From April 2017 through June 2018, the South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. The 50th anniversary celebration includes kick-off events in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, plus 15 months of exhibitions and performances showcasing the arts around the state.
Check out the calendar of events and stay tuned for updates!
Gov. Robert E. McNair signs legislation creating the S.C. Arts Commission. Also shown, Nick Zeigler, left and Marvin Trapp.
On June 7, 1967, Governor Robert E. McNair signed legislation creating the South Carolina Arts Commission, beginning a new era of public support for the arts in the Palmetto State. The legislation declared that the State of South Carolina would ensure that the arts “continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens.” For 50 years, the Arts Commission has joined with individuals, institutions and professional organizations to advance the state’s commitment to create a thriving arts environment that benefits all citizens.
“The Arts Commission’s longevity is due in part to years of bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Executive Director Ken May. “Our state legislature recognizes that the people and communities they serve benefit in many ways from their investment in the arts, and they understand that the return includes a creative industry with a core impact of $9.2 billion and 78,682 jobs. That represents approximately $400 million in tax revenue.”
Artists and arts professionals are the workforce of the South Carolina’s creative industries. “The artists and organizations providing arts experiences in cities, towns and rural communities enhance the quality of life and produce economic activity,” said May. “They also attract visitors and tourists who shop, eat and stay overnight.”
State support for the arts has also paid off in the classroom. “Since 1987, the Arts Commission has strategically invested in arts education, providing grants and leadership through the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, to enable schools to implement the arts as part of the core curriculum,” said May. “Research shows that the arts help young people learn critical thinking, communication, creativity and perseverance — skills they need to be successful in work and life. The state’s commitment to arts education pays dividends in the form of our state’s future workforce.”
The future of the arts will be a theme throughout the anniversary. “The anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished with 50 years of uninterrupted state support for the arts, and we have a great deal to celebrate,” said May. “The anniversary year is also an opportunity to plan for the future. The Arts Commission’s ongoing work, along with upcoming new programs, will help connect artists to additional sources of small business capital, establish the arts as economic drivers in rural communities, and assist arts organizations with professional development needs as a wave of baby boomers retires. We are poised to make the most of the next 50 years of public support for the arts.”
For more information about the 50th anniversary, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com/50.