New slate of SCAC emerging artists announced

Collage of artist headshots and work samples from the FY24 emerging artist grantees


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Six artists just getting established in their crafts will benefit from the South Carolina Arts Commission Emerging Artists program, receiving a project-based grant and career mentoring.

The SCAC defines emerging artists as being at an early stage in their artistic career development—within the first five years—with no basis in age. Six South Carolina artists were selected to each receive Emerging Artist grants ranging in amount from $1,200 to $1,800 from the SCAC in the current fiscal year (2024). They are:

  • Rush Johnston of York (multidisciplinary)
  • Wilma King of Columbia (painting)
  • Heather Patel of Simpsonville (photography)
  • Maria S. Picone of North Charleston (poetry/prose)
  • Austin Reynolds of Orangeburg (painting)
  • Zabriel Rivers of Saint Helena Island (vocal performance)

In addition to financial support, artists benefit from mentorship and professional support. The combined benefits are intended to deepen artistic practice and foster artistic excellence; encourage career growth, advancement, and sustainability; and provide professional development and opportunities for collaboration. The SCAC’s Emerging Artists program is managed by Artist Development Director Tanisha N. Brown.

“This talented cohort demonstrates a willingness to grow their careers as artist-entrepreneurs. They have already displayed their skills through performances, exhibitions, or publications, and are ready to push themselves and take the next step in their artistic careers. The South Carolina Arts Commission is happy to assist them financially, through a grant fully supporting their projects, but also with mentorship and professional development throughout the grant period,” Brown explained.

An online gallery of representative works by this class is available now on

The SCAC awards a new cohort of emerging artists twice each fiscal year. Individual artists who reside in South Carolina and fit the criteria of an emerging artist are encouraged to apply for the FY24 second round of the Emerging Artist grant now. An applicant coaching session to be held via Zoom is scheduled for Sept. 13, 2023 to offer advisement on the process of applying. Registration for the coaching session and full grant guidelines are available at The deadline to apply for FY24 second-round funding and mentorship is Nov. 1, 2023.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission 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, 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 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. or 803.734.8899