October is National Arts and Humanities month, and this commemoration of the arts’ importance to our nation is an opportunity to recognize a milestone that the South Carolina Arts Foundation is celebrating: fifty years of supporting the arts in South Carolina.
The SCAF is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to recognizing, encouraging, and supporting the arts and artists of South Carolina. From its inception in 1972, the SCAF has pursued its goals through a strategic partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission. For example, the SCAF recognizes the state’s artists, arts organizations, and individuals and businesses who innovate, support, and advocate for the arts through procuring the bronze statuettes that the SCAC presents to recipients of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts each year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and arts venues in South Carolina, the SCAF responded to unfolding events by establishing the South Carolina Artist Relief Fund. This online campaign made it easy for individuals and businesses to contribute to a central fund in response to the crisis. In turn, the SCAF gave the funds it had raised to the SCAC, supplementing other funding. Through SCARF and other funding sources, SCAC issued 168 grants totaling more than $125,000 to individual artists who had lost income due to the cancellation of exhibitions and performances or through other pandemic-related disruptions.
More recently, the SCAF has been working to ensure that the arts in South Carolina will enjoy support in perpetuity by establishing endowments for that purpose. The SCAF Board of Directors engaged donors to endow the Nina Liu South Carolina Arts Commission State Art Collection Fund in 2019. That endowment supports the acquisition of art and the maintenance, conservation, and storage of the SCAC’s important collection of South Carolina art. Though the endowment is young, it already has provided funding for the acquisition of a piece for the collection on the secondary market.
As the SCAF embarked upon its fiftieth anniversary this past summer, it established the South Carolina Arts Foundation Fund. As it matures, proceeds from this new endowment will allow the SCAF to benefit the arts that are so important to South Carolina’s citizens and communities. “Fifty years is a tremendous accomplishment for any organization to celebrate,” says Steve Bygott, president of the South Carolina Arts Foundation, “and launching these funds will ensure that the SCAF will be able to support the arts in South Carolina for the next 50 years, and more.”
For five decades, the South Carolina Arts Foundation has partnered with the South Carolina Arts Commission to strengthen artist development, arts education, and community development through the arts across the state. Speaking of the relationship between the two organizations, David Platts, executive director of the SCAC, says, “The South Carolina Arts Commission is grateful for a willing partner like the SCAF as we work together to further the arts in the Palmetto State. We congratulate them on 50 years of strategic support in this effort.”
To learn more about the South Carolina Arts Foundation, visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/.