SCAC seeking $5 million increase in FY23 state budget

Plus $500,000 in non-recurring funds for pilot

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is the only state organization charged with supporting and providing leadership for the arts statewide.

It works to ensure that all South Carolina citizens and visitors benefit from diverse opportunities for rewarding arts experiences, with emphasis on rural, high poverty and minority communities.

In FY21, the most recently completed fiscal year, the SCAC awarded $4.65 million through 538 grants to support community arts activities, artists and school-based arts programs, and emergency relief around the state.

  • Arts Emergency Relief Grants: $215,200 through 153 grants
  • Annual Grants: $4.42 million through 385 grants
SC Arts Commission FY21 impact map, showing with colorful dots what grants and associated programs were active in each South Carolina county in FY21

Click to view full map.

While some SCAC funding comes from the federal government by way of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the bulk of it comes from state appropriations in the annual state budget. As briefly as we can, let’s take a look at that process…

  • Each January when the General Assembly returns to the State House, subcommittees of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees take up the budget proposal made by the governor the previous fall.
  • At this writing, the proposed FY23 (July 1-June 30) budget is currently under review by various subcommittees of the House Ways & Means Committee. In public hearings, state agencies go before the subcommittees to make budget requests and the subcommittees will then vote on how much they recommend each agency should be appropriated.
  • Upon the completion of that process, the full committee takes up its subcommittees’ recommendations.
  • Upon the completion of that process, it compiles the full budget—likely to be different from the governor’s proposal—before voting on it and sending it to the House floor in March for consideration by the full body.
  • Upon the completion of that process, the state Senate receives the bill and refers it to the various subcommittees of the Senate Finance Committee and the process repeats itself.
  • Upon the completion of that process, a conference committee made up of members of both bodies is frequently appointed to meet and reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions before approval by both bodies.
  • Upon the completion of that process, if needed, the governor then gets the budget back to sign. Or veto. (Let’s stop here today.)
  • Upon the completion of that process, each agency gets its funding to serve its constituents.

How the SCAC wants to serve you in FY23


The SCAC is requesting $5,000,000 in new recurring funds to increase investment in local arts organizations through operating support grants and additional staff support.

Why? Well…

  • Operating support grants provide flexible, unrestricted funding to support operations and programming.
    • FY2021: Unable to fund additional new 19 applicants.
    • FY2022: New recurring funds of $1.5 million enabled SCAC to increase operating support grants for current grantees.
    • FY2023: New recurring funds of $5 million would enable us to open the operating support pool much wider and fund additional applicants.
  • Full funding of this request will allow SCAC to keep operating support funding at current levels, add new applicants, and increase capacity to support the arts industry throughout the state.
  • Full funding of our FY2023 request will also enable SCAC to expand existing programs to support the arts industry throughout the state by hiring additional coordinators.


Further, the SCAC requests $500,000 in nonrecurring funds to develop an Arts Industry program to help communities connect to resources and capitalize on economic development opportunities.

Here’s the justification:

  • Community arts providers are key components of the statewide arts industry that contributes $9.7 billion to South Carolina’s economy.
    Small or rural communities have fewer resources to take advantage of the economic benefits of the arts.
  • SCAC staff, including a new arts industry director, can connect local communities to statewide, regional, and national resources to help them strengthen economic vitality through the arts.
  • These nonrecurring funds will enable SCAC to work with an existing network of rural mayors to pilot creative placemaking experiences.

This information is provided for public information purposes only. The Hub will keep you updated on the progress of the SCAC’s request. If you’d like to know more, the South Carolina Arts Alliance is a fantastic resource! They focus on awareness of public policy matters as they relate to the arts—among other things.

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