← View All Articles

Jason Rapp

Ninth S.C. Cultural District approved in Camden

S.C. Arts Commission board votes unanimously for approval


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The city of Camden was awarded the ninth South Carolina Cultural District today by a unanimous vote of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors, effective immediately.

The new Downtown Camden Cultural District runs along Broad Street from West/East DeKalb streets south to York Street and along Rutledge Street from Church to Lyttleton streets, touching all or part of 14 city blocks. It includes the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, galleries, studios and other makers spaces, artisan and farmers markets, and prominent historic landmarks dating to the late 1800s. Signage and other markers are planned to define the area to residents and visitors. Children making chalk drawings in an alley in Camden“Camden has had a strong arts community for well over half a century, and downtown Camden hosts several arts spaces, including the Arts Center of Kershaw County, private galleries and studios, music and maker spaces,” said city of Camden Main Street Program Manager Katharine Spadacenta. “We’ve identified 60 cultural assets in this area to be designated as the Cultural District. We are very excited for the arts and culture of our community to be recognized as an official South Carolina Cultural District.” 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. 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
“Cultural districts show the best of what South Carolina has to offer. They prove that arts and culture drive growth, bring people together, and make our communities stronger. We welcome Camden’s new cultural district. The possibilities and impact are boundless. We hope other cities and towns make arts a focal point of progress,” SCAC board of directors Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. “Our South Carolina Cultural Districts attract tourists, help preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance the image and visibility of a place, foster a supportive environment for arts and culture,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “You don’t have to be in Camden long to see all of that is going on in our newest district. It is a wonderful and fitting addition to the program, and I congratulate them for making arts and culture a point of community pride.” “Personal connections in Camden let me observe the progress of its ongoing downtown revitalization through the past 13 years. Strong, visionary leadership steered toward this accomplishment, and the arts commission is thrilled to see the arts and creative sector used yet again to keep momentum building,” South Carolina Cultural Districts Program Director Jason Rapp said. Downtown Camden Cultural Districts joins eight other districts: Beaufort, Bluffton, Congaree Vista, Florence, Greenwood, Lancaster, Rock Hill, and Downtown Spartanburg. More information about South Carolina Cultural Districts is available at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/community-development/programs/cultural-districts/.

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. 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

Platts issues SCAC statement on Marjory Wentworth

 

Official Statement from the S.C. Arts Commission


Earlier today, on Facebook, South Carolina poet laureate Marjory Wentworth announced she is resigning from the post. She provided no further details in that medium, and the South Carolina Arts Commission is not aware of any. [caption id="attachment_26773" align="alignright" width="200"]Marjory Wentworth Marjory Wentworth, the former poet laureate of South Carolina. Photo by Andy Allen.[/caption] As she is a notable figure on the state's arts and culture scene, South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts issued the following statement:

"On behalf of all of us at the South Carolina Arts Commission, I wish Marjory well and thank her for the many contributions she has made while serving as our state’s poet laureate.

Throughout much of history, poets have played a significant role in examining and addressing important issues of the day through the lens of their art. The stature of the poet laureate’s position allows all of us to see and recognize that the arts do not merely exist for their own sake. Rather, they can provoke thought, self-reflection, and meaningful dialogue across a wide range of opinions and perspectives, and they can unify by appealing to our better instincts.

In all times, but most especially in uncertain times like we are currently experiencing, artists like Marjory Wentworth exemplify and demonstrate the relevance and the importance of the arts to our daily lives.”


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

Tuning Up: S.C. arts ed icon passes away

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...


Remembering Rose Myers

Arts education in South Carolina owes a lot to Rose Myers. We note with sadness yesterday's news of her passing down in the Lowcountry she improved with her vision and drive. Myers was 84 and passed from complications caused by vascular dementia. From the Post & Courier:

Myers spearheaded the creation of both Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary and Charleston County School of the Arts, two schools that have repeatedly earned state and national recognition for their success blending traditional academics with art education.

S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts reflected on her life and his introduction to her.

“I met her 20 years ago as a young administrator and remember thinking I had just met an arts rock star. She was an amazing, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer educator, and her reach in this state was broad and deep. What a legacy she leaves!”

Read the full story from the Post & Courier here (subscription possibly required).
 

Jason Rapp

‘The show can’t go on’

P&C  reviews hard times in the arts


Hub readers know the devastation felt in South Carolina's arts community because of the pandemic's economic effects.

Know, though, the story is reaching broader audiences. Today, the Greenville outpost of the Post & Courier published a story that paints a bleak picture throughout the state. From the story:

“You know the old adage, ‘The show must go on.’ Well, this is one of those times when the show can’t go on,” said Graham Shaffer, technical director at the Greenville Theatre. “We just have to sit here until we can.”

Some hoped for salvation via a federal coronavirus relief package that hasn’t materialized. Now, the South Carolina Arts Commission has asked the state General Assembly to approve $3.8 million in nonrecurring funds to prop up the ailing industry until it can recover. Originally, the arts commission asked for that amount to help venues make repairs to aging buildings.

Now it just hopes to keep the buildings open.

Read Nate Cary's full story here. Subscription possibly required.

Jason Rapp

FY21 S.C. Arts Commission grants to fuel state’s creative sector

$4.1 million to support arts, cultural work in at least 41 counties

[caption id="attachment_45056" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Group picture with big, colorful cutout letters spelling "thank you." The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by Maven Lottie Lewis, celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing grants totaling $4.1 million awarded in at least 41 South Carolina counties to support arts and culture work in the new fiscal year.

The grants, approved by votes of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors on June 18, will be distributed during the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 grant period to artists and organizations who applied for grants that support the agency’s work to further arts education, artist development, and community arts development across South Carolina. “This is a significant investment of public funds that will further the work of South Carolina’s creative sector. It will support quality arts education programming for South Carolina students. It will support many of the 115,000 jobs in and supported by our $9.7 billion arts and creative sector. It will also help make arts programming that is more representative and more accessible to all South Carolinians and our visitors,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud and excited to help provide those benefits for the people of South Carolina.”
Individual Artist Fellowship grants, announced earlier this month, and Artist Ventures Initiative grants further the agency’s artist development work by enabling creatives in South Carolina to focus on the creation of art. In the case of the Artist Ventures Initiative, those grants help an artist turn the art into sustainable income as they give artist entrepreneurs seed money to create an arts-based business or strengthen an existing one with needed materials or training. Four grants of each type, totaling just less than $37,000, were awarded. Arts education grants are heading to 76 schools and seven districts across the state, strengthening arts in school curriculum with a combined investment of $896,000. Education Pilot Project grants use $295,000 to help South Carolina organizations provide musical learning, summertime STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) camps, and professional development. Grants totaling $85,400 supporting the SCAC’s community arts development work are going to the 15 counties where The Art of Community: Rural SC is addressing local issues with arts and culture. These grants also keep unique South Carolina arts and cultural traditions alive by funding eight Folklife & Traditional Arts Apprenticeships for artists and folklife work done by four organizations. Also funded is the SCAC’s folklife partnership with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum. Additional grants to be awarded throughout the year offer potential for impact in all counties. Among them are Arts Project Support grants, which offer funding for projects by artists and arts organizations. Both grants have rolling deadlines, and project support grants are designed to be accessible, streamlining the application process to remove barriers often faced by small organizations and individual artists.

Amounts awarded to programs in primary grant categories

Arts in Education: $1,463,832 Grants help fund curriculum planning and implementation, artist residencies, performances, professional development for teachers and summer and afterschool arts programs.
  • Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Advancement: $770,000  Awarded to 83 schools and school districts that are participating in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, which works to ensure every child in South Carolina has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts. The ABC Project is cooperatively directed by the SCAC, the S.C. Department of Education, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.
  • Education Pilot Projects: $295,000 Grants initiated by the agency for partners who carry out education initiatives.
  • Arts in Basic (ABC) Curriculum: $272,832 One grant to support management of the ABC Project partnership.
Operating Support: $2,040,978 Grants help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, other organizations and communities throughout the state.
  • General Operating Support: $1,908,066 One hundred twenty-nine grants for arts organizations.
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations: $111,972 Forty-six grants for arts organizations with annual expense budgets of less than $75,000.
  • Statewide Organizations: $20,940 Six grants for arts organizations operating statewide.
The Art of Community: Rural SC: $85,400 Using arts and culture to address issues in rural communities with the help of local partners. Folklife and Traditional Arts: $104,033 Grants support programs that promote a greater understanding and visibility of South Carolina’s many cultures through documentation and presentation of traditional art forms, their practitioners and their communities.
  • Organization grants: $23,000 Four grants to support nonprofit organizations that seek to promote and preserve the traditional arts practiced across the state.
  • Apprenticeships: $10,000 Eight grants that support a partnership between a master artist, who will share artistic and cultural knowledge, and a qualified apprentice, who will then continue to pursue the art form.
  • Partnerships: $71,033 One grant to support management of the Folklife and Traditional Arts Partnership.
Subgranting: $69,000 Seven awards to local arts councils that distribute quarterly grants to organizations and artists in their regions. This program is funded in part by an award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. Artists Ventures Initiative: $16,700 Four grants to individual artists for projects designed to help them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers.  Individual Artist Fellowships: $20,000 Four grants to individual artists to recognize and reward their artistic achievements. These were announced in July 2020 after approval by the SCAC Board of Directors.
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.

Susan DuPlessis

Rural arts and culture initiative expands to 15 counties

Addressing local issues with S.C. Arts Commission program

[caption id="attachment_45057" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mavens join heads and hands to celebrate their local communities and discuss shared challenges in a January meeting in Eastover, South Carolina, hosted by Michael Dantzler. Shown l to r, mavens and their corresponding counties: Brooke Bauer, Catawba Indian Nation/York; Marquerite Palmer, Newberry; Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Betty McDaniel, Pickens; Victoria Smalls, Beaufort; Evelyn Coker, Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Hampton; Libby Sweatt-Lambert, Chester; Luis Rodriguez (seated), Marion; Johnny Davis, Jasper; Michael Dantzler, Richland; and Matt Mardell, Colleton. Photo credit: Sherard Duvall, OTR Media.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

Across South Carolina, an initiative called The Art of Community: Rural SC has taken root, creating new networks, community engagement, partnerships and energy to change minds and build communities together.

The initiative, a program of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), poses a central question: “How can we use arts and culture as strategic tools to address local challenges we face?” “It’s growing, and it’s always a learning opportunity,” said Matt Mardell, executive director of the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mardell is one of the ‘mavens’ for The Art of Community; Rural SC. He said that, as part of this network of rural leaders and their teams, he is “hearing others’ creative solutions to issues we all face.” He and his predecessor, Gary Brightwell, have participated in the initiative with five other mavens from throughout a six-county Lowcountry region since it was conceived in 2015 and launched in 2016. Mavens in other counties include: Lottie Lewis of Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel representing Bamberg; Evelyn Coker of Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Hampton; and Johnny Davis representing Jasper County. The growth Mardell references is an expansion of the initiative in 2019 that includes a broader swath of rural South Carolina. Nine additional mavens represent their communities from the mountains to the sea and myriad cultures in between. They include the following community leaders and their corresponding counties: Kayla Hyatt-Hostetler of Aiken; Victoria Smalls of Beaufort; Lydia Cotton of Berkeley; Libby Sweatt-Lambert representing Chester; Luis Rodriguez representing Marion; Marquerite Palmer of Newberry; Betty McDaniel of Pickens; Michael Dantzler of Richland; and Dr. Brooke Bauer with co-maven Laney Buckley of The Catawba Indian Nation in York County. How does the initiative work? “It’s a framework built with four critical components:  mavens, local teams, partners and advisors coupled with a state arts agency willing to invest in rural and tribal communities in a new way,” said Community Arts Development Director Susan DuPlessis of the arts commission. All 15 teams, created and led by the mavens, gather locally and as a statewide network to get to know each other better, to listen, and to consider their local assets and challenges—ultimately, to learn together. "Mavens are 'the bridges' who make this initiative work," DuPlessis said. "Knowing that I have a community beyond my community has bolstered me in my local work," said maven Lottie Lewis of Allendale. As part of this initiative, Lewis led members of her local team on a fact-finding field trip to Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in 2019. They went to explore how another small, rural town had spurred connection and growth using arts and culture. They then planned to integrate some of that learning into their local project. “We learned so much from our new friends in Tamaqua,” Lewis said. “We were inspired by how they engaged their local community to share their ideas about where they live.” Allendale’s local project plan, though, along with the plans of the other 14 sites in this initiative, took an unexpected turn beginning in the spring of 2020. “We all had to shift in how we were engaging with one another and ask what our roles are in this moment of quarantine and separation,” according to DuPlessis who said many of the participating teams shifted their focuses to react to the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting social justice issues. Since March 20, the arts commission has convened mavens in weekly meetings to continue the practice of sharing, listening and learning together. "That's what's been so important to me and other mavens who I now count as dear friends," Lewis said. She also notes the spirit of the initiative which, built on trust and relationships, has allowed for flexibility with grant-funded local projects in this “uncertain time.” Each of The Art of Community: Rural SC teams received a $7,500 grant award in FY20 to engage and build community in ways that use arts and culture strategically. “Project plans in January 2020 didn’t look the same three months later in March,” DuPlessis said. Some communities planning festivals and other gatherings have had to postpone those for now. In a number of cases, mavens and their teams retrofitted their projects to respond to the current context and include the following examples:
  • In Aiken, in addition to getting helpful information out about the pandemic, the local project also incorporated the NextGen fight for equality, justice and respect for all people through the creation of a ‘peaceful protest’ linking them with other students around the country;
  • In Allendale, the local project’s focus became community engagement through a celebration of frontline pandemic workers as ‘hometown heroes;’
  • In Bamberg County, the local team developed a 'Little People's Learning Page' to accompany the local newspaper and address learning in a fun, creative way for students who are isolated from one another;
  • In Barnwell County, the Town of Blackville team developed a new dance called ‘The Wagon Wheel’ to engage its residents on social media in a healthy activity during a time of isolation;
  • In Beaufort County, a collective of Gullah Geechee artists used their voices and talents for public service announcements that address safety protocols for the pandemic;
  • In Berkeley County, a Spanish-language video was created to remind its community of best practices for reducing infection rates; and
  • In Chester County, the town of Fort Lawn team partnered with local businesses and state parks to showcase artists' and entrepreneurs' work to help generate income during this time of economic distress.
[caption id="attachment_45056" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The Allendale Rural Arts Team, led by maven Lottie Lewis,  celebrated its Hometown Heroes June 19 with recognition of front line workers in the face of COVID 19; and the unveiling of a community mural by Hampton County artist Sophie Docalavich. Photo credit: Xavier Blake.[/caption] Other participating communities in the initiative bolstered their local project planning by addressing infrastructure and equipment needs as they anticipate future community gatherings, festivals and local engagement as part of their community building strategies. For instance, in Walterboro where the WHAM Festival, originally set for March 27-29, was cancelled, Matt Mardell re-examined the needs for this inaugural event by purchasing displays for exhibits and creating a website for the festival--WHAMfestival.org. The festival is now tentatively set for Oct. 23-25, 2020. Set within the framework of “arts plus economic development,” Mardell said, “I know when the festival does happen, we will be ready and even better prepared for it.” In addition to implementing local projects, all participants are invited to join additional activities and programs to build their own toolkits for considering the importance of ‘place’ in South Carolina and in their personal lives. They include a community writing workshop series; a field school offering instruction in documentary skills; and asset mapping workshops. These offerings are all coordinated by the arts commission’s Folklife & Traditional Arts Program. In addition to these activities, a rural networking program called CREATE: Rural SC engages rural creative professionals who serve as conduits between the mavens, the local creative economies and the arts commission. "These new networks and learning opportunities are bridging gaps and connecting us in ways we need to be connected in rural communities and across the state," Hampton County Maven Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Estill said. All 15 communities, along with the arts commission, partners and advisors constitute a ‘learning community’ that spans the state and the nation. Its story has been shared in national and state conferences from South Carolina to Iowa and Colorado; and from Detroit to Washington, D.C. using the voices and stories of mavens, advisors and emerging creative leaders. Also, with more than 25 partners in its national Advisory Council, this learning community has access to a wide range of sectors, insights, geographies and resources for community building using arts and culture. Co-chairs for the advisory council are Pam Breaux, president and CEO for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), headquartered in Washington; and Bob Reeder, program director for Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), headquartered in New York City. Looking at the value of community engagement in rural America, Co-Chair Pam Breaux cites The Art of Community: Rural SC as an exemplar for state arts agencies across the country. "This work has become a leading example of ingenuity in funding, partnership and framework creation for state arts agencies across the country," she said. Art of Community: Rural SC Director Susan DuPlessis was invited to share the initiative at a National Press Club briefing in Washington in January 2018; Mardell of Colleton County joined her as the local voice and example of growth and development through arts and culture as demonstrated through the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen. More than 25,000 'views' resulted on social media from that presentation. The South Carolina initiative was also included within a rural action guide on developing prosperity, produced by the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and NASAA. “This initiative is about re-imagining 'place' in terms of assets, not deficits,” said Co-Chair Bob Reeder whose professional work in the field of community development crosses the nation. “We're building on the strengths of local communities and the power of a network that connects to state and national resources,” he said. “Ultimately, this work is about changing minds.” Concurring with Reeder, Advisor Dixie Goswami of Clemson, South Carolina noted that the initiative makes visible local people, including young people, as "assets with wisdom and knowledge, not as deficient and needing outside help." Goswami is director of the Write to Change Foundation and director emerita of Middlebury Bread Loaf NextGen Network. "We're a state rich in creativity and ingenuity—and this initiative showcases some of that in our smallest communities" said SCAC Executive Director David Platts. "We are grateful to USDA-Rural Development for first believing in and funding this initiative in 2015. We've built a case for creative placemaking—the strategic use of arts and culture to address community issues—and this platform is being showcased nationally. The arts commission has also garnered more support for this approach from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation as well as funding from the South Carolina General Assembly. The Art of Community: Rural SC initiative is part of the Community Arts Development program of the arts commission and is one of three program areas that also include artist services and arts education. “Through this program, we continue to strive to meet our mission-‘to develop a thriving arts environment’ for the people and places in our South Carolina,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Dee Crawford of Aiken, South Carolina. “The arts are invaluable to our communities, both big and small. They are tools for growth, development and social cohesion in each and every county in our state.” Crawford also serves on the Advisory Council for Art of Community: Rural SC. The South Carolina Arts Commission is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and collaborates in its work with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and South Arts. It received funding from USDA-Rural Development to launch this program in 2015; and additional USDA-RD funding from 2017 to 2019. It also has received support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation for this initiative since 2018. More information about The Art of Community: Rural SC can be found at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/community-development/programs/art-of-community-rural-sc/, including a recently produced film called Meet the Mavens and a brochure featuring all mavens representing 14 South Carolina counties and the Catawba Indian Nation in York County.
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, 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

2020 S.C. Arts Awards to be presented online


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Postponed from their May 6 intended date because of the pandemic, the South Carolina Arts Awards will instead honor exceptional South Carolinians in a professionally produced streaming presentation planned for Monday, July 13, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and frequent partner McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina will honor the six recipients of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards in a special online presentation. The virtual ceremony will be presented live, at no cost to viewers, on the SCAC’s Vimeo page and YouTube Channel. SCAC Executive Director David Platts will be the lead host of the virtual ceremony and will be joined in a special location by a surprise co-host. UofSC McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz will announce the Folk Heritage Award recipients, and Platts will announce the Verner Award recipients. Mini-films by South Carolina filmmakers Drew Baron, Patrick Hayes, Roni Henderson, Lee Ann Kornegay, and Ebony Wilson will be debuted to tell each recipient’s story. The filmmakers worked under the direction of producer Betsy Newman. Location shooting for the ceremony and production of the stream are being provided by Midlands-based iSite Multimedia and Fisher Films. The Verner Award recipients were announced in February. In the following categories, the recipients are:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Philip Mullen, Columbia
  • ARTIST: Glenis Redmond, Mauldin
  • INDIVIDUAL: Mary Inabinett Mack, St. Helena Island
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Cindy Riddle, Campobello
  • BUSINESS: United Community Bank, Greenville
  • ORGANIZATION: Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston
The Folk Heritage Award recipients were announced in March. They are:
  • Kristin Scott Benson (Boiling Springs): Bluegrass Banjo
  • David Galloway (Seneca): Spiritual Gospel Singing
  • Voices of El Shaddai (Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area): Lowcountry Gospel Music
  • Judy Twitty (Gilbert): Quilting
  • Vennie Deas Moore (Georgetown): Folklore and Cultural Preservation

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.

About the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum, located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe, has more than 140,000 objects in its collection, including one of the most extensive natural science collections in the Southeast. For visitation information, online exhibits, and more, please visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET


This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.  

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid, Part II

Artist Relief and more on CARES Act relief


(Last week's update, Part I, is available here.) This week’s update includes a major announcement about relief for artists and clarification about recovery funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist Relief Fund

You might have read here yesterday that Americans for the Arts and a consortium of funders introduced the new $10 million Artist Relief Fund for artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19. The fund launches with $5 million in seed funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation matched with $5 million in initial contributions from an array of foundations across the United States. Each week through September, Artist Relief will provide grants to 100 artists from multiple disciplines. It relies on the support of a growing number of foundations and individual donors and will continue to evolve over the coming months as the needs of artists shift. Organizers will continue to raise funds to assist with the rapidly escalating needs of the country's artists. Applications are now open, and the deadline to apply for the first funding cycle is April 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Subsequent deadlines are:
  • Cycle II: April 24-May 21 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle III: May 22-June 18 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle IV: June 19-July 23 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle V: July 24-August 20 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
Those in need can apply for assistance here, and those who are able may donate to the fund here.

NEA/CARES Act Relief

Back to CARES Act funding. The CARES Act passed by Congress provides a total of $75 million in funding to the NEA.  The NEA will direct 60% of this funding as direct grants to organizations who have received direct NEA grants in the past four years Those organizations should have received communication from the NEA already. The South Carolina Arts Commission’s disbursement will come out of the remaining 40 percent, which the NEA will apportion among the states according to population. Our team is developing guidelines to get critical relief flowing in South Carolina. An announcement will come soon.
Our most recent study revealed that 115,000 friends and neighbors in South Carolina work in jobs supported by the arts and creative sector. My team and I feel it is important to note that arts relief funding is not a “handout for arts projects,” as some misconstrue. Rather, arts relief supports organizations that provide income and benefits for individuals (and often their families) in arts and creative jobs who might otherwise lose access to basic necessities, not to mention dignity and quality of life, through no fault of their own. Knowing we can help drives us to serve our constituents. For ways you can be involved in advocacy efforts, I again direct you to our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid

The CARES Act and the arts


Additional details have been released on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion bill signed into law last Friday. It offers benefits to South Carolina’s artists and arts organizations, and I want to update you on those. First, though, it is imperative that we get your help by asking you to complete the five-minute Americans for the Arts survey if you have not already done so. The survey aggregates data for each state on the real loss that cancelations and closings will have on arts and culture. South Carolina needs more input to be accurately reflective. Please, no matter your size or reach, stop now and take the survey. You may also update numbers previously submitted. Back to the CARES Act. I am happy to report it includes access to loans, grants and unemployment benefits previously unavailable to many independent artists or arts organizations. In case you missed it, this act also provides $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. State arts agencies like the S.C. Arts Commission will receive 40% of these funds to distribute. We do not yet know when we will receive these funds or have the details of how this grant will be distributed, but we will share details as soon as we know them. The other 60% will be distributed as direct grants from the NEA to local arts organizations and  can be used for operational support. Other aspects of the relief package relevant to the arts sector are loans through the Small Business Administration. Non-profit organizations, sole-proprietorships, and independent contractors are eligible to apply beginning today, Friday, April 3. Some of these loans are “forgivable” to encourage retaining workers and function more like grants. If you are interested in securing one, check  to see whether or not your bank is part of this network or find a list of SBA-approved participating lenders here. Our partner the South Carolina Arts Alliance has comprehensive information available about Small Business Administration loans and grants and unemployment benefits for artists and arts organizations. To learn more or to become involved in further advocacy, visit the South Carolina Arts Alliance website. Artists and other creative workers are eligible for federal unemployment benefits offered to those who are part of the gig economy. The new benefits cover the weeks ending April 4 through July 31. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce administers unemployment insurance in South Carolina. Applications will be made through that agency. For all these things, please keep in mind that patience may be necessary as federal guidelines are interpreted and implemented. Our pledge is to point you in the right direction for assistance. We will continue to collaborate with the South Carolina Arts Alliance to give you timely information.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels