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Arts Grow SC to expand, first executive director named

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE A woman is smiling, Headline reads "Breaking News"

The South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Department of Education announce the expansion of Arts Grow SC as a permanent fixture in the state’s arts learning landscape.

Arts Grow SC began in July 2021 as a three-year partnership between the South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Arts Commission to use ARP ESSER funds to help public schools address pandemic-related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives. This landmark investment of $20 million allows a professional team and a network of partners to help schools and teachers fill learning loss gaps, use arts integration to remediate core subject areas,​ and provide summer and afterschool learning opportunities.​ This newly announced expansion establishes Arts Grow SC as a permanent part of the arts learning community. It will utilize a collective impact model, with the SCAC serving as the backbone for the work. This approach brings greater sustainability: building on the strengths of the SCDE, the SCAC, partnering organizations, schools, and districts. The collective impact model will activate existing education consortiums, shared-resource school districts, and newly identified hubs in areas not currently being served. These hubs will enable statewide programs and services. The flagship physical location for a more permanent Arts Grow SC will be the Spearman Center for Arts Innovation, located in Columbia at 1026 Sumter Street. Named for former music teacher and current state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, the Spearman Center will provide:
  • direct programs
  • professional learning
  • events
  • resource distribution
  • exhibitions
SCAC Deputy Director Ashley Brown has been appointed executive director of Arts Grow SC and the Spearman Center for Arts Innovation. Brown has served throughout the Southeast as a nonprofit and higher education administrator, public school teacher, stage manager, teaching artist, and director. She received her bachelor of arts in theatre from Winthrop University and her Master of Fine Art in theatre management from Florida State University.
Current Arts Grow SC partners include:
  • the Arts in Basic Curriculum Institute;
  • Engaging Creative Minds;
  • S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities;
  • ArtsNOW;
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Crescent Region;
  • S.C. Educational Television;
  • S.C. Arts Alliance;
  • Palmetto State Arts Education;
  • Education Commission of the States/Arts Education Partnerships;
  • and the Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Center at the University of South Carolina. 
“In just a year we have rallied a statewide network to use the arts to address COVID-19 related learning loss. Using a collective impact model, Arts Grow SC and the Spearman Center for Arts Innovation will work to ensure every student in South Carolina has access to quality arts education and experiences," Brown said. "I can’t think of a better way to honor the legacy of Superintendent Spearman and all she has done for the arts in South Carolina.” “I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact that the arts can have on student engagement and academic achievement,” Spearman remarked. “Throughout my career in public education, I have strived to bring these opportunities to all students across our state and am so honored that the South Carolina Arts Commission has chosen to name this center after me. I look forward to seeing the innovative practices and programs that this center will grow and support.” “This is an exciting time for the arts in South Carolina,” said SCAC Executive Director David Platts. “Building on the strong foundation of existing partnerships across the state, Arts Grow SC stands as a model of how we, as state agencies, can work together with local consortia, organizations and school districts to help students most directly impacted by COVID recover and position themselves for future academic success.  I can think of no more fitting tribute to Superintendent Spearman, whose life and career have been dedicated to turning challenges into opportunities in order to better serve students from all over South Carolina.”
While Arts Grow SC programs, grants, and professional learning opportunities are already taking place, the SCAC hopes to site work on the Spearman Center for Arts Innovation in the coming year. To learn more about Arts Grow SC, visit ArtsGrowSC.org.
South Carolina Arts Commission News Release, Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899

Margot Lane Strasburger

Arts learning partnership announces name, website

 


for immediate release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – “Arts Grow SC” is the name of the three-year, $20 million partnership to address pandemic-related learning loss announced in June by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE).

Arts Grow SC was established to help public schools throughout the state address pandemic related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives. Though managed by the SCAC, the program has its own logo and this week officially launched its website: https://artsgrowsc.org/. There, interested educators, parents, and other stakeholders can subscribe to its newsletter. “The South Carolina Arts Commission is extremely proud to take this next step in the life of arts education in South Carolina. ArtsGrowSC is uniting dedicated partners who have a wealth of experience in arts instruction and in integrating the arts across other instructional areas” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “Generous funding from the South Carolina Department of Education is allowing more teachers, administrators, districts, artists, and community partners to plug in to this unprecedented work than ever before.” This past spring, leadership from the SCAC proposed to assist SCDE in addressing pandemic-related learning loss with a creative pathway—rooted in innovation and evidence-based practices—that the arts are equipped to provide. Funding was requested to allow the SCAC’s team of professionals and network of partners to:
  • help schools and teachers fill learning loss gaps in the arts,
  • use arts integration to remediate core subject areas,
  • and provide summer and afterschool learning opportunities that leverage the arts in schools throughout the state.
The SCDE approved $20 million for the SCAC to implement its plan, now known as Arts Grow SC, over the course of the next three years. To realize its classroom-based goals, the SCAC will rely on its partners at the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project, which currently serves about 44,000 students in 74 schools and has been cooperatively led for more than 30 years by the SCAC, SCDE, and Winthrop University. In addition, the SCAC will expand existing pilot projects with the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities in Greenville and Engaging Creative Minds in Charleston and will offer grant and programming opportunities for arts education providers across the state. Further information is available on ArtsGrowSC.org and by emailing info@artsgrowsc.org.

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 Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.

Jason Rapp

$20 million partnership to expand S.C. arts learning initiatives

SCAC, S.C. Dept. of Education make landmark announcement

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Photo of elementary-aged students and their teachers doing projects in an arts classroom. An Arts in Basic Curriculum Project site classroom. SCAC file photo.[/caption]
For Immediate Release

A $20 million partnership announced today by the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina Arts Commission will help public schools throughout the state address pandemic related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives.

The American Rescue Plan, passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law March 11, 2021 by President Biden, included $121.9 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ARP ESSER), that has been administered through the U.S. Department of Education to state educational agencies. The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) is set to receive $2.1 billion in ARP ESSER funds to help South Carolina’s public schools address the impact that COVID-19 has and continues to have on students, families, educators, and school communities. Ninety percent of these funds will flow through to school districts with amounts determined in proportion to the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in Summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The remaining funds, which amount to $211,205,148 are to be used for state-level activities to address learning loss, summer enrichment programs, and comprehensive after school programs. The SCDE solicited public input on the use of these funds and the needs that the state should address in its ARP ESSER plan which was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on June 18, 2021. Leadership from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) proposed to SCDE a creative pathway—rooted in innovation and evidence-based practices—that the arts are equipped to provide. Funding was requested to allow the SCAC’s team of professionals and network of partners to:
  • help schools and teachers fill learning loss gaps in the arts,
  • use arts integration to remediate core subject areas,
  • and provide summer and afterschool learning opportunities that leverage the arts in schools throughout the state.
The SCDE approved $20 million for the SCAC to implement its plan over the course of the next three years. “As a longtime music teacher, I have seen firsthand the impact that arts education can have on students,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “The arts have a unique ability to engage students of diverse backgrounds across all subject areas which makes this initiative well suited for the receipt of these funds.” “The South Carolina Arts Commission is confident in its ability to put this funding to use right away to equitably impact learning using the arts,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “Our team of professionals manages existing programs, partnerships, and grant-making infrastructure for this work, which includes federal and state reporting for accountability. ARP ESSER funding from the SCDE will enable expedient and effective scaling with various arts education partners on the local, state, and national levels.” Programmatic focus areas of the SCAC’s plan include:
  • Arts integration
  • Arts in early childhood
  • Arts industry certification credentials for high school students, building on existing vocational training programs
To realize its classroom-based goals, the SCAC will rely on its partners at the Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project, which currently serves about 44,000 students in 74 schools and has been cooperatively led for more than 30 years by the SCAC, SCDE, and Winthrop University. The ARP ESSER funding will facilitate scaling the program to:
  • increase access to quality arts education (targeting underserved communities)
  • develop arts-rich learning environments
  • build, restore, expand, and support infrastructure for arts learning at the district level
  • research and develop new and innovative instructional practices.
“We have a couple of years’ worth of recent Gallup Organization research looking at South Carolina’s arts-rich schools. It repeatedly shows a link between arts-rich learning and student hope and engagement. We have dreamed about having the kind of funding that would enable expansion to all communities throughout the state,” SCAC Board Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. In addition to building on the work of the ABC Project, the Arts Commission will expand existing pilot projects with the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities in Greenville and Engaging Creative Minds in Charleston, and will offer grant and programming opportunities for arts education providers across the state. “Arts and creativity are critical to achieving the knowledge, skills, and characteristics outlined by the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. We are excited to work with grantees, statewide partners in arts education, and other arts providers to ensure equitable access to learning in and through the arts,” Platts said. “This partnership fully supports our mission to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina.” The SCAC is working now to release information on grant guidelines, research to support evidence-based practices, partnership and professional learning opportunities, and more in coming weeks. Starting in July, these resources will be available at www.abcprojectsc.com.

Jason Rapp