SCAC adds seven emerging artist grantees

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Seven artists establishing themselves in their artistic pursuits 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. The seven South Carolina artists selected will 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:

  • Olivia Bonilla of North Charleston (visual art)
  • Catherine Conrad of Duncan (visual art)
  • Connie “Journey” Johnson of Orangeburg (music performance: music)
  • Lucius Nelson of Darlington (visual art)
  • Brad Silk of Taylors (visual art)
  • Joseph Smolin of Greenville (visual art, multidisciplinary)
  • Olga Yukhno of Columbia (visual art)

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.

“We are thrilled to grow the Emerging Artists program, now serving seven artists, each ready to expand their career. The South Carolina Arts Commission is happy to assist them with a grant providing full support of their projects, and I am honored to mentor them during the grant period,” Brown said.

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 FY25 first round of the Emerging Artist grant now. An applicant coaching session to be held via Zoom is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2024 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 FY25 first-round funding and mentorship is April 16, 2024.

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 through 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 X for #Arts4SC and #SCArtists content.

Header graphic that reads: South Carolina Arts Commission News Release Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director or 803.734.8899