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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

CARES Act funding announced for 7 S.C. NEA grantees

Awards total $350,000


Washington — The National Endowment for the Arts announces the nonprofit arts organizations recommended for direct funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These 855 organizations—located in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—will receive a total of $44.5 million in nonmatching funds to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs.

Grants of $50,000 are offered to 846 organizations while nine local arts agencies will receive $250,000 each to further award to arts organizations in their area. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 3,100 eligible applications requesting $157 million for the $45 million available in direct assistance. To review the applications, the agency used more than 200 application readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria.

“All of us at the National Endowment for the Arts are keenly aware that arts organizations across the country are hurting, struggling, and trying to survive and that our supply of funding does not come close to meeting the demand for assistance,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “That said, I am enormously proud of the over-and-above efforts of the Arts Endowment staff to swiftly and professionally manage such a large amount of additional work in a relatively short period of time on behalf of the American public.”


These awardees represent the diverse nature of arts organizations around the country. Overall funding is divided nearly evenly between small, medium, and large arts organizations. Also, 18% went to organizations either in rural (non-metro) areas or in metro areas with populations below 250,000.

Seven NEA grantees in South Carolina received $50,000 grants each. They are:
  • Aiken Music Festival (Joye in Aiken) - Aiken
  • Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County - Camden
  • Spoleto Festival USA - Charleston
  • Columbia Film Society - Columbia
  • Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art - Pawleys Island
  • Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM) - Pickens
  • Hub City Writers Project - Spartanburg
  • View the full list of nationwide recipients by clicking here.

In April, the agency announced the distribution of the required 40 percent of the CARES Act’s $75 million appropriation to the state and regional arts agencies for their granting programs. Each agency has its own process and timeline for awarding those funds, however, the Arts Endowment anticipates that together those entities will make between 4,200 and 5,600 awards.

From the beginning, the Arts Endowment has pursued both speed in making awards, and maintaining the agency’s reputation for organizational excellence. Just 12 days after President Trump signed the CARES Act legislation, the Arts Endowment posted guidelines for direct funding applicants. In less than three weeks, the agency had announced awards to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. This press release marks less than 14 weeks since the legislation was made into law.

Arts and culture are a key component of the U.S. economy that contribute $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2017 and employ over 5 million wage‐and‐salary workers who collectively earned $405 billion. This funding will help support those jobs and those nonprofit organizations during this time of great need so that arts and culture will persevere as a significant contributor to the American economy.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Tuning Up: SCAC fellow’s new play to debut + Camden gallery’s season opens

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...


SCAC fellowship recipient to debut new play. “Boy About Ten” will debut Aug. 17 and run until Aug. 25 on the Thigpen Main Stage at Columbia’s Trustus Theatre. It is playwright Dr. Jon Tuttle's sixth world premier at Trustus, where he is resident playwright. Tuttle received the SCAC's fellowship for playwriting in 2000. Read more on "Boy About Ten" and Tuttle from the Morning News/SC Now. Bassett Gallery opens new season. "Tuning Up" is happy for a quick check-in just up U.S. 1 in Camden, where grantee the Fine Arts Center is set to open the 2018/2019 Bassett Gallery season on Thursday night. Camden artist Dot Goodwin's exhibition "Life with HeART" is first up. Spartanburg 1 touts ABC Project grants. Spartanburg School District 1 scored the largest percentage of ABC — Arts in Basic Curriculum — grant funding of any district in the state, according to the Herald-Journal. The total amount headed to the district is $67,000 distributed among seven district schools. Thanks for promoting your grant!
[caption id="attachment_34666" align="alignright" width="251"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption] ICYMI: Calling all potters! The Macon (Ga.) Arts Alliance would like to share with you Fired Works 2019 Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale featuring 60 potters from Georgia and the Southeast to be held April 5-14, 2019 in ... Macon, Georgia. The entry fee and exhibition are free to the exhibitors. Get, ahem, fired up! Hard details here. Let's show them what #SCArtists can do! (The deadline is Dec. 1, so we'll remind you once or twice between now and then.)

Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County seeking executive director

Application deadline: August 21 The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, located in historic Camden, S.C., is a 501-c-3 nonprofit performing arts center serving Kershaw County as a cultural center for entertainment and education in the performing and visual arts. Founded in 1974, the campus has three main buildings: The Bassett Building with a 284-seat auditorium and smaller black box, performing arts wing; The Daniels Education Building (studios, classrooms); and the historic Douglas-Reed House. The executive director provides overall artistic and administrative leadership and is responsible for achieving the Center’s goals for artistic excellence, audience development, fundraising, sponsorship and business relations development, financial sustainability, and community engagement. The director sets the artistic vision, including the selection of performances, artists, and other creative and educational programming. The position is a full-time, salaried position with a competitive compensation package. The director’s duties include, but are not limited to, hiring and managing employees and contractors, fundraising and development strategies and implementation, and budget management, as well as developing the season of performances and programs. The candidate should have excellent written and oral communications, interpersonal and customer service skills, and a strong ability to multi-task with organizational skills, as well as knowledge and proficiency in computer and social media skills. He/she should be able to exhibit strategic thinking, diplomacy, flexibility, and creativity. Applicants should submit resume/vita to include qualifications and experience. Apply by e-mail or by mail:

  • fackcsearch@gmail.com (application must be received by 11:59 pm August 21)
  • The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County E.D. Search 1201 Lyttleton Street Camden SC 29021 (mailed applications must be postmarked by August 21.)
Position will remain open until filled.

Arts Arising Summer Program in 25th year at Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County

Arts ArisingThe Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) is producing the 25th year of the Arts Arising Summer Program, which began in 1988 through a partnership with the Kershaw County School District. Third through sixth grade students identified as gifted or talented in visual art, music, drama and dance audition for the program. Since its inception, Arts Arising has reached more than  2,900 students in the community. This year, more than 120 children from Kershaw County schools are participating. During the month of June, students spend two to four weeks on the campus of the Fine Arts Center, where the depth of instruction and an atmosphere of total arts immersion define each day. Third-grade students stay two weeks and perform a showcase their last day. Older students continue several more weeks and write, produce, and perform a showcase at the end of the month for parents and family members. Comprehensive classes in the students’ strong arts areas are coupled with interdisciplinary classes and daily performances by, and discussions with, visiting professional artists. Curricula materials stress advanced understanding, skills, and knowledge in the arts, as well as an exploration of the many roles of the artist: critic, historian, aesthetician, producer and performer. Arts Arising students are provided the opportunity to:

  • expand knowledge, technique, and practice in a chosen art form.
  • study art forms and their common elements and principles in a variety of disciplines.
  • experience first-hand the work of professional artists.
  • refine problem-solving and self-evaluation skills through self-discovery, experimentation and research.
  • express feelings, moods, problems, and solutions verbally, in writing, and through various modes of artistic expression.
"The Arts Arising program provides excellent arts opportunities for our artistically gifted students every summer. Participation in the program is highly sought year after year because of the quality of the programming,” said Dr. Alisa Taylor, Kershaw County School District executive director for K-12 Instructional Support Systems. “This unique model for serving artistically gifted students serves to educate our students about the arts and culture, instills a love of the arts, and encourages students to develop skills that can benefit them throughout a lifetime." Jami Steele, director of education and theatre for the Fine Arts Center, says she is always impressed with how intelligent and inquiring the students are. "Our visiting artists, professionals in their craft, often comment on the high level of artistic knowledge that our students display when questioning the artists about their performance and their area of expertise,” she said. The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is located at 810 Lyttleton Street in Camden.  Office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information, call (803) 425-7676, extension 300, or visit the FAC website at www.fineartscenter.org. The Fine Arts Center is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals. Via: Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County

Artist spotlight: Claire Bryant – cellist, teacher, advocate

clairebryantSouth Carolina is well-represented by successful artists who were born or raised here but who now live beyond the state's borders. Cellist Claire Bryant, based in New York City, is one artist who maintains close ties with her birthplace as a musician and educator. Bryant performs Nov. 20 in a homecoming recital at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (details available on the FAC website.) Here's an excerpt from Bryant's bio. Find out more about her on her website.

New York City-based cellist Claire Bryant enjoys an active and diverse career as a leading performer of chamber music, contemporary music, and the solo cello repertoire in premiere venues such as Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Suntory Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Barbican Centre. Bryant is a founding member of the acclaimed chamber music collective, Decoda - an Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, and is the principal cellist of Trinity Wall Street’s chamber orchestra, Novus N.Y. Bryant is a frequent guest artist with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Band and Ensemble ACJW, of which she is an alumna. Bryant has appeared as a soloist with orchestras from South Carolina to California and from Honduras to Finland performing concertos of Haydn, Elgar, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Vivaldi, among others, and appears frequently at festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Bryant is equally engaged as an educator and advocate for inclusive arts in society. Her international body of work in these areas was recognized in 2010 with The Robert Sherman Award for outstanding innovation in community outreach and music education by the McGraw Hill Companies.  In 2009, she founded a community residency project through chamber music in her native South Carolina called “"Claire Bryant and Friends.”" This endeavor brings world-class artists to communities for weeklong residencies which go beyond the concert hall - bringing engaging pedagogy and performances into the public schools, advocacy forums supporting arts education, and community concerts and creative projects in diverse and innovative venues including hospitals, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.

She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She was in the pilot class of The Academy -- A Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and Weill Music Institute and served as an assistant faculty for Professor Bonnie Hampton at The Juilliard School from 2007 –to 2012.

Photo of Claire Bryant by Caroline Bittencourt Fotografia