Lexington 4 seeking OK for arts center, renovations at Swansea High
From The State
Article by Tim Flach; photos by Tim Dominick
Residents in the Gaston-Swansea area go to the polls next year to decide whether to approve a $25.4 million package of school improvements.
The plan approved by Lexington 4 School Board members this week includes a new performing arts center and renovations to sports and vocational education facilities, all at Swansea High.
It will mean a property tax hike of an as-yet undetermined amount, officials said.
The cafeteria doubles at an auditorium for drama productions at Swansea High School. Here the art class works on a project.
The owner of a home valued at $100,000 currently pays nothing. Lexington 4’s share of revenue from a countywide sales tax for education cancels out what would be a bill of $1,511, according to estimates by the county auditor’s office.
An advisory panel of teachers, parents of students and community leaders says the current facilities are outdated.
Growing interest in music, theater and art led to the push for a 1,200-seat center along with upgrades, primarily in baseball and softball fields, and other renovations that will increase space for vocational instruction, Superintendent Linda Lavender said.
The arts center would provide more space and allow larger audiences for events now held in the high school cafeteria, officials said. It also will be available for community use.
Two-thirds of the $25.4 million price tag is for the arts center and classroom renovations,with the remainder for athletics upgrades, officials said.
The November 2016 vote will be the first attempt to obtain voter approval for school improvements in Lexington 4 since voters OK’d a $19.8 million plan in 2007 that built an early childhood education center.
Lexington 4 is spread across small towns, scattered rural neighborhoods and farms in the southern edge of the county. It has limited commerce and industry.
The plan could be joined on the ballot by a countywide penny sales tax increase for roads that County Council is considering.
“People can decide what they want,” Councilman Jim Kinard of Swansea said. “Roads and education need improvement.”
“The Nutcracker” Takes South Carolina Stages This Holiday Season
"The Nutcracker" ballet is a holiday tradition for many families around the world. South Carolina arts groups are producing opportunities for experiencing this classic story in all parts of the state.
Ballet Spartanburg, December 11-13 at Converse College in Spartanburg
Carolina Ballet Theatre, December 4-6 at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville
Charleston Ballet Theatre Center for Dance Education, December 11-13 at the Sottile Theatre in Charleston
Coastal Youth Ballet Theatre, December 12-13 & 19-20 at Coastal Carolina University in Conway
Columbia City Ballet, December 12-13 & 19-20 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia
Columbia Classical Ballet, December 4-6 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia
Foothills Conservatory for the Performing Arts, December 12-13 at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts in Clemson
Greenville Ballet, December 19 at Furman University in Greenville
International Ballet, December 12-13 at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville
Orangeburg Civic Ballet, December 12-13 at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg
York County Ballet, December 17-20 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill
Job Openings at the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, DC is seeking a new Director of Media Arts and a new Director of Theater and Musical Theater. Apply between February 6 & March 7. These positions provide national leadership, authority, and direction concerning agency programming and funding assessment in the field. Qualifications include national or regional experience serving as an executive or senior manager with supervisory and budgetary authority in a discipline-specific nonprofit arts organization. Some overnight travel required.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an independent Federal agency and the official arts organization for the United States government, supports the advancement of artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation. More information at arts.gov.
Studies: Students exposed to cultural field trips and live theatre gain educational benefits
Jay Greene, endowed chair of the Department of Education at the University of Arkansas, has released two studies on the educational benefits of engagement with the arts. One study is the first large-scale examination of field trips to understand the impact of cultural enrichment through the arts on students’ learning outcomes. The second study assessed a group of students’ knowledge about theater—and interest in watching or participating in theater—after attending a live performance.
(Image: dress rehearsal for Guys and Dolls Jr. at Columbia Children's Theatre)
From The Daily Signal:
New research into humanities education suggests student learning outcomes increase with exposure to the arts.
Few empirical studies have been conducted on the benefits of arts education for students. Jay Greene, endowed chair of the Department of Education at the University of Arkansas, and his team have released two studies on the educational benefits of engagement with the arts.
Last year, Greene, along with researchers Brian Kisida and Daniel Bowen, conducted the first large-scale study of field trips to understand the impact of cultural enrichment through the arts on students’ learning outcomes.
In “The Educational Value of Field Trips,” Greene and his team applied “gold standard” methodology to measure the educational value associated with students who toured an art museum during a field trip. They found that students who attended the tour could recall historical and sociological information about particular works of art at higher rates than students who did not visit the museum.
For example, 88 percent of the students who saw civil-war era painter Eastman Johnson’s work, At the Camp— Spinning Yarns and Whittling, remembered the cultural context of the painting as depicting “abolitionists making maple syrup to undermine the sugar industry, which relied on slave labor.” According to the report, the students’ high rate of recall compared to that of students who did not attend a museum suggests that art could be used to increase the learning capacity of students for traditional classroom content.
They also found students who attended the field trip experienced a large gain in critical-thinking skills, which was observed in their essays regarding particular works of art. Students who attended the museum also showed higher measures of historical empathy, tolerance and a desire to visit more art museums than students who did not tour the museum.
Their findings underscore the value of cultural field trips, which have a long history in American education (although they have been on the decline in recent years, or replaced with non-cultural field trips, such as outings to amusement parks):
Schools gladly endured the expense and disruption of providing field trips because they saw these experiences as central to their educational mission: chools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture. More-advantaged families may take their children to these cultural institutions outside of school hours, but less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if schools do not provide them. With field trips, public schools viewed themselves as the great equalizer in terms of access to our cultural heritage.
Students from rural or high-poverty areas had the largest gains in historical recall of information and critical thinking and reported higher levels of empathy, tolerance and desire to return to the museum.
Greene found similar results in his newest study, “Learning from Live Theater.”
Using the same research design, Greene, with coauthors Collin Hitt, Anne Kraybill and Cari Bogulski, assessed a group of students’ knowledge about theater—and interest in watching or participating in theater—after attending a live performance. The researchers used a sample of students who applied for, and won, tickets to either A Christmas Carol or Hamlet, compared to a control group who lost the lottery.
The study showed students who saw live theater significantly improved their knowledge of the plot and vocabulary related to the play by 63 percent of a standard deviation. The students also showed significantly higher degrees of tolerance and empathy through the “Reading the Mind through the Eyes” test than the control group. The researchers used the RMET measure because it tracks feelings of empathy, and prior research has found that reading literature or engaging in theater enhances one’s ability to read emotions.
Both studies suggest that culturally enriching experiences produce important educational benefits, which in turn could contribute to overall student achievement. Greene’s findings come at a time of concentrated focus on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics—education.
In 2009, the Obama administration published its “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which included $260 million in partnerships involving the federal government and industry to prepare more than 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade But at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic asked thought leaders in academia (Harvard, Yale, and Cal-Berkley) and the private sector, what letter— if any— should be added to STEM education. They all agreed that they would add the letter “A” for the arts and humanities.
“To me, mathematics, computer science and the arts are insanely related,” said Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Udacity and Founder of GoogleX. “They’re all creative expressions.”
“ seem to me such an important dimension of educating students about what science, technology, engineering and math are for,” said Harvard President Drew Gilpin.
Greene’s studies and advocates of STEAM both suggest the arts could enhance learning in reading, math and the hard sciences. Student engagement of the arts, through field trips and live performances, also provides positive reinforcement for cultural institutions within communities to contribute to students’ overall education. As the authors concluded, “Schools produce important educational outcomes other than those captured by math and reading test scores, and it is possible for researchers to collect measures of those other outcomes. If what’s measured is what matters, then we need to measure more outcomes to expand the definition of what matters in education.”
Kidney transplant connects theatre alums for a lifetime
Monica Wyche, left, and Erin Wilson at a fundraiser held in their honor
Two South Carolina actors, Erin Wilson and Monica Wyche, already connected through the arts, are now bonded in a life-altering way. Wyche recently donated a kidney to Wilson, who was diagnosed with acute kidney failure in 2013. The transplant operation took place in early November, and both women are doing well. This blog post, written by Sheryl McAlister and reprinted on Jasper Magazine's website, is a synopsis of their story, their connections through the arts, and the arts community that embraces all of us.
Part 1, Erin’s Story: “Let’s get this Show on the Road”
The first time I saw Erin Thigpen Wilson was March, 2014, in Charleston, SC. She was playing a sadistic human trafficker in PURE Theatre’s production of Russian Transport. She was the matriarch of a group of equally sadistic family members.
She scared the shit out of me.
“Art…,” Edgar Degas said, after all “… is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Meeting her, mercifully, was altogether different. She’s groovy in an old school, hippy sort of way. Laid back with a been-there, done-that attitude. Funny. Quick wit. Seemingly carefree.
She grew up in community theatre in Columbia, SC, the child of a father who was a community theatre actor and high school drama teacher and a mother who ran the box office of the local theatre out of her living room. She performed in too many plays to count, starting at the age of 5 as “Rabbit #3” in Workshop Theatre’s production of Winnie the Pooh. Long ago, she learned how to play make believe.
Early in the summer of 2013, she nearly died. Her kidneys were destroyed. Doctors still don’t know why.
“I was having trouble breathing, but that’s normal for me,” Wilson, an asthma sufferer, said. “The first doctor told me I had bronchitis and gave me an antibiotic. But a week later, I had this incredible body pain. My bones hurt. I didn’t sleep for days.”
A second opinion led to tests that revealed elevated creatinine levels. As the doctor ran yet another set of tests to verify her assumptions, she told Wilson to decide which hospital she wanted to go to in the meantime. And she told her to decide quickly.
Wilson’s husband Laurens had met her at the doctor’s office. “We just looked at each other and were like ‘WHAT?’ The doctor told us we could go by ambulance or drive ourselves but if we decided to drive ourselves, we had to drive straight there. No stops.”
They called her parents – Sally Boyd & Les Wilson and Jim & Kay Thigpen. And her in-laws, Hank & Sue Wilson.
She spent two days in the ICU and was diagnosed with acute kidney failure. Her only option was dialysis. And just like that… Life, as she knew it, had changed forever.
Read the rest of the post on Jasper Magazine's site.
Add your event to Arts Daily!
The South Carolina Arts Commission's arts calendar, Arts Daily, has joined forces with The Hub. Now you can visit one place to view or submit arts news AND events!
Long-time Arts Daily users will notice that the revamped event submission process is simpler. You can also add your arts venue (if you haven't already) to The Hub's venue list through the Arts Daily submission process. Online readers of Arts Daily can search and sort events to find activities based on location, art form or type of event.
Is your event or opportunity right for Arts Daily? If it's arts-related, open to the public, and of interest to people in South Carolina, then yes! Event types include auditions, calls for entries & contests, classes, conferences, exhibitions, fellowships & residencies, openings, book signings, performances, screenings and more. You'll choose the type when you submit your event or opportunity.
To submit arts events to Arts Daily, use the Submit Events button. (Be sure to submit your event at least one month in advance.) If your event has an interesting news element, you can also send it to The Hub through the Submit Story button. Arts events submitted at least one month in advance will appear on the Arts Daily website, and some will be recorded for radio.
How to decide what to submit where
Submit Event to Arts Daily:
Arts Daily listings and radio announcements are limited to the key details and a brief description of your event and will direct readers to your website or organization for a lengthier description.
Arts events submitted at least one month before the event will be posted to the online Arts Daily calendar. Not all events are recorded for the radio. The earlier you submit, the longer it will appear on the Arts Daily site for readers to find and the better chance the event will be recorded for radio. You can even submit an entire season at once!
Submit Story to The Hub:
If your event has a news component, you can also submit a lengthier article or news release through The Hub's Submit Story button. Story submissions, if accepted, appear as articles on The Hub's main page and "roll off" the page as other articles are posted -- the lifespan of a Hub article is much shorter than an Arts Daily entry. Hub articles will direct readers to your website or organization for more information.
What makes an event newsworthy?
A few questions to ask: Does the event relate to a larger purpose (e.g., an artist's studio or gallery opening is a result of the arts reviving a downtown, a celebrity S.C. artist is participating to raise awareness and/or funds, a student exhibition illustrates the benefit of arts education, etc.)? Is this a first time for the event, or a milestone anniversary? Did the project break an attendance or fundraising record? Sometimes the news element occurs after an event when you're ready to share results and photos.
arts events to Arts Daily, at least one month in advance. Submit more info about your event to The Hub ONLY
if there is an extra news element.
Remember, you may also use the Submit Story button to send your feature articles, blog posts, stories, etc. about arts topics other than events.
Writing your Arts Daily Event Description
Arts Daily web listings and radio announcements are designed to provide the most vital pieces of information about your event or opportunity and refer users to ArtsDaily.org and/or to your website or organization for details. We encourage you to use your Event Description space to provide a self-contained, factual summary of your event or opportunity. ONLY the text in the Event Description field will be used in your radio announcement, should your submission be chosen for broadcast.
What to include in the Event Description:
What not to include in the Event Description:
- The name of the event or opportunity and a brief description of it
- Who is responsible for it (hosting or presenting organization)
- Where (venue and city)
- When (date and time)
- Cost to participate
- Deadline for the public to participate (e.g., registration, submission), if applicable. (Note: This is not a deadline for posting on Arts Daily.)
Want a template? Try this:
- Contact information. Radio announcements will direct listeners to the Arts Daily website where you have entered this information.
- Superlatives (such as “the best,” “beautiful,” “a great achievement,” etc.) will be excluded from the final listing.
(Name of the presenting or host organization) presents (name of the event), (event date) at (event time), at (event venue) in (city, and state if not South Carolina). (Provide a description of the event, so that Arts Daily users will understand what it is and whether or not they would like to attend.) Tickets are (cost). (Provide registration and/or submission requirements and/or deadline, if applicable.)
Questions? We're happy to help. Contact us here.
About Arts Daily
Arts Daily is a partnership between the South Carolina Arts Commission
, South Carolina Public Radio
, and the College of Charleston
How Music Could Make You a Rocket Scientist
Researchers at Michigan State University have evidence that exposure (or lack of exposure) to the arts as a child has a direct correlation to the likelihood of an adult's successful contributions in science and technology. Sustained participation in the arts from childhood into adulthood connects with innovative work, and there are specific correlations between individual artistic disciplines and achievement in non-arts careers.
Visit abcnews.go.com to read more about this study of scientists and their history of artistic involvement.
Via: ABC News
Image: Getty Images, via abcnews.go.com
The arts: the private sector’s secret weapon
In a recent Huffington Post blog post, Americans for the Arts CEO Robert Lynch weighed in on why companies seeking new ways to build their competitive advantage are increasingly finding that the arts are the key to driving true innovation and ultimately reaching business goals.
The Conference Board recently released their 2013 CEO Challenge Report, which outlined the top five global challenges for CEOs:
As a CEO, these challenges obviously resonated with me. But they also struck a chord with the arts advocate in me.
I know that the arts industry can feel very foreign to the business community. But as companies seek new ways to build their competitive advantage, they are increasingly finding that the arts are the key to driving true innovation, ultimately reaching their business goals. So in fact, the arts can play a tremendously important role in helping CEOs address each of the challenges outlined in the CEO Challenge Report.
The way we do business is rapidly changing every day. With the advent of new technologies and younger generations' tendency to be more on the move in their professional lives, the squeeze is on from all sides to actively engage and retain top talent.
Here, the arts can be a secret weapon. In my conversations with business executives across the country they have told me that the arts are an effective tool. Further, the arts play a significant role in attracting and retaining a skilled and educated workforce by ensuring that employees have a vibrant life outside the office. In fact, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas recently conceded that Dallas lost its bid for relocation of the Boeing Headquarters to Chicago because it could not compete culturally--a high priority for Boeing in attracting executives and their families.
At the end of the day, if we want the best employees, we have to provide them with the best opportunities to become artistically and culturally involved in and out of the office.
The ability to work across boundaries is an enormously significant skill that will allow organizations and businesses to better operate in an increasingly interconnected world. By embracing the arts, businesses can produce exciting new methods of achieving goals institutionally and affect the output of work in a positive, growth-oriented manner.
According to Americans for the Arts' BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts, business leaders believe that the arts promote team-building and better collaboration across departments and disciplines, teach different ways of seeing the same issue, and allow for new kinds of strategies to be embraced.
Innovation and creativity are among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders according to Americans for the Arts' and The Conference Board's "Ready to Innovate" report. Likewise, IBM's Global Leadership Survey also says that creativity is the number one quality of successful leaders. So how can we best develop creativity in our workforce? According to "Ready to Innovate," study of the arts is at the top of the list for both business leaders and school superintendents.
Innovation, creativity, business--all require a level of fearlessness and a desire to push beyond the walls. And the arts can be a powerful tool for acquiring the confidence, skills, and mindset to transform seemingly impossible ideas into reality.
Engaged, creative employees who are encouraged to think in new, innovative ways are likely to be both productive and actively improve both the company and their own business skills. Business leaders have told me they have seen the arts help facilitate their employee's engagement and fuel their creative juices. It is not just an indirect result, either: the arts build empathy, observation, and problem-identification and problem-solving skills, which translates to better customer service and a deeper understanding of the constituency.
Global Political Economic Risk
Cultural diplomacy is increasingly being used as a strategy to promote mutual understanding across cultures. On a practical level, arts exchanges build markets and strengthen economic relationships between cultures through sharing of artistic goods--something that is beneficial both financially and culturally. The arts also help us to grasp cultural realities in places where language, religion, politics--and, perhaps more apropos, business practices--may be completely unfamiliar.
Many companies have already recognized the value the arts can bring to their bottom line and started strategic partnerships with the arts. And according to Americans for the Arts' BCA Survey, more are cluing in to the valuable contribution a strong arts partnership brings to their sector. Still, there is a strong need to make the case for how partnering with the arts can benefit the business sector. The survey shows that 73 percent of companies that actually support the arts consider them to be a moderate to low priority. To ensure more businesses understand the value of partnering with the arts, Americans for the Arts launched the pARTnership Movement in January 2012.
The arts are connectors. They help us connect to our own potential by igniting a creative, bold, and innovative mindset. They help us connect to others by encouraging engagement, empathy, and the understanding that there are many ways of seeing the same thing. The arts connect people to the communities in which they live, the businesses at which they work, and the people with whom they interact. Without the arts, these five issues are challenges, indeed. But with the arts, I believe we can make a difference in our businesses and in our lives.
- Human Capital
- Operational Excellence
- Customer Relationships, and
- Global Political Economic Risk.
Via: The Huffington Post
Artists: a reminder about opportunities from the S.C. Arts Commission
A fellowship, a grant and a writing competition for South Carolina artists:
1) Individual Artist Fellowships - artists working in prose, poetry, acting and playwriting may apply for an Individual Artist Fellowship. Up to four fellowships of $5,000 will be awarded.
- Application deadline: Nov. 1, 2013
- More info (acting & playwriting): Joy Young, (803) 734-8203
- More info (prose & poetry): Sara June Goldstein, (803) 734-8694
2) Artists' Ventures Initiative Grants
- Artists (individuals and collaboratives) may apply for up to $5,000 in order to launch a new venture or significantly alter an existing venture.
- Letters of intent due Dec. 13, 2013
- More info: Joy Young, (803) 734-8203
3) First Novel Prize
- a biennial competition open to writers who have never published a novel. The winner will receive a book contract with Hub City Press of Spartanburg and a $1,000 advance against royalties. Hub City will publish 1,500 copies of the book and distribute it nationally.