Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Arts and the economy + SCAC equity work

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...  
Click image to enlarge. As we mentioned last week, this October is National Arts and Humanities Month! The Hub is helping drive the conversation about the cultural sector’s role in our economy, equity, education, health and wellness, and military communities. Join the conversation with #NAHM21 and #NAHM. Today we’re focusing on how the arts and humanities positively impact the economy. Before the pandemic, it was approaching a $1 trillion industry that directly employed 5.2 million people and indirectly supported millions more. Due to COVID-19, unemployment rates for the cultural community soared to among the highest in the nation. A thriving cultural sector is essential to America’s economy and its recovery, which is on the way thanks to CARES and ARP Act funds.

SCAC featured by NASAA for equity work

How do state arts agencies ensure their practices and policies are equitable and inclusive? The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies invites you to read about how four agencies—California Arts CouncilMaryland State Arts CouncilMass Cultural Council and of course, BAE: the South Carolina Arts Commission—have integrated equity principles across multiple aspects of their work. Click here for the story.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: ArtFields makes 2022 call + S.C. creative placemaking

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 almost hard to believe it's time, but... 

ArtFields is making a call for submissions starting tomorrow. Adult artists working in all mediums from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are eligible to submit to ArtFields. The deadline to submit is Nov. 1, 2021. Don't delay!

SCAC's Susan DuPlessis featured by Grantmakers in the Arts

If you follow the SCAC's direct program The Art of Community: Rural SC, you know that it's led locally by a collection of mavens. Who leads the mavens? Well, the maven of mavens, of course... our own Susan DuPlessis. Grantmakers in the Arts is running a series Future of the Field: Cross-Sector Creative Placemaking Series, and hers is the latest submission. Give it a read here!

Jason Rapp

Stay updated on rural arts in S.C.

Curious about what's been going on in South Carolina's rural arts scene? The Art of Community: Rural SC can help.

Starting with today's, the five-year-old S.C. Arts Commission program is rolling out a newsletter series highlighting successes from recently completed FY2021. It ss planned to run well into October. Want to hear the news first? Use this link to subscribe to The Art of Community: Rural SC's newsletter. You can also visit the program's comprehensive page on SouthCarolinaArts.com.  

Jason Rapp

From The State: Sweetgrass basketry fighting for survival

A tradition in peril


Sweetgrass basketry intertwines with South Carolina heritage in the same way that the grasses come together to form the renowned finished product.

But for how much longer will it be part of the present? Today, Caitlin Byrd of The State tries to get a grasp on the situation (subscription possibly required):

Also driving up the price of baskets is the increased development in the coastal region, which continues to cut off access to the very plants Black families use to make sweetgrass baskets. And then there’s the concern about time itself, as a generation of sewers worry that this craft, which can trace its origins to the 17th century, will not be carried on in the way it once was.

This traditional art form is no stranger to The Hub or the South Carolina Arts Commission.
  • Sweetgrass basketmakers have been Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients many times since the first in 1990, and the most recent was in 2018. (The Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the SCAC and its partner the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum.)
  • A basket by Mary Jackson, one of the most decorated artisans, is included in the State Art Collection and is included in The State's story.

Jason Rapp

Tell your rural innovation story

South Carolina's rural and small communities have countless stories of innovation.

As it creates a new exhibit called "Spark! Places of Innovation," the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street program is gathering technology, culture and heritage, social, economic and business innovation stories (and more).

The SCAC's Community Arts Development team partners with Museum on Main Street, and is encouraging YOU to submit South Carolina stories, particularly if they involve:
  • creativity,
  • makers,
  • the arts,
  • folklife,
  • or a community/placemaking aspect!
If you have one (and we know you do!), visit this link to pitch in.

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

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

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:

GP McLeer

Live from an arts school

Today only!


Our future is in good hands!

Today is all about Arts Education, because the arts are alive in South Carolina schools! Hear from the students and schools benefiting from the arts. Today, the South Carolina Arts Alliance is teaming up with our friends at the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project to bring you a series of Facebook Live events held around the state by various schools who have received ABC Advancement Grants and who place value on the arts in their school day. Click here to see the schedule, and tune to each school's Facebook page to catch it all live.

About the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project

The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project provides leadership to achieve quality, comprehensive arts education (dance, music, media arts, theatre, visual arts and creative writing) for all students in South Carolina. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. ABC Grants currently provide quality arts education to 170,730 students at 84 sites throughout the state, enabled by Education Improvement Act Funds approved by the General Assembly, and administered by the South Carolina Arts Commission. Unfortunately, as demand for grants and services continues to grow, no new applications are being accepted due to insufficient funding. This year, we are requesting a $500,000 increase in EIA/SCAC funding to increase the ABC Project's impact.
GP McLeer is executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance.