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Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Arts people news + down to the wire

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...


South Arts names two from S.C. to Emerging Leaders of Color program

The Hub helped promote South Arts' Emerging Leaders of Color opportunity once, twice, or three times, so it's only right that we let you know how it all shook out. Two leaders from South Carolina were named to the cohort: Melanie Colclough of Sumter (executive director of Patriot Hall/Sumter County Cultural Center) and Jemimah Ekeh of Columbia (freelance designer + administrator with One Columbia for Arts & Culture). There is more about the program and see who was accepted from other states right here.

State's arts community loses two beacons

We pause to note with sadness the passing of two members of South Carolina's tight-knit arts community:

It's down to the wire

No. Not that. This is your two-weeks' two-day 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 THIS FRIDAY, Nov. 6.

Gov. McMaster to present 2018 S.C. Arts Awards on May 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 April 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seven individuals and three groups visiting the State House to receive the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. will do so from a high-profile presenter: Gov. Henry McMaster. The governor’s office confirmed his third appearance at the annual awards ceremony, his second as governor. Gov. McMaster first presented the awards in 2016 as lieutenant governor in then-Gov. Nikki Haley’s stead. “Gov. McMaster making time for the arts and folklife communities of South Carolina means a lot to all of us, and we’re excited to welcome him back to the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony,” South Carolina Arts Commission Board President Henry Horowitz said. The South Carolina Arts Awards are a joint presentation by the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Foundation, and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina to award the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. Five recipients from their respective categories are being recognized with Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Tom Stanley, Rock Hill
  • INDIVIDUAL: Alan Ethridge, Greenville
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Anne S. Richardson, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Bank of America, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg
Four artists and one advocate are being recognized with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award as practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. They are:
  • The Blackville Community Choir (Blackville): A Capella Spiritual and Gospel Singing
  • Michael King (Greenville): Piedmont blues
  • Henrietta Snype (Mount Pleasant): Sweetgrass basketry
  • Deacon James Garfield Smalls (St. Helena Island): Traditional spirituals
  • Stephen Criswell (Lancaster): Folklife & Traditional Arts Advocacy
The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). South Carolina artists’ work will be on sale from 11 a.m. to noon, supporting S.C. Arts Commission programs. For $100, guests may also participate in a “basket grab” for surprise gift baskets with items representing a county or region of the state. The luncheon program is expected to run from 12:15 to 2 p.m., with readings by South Carolina Literary Fellows and a special presentation by the Blackville Community Choir. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase here or by calling 803.734.8696.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three 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 SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS FOUNDATION The South Carolina Arts Foundation supports and raises awareness of the arts development programs for communities, schools, and artists coordinated by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Arts Foundation pursues creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state as a non-profit, 501(c)3 that’s forged a strategic partnership with the Arts Commission to supports its work and goals. Learn more at SouthCarolinaArts.com/Foundation. ABOUT MCKISSICK MUSEUM The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803-777-7251 or visit http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/mckissick_museum/.

S.C. Arts Awards: Deacon James Garfield Smalls

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year's 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC. This week, the Folk Heritage Award recipients are featured.

Deacon James Garfield Smalls

Traditional spirituals | Artist Award Deacon James Garfield Smalls sings songs that date back to the mid-19th century and, at 98, stands as one the most important active Gullah singers and cultural ambassadors. Smalls’ repertoire includes many of the songs documented in the ground-breaking songbook Slave Songs of the United States. The songbook was informed by the fieldwork of William Allen, Charles Ware, and Lucy McKim, who visited St. Helena Island in 1860. In addition, Smalls is a walking archive of the sacred songs that rang through the small confines of the Lowcountry praise house. His songs and inspirational words serve to educate younger generations, challenging them to learn about their rich history. As a young man, Smalls received musical training from B. H. Washington, a member of the St. Helena Quartet and the musical director at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Smalls sang in Washington’s renowned community choir The Hundred Voices, and he later assumed leadership of the ensemble. Smalls also served for many years as the director of the Senior Choir at St. Joseph Baptist Church. Beyond his early musical career, Smalls served in the U.S. Navy Seabees, carrying out his duties in the Pacific during World War II. Upon his return home to St. Helena Island, he supported a wife, Alvena Smalls, and family, worked a civil service job, managed a farm, and participated in programs at Penn Center. For more than 40 years, Smalls was active in the Penn Echoes, a musical ensemble comprised of Penn School graduates. Of the original 33 praise houses in the Lowcountry, St. Helena Island has two of the last remaining buildings, Jenkins and Croft. Historically, within the safety of the praise house, enslaved Africans would pray, sing, and perform the West African-derived ring shout. In the praise house, there are no instruments – only feet stomping and hand-clapping, which relate to West African clapping and drumming traditions. These rhythms, and the call-and-response style, speak to the creativity of enslaved Africans, who forged a new form of music from both African and European influences. Smalls first led Croft Praise House, but decreasing membership required joint services with members from the Jenkins Praise House. During the service, he sings many of the songs the community considers “his” songs, such as “In that Great Getting Up Morning,” “Don’t Let the Devil Fool You,” “Ride On, King Jesus,” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”  Smalls fondly remembers staying with his grandmother, who instilled in him the importance of praise house services. Smalls was featured in an episode of the SCETV program “Carolina Stories,” in which Gullah scholar Emory Campbell stated that the praise house is “one of the most vivid legacies of Gullah life.” Over the past three decades, Deacon Smalls has participated in singing at Penn Center Community Sings, various island churches, and music festivals. His is a vital connection to the past, a time when the old songs were sung by everyone on the island. He embodies a life of dedication to community and the expressive power of sacred music.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient's award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.