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Tuning Up: One year of ARP funding, Art Walk returns to Aiken

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...

NEA marks one year of ARP relief

It is almost hard to believe, but it has been one year since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan to assist recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts released an informative fact sheet about how it put its $135 million to work through three phases. It's worth noting that the SCAC received almost $819,000 in ARP funding from the NEA to grant to arts organizations. ARP ESSER funding provided the funding for the SCAC and South Carolina Department of Education to initiate the partnership now known as Arts Grow SC to address pandemic-related learning loss.

Aiken announces 11th annual Art Walk

Friday trivia! What event brings together emerging and established visual and performing artists, farmers and artisans, arts organizations, locals, and tourists during one of professional golf's holiest weeks? Nothing gets by you, dear reader. The city of Aiken announced last week that its Art Walk will return Tuesday, April 5 in the run-up to The Masters at nearby Augusta National Golf Club April 7-10.
[caption id="attachment_48939" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Promo graphic of oranges cut horizontally, arranged on an orange background. It reads, "New Year, Fresh Start. Arts Project Support Grants." Artist or arts org in South Carolina? There is very likely arts project support available for YOU. Click graphic to learn more.[/caption]

Jason Rapp

NEA announces $57 million in American Rescue Plan grants

567 arts organizations benefit, including five in S.C.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced it has recommended American Rescue Plan (ARP) awards totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic.

The organizations may use this funding to save jobs, and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. The full list of recommended awards, sorted by city/state, is available from arts.gov. “Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial to helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.” Grants are recommended to organizations in both rural and urban communities; in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC; and represent all 15 of the NEA’s artistic disciplines. The NEA encouraged applications from a variety of organizations for this opportunity and provided numerous resources for navigating the application process. Among the recommended organizations, 27 percent are first-time NEA grantees and 78 percent are small or medium sized organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. [caption id="attachment_14408" align="alignright" width="250"]Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project. Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project in this file photo.[/caption] Grant award recommendations are for $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 and do not require cost share/matching funds. In South Carolina, five organizations are recommended for the awards:
  1. Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce: $150,000
  2. Greenville Light Opera Works: $50,000
  3. Hampton County: $150,000
  4. Colour of Music, Inc.: $150,000
  5. Catawba Indian Nation: $150,000
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 and included $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for the arts sector. This is the third installment of ARP funding. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for subgranting through their respective programs. In November 2021, the NEA announced $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 7,500 eligible applications requesting $695 million. To review the applications, the agency employed more than 450 expert readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria. The NEA recognizes that the financial needs of the arts and culture field far outweigh the available funds that will be awarded through these programs and encourages eligible organizations to explore the agency’s other grant opportunities which can be found on arts.gov.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

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. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: S.C.’s lone ARP grant from NEA + arts learning on air

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...
Chapman Cultural Center lands big award... Last week, the National Endowment for the Arts announced grants totaling more than $20 million to local arts agencies for subgranting. The agencies will use this funding to distribute grants in their communities to eligible recipients to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. South Carolina's lone recipient is Spartanburg's Chapman Cultural Center, which is receiving $250,000. The full list of grantees, sorted by city/state, is available on arts.gov. “The NEA’s significant investment in local arts agencies is a key element in helping the arts and culture sector recover and reopen, while ensuring that that American Rescue Plan funding is distributed equitably,” said Ann Eilers, NEA’s acting chair. “These grants recognize the vital role of local arts agencies and will allow them to help rebuild local economies and contribute to the well-being of our communities.” The SCAC on the air... SCETV's "Carolina Classrooms" featured an interview with SCAC Executive Director David Platts late last week, joining #SCartists and arts educators to talk STEAM. Stream it on their YouTube Channel at your leisure.  

Jason Rapp

‘Sing It to Win It’ vaccine jingle contest opens

Be the (K-12) star in a statewide radio campaign

ENTRY DEADLINE: Tuesday, January 31, 2022

The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are teaming up to help stabilize in-person learning across the state.

Both agencies recognize that the best way to keep learning on track and students in schools is having teachers, students, parents, and administrators getting vaccinated.
Sing It to Win It PSA #2 from Sing it To Win It on Vimeo.
The website (www.singittowinit.com) has more information, including the official rules, judging rubric and the submission form. To get students excited and talking about the vaccine, the Sing It to Win It Vaccine Jingle contest will be open to all S.C. students (K-12) in any public, private, or online/home school. Students will be challenged to create an original :15-:30 second advertising jingle to promote vaccination in South Carolina. Entries will be judged based on originality, messaging, rhythm/flow and overall sound. Winners of the contest will be invited to a professional recording studio to record their jingle, which will then be used in a state-wide radio campaign to promote vaccination. Additionally, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive a donation to support their school’s music program. Organizers from SCDE and DHEC hope that music educators across South Carolina will use this contest to help reinforce the importance of the arts, music composition and the creative process. Contest is running now through Monday, January 31, 2022.

Jason Rapp

Dancer emergency grants announced

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 7, 2021


New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), in partnership with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, has announced the launch of Rauschenberg Dancer Emergency Grants, a new program that will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 to professional dancers in need, who have a dire financial emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You must demonstrate an urgent and critical need for emergency support in order to apply. ​​Dire financial emergencies include the lack or imminent endangerment of essentials such as housing, medicine/healthcare, utilities, and food. If you were displaced due to COVID, expenses to enable you to return to your working home base are eligible. You can request funding for eligible expenses for up to a three-month period, ranging from four months before the grant deadline through four months after the grant deadline. 

CYCLE 1

  • For Emergency Expenses between September 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022
  • Applications Open: November 9, 2021, 10:00 AM EST
  • Applications Close: January 7, 2022, 11:59 PM EST

CYCLE 2

  • For Emergency Expenses between December 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022
  • Applications Open: March 1, 2022, 10:00 AM EST
  • Applications Close: April 1, 2022, 11:59 PM EST

CYCLE 3

A third cycle will be implemented before June 2022. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the NYFA Grants team at emergencyfunds@nyfa.org or 212.366.6900 x 239.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Arts and the economy + SCAC equity work

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...  
[caption id="attachment_48026" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Click image to enlarge.[/caption] As we mentioned last week, this October is National Arts and Humanities Month! The Hub is helping drive the conversation about the cultural sector’s role in our economy, equity, education, health and wellness, and military communities. Join the conversation with #NAHM21 and #NAHM. Today we’re focusing on how the arts and humanities positively impact the economy. Before the pandemic, it was approaching a $1 trillion industry that directly employed 5.2 million people and indirectly supported millions more. Due to COVID-19, unemployment rates for the cultural community soared to among the highest in the nation. A thriving cultural sector is essential to America’s economy and its recovery, which is on the way thanks to CARES and ARP Act funds.

SCAC featured by NASAA for equity work

How do state arts agencies ensure their practices and policies are equitable and inclusive? The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies invites you to read about how four agencies—California Arts CouncilMaryland State Arts CouncilMass Cultural Council and of course, BAE: the South Carolina Arts Commission—have integrated equity principles across multiple aspects of their work. Click here for the story.

Jason Rapp

FEMA makes aid available for arts, cultural orgs

Reimbursements for safe operating costs


Per our friends at ArtsReady, FEMA is now providing retroactive reimbursement for safe opening and operation costs incurred to address COVID safety for expenses incurred from Jan. 20, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

[caption id="attachment_44517" align="alignright" width="150"]COVID-19 molecular structure image An image of COVID-19, courtesy of CDC[/caption] Eligible private nonprofits can apply. Reimbursement is exclusive to COVID-19 emergency and major disaster declarations through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Items that may be eligible for reimbursement include face coverings, Personal Protective Equipment, cleaning and disinfection, COVID-19 diagnostic testing, screening and temperature scanning and portable temporary physical barriers for social distancing.

Jason Rapp

NEA opens ARP relief funding to arts orgs

And encourages new applicants


The National Endowment for the Arts is encouraging arts organizations not previously funded by it (along with those who have) to apply for direct American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, “The Arts Endowment is committed to encouraging organizations that have not applied to the agency before to do so through ARP and other programs. We have created a new web page with more and better information about registering with [SAM.gov] and grants.gov.” The NEA received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan Act, representing a strong commitment from President Biden and Congress to the arts, and a recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector to the nation’s economy. On April 29th, the NEA announced that it was directing 40 percent of that allocation to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations. The NEA will award the remaining 60 percent of the funding in competitive grants to support jobs in the arts and culture sector and keep the doors open to nonprofit organizations and local arts agencies nationwide. ARP emergency relief funding is coming from many sources, and S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) constituents can count on the agency and The Hub to help you keep it straight.

ARP funding from the NEA

There are two avenues for funding from the NEA’s $135 million. The Hub can’t stress enough that reading the guidelines is critical to know for what arts organizations or individual artists are eligible. We will post those as they arrive.
  • Direct to arts organizations (60%). Not limited to previous NEA grantees! Also new is that recipients may use funding awarded to cover general operating costs, which speaks to the “tremendous need in the sector,” according to the NEA. Guidelines are live and available here.
  • Direct to state and regional organizations (40%). The SCAC is receiving an $818,700 allotment from which it will award grants. The anticipated timing of this process is mid-summer 2021. Announcements will be made via The Hub, social media, and other SCAC outlets to ensure you're informed when guidelines go live.

State-level relief funding

Details are thin right now but yes, there will be relief funding coming from the state. Most of those details are being sorted out, to include how much and from where it will me made available. Again, count on SCAC team members and The Hub to help you keep it straight in coming weeks.

Jason Rapp

Friday feel-good post: ‘Together While Apart’

Seabrook Island artist spans coasts with project


Deane Bowers set out to spread a positive message to fight prevailing "negativity, divisiveness, loss, and pessimism" running rampant with what she does best: making art.

[caption id="attachment_46949" align="alignright" width="150"]Deane Bowers, dressed in a white top with green scarf, holds a piece of art resembling the U.S. flag. Deane Bowers (provided photo)[/caption] The Seabrook Island artist (right) says it best: "I decided I needed to find a way to bring people together, even if it was only a small one. I thought that if I could gather people, even people physically separated, to work towards something bigger than ourselves, that collectively we might find joy, fellowship and fun-and we could make a difference. I wanted to be a part of the solution, to offer something positive to a hurting world." So Bowers put out an open call for art on social media and used some personal contacts. Artists of diverse backgrounds and locations, 19 in all from eight states, were culled to lend their talents to a collective large piece. Thus, Together While Apart was born, a group of artists coming together amidst pandemic conditions with the collective wish to combat isolation, loneliness, and unhappiness during an unsettled time. Health worries, economic insecurity, racial strife—we're all aware.

The creative process

Much of Bowers' art comes from repurposed items, and the only art supplies she had in abundance at the time were recycled shipping boxes: a certain sign of the times and familiar refrain from most of us in the early days of lockdowns and restrictions. "I sent each artist several 6” x 6” square pieces of cut cardboard from these recycled boxes with one simple instruction: think outside of the box! My goal was that through the creative process, each artist would find an outlet for his or her feelings and eventually these emotions would transform into joy. Ultimately, our collective joys would be multiplied and shared with many others through our artwork," she said. "As the weeks passed, and I started receiving the squares back, I was repeatedly amazed by the imagination, talent and effort that each artist put forth in their cardboard. The result was so much more than I could ever imagine. The creative energy of the group was palpable, and our pieces seem to flow together with beautiful synergy. It was my honor to be the artist who pieced the squares together ... What started as discarded cardboard boxes stacked in my garage, ended as an incredible artistic collage of many beautiful souls who poured themselves into their work..."

BONUS CONTENT: Bowers in her own words on the project, with pieces and their artists identified (YouTube)

The artists

  • Deane Bowers (Seabrook Island, South Carolina)
  • Liz Brent (Chicago)
  • Sandy Buffie (Washington)
  • Nikki Contini (San Rafael, California)
  • Will Cooke with Jennifer Mildonian and Marcelle VanYahres (Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Lynette Driver (Brevard, North Carolina)
  • Celie Gehring (Richmond, Virginia)
  • Lynn Karegeannes (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Cathy Kleiman (Charleston)
  • Dayo Johnson (Nashville)
  • Amy Lauria (Painesville, Ohio)
  • Rachel McLaughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Debbie Pompano (Hanover, Virginia)
  • Rebecca Potts (Los Angeles)
  • Frankie Slaughter (Richmond, Virginia)
  • Jim Weaver (Florence, Alabama)
  • Cindy Webb (Statesville, North Carolina)

Where is it now?

"The biggest thrill is that Together While Apart is featured on the Smithsonian's "Stories of 2020" online exhibit," Bowers said. The finished work is scheduled to be reviewed by the art review boards at both Cedars- Sinai Hospital in L.A. and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. A large hospital in Richmond, Virginia is requesting to display it "for however long they can have it" and the Hickory Museum of Art has offered a six-month exhibit. And then? Bowers intends to gift to a non-profit or medical facility whose mission resonates with the group. They hope it inspires feelings of the love, warmth, and optimism that went into its creation. [caption id="attachment_46947" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Together While Apart (2020). Click image to enlarge.[/caption]

Jason Rapp

COVID-19 survey reveals ‘frightening situation’ for creativity, culture

Sectors surviving on emergency funding, more needed


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A recent survey of South Carolina nonprofit organizations revealed more than half serving in the creative and cultural sector lacked the funding to continue operations—and still face potential closure—without emergency funding for a sector that adds $9.7 billion to the state economy.

Together SC, in partnership with a mix of foundations and funders from across the state, commissioned a late-winter survey of non-profit groups served by those funders to determine their financial health considering COVID-19. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and Lowcountry-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (GDDF) provided questions geared toward arts, culture, and the humanities non-profits they serve. The survey was designed, collected, analyzed, and reported by Kahle Strategic Insights Managing Director Robert W. Kahle, Ph.D. with Gloria Roderick, MPA.

Key findings

  • Statewide, the outlook is bleak, with 48% of creative and cultural (arts, culture, and humanities) survey respondents claiming they can operate for six months at most without additional revenue.
  • Job losses at responding organizations reached 16% from March 2020 to March 2021.
  • Though a slight, 6% rebound is expected by June 2021, the resulting 11% aggregate drop could grow again once funding expires with the fiscal year on June 30.
“We have known for some time that creativity and culture are being hammered by this pandemic. These survey results show that difficult times are far from over,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “As resilient as the organizations served by the arts commission and Donnelley Foundation are, they are telling us the pandemic is not over for them. These are neighbors and friends in every community who need help and their options to support themselves are simply too limited to sustain them.”
Most respondents received PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans and either federal or state CARES Act funds. However, those funds were limited and only filled the gap for a few months. The SCAC requested additional funding in its proposed FY22 state budget. Platts points out that even though data from the survey shows SCAC respondents estimate needing a total infusion of $3.2 million to operate past June, the need is far greater because response rate to the survey was 32%. “We can only guess at the actual number, but creativity and culture here are facing a frightening situation,” he said. Many barriers prevent these organizations from a near-term return to pre-pandemic operating conditions that could generate self-sustaining revenue. With many sponsors and individual donors feeling effects of the pandemic, that leaves federal and state emergency funds as critical lifelines used to close the gap. Though significant majorities of respondents reported integration of digital programming, the survey showed that it is difficult to monetize. Among SCAC respondents, 75% reported at least some digital programming and 90% of GDDF respondents reported it. However, three quarters of both group’s respondents said digital programming was only able to make up, at most, 19% of their income. Cost was identified as the most significant barrier to digital programming. “The survey points to the immediate critical need to support our arts and culture organizations. We will know the non-profit sector has recovered when the arts and culture sector has recovered,” David Farren, GDDF executive director said. “These organizations and their staffs are a vital part of the quality of life and economy in our communities.  We all need to step up to ensure they are able to return, when it is safe to do so, viable and ready to serve the community.”

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 three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. 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 social media.

About the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina.   The Foundation supports a wide spectrum of arts groups that reflect the vitality and diversity of the Lowcountry, providing general operations grants to arts organizations, as well as other assistance to support, strengthen and connect the Lowcountry arts ecosystem. For more information on the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, visit www.gddf.org or contact Lowcountry Program Director, Kerri Forrest, at kforrest@gddf.org.

Jason Rapp