College of Charleston’s Valerie Morris announces retirement
Long-time, accomplished arts dean exiting the stage
For 22 years Valerie Morris, dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts, has sat in the audience at music and dance performances, theater productions and art lectures and presentations.She has served as a member of various boards and joined committees to raise funds. A perennial champion of the arts, Morris has always been there, standing off stage, determinedly cheering. And it’s an essential role in a city where the arts often take center stage. “I have known Dean Morris for years as a fellow Rotarian and through her leadership in Charleston’s thriving arts community,” says Charleston Mayor John T. Tecklenburg. “Simply put, she’s been amazing in her impact on the arts scene here in Charleston, along with her personal joie de vivre!”
Morris’s “joie de vivre” or enthusiasm for the arts began at a young age. Growing up in Beverly, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, she first became interested in the arts at the age of six after an aunt took her to see the movie Hans Christian Anderson starring Danny Kaye. Then she became very active in the local children’s theater and “used every excuse to spend backstage” at the North Shore Music Theatre, the largest operating regional theater in New England. “I guess from the age of 6, I always felt pushed towards the arts,” Morris said, noting that in high school her focus shifted to public speaking and promoting the arts, which won her an award for marketing her high school’s productions. “First, I wanted to perform, then I realized I wanted to be around artists of all types, and to help them achieve their goals.” And that first meant achieving her goals. Morris received her bachelor’s degree in speech arts from American University and a master in speech with a theatre administration emphasis from the University of Michigan. Her career in the arts really picked up when she joined the faculty of American University’s Department of Performing Arts, where she became the founding director of that institution’s Arts Management program. According to Karen Chandler, associate professor of arts management at the College, Morris forged a path for women in the field. “When I entered the field in the early ’80s, Valerie was one of a handful of women arts leaders who had founded and very successfully developed a program in arts management (at American University),” says Chandler, who also worked alongside Morris at American University.
Morris came to the College as dean of the School of the Arts in the fall of 1998. Since then, she has helped establish the undergraduate Arts Management Program and the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Cultural Management, as well as the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program. Under Morris’s leadership, the School of the Arts has grown and flourished, including earning the South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Arts, the state’s highest award in the arts. Other highlights of Morris’ tenure include helping to launch the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts in January 2010. The $27.2 million dollar, 70,000-square-foot building is a testament to the growth of the school from a small fine arts department into a comprehensive arts school with seven academic departments and programs. Morris also expanded the School of the Arts Council and, in 2003, established the Friends of the School of the Arts, a membership program that funds scholarships, student travel for competitions and productions, visiting artists, faculty research and development, and international recruitment efforts. And Morris’s hard work has garnered the attention and support of some of CofC’s most esteemed arts alumni, including acclaimed painter Brian Rutenberg (Class of 1987). “To excel as an artist, one needs to be organized, possess a clear-eyed vision and have a great sense of humor. These same qualities apply to leading an entire art school,” says Rutenberg. “Valerie has all of these attributes, plus she is a skillful communicator. Her creation is the world-class reputation that the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston enjoys today. We are all the beneficiaries of her effort.”
As for what comes next, Morris says her future will always include the arts as well as a focus on family. “I’m keeping active on local, regional and national boards,” she says. “Eventually, my husband and I plan to spend considerable time on the West Coast, where my children and grandchildren live.” To honor Morris’s 22 years of service to the College and the School of the Arts, longtime College of Charleston advocates, donors and volunteers Jean and Tap Johnson have established a scholarship in her name. It’s a fitting honor for someone who has done so much for CofC. “Valerie has been a consummate mentor, advisor and colleague over the past 25 years. But more importantly, she is a trusted supporter and dear friend,” says Chandler. “She deserves to do whatever she wants now, feeling satisfied about the outstanding contributions she’s made to the arts infrastructure in so many places – and especially here at CofC.”
2020 College of Charleston theatre grad wins national award. Again.
[caption id="attachment_45697" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Noah Ezell.[/caption]
Recent College of Charleston alumnus Noah Ezell (2020) had completely forgotten about the award.He’d entered his submission way back in January and, to be fair, there have been some major distractions since then. So, when he recently learned he’d won the 2020 national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Undergraduate Theater Scholar Award, it was a welcome surprise—one the College of Charleston theatre major really needed. “This award reaffirmed for me something that felt a little more distant than it did in early March. I needed that reminder that this field is my home, that this is what I was designed to do,” Ezell said. His winning paper, “Metamodernism of the Oppressed: An Exploration of Metamodernism and Its Surfacing in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ‘An Octoroon,’” was derived from his senior thesis paper. The KCACTF is a national theater program serving as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the U.S. In order to further student activity in the discipline of scholarship, the prestigious national awards program encourages and rewards research and scholarly writing among undergraduates throughout the nation. But this isn’t Ezell’s first national KCACTF award. Last year, he received the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for his work on the college’s production of Marisol by José Rivera. “It was through the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award that I made a network of artistic connections, and I was able to intern at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, one of the leading new play development centers in America,” Ezell said. “From there it’s just been a sort of spiral as my networks of connections and collaborators have grown, and my love for new plays and new play dramaturgy has expanded.”
Since graduating in May, Ezell has stayed busy with several projects, carving out a place for himself in the professional theater world, one that has all but come to a standstill since the coronavirus pandemic. “Even though things aren’t what I thought they would be, I’m getting to create art with my friends, and that’s really soul filling for me,” says Ezell, who is currently serving as a dramaturg for a friend’s new play about queer bodies and trauma as well as a script reader for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, among other things. “I’m lucky that in the midst of all this I am still able to connect theatrically in all these different ways.” Ezell hopes to have a career both in new play development theater and, later, in academia. “Ultimately I am both an artist and an academic, which is why I love dramaturgy so much. It melds those two worlds in a very beautiful way,” he said. “At the core, though, I really just want to fully support myself with my art and help make art that is socially conscious, lifts up the voices of underrepresented groups and makes a difference in the world.”
SCAC receives 2020 NEA funding
$864k grant supports agency's work
As a part of its regular grantmaking, the National Endowment for the Arts announces over $84 million for 1,144 new awards to organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and each of the five U.S. territories.Grants will be awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements with all U.S. state and regional arts agencies. They are separate from the NEA's grants related to CARES Act funding. In support of its work in arts education, artist development, and community arts development, the South Carolina Arts Commission, as a state arts agency, is receiving $864,000. In total, $1,006,500 is coming to South Carolina in this round. Other groups receiving funds are the College of Charleston, Columbia Film Society (2 awards), and The Watering Hole Poetry Org. Applications for these recommended grants were submitted to the Arts Endowment last summer and reflected the wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities that the agency has traditionally funded. At the end of March 2020, the listed projects were approved, followed by two months of extensive technical assistance in which agency staff worked one-on-one with hundreds of organizations to adjust their projects to meet the new reality created by the pandemic. Changes include postponing activities and taking activities virtual as the examples below illustrate. As a result of this plus additional work related to the CARES Act, project descriptions are not being included in the grant lists accompanying this announcement. The most current information for all projects will be available on the agency’s grant search tool. “These awards demonstrate the continued creativity and excellence of arts projects across America and the nimbleness of our nation’s arts organizations in the face of a national crisis that shuttered their doors for months” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By funding arts projects in every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia, the National Endowment for the Arts again celebrates the opportunity to make the arts available to every corner of the country and to see how the arts can heal and unite us.” Grants this round support a range of activities, including:
- Arhoolie Foundation in El Cerrito, California is recommended for a $25,000 award to support enhancements of the organization’s website which will serve as a publicly available virtual museum honoring America’s diverse musical roots.
- Miami Dade College will use their $25,000 grant to support Generation Genius, a literacy and learning initiative designed to engage youth of all ages in learning through reading and writing. Miami Book Fair will conduct fall 2020 activities virtually and are investing in significant new technology infrastructure to build online programming.
- Art Mobile of Montana in Dillon is recommended for a $20,000 award to support a traveling exhibition and visual arts education program featuring original works by Montana artists. The program will provide resources for teachers in schools throughout the state with a focus on rural locations, including Native American reservations.
- Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia will use their $65,000 award to support professional training programs for singers and opera performances. The summer residency will include career development seminars, voice lesson, language coaching, and more. Young artists will perform for virtual audiences in summer 2020.
- Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas is recommended for a $20,000 award to support their festival celebrating the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Rather than moving to a virtual platform, the festival is postponed until summer 2021.
- Alliance for Media Arts + Culture in Spokane, WA is recommended for a $30,000 award to support the development of a suite of online professional resources as part of Arts2Work, an apprenticeship and workforce development program for media artists.
- Transart & Cultural Services in New Paltz, New York is recommended for a $50,000 Our Town award to support the Kingston Pinkster Festival, a virtual festival celebrating African-American history, arts, and culture in the Hudson Valley region. The festival will engage residents by integrating arts and culture into strategies for addressing challenging local issues.
- Polk County Iowa in Des Moines is recommended for a $125,000 Our Town award to support Shoreline Signals, a series of public art installations along the Central Iowa Water Trails System at the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. The initiative will engage residents of Des Moines in flood resiliency as well as water safety and access issues.
- Click here for a list organized by State/territory and city/town
- Click here for a list organized by Funding category and artistic discipline/field.
Art Works II: 1015 awards totaling $25,334,900Art Works grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. For fiscal year 2020, the Arts Endowment encouraged applications that honor the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.
Our Town: 51 awards totaling $3,643,000Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. This year marks the tenth year of support for Our Town projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $150,000. The National Endowment for the Arts advances creative placemaking efforts through publications and resource development in addition to funding. Visit the Arts Endowment’s Creative Placemaking Resources page for details.
Research Grants in the Arts: 14 awards totaling $780,000Research Grants in the Arts support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. Matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.
State and Regional Partnership Agreements: 64 awards totaling $54,296,000Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts designates 40 percent of its grant-making budget to the state and regional arts organization through partnership agreements. Grants are awarded to the nation’s 56 state and territorial arts agencies and the six regional arts organizations. This funding enables these agencies and organizations to respond to priorities identified through public planning undertaken with their constituents, partners, and stakeholder as well as Arts Endowment objectives. It is from this category that the South Carolina Arts Commission's allocation came.
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts 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 Arts Endowment 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. Visit arts.gov to learn more.
Ranky Tanky gets Grammy Award nomination
#SCartists' album up for major award
This has been making the rounds since the announcement on Wednesday, but The Hub would be remiss not to mention the major news for South Carolina's own Ranky Tanky. The folk band's latest album Good Time was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "best regional roots music album" category. According to a release from the College of Charleston, which boast three of the band's five members as alumni, the band's second album debuted in July 2019 at No. 2 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart. The band’s self-titled initial release, which came out in 2017, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz and Contemporary Jazz charts in January 2018.
Started by alumnus Clay Ross ’98, Ranky Tanky, which is a Gullah term loosely translated as “work it” or “get funky,” takes a modern approach to the traditional sounds of Gullah music. Rooted in the cultural traditions passed down from West African slaves in the sea islands of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, Gullah culture encompasses a rich African-American heritage expressed through arts, crafts, cuisine and the creole influenced language of Gullah.
Ranky Tanky features a quintet of musicians including Ross on vocals and guitar, Quentin Baxter ’98 on drums, Kevin Hamilton ’95 on bass, Charlton Singleton on trumpet and vocals, and Quiana Parler on vocals. Ross, Baxter and Hamilton all majored in music at the College. Baxter also previously worked as adjunct faculty at CofC, teaching jazz percussion.Congratulations to Ranky Tanky on this accomplishment.
NEA announces grants to S.C. arts orgs
$125,000 is coming to the Palmetto State[caption id="attachment_12544" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Hubbard St. Dance Chicago at Spoleto Festival USA[/caption] With today’s announcement of more than $27 million in grants, the National Endowment for the Arts is continuing its efforts to provide all Americans with the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts. These fiscal year 2019 grants will reach all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This is the first of two major grant announcements in fiscal year 2019 and includes three of the agency’s funding categories: Art Works and Challenge America to support projects by nonprofit organizations, and Creative Writing Fellowships. Through these grants, the National Endowment for the Arts supports local economies and preserves American heritage while embracing new forms of creative expression. “The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In South Carolina, five groups from Aiken, Charleston, and Columbia will receive part of a total award of $125,000:
Aiken Music Festival (aka Joye in Aiken), $10,000 Challenge America Grant: To support the Joye in Aiken Performing Arts Festival, featuring public concert performances and related educational activities provided by artists representing the Juilliard School in New York City.
College of Charleston, $30,000 Art Works — Visual Arts: To support an exhibition at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art by interdisciplinary artist Jennifer Wen Ma (b. 1973).
Spoleto Festival USA, $35,000 (Charleston) Art Works — Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works: To support artist fees at the Spoleto Festival.
Columbia Film Society, $20,000 Art Works — Media Arts: To support the Indie Grits Film Festival and associated public programming.
Columbia Museum of Art, $30,000 Art Works — Museums: To support Access CMA, an initiative designed to enhance the museum visitor's experience.Read the full release here.
About the National Endowment for the ArtsEstablished by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts 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 Arts Endowment 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. Visit arts.gov to learn more.
Halsey Institute in Charleston seeks development director
Application deadline: Friday, January 25, 2019
Director of Development for the Halsey Institute - (Re-announcement)Join a fast-growing contemporary art organization and help us secure the support needed to bring innovative and adventurous programming to the community!
- Develops, presents, and implements a comprehensive marketing and development plan for the Halsey Institute. Works with Institutional Advancement, Division of Marketing and Communication, the School of the Arts leadership, etc. to promote the Institute, cultivate new donors and grow the Halsey Institute’s membership. Represents the Halsey Institute’s membership program in the broader community and to other arts organizations.
- Works with Halsey and School of the Arts leadership to develop, promote, and implement an annual calendar of events, appeals, and programs to engage the gallery donors, members, and the local community to achieve fundraising goals. Strategically leverages the gallery resources to support solicitation and stewardship goals. Develops and oversees all donor appreciation and acknowledgment activities (approx. 15 per year), membership drives and stewardship efforts. Oversees membership related events and manages a portfolio of individuals, corporations, and organizations with donor potential. Creates targeted appeals.
- Reviews, analyzes, and summarizes activities and success rates for the Director and Chief Curator. Consults with leadership to build strategic and tactical plans for setting and achieving annual giving goals. Uses data and best practices to forecast annual and long-term fundraising projections. Prepares and analyzes ad hoc and regular reports to predict trends and advise leadership.
- Researches new grant opportunities and creates foundation and government grant proposals. Ensures compliance with existing grant parameters. Works closely with the Office of Grants and Research to ensure accurate and timely submissions, tracking, spending and reporting on all grants.
- Responsible for managing and monitoring a variety of complex State, foundation and grant accounts. With input from the Director and Chief Curator develops program and event budgets and ensures compliance with College and State regulations for spending and reporting. Provides high-level reports and detailed accounts of expenditures and income for budgets totaling close to $1M.
- Acts as liaison to the Executive Board, Advisory Board Membership Committee, Advisory Board Endowment Committee, and Advisory Board Special Events.
- Some travel is required. Some evening events and weekend duties.
Minimum RequirementsBachelor’s degree in Arts Management (or related field) and 2 years of arts-related non-profit fundraising experience is required. Master’s degree in Arts Management/Museum Studies or non-profit management is preferred. Candidates with an equivalent combination of experience and/or education are encouraged to apply. Please click here to learn more about salary and required skills, knowledge, and abilities and to apply. Closing date: Friday, January 25, 2019 The College of Charleston is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status, genetic information, or disability.
College of Charleston honors Haga with art history scholarship
Michael Haga is retiring after 26 years at the College of Charleston School of the Arts. But as he steps down, a scholarship honoring him will help students step up their education in art. Haga is the school's associate dean and a long-time friend of the South Carolina Arts Commission, Arts Alliance, and Arts Foundation (and all around good guy - Ed.). The College of Charleston is honoring him with the Michael W. Haga Endowed Art History Award, a $15,000 scholarship for art history students. From The College Today:
Established in 2016, the award was the brainchild of Nina Liu, a renowned Charleston gallery owner, as well as a friend of Haga, who wanted to honor his contribution to the College by creating the endowed award in his name ... Working with Liu, Haga came upon the idea of directing the fund to his chosen field of art history, supporting majors in that area so that they can travel for research or engage in a formal study abroad program.Haga taught Art History 101 for 20 years during his tenure. “No matter how sophisticated you may be through reading and interacting with people from other parts of the world, until you physically are elsewhere yourself, you simply cannot understand what a transformative thing travel is. It changes your world,” Haga said.
Announcing the 2018 S.C. Novel Prize winner
LEAD MEDIA CONTACT: Kate McMullen, Hub City Press 864.577.9349| firstname.lastname@example.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 June 2018 Winner announced for biennial South Carolina Novel Prize SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, the College of Charleston, and the South Carolina State Library are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize is Scott Sharpe for his manuscript “Whispering into the Wind.” [caption id="attachment_35640" align="alignright" width="250"] Scott Sharpe (2018)[/caption] Scott Sharpe was born and raised in the Sandhills of central South Carolina and graduated from the University of SC with a degree in business. He lives in Eastover and currently works for the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office. When not helping the state rebuild its rural communities or writing, he practices the art of fly-fishing and paddles any body of water big enough to launch his canoe. He has written countless short stories and is currently working on his second novel and a collection of short fiction. “Whispering into the Wind” follows protagonist Jack Parker’s struggle to find some purpose to his life-long strained relationship with his father and his father’s peculiar actions just before his death. The very issues that separated them in life ultimately lead to understanding and a quiet peace as Jack reluctantly follows in his father’s footsteps. Sharpe’s winning manuscript will be published in 2019 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Jill McCorkle, author of 10 books including “Life After Life” was the judge of the biennial prize this year. The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the following partner organizations:
- 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.
- Hub City Press was founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1995 and since then has emerged as one of the South's premier independent presses.
- The College of Charleston is home not only to a cadre of nationally and internationally recognized writing faculty, but also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, Crazyhorse, published since 1960 and consistently ranked as among the top publishing venues in the nation. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program provides students an immersion in a world of prose and poetry and the practical aspects of establishing a career in the arts.
- The South Carolina State Library develops, supports, and sustains a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger. The Library serves the people of South Carolina by supporting state government and libraries to provide opportunities for learning in a changing environment.
- South Carolina Humanities is the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a founding partner of the South Carolina Novel Prize.
- SouthCarolinaArts.com / 803.734.8696;
- or HubCity.org / 864.577.9349.
SC Novel Prize now accepting submissions
Prize competition now open to all South Carolina writers – published and unpublished The First Novel Prize is now the South Carolina Novel Prize and is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. We also welcome a new partner – the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, led by novelist and English professor Bret Lott. Submissions close March 15, 2018. South Carolina Novel Prize entries are submitted online through the Submittable system. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by a nationally recognized judge to be announced at a later date. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Brock Adams of Spartanburg won the 2016 First Novel Prize. His novel, Ember, was published by Hub City Press in September 2017. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694. Images, left to right: First Novel winners Through the Pale Door by Brian Ray (2008), Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (2010), In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (2012), Minnow (2014) by James McTeer, and Ember (2016) by Brock Adams.