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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

‘Holy grief’ discussion at next Artists U conversation

'Back Together, Not Back to Normal'


If we're honest, "normal" is a long way off.

Sure, we are seeing semblances of it here and there. According to Andrew Simonet from Artists U (an ongoing partner of the S.C. Arts Commission), "there is a lot up for grabs in the next 12 months." In an essay, he says:

Many of us have an understandable urge: Can’t we just go back to how things were in 2019? No, we can’t. Too much has shifted in our culture and economy and world. What comes next will be built, in part, by artists. We have sacred, essential skills for this moment: We look clear-eyed at what is and fearlessly imagine what could be.

And so "Back Together, Not Back to Normal" was born, giving artists a place to converse about the abundant twists and turns of navigating the transition away from lockdowns. [caption id="attachment_46863" align="alignright" width="200"]Devynn Emory Devynn Emory (image from LinkedIn)[/caption] #SCartists can register now for an April 22 conversation with Brooklyn-based Devynn Emory, who will lead a conversation with the thesis, "our grief can be holy if we let it." Emory is a mixed Lenape/Blackfoot transgender choreographer, dance artist, bodyworker, ceremonial guide and acute care and hospice nurse who spent the pandemic along the front lines in the later roles. Artists U invites artists to join Devynn's conversation about:
  • grief and mourning what has been lost
  • the traumas and truths of the past year, how they impact our bodies and breath
  • how artists can resist the “get back to normal” narrative, reinventing rather than rebuilding
  • how artists are useful to our communities and beloveds through these complex transitions
  • grief and mourning what has been lost
  • the traumas and truths of the past year, how they impact our bodies and breath
  • how artists can resist the "get back to normal" narrative, reinventing rather than rebuilding
  • how artists are useful to our communities and beloveds through these complex traditions.
That's Thursday, April 22 at noon ET, and you can register here.

Jason Rapp

Federal funding webinar for artists, arts orgs

From South Arts & Arts Action Fund

U.S. Capitol Building shown against partly cloudy sky with caption of: Federal funding opportunities, March 31, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan in addition to the CARES Act, there are opportunities for artists, arts organizations, and communities to utilize federal resources supporting their work.

Join South Arts for a webinar Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. with Nina Ozlu Tunceli of the Arts Action Fund (the national arts advocacy organization affiliated with Americans for the Arts) to learn about:
  • Types of assistance available to individual artists and arts organizations through the new federal relief funding.
  • Tips, tricks, and how-tos of accessing relief funding, dates, deadlines, etc.
  • Ideas on programmatic partnerships that could be funded using Community Development Block Grant or other "non-arts" funding included in the relief packages.
  • How the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and Paycheck Protection Program may help you and your organization.
Can't attend the webinar? South Arts will record it and make it available on their website within 48 hours.

Jason Rapp

ArtFields readies for full 2021 schedule

The Southeast's largest visual arts competition is readying for nine days of events in 2021.

Ardie Arvidson of the Morning News has details at SCNow.com:

ArtFields, the largest visual arts competition in the Southeast, displays hundreds of art pieces throughout Lake City, along with hosting special events, live music, lots of food and fun for the whole family with student competition artwork and outdoor public art galore.

This nine-day art fest will feature artworks uniquely displayed in downtown businesses. Along with the artwork, additional events will include the Portrait Contest, Makers Market and Artist Talks, plus events all week at local businesses, said Roberta L. Burns, marketing manager of Lake City ArtFields Collective.
ArtFields joins Greenville's Artisphere and other S.C. arts events like Ag + Art Tour and Artista Vista (Columbia) in announcing plans for in-person gatherings. Read Arvidson's full story at SCNow.com.  

Jason Rapp

Reopening guidance from the NEA

Webinar with Dr. Fauci is next week


How arts organizations can reopen their venues in 2021 is the topic of a webinar presented by the National Endowment for the Arts with special guest Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Fauci will provide opening remarks at this free event that will be held on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 3-4:00 p.m. ET. Those interested in attending should register here. Acting Chairman of the Arts Endowment Ann Eilers said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is honored to have Dr. Fauci participate in the agency’s The Art of Reopening webinar. His expertise, commitment, and compassion have been critical to the nation’s ability to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. His guidance will remain of the utmost importance in our continued progress in the country and towards full reengagement with the arts and audiences." The event is based in part on the NEA’s report The Art of Reopening: A Guide to Current Practices Among Arts Organizations During COVID-19 that was published in January 2021. The report examines reopening practices of organizations that resumed in-person programming in 2020 and presents promising tactics and nine case studies. Three of the organizations featured as case studies will be represented on a panel moderated by Sunil Iyengar, director of the Arts Endowment’s Office of Research & Analysis. The panelists are:
  • Scott Altman, president & CEO, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chloe Cook, executive director, Sidewalk Film Center & Cinema, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Rebecca Read Medrano, co-founder and executive director, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Washington
The webinar will highlight some of the practices of these organizations but also delve into new challenges and lessons that have emerged since data were collected for the report in the fall of 2020. The driving question will be “What is the outlook for arts organizations who seek to re-engage with live audiences and visitors in 2021?” The session will conclude with audience Q&A. An archive of the webinar will be posted to this page on the Arts Endowment website shortly afterwards. In addition to The Art of Reopening, the Arts Endowment contributed to an analysis from FEMA’s Recovery Support Function Leadership Group with COVID-19's Impacts on Arts and Culture. Information in the analysis includes an overview of the latest data on the economic impact of arts and culture developed from a partnership of the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Arts Endowment, that reports recent arts worker unemployment data, and a state-of-the-field assessment based on data from November 2020. Finally, the current issue of the Arts Endowment’s magazine, Arts in the Time of COVID offers stories and insights. Each of the organizations featured in the magazine illustrates the importance of adaptation, resilience, and staying true to the values that drive each to overcome and survive. For more COVID-19 resources, visit the Arts Endowment’s collection on the website and follow the agency on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.
Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

Jason Rapp

How are #SCartists weathering the pandemic?

Legislators, statewide partners, and funders want to know.

[caption id="attachment_46591" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Four pennies on a dark gray background Penny for your thoughts?[/caption]

TAKE THIS SURVEY NOW TO TELL THEM.

  • Did you have to take on jobs beyond your artistic practice?
  • Did you find a silver lining?
Your candid input can determine where artist resources are focused in the future. The survey closes March 26. (Artists applying for Arts Emergency Grants by March 26 will have the opportunity to take the survey with the application.)
This survey is a partnership between the South Carolina Arts Commission and Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.

Jason Rapp

Applications to open for more #SCartists emergency relief

SCAC announces second round of funding

APPLICATION PERIOD: March 8-26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET  

Practicing individual artists who are South Carolina residents may apply for up to $500 of emergency relief funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission March 8 through March 26.

These emergency grants support artists who have lost income related to their artistic practice because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to be eligible for these no-match grants, applicants must be:
  • a practicing artist in dance, music, opera, musical theatre, theatre, visual arts, design arts, crafts, photography, media arts, literature, and/or folk & traditional arts;
  • a legal resident of the U.S. and South Carolina with a permanent residence in the state for at least one year prior to the application date and throughout the grant period; and
  • 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
Applicants may not be degree-seeking, full-time students during the grant period. Click here for complete information. The South Carolina Arts Foundation, through its S.C. Artist Relief Fund, is supporting these grants by raising funds from private corporate and individual supporters.

Correction

(2/25/21) Early versions of this story incorrectly stated that applications were now open for this second round of relief grants. They open Monday,  March 8.

A note about arts organizations

Because of limited funding, eligible South Carolina arts organizations will be invited to apply for this round of funding privately. Please review the eligibility section of the grant page for further information.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: More on ‘Save Our Stages’ relief

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...

Happy New Year from the SCAC

South Carolina Arts Alliance does deep dive on SOS

The Hub is catching up from a nice holiday break and wants to ensure readers are armed with proper information. ICYMI last week, after a delay President Trump signed an omnibus spending slash COVID-19 relief bill negotiated among Congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The SCAA has more in a recent blog post that's worth your time. "Within the [bill] ... is $15 billion for shuttered live venues. Known first as the Save Our Stage (SOS) Act, filed this summer, this funding was folded in to the COVID relief bill after a large grassroots push across the country." Read their breakdown by clicking here.

Jason Rapp

S.C. non-profits requested $76 million in SC CARES Act relief

Nearly 1,600 applications submitted


Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Dept. of Administration (Admin) announced late yesterday that 11,217 applications were received for the SC CARES Act grant programs for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program and the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program.

These programs award grant funds to small and minority businesses and nonprofit organizations to reimburse qualifying expenditures for providing services or for revenue loss due to COVID-19. Beginning on October 16, Governor McMaster, Admin, and other state leaders held events in Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Greer, and Myrtle Beach to raise awareness of the program and encourage business owners to apply for the program. “Small businesses are the cornerstone of our state’s economy and they were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We knew we had to quickly get them the help they need through an easily-accessible program, and I’m happy to say that the results have exceeded our expectations.” Act 154 of 2020 allocated $40 million for the Minority and Small Business Program, with grant awards ranging from $2,500-$25,000. The total number of application submissions for the Minority and Small Business program was 9,627, with a total requested amount of $213,297,112.30. Act 154 allocated $25 million for the Nonprofit Program, with grant awards ranging from $2,500-$50,000. The total number of application submissions for the Nonprofit program was 1,590 with a total requested amount of $75,980,037.43. In early December, applicants will receive a notification indicating grant approval and the dollar amount of the grant. Grant awards will be issued to qualifying grant recipients by mid-December. If other CARES Act funds are not utilized, both the Nonprofit and Minority and Small Business Grant funds are eligible to be replenished and additional grants may be distributed at a later date.
In accordance with Act 154, applications for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program will be evaluated and awarded by a panel consisting of:
  • the director of the Commission for Minority Affairs, or her designee;
  • the Secretary of Commerce, or his designee; and
  • the director of the Department of Revenue, or his designee.
Act 154 further provides that priority must be given to minority businesses, to applicants that did not receive other assistance, such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan or other CARES funds, to businesses with fifteen or fewer employees, and to businesses that demonstrate the greatest financial need. Applications for the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program will be evaluated and awarded by a panel consisting of:
  • the director of the Department of Social Services, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Mental Health, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, or her designee;
  • the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, or her designee;
  • the Secretary of State, or his designee;
  • the director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, or his designee;
  • the director of the Department of Archives and History, or his designee; and
  • the executive director of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, or her designee.
For the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program, priority must be given to applicants that did not receive other assistance, such as a Paycheck Protection Program loan or other CARES funds. Then, priority shall be given to applications for expenditures related to food assistance, including prepared meals, rent or mortgage assistance, utilities assistance, mental health counseling, health care services, including access to health care supplies, mental health, and behavioral health, criminal domestic violence and children’s advocacy services, and arts and cultural items or activities. Additionally, the panel will give consideration to the geographic distribution of services provided by the nonprofit organizations, so that grants are awarded on a statewide basis.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Commission grants eclipsed $5.5 million in FY20

Emergency relief assisted 346 artists and arts organizations

Grants distributed in 44 counties


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In recently completed FY2020, South Carolina Arts Commission grants totaling $5.59 million went out into state communities to assist 835 artists and providers of arts and arts education.

While this represents a rise of more than $1.1 million and 377 grants over FY2019, it is important to note that extenuating circumstances render comparisons difficult. Fourth-quarter Arts Emergency Relief grants in 2020 pushed its overall numbers up. Additional funding from the state general assembly nudged the non-relief grant totals higher than FY2019 by just less than $685,000 with 489 grants awards versus 458. A new impact map available on the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) website provides visual representation of the statewide impact of agency grants (and their related programs).

Arts Emergency Relief was a factor

Arts Emergency Relief grants, announced in April, added $506,736 to FY2020 totals. Those provided support funding to arts organizations and artists who could prove losses from shutdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of CARES Act funding was granted to the National Endowment for the Arts for distribution in part to state arts agencies like the SCAC. The subgranted funding was designated solely to provide relief to arts organizations. The SCAC made 177 grants totaling $381,636 to South Carolina arts organizations as a result, helping those groups to offset losses and help keep them operating. Additional relief funding was provided by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. A separate entity that supports the SCAC, the foundation raised money through a spring fundraising drive that contributed around $50,000 of the $125,100 the SCAC spread among 168 individual artists. Both arts organizations and individual artists continue to suffer losses because of the pandemic’s prolonged effects and find themselves in need of additional relief. A recent Brookings Institution study estimated losses in South Carolina’s arts and creative sectors of $1.2 billion.

It was still a big year

The SCAC’s normal grant categories experienced a big year. Grants that provided funding support to the SCAC’s three service areas of arts education, artist development, and community arts development increased to nearly $5.1 million in FY2020. Grants were made in 44 of 46 counties, and one out-of-state grant covered programmatic obligations to South Arts, a regional arts organization and frequent partner in the SCAC’s work. One big factor was the January introduction of School Art Materials grants. This new grant provided one-time money for arts teachers to purchase supplies and other needed materials to assist them in providing quality arts education. There were 63 grants awarded totaling $396,000. The largest single grant category remained General Operating Support, which enable arts organizations across the state to provide arts experiences to residents and visitors alike. $1.9 million was distributed among 129 such organizations. Another $112,000 was awarded in operating support to smaller arts organizations. While the majority of the SCAC’s funding comes from state appropriations, it is grateful for additional generous funding support from the Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF. Funding from those sources is applied to two SCAC grant categories: Subgranting and Arts Project Support.
  • Partnering arts agencies in South Carolina receive grants they may subgrant to artists and arts organizations in the communities they serve. CCF support helped seven awards in the category total $70,000 in FY2020.
  • A grant from the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF helped the SCAC fund arts projects for artists (14) and arts organization (18) in 12 counties totaling around $30,000.
As of the start of FY2021 on July 1, 2020, the state is operating under a continuing resolution that holds its budget at FY2020 levels until January, when lawmakers expect to have a clearer picture of the effect of the pandemic on the state’s finances. The SCAC is working to ensure that state lawmakers are aware of losses suffered by arts providers and practitioners while we wait for the budget to be resolved.
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 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 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.