FY23 SCAC grantmaking exceeded $11 million

Grants for arts and arts learning impacted 43 counties


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing that in FY23, for the second year in a row, its statewide grantmaking invested more than $11 million in arts organizations, arts learning, and artists in South Carolina.

South Carolina Arts Commission logoThe actual total was $11,079,412. Grants from the SCAC and programs run directly by the agency or with diverse partners reached 43 counties. They assisted 457 artists and providers of arts experiences and arts learning.

  • The SCAC made 619 annual grants totaling just less than $11 million to in-state artists, organizations, schools, or school districts.
  • Four grants totaling $95,025 went to partners based out of state that helped the SCAC accomplish its work in South Carolina.

Among the grants across the SCAC’s focus areas:

  • $6,684,023 supported arts learning initiatives;
  • $3,998,716 assisted community-based arts programming;
  • $160,485 funded artist projects and career development;
  • $140,963 helped maintain the state’s unique traditional arts and folklife programs.

A new impact map available on the SCAC website provides visual representation of the statewide impact of the grants and their related programs.

“Our vision is that the arts move South Carolina forward, so we are excited that grantmaking at this level is becoming a trend for the Arts Commission. It benefits South Carolina students and our residents and visitors. This would not be possible without the support of the General Assembly and Gov. McMaster, who fund our vision, and the staff who turn the vision into reality,” SCAC Board of Commissioners Chair Dee Crawford of Aiken said.

“The Arts Commission is committed to ensuring the people of South Carolina, wherever they might be, have access to the benefits the arts can bring to their lives in some way,” SCAC Executive Director David T. Platts said. “I thank our staff for their dedication as they balance grant distribution and program management daily. We are all grateful to state leaders for our funding and for our board, who take great pride in providing guidance for our operations.”

FY23 Funding Highlights

Arts Grow SC and grants associated with the SCAC’s signature program, which was announced in 2021, led the way in FY23 grantmaking. Arts learning grants made up 60% of the total, coming in at almost $6.7 million. The partnership between the SCAC and South Carolina Department of Education provides $20 million over three years from ARP ESSER funding appropriated to SCDE. Arts Grow SC funded new arts learning projects in and after school during the school year and during the summer. It also allowed for increased awards in other arts learning categories.

“University of South Carolina researchers compared the data from the first two years of Arts Grow SC’s work. We had one grant category serving 9,900 K-12 students in year one. After that first year of building the foundation, we expanded to six grant categories that served more than 209,000 South Carolina students through initiatives, special projects, and grant programs in year two,” said Arts Grow SC Executive Director Ashley Brown, who is also a deputy director at the SCAC.

The SCAC’s largest single grant category remained General Operating Support. The beneficiaries of that $3,019,559 of support were arts organizations across the state as they provided arts experiences to residents and visitors alike. A total of 133 organizations received that assistance. Another $170,750 was awarded in operating support to smaller arts organizations.

Artist funding of almost $160,500 benefitted hard-working South Carolina artists. A group of six emerging artists, in addition to getting project funding, became a cohort to develop their careers as artist entrepreneurs. Two artists with existing arts-based businesses received support for projects related to those. As it does every year, the SCAC named four fellowship recipients whose achievement in and dedication to their artistic disciplines earned them unrestricted $10,000 grants each.

While the majority of the SCAC’s annual funding comes from state, then federal, appropriations, additional generous FY23 funding support came from the Coastal Community Foundation from both its Expansion Arts Fund and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF to support four categories: Subgranting, Arts Project Support, Art of Community, and Special Projects.

  • A $36,998 award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF contributed to 71 SCAC grant awards serving 20 counties with Subgranting and Arts Project Support grants.
  • A $16,045 Expansion Arts Fund gift supported grants to seven artists and arts organizations based in four of the nine counties served by CCF.

The SCAC, along with the rest of state government, began FY25 on July 1.

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 artist development, arts industry, arts learning, creative placemaking, and folklife and traditional arts. Headquartered in Columbia, 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 for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.

South Carolina Arts Commission News Release, Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899