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William Henry Johnson works on display … on Long Island

Islip stakes claim to artist native to Florence


If by chance you find yourself in Islip, New York this month, they are celebrating Black History Month by featuring the art of Florence native William Henry Johnson at the town hall. Newsday tells the Johnson story while giving only the slightest nod to his roots, calling him a South Carolina native:

"Prints of more than a dozen of the South Carolina native's oil paintings are on display, including portraits of black heroes such as Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, street scenes of Harlem, chronicles of life in America during World War II and 'Flowers' — which appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 2012."

Johnson and his artist wife Holcha Krake are featured prominently at Florence County Museum, a cultural anchor in revitalized downtown cultural district in Florence (and 2019 recipient of the Verner Award in the government category). The museum certainly claims Johnson as belonging to Florence. It's certainly not The Hub's intent to start or step into any civic rivalries, but Johnson spent the last 23 years of his life in Central Islip State Hospital, according to Newsday, "hospitalized for mental illness caused by syphilis." He moved from Florence at 17, but spend the bulk of his life residing and creating in Harlem.  

Tuning Up: HBCU artists + Florence arts grants + go for Baroque

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Twiggs curates TJC Gallery exhibition on HBCU artists. The recipient of virtually every major arts award South Carolina offers is back in the spotlight with a new exhibition in Spartanburg that coincides quite nicely with Black History Month. “Elevation from Within: The Study of Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” opens tomorrow and runs through May 10. Admission varies; More info here. Grant opportunity for Florence County artists and arts organizations. From the Florence Regional Arts Alliance: apply now for grants from the FRAA's Quarterly Grants Program for Organizations & Individual Artists. It's designed to provide support for a wide variety of quality arts projects, as well as for professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators. Organizations must be based in Florence County with a Florence County mailing address and be registered charitable organizations with federal non-profit status. Individual artists must be practicing artists in dance, literature, music, theatre or the visual arts and have a Florence County mailing address. Individual artists must be over the age of 18 at the time of application. Application deadline is May 15. Go for Baroque. (It's obligatory, and we're not sorry. - Ed.) And we're back in Spartanburg as Wofford College celebrates the visual art and music of the European Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries with a special exhibition, a concert of music from the period and presentations about the exhibit. (Story from GoUpstate.com) And finally... Columbia TV station WLTX looked at the arts in South Carolina with three #SCArtists during a Facebook Live event last night.

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Special exhibit arrives in Richland County during Black History Month

Recognizing outstanding African American illustrators

Exhibit runs Feb. 15 through April 26
Richland Library is partnering with the Columbia Museum of Art to bring the largest collection of Coretta Scott King Illustrator Medal and Honor-winning art ever assembled, starting Feb. 15. Titled Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards, the exhibit is celebrating 50 years of upholding the vital importance of children's literature that celebrates African American life and culture. To learn more about the awards, visit richlandlibrary.com/art. Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards features 101 originals and prints, which the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature organizes and tours. Some of the participating illustrators include Jerry Pinkney, R. Gregory Christie, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Michele Wood and Floyd Cooper. View both parts of the exhibit by visiting Richland Library Main (1431 Assembly St.) and the Columbia Museum of Art (1515 Main St.). It's free and open to the public. An opening reception is set for 6:30–9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15 at Richland Library Main. There are a number of events planned around the exhibit as well. For a complete list, visit us online. Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards is on display through April 26. It's made possible, thanks to funding from the Baker and Baker Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation, and Columbia Museum of Art installation sponsors. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll: 803.587.3637 or estoll@richlandlibrary.com.

About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 12 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Re-enactors to tell story of African-American women in Civil War

Coming this Friday is a show-stopping event that deserves your attention. The South Carolina African-American Heritage Foundation is presenting an event that uniquely bridges Black and Women’s history months: a reenactment of African American women during the Civil War era. On Friday morning at 10:30, Female Reenactors of Distinction (FREED) will bring to life untold stories of struggle, strength, and success of African American Women who contributed to our American history. The reenactment will be performed at the South Carolina Archives and History Center (8301 Parklane Rd., Columbia). It’s free, but you must register to attend first. The South Carolina Arts Commission is sponsoring this event.

‘Trailblazing’ Spartanburg artists highlighted

In honor of Black History Month, Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg is highlighting a few of the many trailblazing black artists who’ve made their mark on Spartanburg. They've selected seven artists of various media who’ve impacted the county:

  • Geri Dye
  • Winton & Rosa Eugene
  • Raymond Floyd
  • Offrey L. Hines
  • Pat Kabore
  • Daryle Rice
  • Winston Wingo
Read more about these magnificent artists on the CCC website's story.
Image credit: Spartanburg Art Museum

Tuning Up: Black History event in Anderson, call for short films, etc.

Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


  • Tonight at 6 p.m., the Anderson County Library begins the county's Black History Month celebration with an event highlighting our state's role in the civil rights movement. To wit: did you know Rosa Parks received training in Columbia? More information here. (The event is sponsored by the Arts Commission.)
  • Are you more Halloween than Valentine's Day? An Arts Commission AVI grantee has a "ghoul" project in the works that you'll be "goblin" up. (Okay, we'll stop.) Filmmakers and screenplay writers are invited to help Deathcat Entertainment with "Grave Intentions" – their pun, not ours. Go here for more information.
  • More on films: Indie Grits Festival Director Seth Gadsden chatted Indie Grits Labs on the National Endowment for the Arts' "Art Works" podcast!
  • Call for art! Visual Arts Exchange in Raleigh is calling for art from installation artists. Check out The Cube and The Lab for more. Deadline for both spaces appears to be Feb. 15.
  • And finally... why we advocate: because through public support of the arts, the S.C. Arts Commission was able to award 342 grants totaling $3.3 million in 42 counties in FY 2017. That's 73% of our state funding – more than the legislative mandate of 70%.