One Word Poetry Festival returning to Rock Hill this month
Rock Hill Poet Laureate Angelo Geter, in conjunction with the Rock Hill Poet Laureate Committee, Arts Council of York County, and Comporium, is pleased to announce the second annual One Word Poetry Festival, which will take place from March 30-April 2, 2022.
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Angelo Geter. Provided photo.[/caption]
The first festival in 2021 attracted a crowd of approximately 500 people. Many of the events were free and open to the public.
Events taking place during this year’s five-day festival will include:
- a creative writing showcase by Winthrop University students;
- a Youth Open Mic;
- Adult Open Mic featuring music by Rock Hill Hall of Fame band, “Mellogroove,” where there will be a food truck and beverages for sale from the Rock Hill Bottle Shop;
- and various workshops will be offered for free Saturday morning and afternoon for children 12 and under, middle and high school students, and adults.
The festival will also include the announcement of the 2022/2023 Youth Poet Laureate contest winner. Poets from across the country will compete in an epic poetic battle to determine the best of the best at the Saturday night Poetry Slam, with $4000 worth of prizes up for grabs. Capping off the festival will be a Sunday brunch with a keynote reading by the acclaimed poet Rachel McKibbens, and a performance by the toe-tapping musicians of the Jason Poore Trio.
The festival’s additional sponsors include: South Carolina Humanities and the South Carolina Arts Commission; Duke Energy; the city of Rock Hill; Old Town Rock Hill; the Women’s Art Initiative; The Mercantile; Winthrop University English Department; York County Library; Barber Therapy & Associates; the Eta Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the Rock Hill Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; the Kappa Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Harriet & Martin Goode; Slow Play Brewing; and Flipside Restaurant.
Some festival events are free. A $50 festival pass that grants free entry into all festival events is available, or guests may pay individually for the events that have a cost. Tickets can be purchased at onewordpoetryfestival.com
Contact Rock Hill Poet Laureate Angelo Geter with questions: email@example.com or 757.870.2497.
Four South Carolina Cultural Districts earn recertification
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The first four South Carolina Cultural Districts designated in 2015 after the program’s launch earned recertification based on FY2020 data gathered by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC).
The districts recertified are: the Congaree Vista
, Rock Hill
and Spartanburg Downtown
, all designated in 2015. Their recertification is effective July 1, 2022 and will be run through FY2027.
SCAC Executive Director David Platts
approved recertification at the recommendation of reviewer Jason Rapp
, the South Carolina Cultural Districts program
director. The SCAC reviews annual reports and action plans submitted by the cultural districts and, every five years after designation, is to evaluate the districts eligible for recertification. Though delayed because of the pandemic, FY2020 data was collected and reviewed for these original four districts.
“The South Carolina Arts Commission commends these districts for many things, but top-of-mind right now is the way they didn’t allow the upside-down pandemic world of lockdowns and restrictions to take their focus off arts and creativity. The reports showed each district managed to find its way in the face of major challenges. They are poised for big things as the world returns to normal, and we congratulate them on their significant achievements,” Platts said.
Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014
authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts. The legislation specifies the following goals of this program:
- attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
- encourage economic development
- foster local cultural development
- provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
“A district is designated after a rigorous application and review process that determines the extent to which they use arts and creativity to build community and encourage economic growth,” Platts said.
Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. They are easily identifiable and serve as centers of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They frequently have galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, and arts schools in addition to non-cultural attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity.
Additional South Carolina Cultural Districts
are designated in Beaufort, Bluffton, Camden, Florence, and Greenwood.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences.
A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in four areas: arts learning, community and traditional arts, artist development, and arts industry. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com
or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.
Leader sought for Arts Center at Fountain Park in Rock Hill
The Arts Center at Fountain Park (ACFP) is seeking a 21st century leader to help build the region’s premier arts destination.
Recent, strong economic growth in upstate South Carolina presents an exciting opportunity to support the region’s growing cultural sector. Through a dedicated space to celebrate the arts and arts education, ACFP will serve as the region’s premier cultural destination and a catalyst for economic vitality, community engagement, and creative vibrancy.
Situated in Old Town Rock Hill, ACFP joins a bustling area with restaurants, businesses, shopping, schools and universities, and new housing. Old Town is home to some of the most popular annual events and festivals in the region which bring thousands of people into the downtown area. Now, a thriving Arts Center will contribute even more to the economic success, inclusive community, and cultural vitality with year-round performances and events for diverse and eager audiences.
This region is a dynamic, welcoming community and an integral part of the Charlotte market, one of the hottest in the country. Population growth is twice the national average and business expansion is seen in existing companies and newcomers. With a combination of rural, small town and suburban living options, the region has great schools from kindergarten through university options, and abundant recreational offerings that include the scenic and accessible Catawba River, easy access to the coast and the mountains, greenways, and parks.
Scope & responsibilities
The Executive Director must bring the leadership skills and experience to nurture a strong, diverse set of relationships and inspire professionals and volunteers on behalf of the organization. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission, vision, and financial objectives.
Fundraising and donor stewardship
Marketing and communications
- Initiates and manages an integrated development program as principal architect of the capital campaign fundraising strategy, including the creation and execution of a daily, monthly, and annual action plan to maximize contributed income from diverse sources.
- Assumes the lead role in fundraising, working in collaboration with the Board, and campaign counsel to maximize fundraising impact for the construction of a new facility.
- Develop an annual giving, major gift, and corporate sponsorship fundraising program.
- Provides personal contact and an accessible “institutional face” to current and prospective donors, volunteers, and the public.
- Guides, supports, and engages the Board and other volunteers in fundraising and advocacy.
Strategic planning and governance
- Works with the Board to develop and implement long term branding strategies.
- Oversees functions related to the marketing and communications with a focus on maximizing revenue, audience development, and elevated public awareness.
- Oversees vendor relationships including designers, printers, consultants, and photographers.
Programming and community relations
- Provides ongoing reporting to the Board and stakeholders on the organization’s progress toward strategic goals.
- Provides support to and stewardship of the Board and the committees of the Board.
- Educates and engages individual board members in fundraising, advocacy, and community ambassadorship.
- Partners with Board to maintain a robust pipeline of prospective board members as part of a comprehensive board development strategy.
- Maintains relationships with state, local, and federal government agencies.
Finance and administration
- Provides direction and oversight for programming and presenting activities, ensuring programs are developed with input from the community.
- Works collaboratively to plan events including but not limited to music, dance, theater, pottery, and art exhibits.
- Develops partnership strategies, engagement activities with schools, local artists, local universities, and community organizations to further the impact of ACFP’s activities.
- Leads community-building programs around the region in advance of and after the opening of the center.
- Develops and ensures that annual programming, as well as educational and community engagement plans, are budgeted appropriately.
- Monitors ACFP’s financial position and makes recommendations to the Board and acts to ensure the most effective use of financial resources.
- Oversees the continued mentoring, coaching, and professional development of the staff, systems, and organizational practices that create an effective infrastructure.
- Ensure the organization is effectively structured and staffed by setting the standard for a positive environment of mutual respect and caring.
Qualities & qualifications
The ideal candidate must be an experienced fundraiser and manager with a proven track record of success in the non-profit arts community. She/he should have an acute sense of strategy and a passion for the arts. The ED will have compelling personal qualities of integrity, leadership, outstanding communications skills, exceptional judgment, and an entrepreneurial nature. The successful candidate should be a proven leader, a charismatic communicator, as well as a “doer” with a willingness to be hands-on. This position will build enthusiasm for the organization, its performances, and programs, and for innovative approaches that advance the reputation of ACFP as a cultural and community leader in the region.
- Passion for the mission of ACFP and demonstrated ongoing passion for the arts.
- A record of personal success in raising money through major gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations, corporations, or the public sector; broad-based knowledge of various development activities including membership, direct mail, proposal, and grant development, planned gifts, event planning and management, and direct solicitations.
- Leveraging fundraising databases and support systems for donor segmentation, research, and volunteer management.
- Ability to navigate a complex fundraising environment with nuanced strategies and initiatives, while building an effective group of volunteer fundraisers through board development and gaining respect of community and business leaders.
- Broad knowledge of branding, communications, and external relations and demonstrated success with establishing sponsorships, stewardship and donor recognition programs that sustain long-term relationships.
- A track record as an exceptional communicator, in writing as well as verbally; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other materials.
- Demonstrated management skills in motivating, developing, and managing staff and consultants, and in coordinating and supporting the fundraising activities of others.
- Ability to work collaboratively, engage and inspire others, and develop a rapport with many diverse people and groups, including staff, civic leaders, patrons, donors, and friends of ACFP.
- Experience in planning and managing facility design and construction.
- A bachelor’s degree is required.
- Salary range for this position is $100,000 to $125,000.
Bennett W. Hoke, Managing Director
2145 14th Avenue, Suite 2
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Arts Council of York County announces new leader
New executive director starts next month
Lori Robishaw was named the new executive director of the Arts Council of York County (ACYC) Thursday, and the organization expects her tenure to begin Monday, Nov. 15.
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Robishaw will come to Rock Hill after five years as executive director of La Grua Center in Stonington, Connecticut, a small cultural venue that presents concerts, art exhibitions, and speakers on a wide range of topics. She was responsible for increasing both earned and contributed revenues there, as well as leading the organization through a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training that then informed the organization’s new strategic plan. Prior to that position she was the executive director of the Ashtabula Arts Center in her Ohio hometown and an arts management consultant who helped launch the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition in 2013.
ACYC Board of Director President Priscilla Nealy
said Robishaw's "wide breadth of experience and connections to the greater arts community makes her perfectly suited to propel the ACYC into our next chapter.”
Her career has also included a five-year stint in Washington, where she headed the communications office for Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and arts education. She continued with the organization as a consultant for 15 years, which included writing the book commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary and the program journal and event script for its annual National Arts Awards in New York City.
“I am delighted to be joining the Arts Council of York County and excited to move to this growing region,” Robishaw said. “It is a tough time for the arts and culture world as we continue to move through this pandemic, but surely the last year and a half has shown us how critical the arts are to our health and well-being, not to mention the economy of our communities.”
“I feel like I am returning to my roots, working with what I call the arts infrastructure of our country. I started out with a state arts agency in Ohio, worked at the national level in Washington, and now have the chance to run an arts council at the local level. These umbrella organizations are so important for communities to be able to look at the big picture as they foster partnerships among cultural assets to strengthen a sense of place, while at the same time, play a role in attracting and retaining businesses, residents, and visitors,” said Robishaw.
“The board and staff have done a stellar job this past year following Debra Heintz
’s long and distinguished tenure, and I am eager to contribute what I can to moving the organization forward.”
More about Lori Robishaw
Lori Robishaw has held positions with some of America’s leading regional theatres, including managing the National Playwrights Conference for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in New York City and Waterford, CT. She also was a founder of CATCO, now Columbus’s major resident professional theatre, The Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. In addition, she has worked in higher education in a senior staff communications position at Ohio State, as well as in the broader nonprofit arts sector for the Ohio Arts Council—which included a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts—and The Music Center of Los Angeles County. She has also forayed briefly into the commercial sector by managing a producer’s office for a season on Broadway and working for two film production companies and as a script analyst in Hollywood. Robishaw holds a BA in theatre from Ohio State and an MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama.
About the Arts Council of York County
The Arts Council is headquartered in downtown Rock Hill, a state-recognized cultural district. For more information on Arts Council events, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803.328.2787, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or visit yorkcountyarts.org
Rock Hill teen named youth poet laureate
It's a South Carolina first
Rock Hill was recently the host city for the “One Word Poetry Festival,” a creation of Rock Hill Poet Laureate Angelo Geter.
This three-day festival attracted a large crowd for a first-time event. Many of the events were free, open to the public and well attended. One of the major events was the selection of a youth poet laureate.
Thirteen young poets submitted their work and 17-year-old Alexandra Aradas
was named the winner. Not only is this distinction an honor for her personally, but also for Rock Hill and South Carolina; she is the city's and state's first youth poet laureate.
Aradas is a rising senior at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. While her concentration is creative writing, she hopes to have a career in politics.
The Rock Hill Youth Poet Laureate Program celebrates and honors teen poets who exhibit a commitment to not just artistic excellence, but also civic engagement, youth leadership and social justice. The position has a one-year term.
Aradas will be celebrated Thursday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts/Arts Council of York County (121 East Main St., Rock Hill).
CoroArt contest encourages experimentation
The COROART contest in the U.S. is underway
Coroplast Tape Corporation has delivered a variety of technical adhesive tapes to Winthrop University where visual art students of Shaun Cassidy, professor of fine arts, were invited to reinvent the materials in innovative ways. While there is no specific thematic content or subject direction given, the concept of COROART is focused on experimenting with modern and technical materials.
The completed works of art will be displayed first at Coroplast Tape Corporation’s U.S. headquarters in Rock Hill. Select pieces will then be moved to the Arts Council of York County’s Center for the Arts where they will be on display from Nov. 20-24, 2019. A public reception and the COROART Awards presentation will be held at the Center for the Arts on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 from 5-7:30 p.m.
The students are contending for the COROART Award presented by the Coroplast Tape Corporation. These awards are accompanied by cash prizes funded by Coroplast, and include 1st Prize ($1,000), 2nd Prize ($500), and 3rd Prize ($250). The 2019 COROART Awards jury includes a panel of three judges: Ashley Beard
(Arts Council of York County Board member, art teacher), Harriet Goode
(artist, owner: Gallery 5), and Tom Stanley (artist, Winthrop University [retired]).
For more information about Coroplast’s commitment to the arts and COROART, visit https://www.coroplast-tapes.com/en/company/coroart-usa/
NEA awards grants to S.C. Arts Commission, others in state
$933,900 coming (back) to South Carolina
$80 million awarded across U.S. by NEA
WASHINGTON—The National Endowment for the Arts announces $80.4 million for 1,114 new awards located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. jurisdictions.
This is the Art Endowment’s second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2019, and these awards continue the Arts Endowment’s commitment as the only arts funder reaching the entire country. Awards from this round of funding come from four categories: Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships and Research: Art Works, plus a renewal in NEA Research Labs.
“Reflecting the diverse artistic richness of our nation, these Arts Endowment-funded projects are varied in their size, scope, and artistic discipline,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The projects also illustrate the unique geographic reach of Arts Endowment funding, serving Americans in places large and small in all corners of the country.”
Grants recommended in this round are listed in two ways
- State/jurisdiction and listed by city/town and
- Funding category (Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships, and Research: Art Works) and then listed by artistic discipline/field.
In the first funding round of fiscal year 2019 announced on February 13, 2019 the Arts Endowment made 1,145 grants totaling $27 million. Other awards will be made in the coming months through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. All current grants can be viewed through the Arts Endowment’s grants search
SOUTH CAROLINA: 5 awards totaling $933,900
Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director:
- Columbia Film Society, Columbia
$22,500; Art Works - Media Arts
- South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia
$811,400; Partnerships (State & Regional)
- Greenville Symphony Association/Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville
$10,000; Art Works - Music
- City of Rock Hill
$75,000; Our Town - Design
- Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg
$15,000; Art Works - Literature
“At the Arts Commission, our grant will be put to use serving communities throughout the state. It will fund community arts development initiatives that seek to foster the creativity and unity needed to address the unique issues facing rural South Carolina communities. It will further our goals to provide every South Carolina child with access to an arts-inclusive education. It will also let us help our artists develop their skills to grow businesses that contribute to the state’s $9.7 billion creative economy.”
ART WORKS II: 977 awards totaling $23,983,500
Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s largest category with projects supported in 13 artistic disciplines and fields in this Art Works II group, ranging from arts education to visual arts. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with a median amount of $20,000.
Examples of Art Works-supported projects in this round are:
- A $10,000 award to the Madison Public Library Association in Madison, Wisconsin (a first-time Arts Endowment grantee) to support programming at the Wisconsin Book Festival featuring award-winning authors of genres such as literary fiction, poetry, and science.
- A $10,000 award to Shreveport Opera in Shreveport, Louisiana to support the Shreveport Opera Xpress educational touring program, which offers performances and activities for public school students in central and south Louisiana.
- A $15,000 award to the Pioneer School of Drama in Danville, Kentucky to support Voices Inside: The Northpoint Prison Writing and Performance Project, where theater professionals will conduct workshops for inmates at the Northpoint Training Center.
- A $20,000 award to Cultural Resources in Rockport, Maine to support the Wabanaki Arts Mentorship Program, where accomplished Wabanaki artists will instruct youth in basket-making techniques and cultural knowledge.
- A $30,000 award to the City of Phoenix to support a partnership with the city’s Neighborhood Services Department and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture to provide grants for intergenerational arts projects.
OUR TOWN: 57 awards totaling $4,115,000
Our Town is the Arts Endowment’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. Two program areas are place-based projects with grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, and knowledge building projects with grant amounts ranging from $25,000-$100,000.
This year’s cohort is remarkable for its diversity. Approximately a third of the recommended grantees are first-time applicants to the Arts Endowment. The types of communities vary widely with 18 recommendations for projects in rural or tribal communities. And project types range from cultural planning to festivals and cross several artistic disciplines.
Examples of Our Town-supported projects are:
- A $25,000 award to the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in Hogansburg, New York, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will undertake a project to engage local artists and designers to develop public art and architecture that reflects Akwesasne Mohawk culture.
- A $50,000 award to the City of Granite Falls in Minnesota to establish an artist residency program within local government. The program is the first of its kind in a small, rural setting, and has the potential to serve as a national model for other small communities.
- An $85,000 grant to the Santa Fe Art Institute to re-enliven the shuttered campus of the former Santa Fe College of Art and Design by inventorying the campus’s cultural assets and creating community arts events to build enthusiasm around the campus’s development potential and to advance community goals.
In addition to funding, the Arts Endowment advances creative placemaking through publications and resource development. Those resources are available on the creative placemaking page.
STATE AND REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: 64 awards totaling $51,456,500
Through partnership agreements, the Arts Endowment translates national leadership into local and regional benefit. Every U.S. state and jurisdiction has its own state arts agency that coordinates cultural policies and invests in arts programming on behalf of, or as part of, state/jurisdiction government. The geographically-defined consortium of state arts agencies known as regional arts organizations are funded to manage programs across state, national, and international borders. Together, these organizations receive 40 percent of the Arts Endowment’s grantmaking funds each year to support their activities and to leverage state and other public and private funds.
Partnership Agreements help support life-long learning in schools and communities, community economic development through creative districts, and arts participation through artist tours, festivals, readings, and exhibits.
Some examples of state and regional programming funded by partnership agreements are:
RESEARCH: ART WORKS: 15 awards totaling $724,000
- The Delaware Division of the Arts and Delaware State Parks have been working together since 2008 to offer arts-in-the-park programming that has increased the number and diversity of visitors to state parks.
- Through its Arts and Military Initiative, the Oklahoma Arts Council works with the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs and a local partner to provide arts activities to residents at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Norman.
- Through its Launchpad initiative, South Arts is providing mentorships and other professional development services to presenting organizations beginning or expanding in the South Arts region.
Research: Art Works supports research that investigates the value or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and with other domains of American life.
Some examples of this year’s awardees are:
- A $20,000 award to MINDPOP in Austin, Texas will support a study led by researchers from the Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin that examines relationships between schools and arts partners participating in a collective impact arts education project.
- An $88,000 award to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio will support a randomized controlled trial examining the arts’ ability to improve health, resilience, and well-being in individuals with chronic health conditions.
Final reports for previously-awarded Research: Art Works grants are posted on the study findings page of the Arts Endowment website
A renewal of an NEA Research Lab
to the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform for $150,000 will support research that examines the impact on social, emotional and other individual characteristics of elementary school students who participate in field trips to arts institutions.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.
Image by Kendall Hoopes/Pexels
Applications sought for $30k public art design commission in Rock Hill
Application deadline: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018
The Women’s Art Initiative (WAI) of Rock Hill is a public art advocacy group whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for the community by reflecting its cultural values and artistic vitality through public art.
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The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption]
In collaboration with the city of Rock Hill, WAI is seeking proposals
from artists/designers to create a contemporary, outdoor design feature, sculpture, or artwork at the entry of Comporium’s Telephone Museum on Elk Avenue. It will serve to celebrate communication and technology; specifically its multi-level history in the city of Rock Hill and its vast, endless possibilities for innovation. Thus, it will provide opportunities for dialogue emphasizing the increasing impact of technology and communication on our future. The piece shall exemplify the communication concept as one in constant evolution and act as an engaging and educating entrance area into the space directly adjacent to the Telephone Museum. The piece must be child/family friendly and ideally have an interactive or kinetic feature.
WAI will select one artist’s/ designer’s proposal whose vision for this project incorporates these themes. The artist/designer will be responsible for the design, creation, transportation, and installation of the project and will work with the WAI Selection Committee and city of Rock Hill staff.
Artists/designers of 18 and up are invited to apply by Oct 31, 2018.
Go here to read more about it!
A group of women… artists, professionals, civic leaders and enthusiasts formed a group to bring public art to our community.
Our vision is to grow into a public art institution with annual funding; providing acquisition, preservation, education and community dialogue.
Recording preserves famed organ’s signature sound
Earlier this year, internationally renowned musician Parker Ramsay visited Winthrop University to record an album of George Whitefield Chadwick’s organ music on the university's famed D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ.
It is the last recording on the organ before renovations to Byrnes Auditorium that will temporarily prevent its use began. Enthusiasts of the historic organ can still revel in its signature sound captured in the Raven Label recording until the organ is once again available for performances.
Winthrop commissioned the organ’s construction in 1952 by the Aeolian-Skinner company. It is named for the Winthrop founder and first president. The large four-manual instrument with 3,788 pipes, the last instrument of famed tonal designer G. Donald Harrison, makes the organ to this day one of the largest in the Carolinas. During its 50th anniversary in 2005, the treasured instrument underwent extensive restoration efforts thanks to generous supporters and Winthrop alumni.
Given the Byrnes makeover, admirers said now it is even more critical to preserve both the sound of the instrument and the building, equally highlighted on Ramsay’s recording of Chadwick’s music.
“It’s a uniquely American artifact, and this recoding preserves that signature sound … it’s a national treasure in so many ways,” said Murray Somerville, who helped establish the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund along with his wife, Hazel, a Winthrop alumna from the class of 1969. Hazel served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as artistic director of the children's choruses at the Blair School of Music.
Somerville, artistic director emeritus of Nashville's Music City Baroque period instrument ensemble, and former Harvard University organist and choirmaster, performed a recital on the classic organ in 2016 and was instrumental in coordinating the production of Ramsay’s CD.
Music lovers can purchase the CD in the Winthrop Bookstore during the Nov. 16-17 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend or buy directly from Raven.
The recording – featured recently on Michael Barone’s "Pipedreams" radio program – is a debut for Ramsay, a young musician already regarded for his accomplishments and blossoming career on three instruments: organ, harp and harpsichord. The CD features Ramsay on organ playing compositions of George Whitefield Chadwick, who was president of the New England Conservatory in the early 1900's and a noted composer of symphonies and orchestral tone poems. Some of the pieces on this CD are first recordings, enhanced by Byrnes’ acclaimed acoustics.
“We have this wonderful memento of [the organ] … and its acoustic setting, in all its tonal splendor,” Somerville said.
Other world-famous musicians have visited Byrnes solely to perform on the famous organ, including:
- Princeton University Organist Eric Plutz, who spent the summer of 2012 recording his “French Trilogy” CD,
- Juilliard-trained organist Christopher Houlihan,
- Westminster Abbey organist James O'Donnell,
- German musicians Christoph Wolff and Stefan Engels,
- and Canadian organ virtuoso Maxine Thevenot.
For more information about how to give to the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund, contact University Advancement at 803.323.2275.
Fast-growing S.C. region adds professional orchestra
It is the hub of a region that has three of the top 20 fastest-growing communities in South Carolina (and two of the top three). It boasts the state's first officially-recognized cultural district.
And now Rock Hill has a professional orchestra, joining several others across the state in Aiken, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg.
Read more about the genesis of the new cultural offering from the Herald. The three-concert inaugural season begins in September and runs through next May, but a "sneak peek" offering is coming June 10.
Congratulations to York County and everyone at the Rock Hill Symphony!
Image courtesy of the Rock Hill Herald.