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Jason Rapp

Charleston arts community loses ‘Big Buddha’

Don Cantwell passes away at 85


The week is closing on a somber note in the Lowcountry.

Don CantwellThe Post & Courier is reporting this morning that Don Cantwell, Charleston Ballet Theatre's longtime artistic director, passed away from complications of cancer. From Maura Hogan:

Acclaimed for raising the bar of dance throughout his native Charleston and beyond, Cantwell for decades served as the visionary, yet strikingly unassuming leader of Charleston Ballet Theatre, working alongside his wife, dancer and dance instructor Patricia Cantwell, and the company’s choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr.

Known for both his quiet nature and outsize imagination, Cantwell is remembered for cutting a towering, elegant figure. However, even with such stature and presence, the lifelong disciple of dance was said to possess a humility that at times belied the magnitude of his artistry. Those attributes, as well as his twinkling humor, compelled many who knew him to refer to him as “Big Buddha.” 

Read Hogan's full report on the Post & Courier website here. (Subscription might be required.)

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: COVID claims S.C. shag master + awards + more

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...


Columbia Film Society welcomes Dr. Thaddeus Jones

From a CFS email:

Meet Thaddeus Jones, our new CFS Director of Programming! Dr. Jones will direct film programming for the Nick and lead the Indie Grits Fellowship and media education programs. He has 15 years experience in filmmaking, media instruction and writing and for the last ten years, has managed his own media production company, fanatikproductions. He has been connected to CFS as a film curator and Indie Grits Fellow.

Jeppy McDowell dies at 76

Jeptha Joseph McDowell, better known as “Jeppy,” made North Myrtle Beach home and worked his way into being a legend in the local shag dancing scene. (Confused? You see, the shag is South Carolina's state dance.) The State reports "McDowell died due to complications from COVID-19 on Oct. 17. He was 76. COVID-19 is hitting the Grand Strand shag community hard. More on his passing from The State:

McDowell’s passing comes as others in the North Myrtle Beach shag community have fallen ill and died. In late September, several North Myrtle Beach clubs and restaurants participated in an unofficial Shaggin’ On Main event. In the days and weeks that followed, at least 14 people tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Two others connected to the shag community have also died, though, like McDowell, it remains unclear if their deaths are related to the events. According to data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 210 people in the North Myrtle Beach zip code tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks following the events.

Read the full story from The State here (subscription possibly required).

Two weeks' notice

This is your two-weeks' notice that nomination time is coming to a close for the South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Nominations for both are due by 11:59 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 6.

Jason Rapp

SCAC announces four 2021 fellowship recipients

Individual excellence in writing, dance honored


for immediate release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Hard work and exceptional abilities are earning four South Carolina artists practicing in the dance and writing disciplines fellowships from the South Carolina Arts Commission for fiscal year 2021.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) Board of Directors approved four $5,000 fellowships among several other FY21 grant awards to be announced at a later date. The SCAC’s four fellows are:
  • Sarah Blackman of Greenville County in prose,
  • John Pursley III of Greenville County for poetry,
  • Erin Bailey of Richland County for dance choreography,
  • and Tanya Wideman-Davis of Richland County for dance performance.
Individual artists residing in South Carolina full-time whose work covers prose, poetry, dance choreography, and dance performance were invited to apply last fall for fiscal year 2021 awards. Out-of-state panelists from each discipline reviewed applications and, based solely on blind reviews of anonymous work samples, recommend recipients of each $5,000 fellowship. “Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of exceptional South Carolina individual artists. Recognition from a fellowship lends artistic prestige and can often open doors to other resources and employment opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. A diverse group of panelists judged the nominees applying to the FY21 disciplines in which they work. The poetry panelists were Joseph Bathanti, writer-in-residence at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina; author Sandra Beasley, an instructor with the University of Tampa who lives in Washington; and publisher Lucinda Clark, principal with the Poetry Matters Project in Augusta, Georgia. Author/educator Catherine Reid of Burnsville, North Carolina and Charlie Vazquez, a consultant in New York City, judged the prose applicants. Panelists of the dance performance applicants were Laurel Lawson of Atlanta, Georgia with Full Radius Dance and Tamara Nadel of Minneapolis, Minnesota with Ragamala Dance Company. Maura Garcia, principal of Maura Garcia Dance in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Patrick Makuakane of San Francisco, California with Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu Dance Company served as panelists of the dance choreography applicants. Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists working in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: visual arts, craft, media: production, and media: screenwriting will be honored in fiscal year 2022. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the SCAC. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grant/fel/.

About the FY21 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients

Sarah Blackman | Prose | Greenville County Sarah Blackman is the director of creative writing at the Fine Arts Center, an arts-centered public high school in Greenville, South Carolina. Her poetry and prose have been published in a number of journals, magazines, and anthologies and she has been featured on the Poetry Daily website. Blackman is the co-fiction editor of Diagram, the online journal of experimental prose, poetry and schematics; and the founding editor of Crashtest, an online magazine for high school age writers she edits alongside her Fine Arts Center students. Her story collection Mother Box, published by FC2 in 2013, was the winner of the 2012 Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. Her novel, Hex, was published by FC2 in April 2016 and in 2018 she joined its board. John Pursley III | Poetry | Greenville County John Pursley III teaches contemporary literature and poetry at Clemson University, where he also directs the annual Clemson Literary Festival. He is the author of the poetry collection, If You Have Ghosts (Zone 3 Press), as well as the chapbooks, A Story without Poverty (South Carolina Poetry Initiative) and A Conventional Weather (New Michigan Press), among others. In addition, he works as the poetry editor of Burnside Review and is an assistant editor for the South Carolina Review. His poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, AGNI, Colorado Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Erin Bailey | Dance: Choreography | Richland County Erin Bailey is a South Carolina native who discovered her passion for dance at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville. She has degrees from Columbia College (BFA) and Texas Women’s University (MFA) and has her certification and licensure in massage. She is an adjunct dance professor at Columbia and Coker colleges and the University of South Carolina. Bailey has worked and performed with Columbia area dance companies since 2004 and has performed nationally and internationally at festivals like Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston. In 2018 she founded and remains artistic director of Moving Body Dance Company. She has twice received awards for her choreography work. Photo by Jesse Scroggins. Tanya Wideman-Davis | Dance: Performance | Richland County Tanya Wideman-Davis is the co-director of Wideman Davis Dance and is on faculty as associate professor at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Theatre and Dance and African American Studies. With an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she completed her Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF (2012). Tanya has danced with many world-renowned companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Ballet NY, and as guest artist with Ballet Memphis, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and Quorum Ballet (Portugal).  She received international acclaim as “Best Female Dancer of 2001-2002” from Dance Europe magazine. Photo by Sammy Lopez.

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:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Jason Rapp

Hub E-vents: April 30

You want art. You crave art.

#SCartists and arts organizations want to fill that void. They live for that. It’s a calling. Yet in times of social distancing, that’s hard to do. Through the wonders of modern technology, many are trying and succeeding. So while we’re all staying home to protect vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors,  The Hub is stepping up to fill the void between artists and arts lovers. (Learn more about Hub E-vents here.)

So this is it for April.

The Hub doesn't know about you, but it felt only about half as long as March's approximately 250 days. Progress! (Right?) Let's dance into a new month, and get closer to returning to the people, places, and things we miss.

Here are some events for today. (Or anytime.)

Your event not here? Here's a little more on how Hub E-vents works.

Tuning Up: From ABT to ACSD + ArtFields volunteers sought

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...


This is not your average news item. We confess to doing a double-take upon reading the Charlotte Observer headline "Former world-class ballet dancer now a South Carolina deputy." We're so glad we did, because the non-traditional path one of Abbeville County Sheriff's Department's finest took to the force is worth our attention and yours. (Subscription might be required.) Pee Dee friends! Volunteer at ArtFields! Your smiling face can be put to great use in Lake City this April... lead student tours, staff venues, direct traffic, or serve one one of the other awaiting opportunities. A Volunteer Kick-Off Dinner is coming March 5, so click here to get more info and to register for your ArtFields volunteering. Midlands friends! "Canvass of the People" in Columbia tomorrow! 

Submitted material

Martha Brim dances into new role at Richland Library

A local artist who has served as a Columbia College dance professor for nearly 35 years is ready to share her talents with Richland Library over the next four months. [caption id="attachment_43732" align="alignright" width="300"]Martha Brim performing Columbia dancer Martha Brim.[/caption] We’re excited to welcome Martha Brim as our next artist-in-residence, starting Jan. 13. With a background as choreographer, educator and arts professional, Brim has a rich legacy of creativity, mentoring multiple generations of dance students and artists across disciplines. Founder of The Power Company Collaborative in 2000, she continues to investigate large-scale performance installations that involve musicians, designers and artists as co-creators. Brim is the recipient of numerous choreographic commissions, awards and professional acknowledgements. Her work is described as “intelligently conceived… quirky with shrewd, robust humor.” During her residency, Brim plans to host weekly office hours at our Main location (1431 Assembly St.), answering questions while sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She’s coordinating with our arts librarian as well to offer an array of free programs for all ages, which focus on identity and transformation. In addition, Brim intends to work on a community performance installation that combines textiles, collage, printmaking and movement. Her residency lasts through mid-May 2020. Initially developed in September 2016, the concept behind Richland Library’s artist-in-residence is to connect the community with local, working artists and to provide creative and educational opportunities to local residents in a way that supports cultural and artistic exchange.


About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

$5,000 grants to reward literary, dance excellence in S.C.

  • S.C. Arts Commission opens applications for FY21 Fellowships
  • Deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3 September 2019 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is accepting applications for $5,000 FY21 individual artist fellowships for South Carolina resident artists working in prose, poetry, dance performance and dance choreography. Four awards of $5,000 each will be given to one artist working in those four different artistic disciplines. The deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists, according to Executive Director David Platts. Fellowship awards are made through a highly competitive, anonymous process and are based on artistic excellence only. The fellowship awards bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. (There is a long list of accomplished fellowship recipients here.) [caption id="attachment_41713" align="alignright" width="175"]Flyer for FY21 Individual Artist Fellowships Click to view the info flyer.[/caption] “These are unrestricted awards the Arts Commission uses to recognize artistic achievement by South Carolina’s exceptional artists,” Platts said. “Artists can use the award to invest in their work with additional learning or supplies or they can pay bills or buy groceries.” The panel of judges comes from other states, but applicants must: be 18 years of age or older, be U.S. citizens and South Carolina residents with a full-time residence in state for two years before applying, and plan to remain in-state through the fellowship period (July 2020 through June 2021). Applications may only be submitted online by midnight Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. To learn more and apply, visit the fellowships grant page on SouthCarolinaArts.com. Further questions about applying can be answered by Senior Deputy Director Milly Hough (mhough@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8698).

About the S.C. 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:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

New Governor’s School event to cultivate S.C.’s young dancers

Master classes, cash prizes part of student ballet competition

Ballet students ages 10-19 are invited to participate in master classes and compete for cash prizes in the inaugural "Grand Jeté" student dance competition, hosted by the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. The competition will be held at the Governor’s School in Greenville on March 2, 2019, and students can now register online to participate at www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 1. “We are thrilled to offer an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge South Carolina’s young dancers, and we want to applaud them for their hard work as they pursue and study this beautiful, yet demanding, art form,” said Josée Garant, Governor’s School Dance Department chair. “Grand Jeté is a venue for dance students from across the state to get to know each other and share their common passion for dance. It is a venue where, in its competitive environment, they can take the stage, support each other, learn and grow, while receiving feedback from out-of-state, internationally-recognized dance professionals.” Approximately 60 students will have the opportunity to attend master classes taught by S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities’ dance faculty and compete, by division, for the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling $7,500. They may also qualify for scholarships and opportunities such as summer dance intensives and college dance programs. Grand Jeté will be adjudicated by out-of-state, world-renowned dance professionals Lorna Feijóo, Francie Huber, and Olivier Pardina. For more information about Grand Jeté and to register, visit www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The registration deadline is February 1, 2019. However, registration may close early if the maximum number of 60 solos is reached prior to this date. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact the S.C Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation at 864.282.1570 for more details.

About SCGSAH

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students, and SCGSAH serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org
All photos provided.

Tuning Up: Nutcracker season returns

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...


Welcome to Nutcracker season. When you think of the holidays through the lens of the performing arts, two things immediately cross your mind: Handel's Messiah (perhaps with audience participation), and... The Nutcracker. Some have come and gone, but the "granddaddy of them all" in South Carolina (if The Rose Bowl Game™ will pardon our use of the parlance...) is the one staged by SCAC General Operating Support (GOS) grantees Columbia City Ballet and Executive Director William Starrett. This year, the production winds its way through central and eastern South Carolina and even took a dip into Savannah, Ga. on Thanksgiving weekend. It begins a two-weekend run in Columbia this Friday night. From the story:

"Diversity has played a major role in the 2018 performance, from the dancers to the costumes and production design. 'There’s all different kinds of snowflakes and flowers and different kinds of human beings,' said Starrett. The creative minds at Columbia City Ballet crafted the performance to represent the diversity of modern life."

The Hub can get behind that. Read more: Excitement builds as Columbia City Ballet’s The Nutcracker premieres this weekend (ColaDaily.com)

South Arts’ Dance Touring Initiative gains ‘Momentum’

Momentum is a new opportunity open to modern dance and contemporary ballet companies based in the South. South ArtsAn expansion of South Arts’ Dance Touring Initiative (DTI), Momentum is a new, three-year intensive professional development program for a group of five Southern dance companies. The program will include mentorship, networking, conference showcasing and exhibiting, on-site planning meetings with presenters, tour-prep residencies, and touring. South Arts will convene the group for in-person meetings, webinars, and conference calls throughout the program’s duration and provide funds to support touring engagements in at least five Southern communities. For each touring engagement, the dance companies will provide multi-day community residencies to include educational activities and public performances. Technical assistance and professional development will be designed to complement the tours and enhance companies’ organizational and touring capacity. Each participant must commit to the three-year program running from spring 2019 to spring 2022. If you are a modern dance or contemporary ballet company based in the South with touring aspirations but limited previous success, Momentum is an opportunity to build both your artistic and technical capacity. Only professional modern dance and contemporary ballet companies located in South Arts’ nine-state region are eligible to apply. (South Arts’ region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.) Applications are due January 18, 2019. Read Momentum's full guidelines and application. Want to learn more about this new initiative? Join South Arts for an informational webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, 11a a.m. to noon (Eastern). Participate in the webinar. Questions? Contact Nikki Estes, Program Director, at 404.874.7244 ext. 16.

Front-page image: Ballet Spartanburg, dancer Charlotte Lanning Story main image: Pexels.com