SCAC announces $4.4 million in FY20 grants to provide arts access across the state

Funding ‘vital’ for arts experiences,
arts education programs

A summer STEAM camp in 2018.

Students participate in a summer STEAM camp in 2018.

7 August 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina communities will benefit from $4.4 million in fiscal year 2020 grants to their artists, arts organizations, and schools announced today by the South Carolina Arts Commission.

As they return to classrooms this month, around 170,000 South Carolina students will have access to the educational benefits of the arts as part of the school day thanks to Arts in Basic Curriculum Project grants to 83 schools and districts. Other grants range from operating grants and project support for organizations to seed money and fellowships for individual artists, ensuring an assortment of relevant arts experiences across South Carolina.

“This public funding approved by the legislature is vital to those who receive arts commission grants, but public support of the arts represents so much more than monetary support,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said.

“To the children who attended STEAM camps this summer in Allendale, Barnwell, and Clarendon counties, it represents exposure to a new world of possibility and engagement. It represents the lights on or rent paid to the small dance company in Columbia, small choir in Pickens, and the new orchestra in Rock Hill. It represents freedom to create for four fellowship recipients, four traditional arts mentors and their apprentices, and three artist entrepreneurs,” Platts said. “Our agency is immensely proud to help make these things possible in and for South Carolina.”

Additional grants to be awarded throughout the year offer potential for impact in all counties. Among them are Arts Project Support grants, which offer funding for projects by artists and arts organizations; and Teacher Standards Initiative grants, which help teachers acquire supplies, materials, and expertise to meet the 2017 College and Career Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. Both grants have rolling deadlines, and project support grants are designed to be accessible, streamlining the application process to remove barriers often faced by small organizations and individual artists.

In FY19, which ended June 30, the S.C. Arts Commission for the first time placed a grant in each of the state’s 46 counties in a single year. A total of $4,377,035 was awarded.

“That is a major milestone, and is the result of listening to the community, ground-level work, and sincere relationship building on the part of our team,” Platts said.

Amounts Awarded to Programs in Primary Grant Categories

Arts in Education: $2,074,476

Grants help fund curriculum planning and implementation, artist residencies, performances, professional development for teachers and summer and afterschool arts programs.

  • Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement: $899,207 
    Awarded to 83 schools and school districts that are participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which works to ensure every child in South Carolina has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the Arts Commission, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Arts Education Projects: $382,789
    Thirty-eight grants funding projects and programs that support quality arts education programs in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that utilize the arts to advance learning in children (social service, health, community, education or other organizations).
  • Education Pilot Projects: $480,000
    Ten grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $312,480
    Two grants to support management of the ABC Project partnership.

Operating Support: $2,131,603

Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.

  • General Operating Support: $1,909,307
    One hundred thirty grants for arts organizations.
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations: $111,972
    Forty-six grants for arts organizations with annual expense budgets of less than $75,000.
  • Statewide Organizations: $110,324
    Nine grants for arts organizations operating statewide.

Folklife and Traditional Arts: $113,033

Grants support programs that promote a greater understanding and visibility of South Carolina’s many cultures through documentation and presentation of traditional art forms, their practitioners and their communities.

  • Organization grants: $32,000
    Six grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000
    Four grants that support a partnership between a master artist, who will share artistic and cultural knowledge, and a qualified apprentice, who will then continue to pursue the art form.
  • Partnerships: $71,033
    One grant to support management of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Partnership.

Subgranting: $70,000

Seven awards to local arts councils that distribute quarterly grants to organizations and artists in their regions. This program is funded in part by an award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Artists Ventures Initiative: $10,000

Three grants to individual artists for projects designed to help them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers.

Individual Artist Fellowships: $20,000

Four grants to individual artists to recognize and reward their artistic achievements. These were announced in July 2019 after approval by the SCAC Board of Directors.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians.

Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission 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 Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit or call 803.734.8696.