← View All Articles

Gov. McMaster to present 2018 S.C. Arts Awards on May 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 April 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seven individuals and three groups visiting the State House to receive the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. will do so from a high-profile presenter: Gov. Henry McMaster. The governor’s office confirmed his third appearance at the annual awards ceremony, his second as governor. Gov. McMaster first presented the awards in 2016 as lieutenant governor in then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s stead. “Gov. McMaster making time for the arts and folklife communities of South Carolina means a lot to all of us, and we’re excited to welcome him back to the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony,” South Carolina Arts Commission Board President Henry Horowitz said. The South Carolina Arts Awards are a joint presentation by the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to award the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. Five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized with Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
Four artists and one advocate are being recognized with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award as practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. They are:
  • The Blackville Community Choir (Blackville): A Capella Spiritual and Gospel Singing
  • Michael King (Greenville): Piedmont blues
  • Henrietta Snype (Mount Pleasant): Sweetgrass basketry
  • Deacon James Garfield Smalls (St. Helena Island): Traditional spirituals
  • Stephen Criswell (Lancaster): Folklife & Traditional Arts Advocacy
The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). South Carolina artists’ work will be on sale from 11 a.m. to noon, supporting S.C. Arts Commission programs. For $100, guests may also participate in a “basket grab” for surprise gift baskets with items representing a county or region of the state. The luncheon program is expected to run from 12:15 to 2 p.m., with readings by South Carolina Literary Fellows and a special presentation by the Blackville Community Choir. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase here or by calling 803.734.8696.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS FOUNDATION The South Carolina Arts Foundation supports and raises awareness of the arts development programs for communities, schools, and artists coordinated by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Arts Foundation pursues creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state as a non-profit, 501(c)3 that’s forged a strategic partnership with the Arts Commission to supports its work and goals. Learn more at SouthCarolinaArts.com/Foundation. ABOUT MCKISSICK MUSEUM The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803-777-7251 or visit http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/mckissick_museum/.

S.C. Arts Awards: Blackville Community Choir

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Blackville Community Choir

A cappella Spiritual & Gospel Singing | Artist Award The Blackville Community Choir was formed in 1965 by Catherine Carmona of Blackville, South Carolina as the Macedonia Tabernacle Choir. Carmona recognized a need to engage young people in her community in a positive way. With her love of music, she organized the choir, with the help of the Reverend H. B. Johnson, former pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, and Mrs. Mary Johnson Elmore, who was very influential in organizing the choir. Carmona taught the songs she learned as a child, including African-American spirituals and the songs sung by enslaved African-Americans laboring in the fields. Carmona and her sisters grew up singing these same songs in church and at other events throughout the area. The choir practiced at Tabernacle Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church in Blackville. They led the youth choir at both churches, traveled to other states to perform, and sang at nursing homes and at various events throughout the region. The choir’s repertoire is rich and varied – members have always maintained their love of spirituals and singing a cappella. Former directors of the youth choir were Marshall Johnson and Marie Sanders Wilson. In 1976, Sandra Beach became the choir director and the choir changed their name to The Blackville Community Choir. The group expanded to include members from different congregations and continued to sing at churches, festivals, funerals, weddings, banquets, public schools, and college graduations. In 1985, choir members organized the first Blackville Community Youth Choir, through which they continue to pass on their legacy by mentoring young people through music. The Blackville Community Choir considers traditional African-American spirituals important to their community. As a tribute to their ancestors, the choir feels a strong obligation to carry on this musical legacy. Choir members have organized and coordinated several programs, including “The Essence of Our Roots and a Journey Back in Time,” which explored their African-American musical and cultural roots. In 2017, they were involved with “Echoes from the Past,” a summer youth educational project tracing the origins of the spirituals and songs of enslaved Africans in the South. Choir members have been advocates for the arts, organizing an annual program featuring visual and performing artists, collectors, crafters, entrepreneurs, culinary artists, and storytellers. Looking ahead, the choir is planning a Youth Musical Workshop to teach traditional spirituals to young people in the community. Speaking to their joy in singing a cappella, one local minister commented, “They got more harmony than grits.”
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.