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Jason Rapp

Arts-forward school district superintendent honored

Green earns Superintendent of the Year title


The South Carolina Arts Commission congratulates Dr. J.R. Green, superintendent of Fairfield County School district, for being named the 2021 South Carolina School Superintendent of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.

Dr. J.R. Green headshotHis district is one of seven to receive the new, $18,000 District Arts Grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Within the district are two schools that are Arts in Basic Curriculum Project sites: Fairfield Central High School and Kelly Miller Elementary School. ABC Project sites first apply for the Arts in Basic Curriculum grant from the SCAC. If approved, they receive the grant and acceptance into the program, which is a partnership among the SCAC, South Carolina Dept. of Education, and Winthrop University.

Bonus #content: A list of FY21 grant award recipients is available here.

ALL4SC (website) has more on Green here:

Dr. J.R. Green understands more than most the need to transform education outside of schoolhouse walls. As the superintendent of the Fairfield County School District, Green’s mission is to work with and inspire young people while providing them with an education that forms the foundation of their future.

In recognition of his leadership, the South Carolina Association of School Administrators  recently named Green the 2021 South Carolina School Superintendent of the Year. SCASA gives the award annually to a district superintendent as a component of the National Superintendent of the Year program of the American Association of School Administrators.

William Frick, chair of the Fairfield County School Board, has had the opportunity to observe Green’s leadership as an educator and community builder. “Dr. Green talked about having a ‘culture change’ in the Fairfield County School District,” said Frick. “Our students graduate with two years of college as they graduate from high school, overall test scores are improving, and financially we are operating with a balanced budget.”

ALL4SC is partnering with the Fairfield County School District in a pilot project to begin prototyping a model for the transformation of education in South Carolina and the nation.

“J.R. is the quintessential exemplary school superintendent — leading with his values what matters most for children as well as leading by listening to and learning from others,” notes Barnett Berry, research professor and founding director of ALL4SC at the UofSC.

Green works closely with many education leaders, like ALL4SC, to increase academic and economic opportunity for his students and the overall community. “If we are really being forward thinking, we recognize that in order to change the trajectory of young people’s lives, we have to address more than what happens within the schoolhouse walls,” noted Green when asked about the need to address out-of-school factors in South Carolina. These opportunities are significant in accelerating advancement in his school community, as 90 percent of Fairfield County School District students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

A product of two parents who instilled the value of education in him, Green spent several years in education administration before becoming FCSD superintendent in 2012. He received his doctorate degree, two master's degrees and a bachelor’s degree from the UofSC. He currently serves on the State Board of Education and is a member of the Providence Health Board of Trustees and a director for the Midlands Education and Business Alliance.

Jason Rapp

Fairfield Central High’s ‘Theater Tech Team (T3)’ brings home title

Midlands school earns National Federation of High Schools award


The South Carolina High School League announced that its candidate for the 2020 NFHS Heart of the Arts Award, the Fairfield Central High T3 (Theatre Tech Team), has been selected by the NFHS Heart of the Arts Selection Committee to receive the NFHS Section 3 Heart of the Arts Award.

SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton states, “To say we are pleasantly surprised with yet another NFHS award is putting it mildly. We have had a banner year as far as national recognitions and, this being only our second arts centered nomination and winning the Section 3 title, it puts a bright light on a somewhat somber end to 2019-20 school year. We are truly proud of the Fairfield Central High students for their work on the T3 projects, especially a production as moving as A Pony and His Boy.”

Although the SCHSL is not an activities association, all states are encouraged to nominate their state’s best arts activities and projects. Last year, South Carolina won the national title with Beaufort High School’s theater club. There are only eight section award winners in the country each year.

"I am already so proud of the students, so to learn that their accomplishments were appreciated outside of the district was truly heartwarming. For the past three years these students have come together from such a variety of backgrounds and interests, from athletes to STEM Cohort members, from G&T Artistic identifications to students with special needs, they've worked as a team to bring important stories to the forefront in our community, and they’ve done it together," Fairfield County School District Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts Julianne Neal said. "Not only do they collaborate because they need to do that for a project, they truly care about one another and the stories that they are telling. As each of them moves toward graduation, whether they continue in an arts-based career or plan to enjoy the arts as a hobby or past-time, through the T3 program they know that their creativity and focus on important issues can make a difference in the world. I’m so very proud of every one of them."
Top photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels
Secondary photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Time to make hay

The first weekend in June is just days away, and that means it’s time for another arts festival in South Carolina. More low-key than its larger brethren, the Ag + Art Tour (Ag and Art Tour) continues to grow and in 2018 is spread throughout 12 counties. Ag + Art Tour is a free, self-guided tour of designated farms in South Carolina featuring local artisans and farmer's markets.  During this tour you will have the opportunity to see first-hand where your food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, dance to the melodies of bluegrass and folksongs, and learn more about rural life. It’s the largest free farm and art tour in the nation with more 30,000 visitors participating since it began in 2012. And it’s ready to, ahem, make hay for the next four weekends in the counties of:

  1. Chesterfield County (June 2-3)
  2. Darlington County
  3. Florence County
  4. Horry County
  5. Kershaw County
  6. Chester County (June 9-10)
  7. Lancaster County
  8. York County
  9. Fairfield County (June 16-17)
  10. Newberry County (June 23-24)
  11. Union County
  12. Spartanburg County
2018 Tour Times
  • Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays 1-5 p.m.
Once again, yes, admission is free, but there will likely be a charge to purchase food, beverages and a farmer’s and/or artisan’s products. Some activities may also have a cost. Head to the Ag + Art Tour website to begin plotting the course that works for you. (And do them a solid: don’t forget to use the hashtag #agandarttour in your social media posts.)

Kelly Miller Elementary to expand band and music offerings with instrument donation

From the Herald-Independent

Kelly Miller Elementary bandWINNSBORO – Kelly Miller Elementary School will soon receive several musical instruments, thanks to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which helps under-served schools that don’t have adequate funds to buy or repair instruments. An application for support was submitted by Kelly Miller Elementary School and the foundation found its program to be a worthwhile investment. “I am extremely grateful for the generous contribution from the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. At Kelly Miller Elementary, we believe that the arts will contribute significantly to our children’s intellectual and social development,” Principal Kathy Woodard said. Woodard thanked band teacher Vernon Huggins for taking the initiative to apply for the funds, Superintendent J. R. Green for his support and District Arts Coordinator Julianne Neal. “Learning music in school is a way to engage kids and give them something that makes them better students and better people,” said Felice Mancini, president and CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. “They deserve every tool available to help them receive a quality education, and we want to insure that music is in that toolbox.” The Kelly Miller band program began in August 2011 with 33 students in fifth and sixth grades combined. Over the course of the next three years, the band program took a progressive, fast-paced track to exhibit student talent and offers students more opportunities and experiences in instrumental music. Along with grant funding from the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, the band program has received donations through Donor’s Choose and through a grant from the S.C. Arts Commission and the Arts in the Basic Curriculum (ABC) project which serves the entire school for arts integration and arts classes. During the 2015-2016 school year, the band program will provide opportunities for approximately 150 students by offering classes in World Music, Percussion Ensemble, 3 Concert Bands, Marching Band, and Jazz Band. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation donates new and refurbished musical instruments to underserved schools in an effort to give youngsters the many benefits of music education, help them to be better students and inspire creativity and expression through playing music. The organization was inspired by the 1995 motion picture Mr. Holland’s Opus and founded by Michael Kamen, who composed the music for the movie and countless others. In the last 19 years, more than 18,000 new and refurbished instruments have been donated to more than 1,311 schools across the country. More information can be found at www.mhopus.org  

Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour adds Union County to lineup

On June 27 - 28, the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour will host its second regional tour introducing a fifth county -- Union County -- to the tour lineup.  Tours will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. While 2015 marks the second consecutive year for the regional tour, it serves as the fourth Ag + Art tour in the Catawba Region since launching in 2012. [caption id="attachment_20582" align="alignleft" width="250"]Ag+Art Tour Patricia Gambino Patrician Gambino of Clay Impressions demonstrates pottery making at Calvert Training Stables during a previous Ag+Art Tour of Lancaster County.[/caption] Already the largest free farm tour in the nation, the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour will be bigger than last year, stretching across five South Carolina counties: Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union and York. Adding Union County farms and artisans to this year’s event will offer more than 50 farm sites for visitors to enjoy. The Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour is a self-guided tour and features local artisans and farms throughout the Catawba Region. The tour gives visitors the opportunity to see where their food comes from, interact with artists, purchase their work, enjoy live entertainment, and learn about rural life. “The tour has received great feedback and most recently received the County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation," says Ben Boyles, co-chair of the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour.  "Gov. Nikki Haley also encourages all South Carolinians to learn more about our heritage and history through this event and other community events.” Last year, Gov. Haley proclaimed the week of the tour as the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour week. A few sites to see along the tour include Benford Brewing Company (Lancaster County), Catawba Cultural Preservation Center (York County), Elder Farms Family Homestead (Fairfield County), Fishing Creek Creamery (Chester County), Native American Studies Center and Garden (Lancaster County), Three Horse Milling Company (Union County), Rock Ridge Farm (York County), Royal Greens (Fairfield County), Simple Times Farm (Union County), and The Powell Farm (Chester County). Each county will host a kickoff event to introduce the featured farm sites and artisans in their communities. Kickoff events include a range of activities such as barbeque feasts, concerts, farmers markets and cooking demonstrations by local chefs using local fresh produce. County kickoff events are scheduled as follows:

  • 2015 Chester County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 23, 6 – 8 p.m. in downtown Chester at the Market Building (116 Columbia St., Chester)
  • 2015 Fairfield County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 25, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at the Mission Ridge Training and Golf Retreat in Winnsboro (601 S. Congress St., Winnsboro)
  • 2015 Lancaster County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 26, 7 – 11:30 p.m. at the Historic Lancaster County Courthouse (104 N. Main St., Lancaster)
  • 2015 Union County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 19, 6 – 9 p.m. in the 116th block of Main St. in Union near the Union County Arts Council
  • 2015 York County Ag + Art Tour Kickoff on June 11, 5 – 8 p.m. during the Old Town Farmers Market in Rock Hill (115 Caldwell St., Rock Hill)
Catawba Regional Ag +Art Tour About the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour The first Ag + Art Tour started in 2012 in York County as a way to merge agriculture and art. York County hosted a total of 3,000 visitors in 2012. The tour expanded to include Lancaster County in 2013 with 6,000 total visitors, and added its third and fourth counties to include Chester and Fairfield in 2014 with a total of 8,000 attendees for the entire tour. The tour is coordinated by a regional leadership team and county-level planning teams that are coordinated by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and the Olde English District Tourism Commission. Partner organizations include economic development, chamber of commerce, tourism bureau, farm and artisan organizations, education and extension office, arts councils and community volunteers. For more information on the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour, contact Ben Boyles at 803-981-3021 or visit www.AgandArtTour.com for details. Image above: Dianne Mahaffee's Fine Art & Clay Studio in Lancaster County will demonstrate pottery and painting and host a clay turtle workshop for children. Via: Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour

Ag + Art Tour features artists and farms in four S.C. counties

ag + art greenhouseThe Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour is a free, self-guided tour of South Carolina's Catawba region farms featuring local artisans and farmer's markets. Visitors can see first-hand where their food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, dance to the melodies of bluegrass and folk songs, and learn more about rural life. This year's event takes place June 21-22 in York, Lancaster, Fairfield and Chester counties, and according to event organizers, is the largest free farm tour in the nation. The kick-off event takes place June 3 at 2 p.m. at the Gateway in Richburg, S.C., and features more than 20 farmers and artisans participating in the tour. State officials scheduled to speak during the kick-off include Hugh Weathers, commissioner of agriculture; Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Ken May, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission; and George Patrick, deputy secretary for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. A list of participating farms and artisans and tips for planning your tour are available on the Ag + Art Tour website. Founded in York County in 2012, the Ag + Art Tour expanded into Lancaster County in 2013 with Chester and Fairfield counties joining in for 2014. More than 8,900 visitors participated in the Ag + Art Tours in 2012 and 2013. Via: Ag + Art Tour  

City of Lancaster awarded $50,000 grant for arts feasibility study

According to the Lancaster News, the city of Lancaster will receive a $50,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of developing an arts incubator.

The city of Lancaster is getting several thousands of dollars to see if the area can support what’s being called an arts business incubator. At its Aug. 13 meeting, City Council voted unanimously to accept a $50,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The money is going toward a feasibility study regarding the incubator. Such a facility would provide artists and artisans throughout the region a place to create their goods. Food entrepreneurs would be able to use the site to produce and distribute their goods, as well. The city had applied for a $75,000 grant for the study. “It’s only going to be $50,000, but we’ll take it,” Teresa Meeks, the city’s support services director, said of the amount awarded. “We’re happy with that.” If created, the incubator would target municipalities and communities in Chester, Fairfield and Lancaster counties. A timeline projection calls for the project to go out for bids in late 2013, with work being completed in 2014. “The increased income and availability of local products would encourage more artists and craftspeople to stay in the region and to become economically viable small businesses,” city staff wrote in the grant application. “Because availability of local products is a top tourism interest, the region would gain from increased tourism as well.”
Via: The Lancaster News

Milly

Midlands writers! Deadline extended for anthology submissions

Muddy Ford Press is looking for a few more poems, essays or short fiction to finish up the anthology, A Sense of the Midlands. The deadline has been extended -- you now have until Oct. 15 at midnight. Call for submissions details Muddy Ford Press is accepting submissions of poetry, essays, and short fiction exploring the sensory world of the South Carolina Midlands for an anthology titled A Sense of the Midlands. Submissions should deal with how the sensory experiences (taste, touch, sight, sound and smell) of living in the South Carolina Midlands grounds, changes, challenges and enriches us. Submission is open to residents of Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Fairfield, Calhoun, Saluda, Orangeburg, and Kershaw counties.

  • Short fiction – no more than 2,500 words
  • Essays – no more than 1,200 words
  • Poetry – no more than 5 pages
Submit in a standard 12 pt. Word document to Publisher@MuddyFordPress.com and include a cover sheet with your name, address, email, phone and the title of your work. A little more information is available on the Jasper Magazine website. Questions? Contact editor@JasperMagazine.com Via: Jasper Magazine