A native of Awendaw, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of 3 on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle and high school. In 1994, he received a bachelor of arts in music performance from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. Currently, he is the previous artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18-piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston. In November of 2015 he was named the inaugural artist in residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston.
As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the U.S. He is a member of Grammy Award-winning band Ranky Tanky, a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast coast of the U.S. In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of most talented entertainers in the world, including Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few.
Over the past several years, Charlton has emerged as the face of jazz performance in the Lowcountry. With his touring ensemble he models the classic quintet formats of jazz greats Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Clark Terry with his unique brand of southern charm and Lowcountry inspired composition.
Charlton Singleton consistently impacts our state; the culture, the music and the people. As a mentioned in the opening of this letter, Charlton is a light in the community and is a luminary for us all. He is an outstanding person and defines the criteria of this recognition.
Director of Education
Charleston Gaillard Center
Charleston Gaillard Center, a world-class performance hall featuring pre-eminent performers across artistic genres and arts-enhanced education programs throughout the Charleston community, announced Lissa Frenkel as its new chief executive officer. She will begin her new role in July 2021.
Most recently, Frenkel served as managing director of the Park Avenue Armory, a premier cultural institution producing and commissioning unconventional works in the performing and visual arts in Manhattan. During her tenure with the Armory, she was instrumental in building its operating budget from $6 million to $27 million and in leading the $165 million in capital redevelopment projects that invested in the adaptive reuse and restoration of the building.
“I look forward to building on the Gaillard Center’s successes and leading the Charleston Gaillard Center team to expand the institution’s identity as a world-class innovator in the performing arts in the region. I am thrilled to be joining such a culturally adventurous community in Charleston and at the prospect of partnering with both the Gaillard’s resident companies and collaborators and the broader Charleston community as a conduit for artistic expression and conversation in the city. Working closely with the Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation, I am delighted to support Charleston’s long-term commitment to the arts,” said Frenkel.
Prior to the Armory, Frenkel worked at the Lincoln Center Development Project, a $500 million cultural redevelopment of the Lincoln Center complex in Manhattan that included the expansion of The Julliard School, Alice Tully Hall and multiple public spaces.
Originally from Boston, Frenkel earned her undergraduate degree in art history from Emory University and her master’s degree in urban planning from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
The Charleston Gaillard Center opened in 2015 after a $142 million renovation. With a design echoing the tradition of Europe’s renowned opera houses, the Martha & John M. Rivers Performance Hall features superb acoustics, meticulously integrated in the design, construction and furnishings. With a capacity to seat 1,818, the hall features a 65-musician orchestra pit, nine dressing rooms, six certified sensory- inclusive areas and has programmed Broadway shows, musicians, authors, comedians and performance artists ranging from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Charleston Jazz Festival to Keb’ Mo’, Renee Fleming and Tony Bennett.
In addition to the Martha & John M. Rivers Performance Hall, The Charleston Gaillard Center features a 13,137-square-foot Grand Ballroom, an expansive 8,587-square-foot terrace lawn and a variety of pre- function spaces, complete with a full-service, on-site catering team. Throughout the years, The Charleston Gaillard Center has hosted many notable cultural, political and corporate events, including the 2016 and 2020 Democratic Party presidential debates, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, South Carolina International Trade Conference and Benefitfocus’ One Place conference.
The Charleston Gaillard Center is a nonprofit, state-of-the-art performing arts center located in downtown Charleston, S.C. Opened in 2015, the Gaillard’s vision to be a community centerpiece is illustrated through its premier year-round programming and partnership with the Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation to extend educational opportunities throughout the community. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Charleston Scene takes on ‘sea change’ in CHS, S.C. arts leadership
Thought-provoking piece on future of S.C. arts
In a sweeping new story, Charleston Scene interviewed several arts leaders who recently—or will—depart their posts as change comes to South Carolina's arts scene.
Writer Maura Hogan asks, "What will the next phase look like?" after several high profile departures dating back to 2019. Among them:
Kathleen (Kathi) P. Bateson (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina)
Stephen Bedard (Gaillard Management Co.)
Ken May (S.C. Arts Commission)
Valerie Morris (College of Charleston School of the Arts)
Nigel Redden (Spoleto Festival USA)
Mark Sloan (College of Charleston Halsey Institute)
Marjory Wentworth (former state poet laureate)
While reasons for the departures varied, nearly all involved foresee major change on the horizon in Charleston and the state, whether as a result of the pandemic, recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion, or other things.
Click here to read the story from Charleston Scene (subscription possibly required).
Charleston photo by Jason Rapp/SCAC.
Announcing the six recipients of the 2020 Verner Award
Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts to be presented in May
For Immediate Release
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s highest award for achievement in the arts is to be presented to six uniquely qualified arts practitioners and supporters announced today by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC).
The SCAC Board of Directors approved panel recommendations for the following recipients from their respective categories to be recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Dr. Philip Mullen, Columbia
ARTIST: Glenis Redmond, Mauldin
INDIVIDUAL: Mary Inabinett Mack, St. Helena Island
ARTS IN EDUCATION: Cindy Riddle, Campobello
BUSINESS: United Community Bank, Greenville
ORGANIZATION: Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston
“This year’s recipients represent the best of South Carolina. They are talented, successful, dedicated to giving of themselves to ensure everyone who wants to can benefit from access to the arts,” S.C. Arts Commission ChairwomanDee Crawford said. “By taking our arts community to new levels, they are elevating our state as well. With the Verner Award, we celebrate their achievements and thank them for enriching life and culture here in South Carolina.”
A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the board for final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation from each category.
The South Carolina Arts Awards
The Verner Awards will be presented with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards at the 2020South Carolina Arts Awards on Wednesday, May 6 in a luncheon and ceremony at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and are to be available for purchase by mid-March.
About the Verner Award Recipients
Philip Mullen (Lifetime Achievement) has been a mainstay in the South Carolina arts scene since coming to Columbia to join the University of South Carolina faculty in 1969. Five of his works are included in the State Art Collection and others adorn the collections of Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, and McKissick Museum among others. He has had solo exhibitions in at least eight states and Washington since 1972. He is the only living South Carolina artist to have been featured, in 1975, in the prestigious Whitney Biennial by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, regarded as one of the world’s leading art shows.
Poet and teaching artist Glenis Redmond has a love of words that’s taken her across the country and Atlantic Ocean to performances at the White House, Library of Congress and London. She is currently poet-in-residence at the Peace Center in Greenville and The State Theatre in New Jersey as well as a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. She is the founder of the Greenville Poetry Slam and co-founder of a youth poetry slam in Asheville, North Carolina. Her work with the Peace Center led to her founding in of Peace Voices, a poetry program dedicated to poetic outreach and engagement in the community, in 2011.
As an ex-patriate South Carolinian in New York City, Mary Inabinett Mack became a registered nurse and psychiatric/mental health nursing instructor. She earned a certificate for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy and two National Institute for Mental health fellowships. Mack fed on the New York arts scene and came home to “her Gullah folk and the sweet, salty air of the Lowcountry” in 1977. The art retail business she started became Red Piano Too Art Gallery, a leading folk art gallery that launched the careers of many artists. The first female chair of the Penn Center’s board, she is a lifetime member of its advisory board and was inducted into its 1862 Circle for embodying the spirit of the center and advocating for the enduring history of the Lowcountry, civil rights, and reconstruction it celebrates.
Cindy Riddle began teaching art in the Upstate in 1999. She worked at two schools before joining Spartanburg District One as a fine arts instructional coach for a year, then becoming the district’s coordinator for visual and performing arts, gifted and talented services. She is now an assistant superintendent in the same focus area. Riddle has national board certification in early and middle childhood art and is the current president of the South Carolina Education Association. She holds degrees from Anderson and Lander universities and Converse College and has been recognized six times with various awards for teaching. An artist and entrepreneur, she operates and creates and gives lessons from her Chicken Coop Art Company.
Headquartered in Greenville and in operation for almost 70 years, United Community Bank has $12.9 billion in assets and operates 149 offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They abide by the Golden Rule, according to Chairman and CEO Lynn Harton, and are committed to maintaining extraordinary culture, creating meaningful relationships and earning the trust of customers, all with the goal of improving lives. Nominators and supporters of United Community Bank pointed to lengthy and generous support of South Carolina arts institutions like Artisphere and South Carolina Children’s Theatre in Greenville and Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. The support comes from not just funding, but also the investment of time and service by its associates.
One of the Holy City’s most notable spaces, Charleston Gaillard Center provides the Lowcountry with a world-class performance hall, elegant venue space, and vibrant educational opportunities. A massive renovation project made possible by a $142 million public/private partnership created an iconic performance and event space appropriate for one of the world’s leading cities. In the last four years, Charleston Gaillard Center’s education and community program has provided arts-enhanced education programs to 130+ schools, covered the cost of transportation for 757 buses, and impacted more than 67,000 students in the tri-county region, all while remaining a 66% barrier-free program.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians.
Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
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.
The initial version of this news release said Ms. Mack was first female member of the Penn Center board of directors. She was its first female board chair. The copy has been updated. (6 Feb. 2020, 10:44 a.m.)