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Folk Heritage Awards can open doors for recipients

Nominate a traditional artist or advocate by December 16! Anita Singleton PratherThe Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are presented by the South Carolina General Assembly to traditional arts practitioners and advocates throughout the state. In addition to honoring those working or supporting the traditional arts, the awards can help increase opportunities for  individual artists and advocates. The 2014 recipient for Gullah advocacy, Anita Singleton-Prather of Beaufort (pictured right), has used her award as a productive tool to advance her career. The award opened the door for two major bookings for her group, Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk, at the Peace Center in Greenville and the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Hilton Head.  The award also brought significant local press to Prather’s work, as she was featured in Beaufort’s Island Packet and recognized by local community leaders. Honor a traditional artist or traditional arts advocate from your community with a nomination by Dec. 16. Find the nomination instructions online or contact Doug Peach, (803) 734-8764. The Folk Heritage Awards are named for the late Rep. Jean Laney Harris, who was an outspoken advocate for South Carolina's arts and cultural resources. The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with the University of South Carolina's McKissick Museum to administer the awards, which will be presented in May at the Statehouse. Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk’s annual Christmas performance takes place Friday, Dec. 5 at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort Performing Arts Center.  Ticket information is available online.

South Carolina artist headed to New York City after winning national competition

From the Savannah Morning News:
Daufuskie Island, S.C., resident Chase Allen, who owns The Iron Fish Art Gallery, will be packing his bags for New York City this weekend after his gallery claimed the Audience Choice Award in the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards competition. The annual competition honors makers, small-business owners and creative entrepreneurs in the fields of crafts, design, food and style from around the country. Only 10 winners were chosen from a pool of 800 finalists. Chase AllenAllen is a self-taught artist who handcrafts aquatic themed metal sculptures including stingrays, mermaids and lobsters, and his gallery received more than 50,000 votes during the four-week online voting period. “My initial reaction was excitement but mostly relief. We had a lot riding on this win, and we had a lot of good will behind the voting,” Allen said. He credits Daufuskie friends, neighbors, customers and faithful followers of his gallery’s Facebook page for his win. “We had so many people voting the thought of letting them down was starting to get to me.” As a winner Allen will receive a trip for two to New York where he will showcase his metal sculptures. A video of his work, produced by Martha Stewart’s team, will be featured in numerous national publications, including “Martha Stewart Living,” and he’ll receive a $10,000 prize. Allen has been making his sculptures for 14 years, and it can take from an hour to a month to complete a single piece. For the first couple of years after he opened the gallery in 2001, Allen said he held two jobs on the side to earn a living, but since his customer demand and his confidence met eye-to-eye in 2003, he’s been on his own as a professional artist and hasn’t looked back. “I have no formal artistic training. I chose to create my work on a very remote, rural, underdeveloped, underpopulated and relatively unknown island. From a text book point of view, I have positioned myself about as poorly as possible to become discovered or recognized,” Allen said. “The odds are simply not in my favor, so this win is huge.” Allen hopes his time in the national spotlight will help attract new customers. “It’s very common for people to ask me what I do for a living after I explain I am a metal artist. I always giggle when I get this question, and I get it often,” he said. “My hope is that this recognition points as much toward my talents as it does to my focus and perseverance as a professional artist. Perhaps now that I have won the American Made Audience Choice award I will get the question of, ‘Is that your only job?,’ a little bit less frequently.” Allen said he will use most of the $10,000 prize to support the son of a friend, 5-year-old Holmes Desmelik who is battling a brain tumor. Allen credits the boy’s Facebook group, Holmes Team, for building voting buzz. Whatever’s left of the prize money will be distributed between the Alzheimer’s Association, Ankylosing Spondylitis Association, Doctors Without Borders and a scholarship fund to John C. Campbell Folk School. “It means the world to me to be in a position to donate 70 percent of the winnings to the Holmes Team. The Holmes Team brought lots of votes to the table, which put me in the winner’s circle,” Allen said. “I look at this donation as a way to give back to them. This is a group win.”

Florence Regional Arts Alliance presents annual awards

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2014 Florence Regional Arts Alliance's annual Arts Awards! Check out this video of the recipients' reactions to their awards.

  • John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award: Julian Young, Florence Men's Choral Society
The John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual from Florence County who has significantly impacted the quality of life in the community through his/her activities, contributions, and/or accomplishments in the arts.
  • Business & Arts Partnership Award: The Clay Pot
The Business and Arts Partnership Award recognizes a Florence County business for its vital commitment to the arts as evidence by operational and/or project support provided on a substantial and ongoing basis.
  • Outstanding Arts Organization Award: Lake City Partnership Council
This award is presented annually to the Florence County arts organization that has a tremendous impact on the community. This may be through programming, projects, resource development, advocacy or other innovation.
  • The Greg Fry Educator of the Year Award: Wanda Hanna, art teacher at South Florence High School (new for 2014)
This award will be presented annually to an educator who either resides or works in Florence County. Public and private schools educators are eligible for this award, as well as individuals in higher education and those who teach through registered 501(c)(3) arts organizations.
  • The Frank Crow Award: Desiree Overby
The Frank Crow Award, named for the former director of the Florence Regional Arts Alliance, is presented annually to an FRAA board member, staff member or volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization. For more information about the Florence Regional Arts Alliance's Awards Program, contact Uschi Jeffcoat at peedeearts@gmail.com. Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

S.C. composer wins Guggenheim Award

 University of South Carolina School of Music assistant professor Fang Man is the recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in the 88th annual competition for the United States and Canada. Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Fang Man’s original concert music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles. Her work includes compositions for theatre and film, orchestra and band, chamber and electronics. "It is such an honor to be named one of the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows. This fellowship will support me to compose an opera based on a life story of a British-Chinese pianist. I've wanted to do this project for years and feel very grateful to the foundation for its generous support," Fang said. Chinese-born and currently residing in Irmo, Fang holds a doctorate in music composition from Cornell University and a computer music certificate from IRCAM-Paris. Nationally and internationally, she has been awarded numerous commissions, has been invited to new music festivals, and has served as resident composer. She previously held positions as a Composer-in-Residence and Assistant Professor of Music at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University. Fang is a member of the ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and the American Music Center. Read the rest of the article. Via: University of South Carolina Photo by Yi Sun