The South Carolina Arts Foundation is honoring Senator Robert Wesley “Wes” Hayes of Rock Hill with the McNair Award for his dedication to the arts. The award will be presented at a special pre-gala concert showcasing the South Carolina Arts Awards, which honor recipients of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. The concert takes place in Columbia May 13, beginning at 6:15 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St., with the South Carolina Arts Gala following at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall at 701 Whaley. Tickets are available online or by calling (803) 734-8696.
As founder and co-chair of South Carolina’s Senate Arts Caucus, Sen. Hayes confers annually with arts leadership in the state to develop a legislative agenda for the arts, providing key insights and counsel about issues and opportunities. As a pro-arts legislator, he speaks regularly at Arts Advocacy Day events and statewide meetings and consistently advocates among his colleagues to support the South Carolina Arts Commission and statewide arts initiatives.
“For 30 years, Senator Hayes has been one of the most dedicated and effective advocates for the arts serving in South Carolina’s General Assembly,” says Childs Cantey Thrasher, president of the S.C. Arts Foundation. “He understands the role of public support for the arts in improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians and in enhancing the economic well-being of the state. The members of the S.C. Arts Foundation join me in honoring Senator Hayes for his consistent leadership in ensuring that the arts continue to play a vital role in our state’s schools and communities.”
“Senator Hayes is one of the great champions for public support of the arts in South Carolina,” said Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. “Whether the issue is education policy or the state budget, he is always there to stand up and speak out to make sure that all citizens have a chance to benefit from the arts. He is one of the most respected members of the Senate, and we are very lucky that he is willing, time and again, to use his influence to support and defend the arts for the people of our state.”
Sen. Hayes is also a 2015 recipient of Winthrop University’s Medal of Honor in the Arts, and in 2013, he received the national Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership from Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Established in 2007, the McNair Award is named for the late Governor Robert E. McNair, who signed legislation to create the Arts Commission in 1967 to “ensure that the arts continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experiences of our citizens.”
The South Carolina Arts Gala includes an art sale of original artworks by some of the state’s most recognized artists. Reserve tickets to the gala online or by calling (803) 734-8696.
About the South Carolina Arts Foundation
Established in 1972, the S.C. Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the SCAF has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. The organization is led by a diverse board of directors comprised of statewide business and civic leaders, artists, educators and others interested in supporting the rich variety of artistic expression found in the Palmetto State.