Announcing the FY22 SCAC Fellows
for immediate release
South Carolina artists exhibiting hard work and exceptional ability in visual art, craft, and media production and screenwriting are recipients of fiscal year 2022 South Carolina Arts Commission fellowships.
- Kristi Ryba of Charleston County in visual art,
- Clay Burnette of Richland County for craft,
- Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall of Richland County for media production,
- and Triza Cox of Florence County for media screenwriting.
Individual artists residing in South Carolina full-time were invited to apply last fall for a fellowship in any of the four categories represented in this cycle. Out-of-state panelists were recruited from each of those disciplines to review applications. Starting with this cycle and going forward, applications are no longer anonymous and awards no longer made solely on artistic merit. The panelists also considered achievements and commitment to the discipline in which artists apply, which can be more than one if separate applications are submitted. Panelists then recommend recipients of each $5,000 fellowship.
“Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of exceptional South Carolina individual artists. Recognition from a fellowship lends artistic prestige and can often open doors to other resources and employment opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “We will no doubt hear more from these amazing artists, and we congratulate them on this honor.”
About the FY22 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients
Winner of the 2020 South Arts State Fellowship for South Carolina and a 2018 ArtFields second place award, Ryba’s work has been touring the Southeast in painting and printmaking exhibitions since 1990. A Magna cum laude graduate of the College of Charleston, Ryba also studied at Vermont Studio School and Studio Camnitzer in Valdotavvo, Lucca, Italy, and has her Master of Fine Arts from Union Institute and University, Vermont College. She has won various awards and scholarships. A founding organizer of Print Studio South, Inc., she served as its president and on its board and has taught locally in both adult and children’s programs. Ryba was one of 10 artists featured in a 2002 Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and was invited to exhibit in Contemporary Charleston 2004 and in Helping Hands: an artist’s debut among friends in 2005. Her work was featured in the 2018 Biennial in Columbia. Ryba also exhibited at Silo in New York City and her work was in the 2007 SOHO20 Chelsea show honoring The Feminist ART Project.
Clay Burnette is a self-taught pine needle basketmaker who has been coiling longleaf pine needles with waxed linen thread since 1977. Burnette’s work is included in numerous public and private collections—including the State Art Collection—and has been included in more than 250 exhibition venues throughout the U.S. and abroad for 40-plus years. He has also been published in numerous international, national, and regional magazines, catalogs, and fine craft publications. Burnette has taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee since 2015. Images of his work are available at www.clayburnette.com.
Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall is a film and messaging professional from Columbia, S.C. He specializes in visual storytelling, film education, media strategy, diversity consulting and is an advocate of Hip-Hop culture. He’s produced commercial and documentary projects for VH1, Oxygen, and more. A 2021 Liberty Fellow, a 2016 Riley Fellow, a Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholar and one of the founders of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Family Day: Love Peace & Hip-Hop. A 2001 University of South Carolina grad, Sherard is a product of Richland District One schools. Sherard is the Founder and Executive Producer at OTR Media Group, and the proud dad of his son, Cairo.
Triza Cox is a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre artist. She is currently the South Carolina Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Her research and creative work center on playmaking using Jungian archetypes, motifs, and symbols of the collective unconscious. Triza holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Louisville and has trained with Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the Mandala Center for Change as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator. Her original plays include A Last Supper; The Willing, which recently received a staged reading with Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina; God in the Midst of it All; and Lil’ Bard which was a semi-finalist in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience 2018 and premiered at Charlotte’s Children Theatre in a staged reading. Triza has received a Kentucky New Voices grant for her playwriting.
A diverse group of panelists reviewed applications from the discipline in which they work. The visual art and craft panelists were Kesha Bruce, a curator and artist programs manager for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; arts consultant and curator Mark Leach based in St. Louis; and Holly Blake, residency manager for Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. Reviewing media production applications were panelists Eleanor Savage, activist and program director with the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Jerome Foundation; and Bill Gaskins, (re)director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s photographic and electronic media graduate program. Writer and producer April Turner of Charlotte was the media screenwriting panelist.
Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists working in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting will be honored in fiscal year 2023. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the SCAC. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grant/fel/.
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 three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., 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.
Arts provide healing touch to war-time trauma
Join the NEA for a webinar
South Carolina’s ties to the U.S. Armed Forces run deep.
Generations of airmen, Marines, sailors, and soldiers have trained or been stationed here, and a robust population on veterans of every branch calls our state home. And so The Hub happily shares this blurb from the National Endowment for the Arts knowing it’s relevant to many of our constituents:
Join Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network on June 25, 2021, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET for a webinar exploring how creative arts therapies can help heal war-time trauma. The webinar will focus on the National Endowment for the Arts’ recent online exhibition Creative Forces: Healing the Invisible Wounds of War. Special guest Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, will join a discussion with retired Navy Capt. Robert Koffman, creative arts therapists, and veterans who have participated in the Creative Forces program and contributed artwork to the exhibition.
American Sign Language interpretation and closed captioning will be provided. Visit the Creative Forces National Resource Center for more information and to register.
Bluffton High senior awarded SOBA scholarship
Naomi McCracken Scholarship goes to Venezuelan-born student
Bluffton High School Senior Nathalia Roca received The Society of Bluffton Artists’ (SOBA) Naomi McCracken Scholarship for students pursuing art in higher education.
Roca, who graduates this month, was accepted to all four of her top college choices. She ultimately settled on attending Columbia College in Chicago as a fine arts major, because of the school’s focus on technology and business courses for artist entrepreneurs.
Roca was chosen for the Naomi McCracken Scholarship with the help and collaboration of Andrea Pejeau, fine arts department chair at Bluffton High School. The scholarship applicants must write a personal statement on why they feel they deserve the scholarship and are then interviewed by the SoBA scholarship committee.
“Art is my calling, my constant companion, and most importantly, my dominant form of communication,” Roca wrote in her artist’s statement.
Roca was born in Venezuela and credits communicating freely in both English and Spanish for enabling her to express her point of view through art. As an artist, Roca says that she does not limit herself to a single medium. She has experience with acrylic, oil, watercolor, pen and ink, pastel, oil pastel, charcoal and scratchboard.
“Drawing and painting are my freedom of expression, where no one but me dictates what I do or say,” says Roca.
In their letters of recommendation, Pejeau and Kristen Munroe, a Bluffton High School painting, ceramics and design instructor, describe Roca as a hard-working dedicated student who has already exhibited and sold her work. Roca’s artwork was chosen for a 2018 SOBA exhibit called “Artists In the Making,” where two of her pieces were sold. She has repeatedly won top honors in such youth art events as Promising Picassos and the Scholastic Art Contest.
“In all her work, Nathalia shows patience and dedication to meeting the standards she has in mind,” Munroe wrote in her letter of recommendation, adding, “Not only did she have exceptional skills in observation, rendering, value and color; she constant asked for and excelled in more challenging assignments, absorbing every technique and process eagerly, and dedicating hours outside the classroom to practice and investigation.”
Pejeau wrote: “Nathalia has the experience of a much older artist. She conceptualizes and executes original work in a wide range of media which she approaches with authority. This young artist is just that. An artist. The rare breed born to create outstanding, already award-winning art with an authentic voice. Never cliche, always interesting.
The Naomi McCracken Scholarship
Naomi McCracken was one of the founding members of SOBA. When Naomi passed away in 2006 her family requested that in lieu of flowers donations should be made to SoBA. In the spring of 2007, her son, Emmitt McCracken, and Dave Dickson, then president of SoBA, established the scholarship program for a graduating senior who planned to further their studies in the field of art.
About the Society of Bluffton Artists
SOBA is the heart of the flourishing art hub in Old Town Bluffton’s historic district at the corner of Church and Calhoun streets. As a non-profit art organization, SOBA offers regular art classes, featured artist shows, exhibitions, scholarships, outreach programs and more. The gallery is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sundays. Please visit www.sobagallery.com for a complete calendar of events and other information or call 843.757.6586.
Columbia honors remarkable women with new statue
Unveiled today across from the State House
At a morning press conference at the northwest corner of Main and Gervais Streets today, Columbia thought leaders and Mayor Steve Benjamin spoke at the official “unveiling” of Architecture of Strength, a brand new monument celebrating the historical accomplishments of women in Columbia.
Designed to inspire inclusion and honor remarkable women, Architecture of Strength will be a permanent monument to celebrate and honor women in Columbia and is an initiative of Columbia City of Women. The position of the monument confronts the lack of women’s representation in the public sphere and speaks truth to power at the physical intersection of the major power in our community: commerce (Main Street) and government (Gervais Street), across from the State House. Architecture of Strength will inspire the community to learn more about and celebrate the historical contributions women have made to our city, to inspire a more hopeful and inclusive vision of our future.
“Women deserve to be seen and heard in this city,” said Ann Warner, executive director of WREN (Women’s Rights Empowerment Network), who spoke at the press conference. “This is a lasting monument to women from the past and present who pushed boundaries, stood up for others, and made Columbia a better place.”
Architecture of Strength, by Deedee Morrison, is made of 316 polished stainless steel pipes that are laser-cut and welded to create the sculpture. It is also illuminated for night-time viewing in its prominent location. The form begins with the foundation, a circular pillar of strength. The layering of the lives in meaning and the contributions of these women to Columbia, create the form. The sculpture is a form made up of many parts, the parts of the female that are invaluable in every community. Family, vision, courage, strength, integrity, honor, hope, resilience, intelligence, compassion, steadfastness, determination and drive hold our community together. The faceless, nameless nature of this art represents the idea that it takes all kinds of women, all shapes, all sizes, and beliefs, to build a community.
The monument’s front faces the South Carolina State House as a direct statement that though there are a wealth of monuments on the State House grounds, and many of them controversial, none of them celebrate women in any meaningful way.
“As one of the most traveled intersections in South Carolina’s capital city, this monument is a daily reminder of women’s strength, perseverance and power,” said Robin Waites, executive director of Historic Columbia, who also spoke at the press conference.
Historic Columbia, WREN, and Columbia City of Women steering committee thank former First Lady Rachel Hodges for her vision of Columbia City of Women, Central Carolina Community Foundation with support from the Knight Foundation, and Beth Richardson for fundraising support. Additionally, Dr. Mary Baskin-Waters and Mr. Samuel Waters, Jerry Davis in honor of Judy Davis, Sue Doran and Dr. Lilly and Mr. Bruce Filler invested in the creation of Architecture of Strength. One Columbia and the City of Columbia also provided support for this monument, as did Holder Properties and Hood Construction.
Architecture of Strength sets a new tone to spark curiosity and awareness of our collective history, simultaneously encouraging bold acts of belonging and inclusion of the underrepresented, marginalized and segregated members of our society. How we choose to honor and remember the past, will always direct the pathway into our future.
This is the moment of embarkation for Architecture of Strength She is to honor the original City of Women honorees, but she provides inclusion for all. From this fixed luminous point, we incorporate a broader, more encompassing view of our history and move into a new dimension of thought. One of wholeness and unity and fostering a broader expression of justice and equality. Architecture of Strength gracefully stands,17 feet tall on a circular foundation. What was once many pieces of stainless steel pipe in varying sizes, is now welded back together, her strength being created from the sum of parts. As I created her I reflected on the many and the nameless who have come before us and shown the way through strength and conviction.
I have deep gratitude to the City of Women and Columbia to have been a part of this public art journey with you.
Architecture of Strength
Fletcher Williams III named Southern Prize finalist
Big award, residency await
At the fifth annual Southern Prize and State Fellowships Award Ceremony last evening, a South Carolina artist figured prominently.
While Florida artist Marielle Plaisir was named 2021 Southern Prize winner and received an award of $25,000, Charleston artist Fletcher Williams III was named Southern Prize Finalist and received a $10,000 award! Both Southern Prize recipients also receive a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.
Both were chosen from among nine 2021 state fellows announced by South Arts in April.
The Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. Each state fellow will be included in an exhibition at the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia from Aug. 20 to Dec. 20, 2021, and touring to additional locations in the region (dates/locations TBD) in 2022.
More about Fletcher Williams III
Fletcher Williams III (b. 1987) is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and painting. Williams received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement in Science and Art (2010). He maintained a studio practice in Long Island City, Queens, and later Crowns Heights, Brooklyn before returning to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, in 2013. Upon his return to Charleston, Williams remained an independent artist and began producing solo exhibitions throughout the City of Charleston and North Charleston, the latest being a site-wide solo exhibition, Promiseland (2020), at the Historic Aiken-Rhett House Museum.
My work engages the rituals and traditions of the American South. My interest in the way we seek to establish place and identity has prompted a working methodology that utilizes found and natural materials and an exhibition practice that incorporates public and historic sites. I often paint with Spanish moss, builds house-like structures with salvaged wood and tin roof, and fashion delicate sculptures out of handwoven palmetto roses. My approach is architectural and figural, tactile, and multi-sensory and unveils my curiosity for both people and place, material, and process.
To view selected artworks, visit his page on SouthArts.org.
About South Arts
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.
Western Arts Alliance calls for performing artists
2021 Performing Arts Discovery Program
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, June 25, 2021
The U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and Western Arts Alliance (WAA) are pleased to announce a virtual international showcase opportunity for performing artists.
This opportunity is part of the National Endowment for the Arts Performing Arts Discovery Program (PAD). The NEA launched the PAD program in 2015 to promote U.S. artists to international programmers, festival directors, and venue managers.
In this first round, PAD will select 10 artists to showcase virtually at this year’s Western Arts Alliance and Arts Midwest Conferences. Later this year a second round will seek an additional 20 artists and ensembles for additional showcase opportunities. All 30 groups will also be featured on a dedicated platform and included in selected international online showcases.
PAD encourages those who self-identify as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ to apply.