State-level arts funding update + fellowship opportunity

News from the S.C. Arts Alliance

The South Carolina House just adjourned yesterday from a special session to debate their second version of the state budget.  

The budget, as adopted, includes an additional $500,000 more than the Senate version included in recurring dollars for arts grants across the state.

Heading into a conference committee, the arts could see either a $3.5 million increase, or a $4 million increase in the state’s budget (one-time + recurring funding).


After the House passed their budget in March, the state’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) released new revenue projections for the state, adding $1.7 billion to the state’s budget, with $385 million of that in recurring revenue. The Senate was able to use these funds to craft their budget. The House then took another swing at their version to account for the increase in available revenue.

Senate Version

The full Senate adopted their version of the budget at the end of April. That budget included the following arts funding:

  • $2 million (one-time funding) for COVID Relief grants.
  • Increase of $1.5 million (recurring funding) for general operating support grants.

House Version 2

The House just yesterday adopted their second version of the budget (H2 as it is commonly referred) which includes:

  • $2 million (one-time funding) for COVID Relief grants.
    Matches Senate version.
  • Increase of $2 million (recurring funding) for general operating support grants.
    $500,000 more than the Senate version.

What’s Next

The budget now heads to conference committee (3 senators and 3 House representatives) to work out the differences. The Senate and House will return June 21 to take up the committee’s report and then send the final budget to Gov. McMaster for his signature and/or vetoes. The legislature will return June 29 and 30 to vote on any vetoes.

The conference committee cannot rewrite the budget, but rather can only adopt either the House or Senate versions of various line items.

Bottom Line

The Conference Committee will have to choose between $3.5 million total arts funds (Senate version), or $4 million total arts funds (H2 version). Either way, the arts will see an increase in grant funding, and will see $2 million in COVID Relief grants—unless any of it is vetoed by the governor which triggers another process.

One more thing…

The S.C. Arts Alliance has been the primary advocate for the arts and arts education in South Carolina since 1979. Over the 40 years, the number of paid staff has continued to be zero or one. Additionally, the SCAA has always worked closely with its university partners on helping inform college students about the role of advocacy in the arts industry and providing opportunities and resources to those collegiate courses.

Beginning in FY2022, the SCAA will expand this further and offer two (2) year-long graduate fellowships. Placement priority will be for one fellowship for students enrolled in Winthrop University’s Arts Management Graduate Program, and one fellowship for students in College of Charleston’s Arts Management Certificate Program. At this time, these are the only South Carolina universities that offer a graduate program in arts management.

For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, click here.