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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

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.

Submitted material

Major new funding initiative to illuminate underrepresented narratives

Foundation's grants to fund Lowcountry collections

Application deadline: Friday, March 26, 2021

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (the Foundation) announced the launch of a major new collections funding initiative to help museums, libraries, and other collecting organizations bring forward new and recovered narratives within its two geographies: Chicago and the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

The Foundation has allocated $750,000 for grants to organizations whose collections illustrate BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences, as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints. Emerging, compelling, underrepresented perspectives reflective of collections in the areas of science, public health and the natural world also are eligible. Any Chicago or Lowcountry based non-profit organization with a relevant collection is encouraged to learn more about the strategy at gddf.org. The first deadline for applications is March 26, 2021. Collections traditionally have ensured that stories are preserved, added to, revisited, and reconsidered in context of the past, the present, and the future. Some narratives, however, have been less valued or overlooked because of decisions based—consciously or subconsciously—on race, gender, sexual identity, educational background, economic or social status, or because they are perceived to be unpopular, divisive or outside the conventional thinking of the day. This new funding initiative is designed to be part of a new way forward in collections thinking as it shifts focus from the care and processing of material objects to the telling of broader and more inclusive narratives and perspectives through collections. “The launch of this ‘broadening narratives’ initiative arrives serendipitously as our country faces a historic moment of social justice reawakening and a compelling need for these trusted institutions to engage with the public on science-based realities, whether Covid-19 or climate change,” said David Farren, executive director of the Foundation. “With this new strategy, we will recognize and be responsive to the emerging opportunities, challenges, and narratives of both the Lowcountry and Chicago regions.” Chicago’s broad tapestry of ethnic groups is reflective of the city’s industrial and commercial history and the immigration and migration it sparked, while the Lowcountry’s history is rooted in the country’s oldest experiences of race and power. Applicants for the new funding will be asked to demonstrate how the proposed effort may add to these regional narratives and amplify overlooked voices and perspectives from the past, contribute to a better informed present, or lead to a more inclusive, sustainable and healthier future.
An organization will be eligible to apply as long as collections are a significant part of their mission—though it need not be their primary mission—and they have resources dedicated to the ongoing care, management, and sharing of the collection. Those who work with the collections may include creatives, individual artists, curators, historians, teachers, social activists, researchers, scientists, and more, though grants will be made only to organizations. For over three years, the Foundation has convened five advisory groups to assist with the formation of this new funding initiative by providing important feedback, keeping the Foundation apprised of trends in the field, and serving as valuable connectors and conveners. The groups include Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Chicago Collections Consortium, Chicago Cultural Alliance, the College of Charleston’s Lowcountry Digital Library, and the Southeastern Museums Conference. “Working with the Foundation on this strategy has highlighted the value of collaboration and deliberation among diverse collections organizations and their potential to amplify marginalized voices,” said Marcia Walker-McWilliams, executive director of Black Metropolis Research Consortium. “There is an urgent need for more inclusive and informed spaces of engagement within the field. We have worked tirelessly to discover where this new initiative is needed most, and are eager to carry those discoveries into the next phase with our fellow advisory groups and the Foundation.” “The opportunity to work with Donnelley Foundation staff and a diverse group of professionals who shared a common passion for arts, culture, preservation and inclusive narratives was truly rewarding. The conversation, camaraderie, equity and acceptance of all voices among our working group helped define the 'broadening narratives' strategy,” said Zinnia Willits, executive director, Southeastern Museums Conference. “As a museum professional, my own concept of collection preservation was expanded by this initiative as the process evolved to place collection care in a much broader context. I am excited to see how institutions reconsider the art and artifacts they hold and develop projects that offer opportunities to reveal untold histories that deserve to be shared broadly, create connections between museums and the communities they serve and develop lasting connections and intentional communities of practice among those who have the great privilege to preserve, protect and amplify these diverse histories.”

Jason Rapp

Marketing arts orgs through, beyond COVID

Best practices webinars start next week


Along the lines of its concurrent webinar series on organizational fiscal sustainability, the South Carolina Arts Alliance has another lined up to benefit groups it serves.

In partnership with Greenville marketing and web firm Engenius, yesterday they announced another free webinar series for arts organizations focused on marketing best practices as arts organizations move through and beyond the pandemic. The webinars are useful for arts organizations of all sizes, but the SCAA says on its website that small to medium organizations might find the most benefit. Details and registration links are below for each webinar. Like the financial webinar series, the marketing series is free thanks to funding from S.C. Arts Alliance partners the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and S.C. Arts Commission.

Session topics and dates

  1. Marketing When Closed: How to Keep Attendees Engaged
    • Thursday, May 14
    • 2 p.m.
  2. Communicating Once You’re Open: How to Speak to Different Audience Groups
    • Thursday, May 21
    • 2 p.m.
Details on these topics and registration are available by clicking here.

David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET


This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.  

Jason Rapp

Video training for arts orgs announced

Getting ready to move beyond COVID-19


The South Carolina Arts Alliance and funding partners the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and S.C. Arts Commission are announcing a free webinar series for arts organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond the coronavirus. As our state begins to slowly turn back “on” local economies, arts organizations are left wondering how they can prioritize fiscal sustainability through the continuing economic crisis, all the way through to being prepared for events that may have similar impacts in the future. The SCAA engaged FMA Consultants, a leading nonprofit financial consulting firm, to conduct a two-part webinar series for arts groups across the state.
  • There is no charge to the organization thanks to the funding partners.
  • Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice.
  • Space will be limited to 50-60 participants per webinar to allow for manageable groups and Q&A.
Details and registration links are below for each webinar.

Session topics and dates

  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty
    • Wednesday, April 29 | 2:30 p.m.
    • or Tuesday, May 5 | 2 p.m.
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning
    • Tuesday, May 12 | 1 p.m.
    • or Friday, May 15 | 1 p.m.
Learn more and register for these opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.

Small-group financial management training for small arts orgs

Retooled, rebooted, and ready to help

Application deadline: Friday, December 13, 2019
(Ed. note: A version of this post originally ran in June, but scheduling conflicts with many of the groups ultimately caused the training to be canceled. The presenting partners, undaunted, are rebooting the process and trying to start round 2 again.) Yes, we help provide arts education opportunities. Yes, we help artists make sustainable arts careers. And yes, we also serve as a resource to strengthen community arts groups: your local theatre, dance company, orchestra, and the like. To that end, the S.C. Arts Commission is partnering with the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Alliance (which advocates for all the things mentioned above, and more, in the halls of power in Columbia and Washington) to present the second iteration of "A Stronger Bottom Line," a small-group cohort of small arts organizations getting unparalleled, tailored financial management training specific to the arts. The idea is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization's financial operations. But don't take our word for it. Here's what some participants from the first cohort had to say:

“What a productive and informative program.  I learned a great deal and am extremely confident that I can now provide a more thorough and necessary financial oversight and guidance for my organization. This program is immensely insightful. I wish everyone could have this opportunity.” - Footlight Players

“The SC Arts Alliance benefited greatly from this training. Our staff and board feel more confident in our ability to tell our financial story in a way that is transparent, meaningful, and useful. We highly recommend this training.” - S.C. Arts Alliance

This training is conducted by FMA Consultants. Here's who is eligible:
  • Only nonprofit grantees of the Donnelley Foundation and/or the S.C. Arts Commission.
  • Budget size < $1 million
  • Attendance by the executive director, plus lead finance staff or appropriate board member is required for each session. Commitment must be made with application.

Find out more and apply by going here.

 

Take 2: Want ‘A Stronger Bottom Line’ for your org?

The S.C. Arts Alliance can help

Application deadline: Friday, June 21, 2019
Yes, we help provide arts education opportunities. Yes, we help artists make sustainable arts careers. And yes, we also serve as a resource to strengthen community arts groups: your local theatre, dance company, orchestra, and the like. To that end, the S.C. Arts Commission is partnering with the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Alliance (which advocates for all the things mentioned above, and more, in the halls of power in Columbia and Washington) to present the second iteration of "A Stronger Bottom Line," a small-group cohort of small arts organizations getting unparalleled, tailored financial management training specific to the arts. The idea is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization's financial operations. But don't take our word for it. Here's what some participants from the first cohort had to say:

“What a productive and informative program.  I learned a great deal and am extremely confident that I can now provide a more thorough and necessary financial oversight and guidance for my organization. This program is immensely insightful. I wish everyone could have this opportunity.” - Footlight Players

“The SC Arts Alliance benefited greatly from this training. Our staff and board feel more confident in our ability to tell our financial story in a way that is transparent, meaningful, and useful. We highly recommend this training.” - S.C. Arts Alliance

This training is conducted by FMA Consultants. Here's who is eligible:
  • Only nonprofit grantees of the Donnelley Foundation and/or the S.C. Arts Commission.
  • Budget size < $750k
  • Attendance by the executive director, plus lead finance staff or appropriate board member is required for each session. Commitment must be made with application.

Find out more and apply by going here.

 

Tuning Up: Music, money, and more

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...


An exhibition for the birds. "If you're gonna do it, do it right," notable bird sculptor and South Carolina artist Grainger McKoy told the Wilmington Star News ahead of his new solo retrospective at the city's Cameron Art Museum. (You won't believe to what he was referring. - Ed.) Recovery in Flight runs through Feb. 17, 2019. Hours and admission vary. Florence Symphony goes platinum. The orchestra's 70th season begins tonight at the FMU Performing Arts Center. Barber, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, and (Johann) Strauss (II) are on the program. 7:30 p.m. $25-$42. Get jazzed for the weekend. Staying with the music in the Pee Dee theme, more than 20 regional musical artists from the Carolinas will perform in an eclectic collection of venues during the South Carolina Jazz Festival in Cheraw this coming weekend. (Yes, we are gazing ahead longingly.) Dizzy Gillespie's hometown invites you to enjoy a multitude of things, including a parade, 5K, golf tournament, and lots and lots of jazz. Oct. 19-21. Weekend passes for $50. A NASAA nod to the SCAC. And staying with the blowing of horns theme (RIP, Dizzy), the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, gave a shoutout to a new partnership program from the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, S.C. Arts Alliance, and the S.C. Arts Commission you might remember us mentioning this summer: A Stronger Bottom Line. If you don't remember, the first cohort of nonprofit arts organizations from around the state is receiving financial management training as a result of the partnership.

Tuning Up: A two-act play about arts funding and bookkeeping

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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...


ACT ONE: Arts Funding Update

NEWSREADER (downstage, alone, follow spot only - no stage/house lighting) (serious)

We're getting late word of an arts funding update. (Beat. Touches earpiece as if listening to producer). YES! Yesterday, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a state budget on recommendation from the conference committee. The House voted 84-28 in favor, and the Senate 30-9. The adopted budget includes an additional $350,000 the House included in March and $100,000 the Senate added for arts education. The budget has gone to Governor McMaster to sign, veto, or use his line-item veto power to strike portions he doesn't like.

AUDIENCE, off-stage (gasps)

But his vetoes!

NEWSREADER (reassuring)

Arts leaders are cautiously optimistic that the funding will remain as passed. A decision by the governor is expected next week. He has five business days, excluding Sunday and the July Fourth holiday to respond. (Follow spot fades. Newsreader exits. A spontaneous candlelight vigil begins in audience.)

(Intermission)

ACT TWO: ICYMI: A Stronger Bottom Line.

GP MCLEER (in toga, enthusiastically - a soliloquy)

OYEZ! OYEZ! The S.C. Arts Alliance – with funding help provided by the SCAC and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation – is announcing a new training program to help organizations and their leadership teams become even stronger in financial management. It is open to all SCAC organizational grantees with budgets between $200,000-$750,000. This program will provide participating organizations with tailored assistance to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of financial operations. And while it's valued at $3,500 per organization, thanks to the funding assistance mentioned above it is available (lean in, with emphasis) for just $200. All training takes place in Charleston. It is an exceptional resource for those who need it, and many do. Find out more now!