grantee.) Also present were other leaders of Arts Access SC, including Board President LaMondre Pough (at right with Brown-DuBose). This award started of a glittering week for the S.C. Arts Commission, which received a Grant Professionals of America award yesterday in Washington. UCP Director of Day Services Jocelin Jenkins (above, left) gave the following introduction in honor of Arts Access SC at the "Evening of Impact" annual awards reception:

"Arts Access South Carolina has partnered with UCP for at least five years.  However, Ms. Julia Brown developed her relationship with us prior to as a former member of the board for UCP.

As the executive director for Arts Access South Carolina, she has given us opportunities to work on various projects, lots of which the individuals had a first time experiencing. We started out with an eight-week photography class in which they had the chance to capture the beauty of Riverfront Park. Then we took a class with a florist and created our own floral arrangement at the end of the session. Following the florist was an artist who not only enhanced our painting and drawing skills, but also helped us with clay modeling and gardening.

These are a few of the many projects that have made an positive and creative impact on us at UCP. Outside of these projects, last year in 2018 Ms. Julia offered to match the donations we received from Midlands Gives for up to $1,500!  We then used that donation for more projects from Arts Access because we were so excited about the next projects to come. To this day, Ms. Julia still keeps in correspondence with us regarding new classes and furniture for the offices that she willingly donates to us. The love and support we have from Ms. Julia and the Arts Access of SC is sincere and genuine and the 'Community Partner of the Year award' is  truly deserved this evening. Congratulations."

Representatives from Arts Access SC gather for a photo at the awards reception.

Three groups benefit from Chapman Cultural Center grants

SCAC grant enables three Community Grants

A stack of grant payment requests at SCAC. A stack of grant payments to be processed at the S.C. Arts Commission.
Chapman Cultural Center announced three recipients of FY20 2nd Quarter Community Grants last week. From the center's announcement:

"Chapman Cultural Center (CCC) is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community. Because 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. Learn more about the grant application process here."

CCC received one of seven FY20 subgranting grants from the S.C. Arts Commission. Those are awarded to local arts councils around the state for the funds to then be granted to artists, arts organizations, or non-profit community groups in those areas. The three 2nd Quarter Community Grants are going to:
  • Charles Lea Center
  • Spartanburg Festival Chorus
  • Spartanburg Terrace Tennants Association
Click here to read about these groups and their projects.