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S.C. Arts Alliance begins search for new leader

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, June 6, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET Advocacy Day 2016

Founded in 1979, the S.C. Arts Alliance is the only statewide arts service organization in South Carolina and focuses on advocacy (above), leadership development, and public awareness for the arts industry.

The leading advocacy organization in the state for the arts, the SCAA has a long history of successful efforts to increase public support for the arts and arts education at the state and federal level. Additionally, the organization convenes the industry throughout the year with trainings, workshops, and networking events. It also communicates the public value of the arts to the general public through various means such as online content, public forums, and more. In April, GP McLeer announced that he would step down after six years as executive director this month. The search for a new leader officially began today. Keep reading for important information.

About the position

The executive director will become the third individual to fulfill this full-time role in the organization’s 40+ year history. Working with a board of 35+ individuals across the state, the ED is critical to the operations and successful implementation of programs for the organization. Acting as the organization’s only employee, the ED is responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s operations, programs, and planning. The ED should be able to efficiently and effectively manage several projects and priorities at any given time with professionalism and accuracy. Being the public face for the organization, and at times, the entire South Carolina arts industry - including in front of elected officials at the local, state, and federal level - the ED should be affable and approachable. An ability to navigate political environments with ease and surety is a must, as well as an interest in perfecting their ability to do so. Above all, the ED should show keen interest in the health, success, and future of the creative industry in South Carolina and demonstrate a passion for serving creative professionals in communities of all sizes.

General responsibilities

The executive director of the SCAA will develop and administer the overall operations of the SCAA in fulfillment of the organization's mission to advance the arts for all South Carolinians through advocacy, leadership development, and public awareness—in accordance with the plans and policies set forth by the SCAA board of directors. The ED is employed by and reports to the resident of the SCAA; the executive committee, as deemed appropriate; and is accountable to the full board for overall management and coordination of the SCAA’s activities, services, grant contracts, and any office facilities.


  • Oversee and coordinate with the president, the various activities of the board of directors and their committees.
  • Assist the president in coordinating board meetings, planning agendas—including logistics and communications—and the planning and implementation of an annual work plan and long-term strategic plans.


  • Provide central administration for all projects, activities and day-to-day operations of the SCAA organization and office.
  • Manage all budgeting, reporting, and compliance requirements.
  • Initiate accounting procedures in compliance with accepted standards and accountability measures, along with the Treasurer and bookkeeper.
  • Manage all grant writing, reporting, and funder relationships.
  • Negotiate and execute all legal documents, such as insurance needs, renewal of annual registration with the Secretary of State, and audit and tax filing services.
  • Manage all correspondence and communications including the SCAA website, newsletters, social media, and other outlets.


  • Coordinate all leadership development efforts, providing services and information to the artists, organizations, statewide associations, and arts educators.
  • Monitor and provide updates on legislative activity as it relates to the arts industry and provide materials that inform the organization’s members of the impacts of public policy on the field.
  • Coordinate all advocacy initiatives and communications with constituents and in collaboration with various partners including state agencies and build and maintain an arts advocacy network of interested citizens. This includes the Arts Advocacy Week, the SC Arts Summit and Legislative Action Day as well as attendance and/or leadership in national advocacy events.
  • Set meetings and maintain relationships with elected officials, SC Arts Commission leadership, and industry leaders to keep them informed about the state of the arts in South Carolina
  • Represent the Alliance, providing visibility statewide and nationally by collaborating with and serving as a resource for such organizations as local arts agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, national organizations and coalitions, and local arts groups.
  • Maintain a professional awareness and interest in the field through attendance at seminars, conferences, and workshops; advising Board members of developments and trends in the field and of changes in the agency's operations and/or membership needs; providing advocacy workshops, speeches, etc.

Key qualifications and knowledge

  • Proven leadership abilities, particularly in the areas of board management and network or coalition building.
  • Excellent written communication and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal daily supervision.
  • Flexibility in work environments.
  • Experience in grant management and financial reporting.
  • Comfortable and confident with online and computer-based software. The ideal candidate will have experience or familiarity with Google Workspace, Squarespace, Quickbooks, Adobe Creative Cloud, social media, and Apple product environments.
  • Reliable transportation within the state, and ability to travel.
  • Deep understanding of the arts industry (for-profit and nonprofit), and arts education.
  • Working knowledge of governmental, legislative, and political processes.
  • Skilled in nonprofit management best practices and industry trends.

Application process details

Interested candidates should submit their resume and a one-page cover letter, in PDF format, via email to SCAAdvocacy@gmail.com. Deadline for submission is by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, June 6, 2022.
  • Candidates selected for an interview will be notified via email no later than June 17.
  • The interview and selection process will take place at the end of June.
  • Target start date: Immediate upon successful hire.

Jason Rapp

McLeer to depart S.C. Arts Alliance in May

Next steps TBA

South Carolina's arts and creativity sector was greeted with disappointing news this morning via email.

S.C. Arts Alliance Executive Director GP McLeer announced his resignation from the advocacy nonprofit.

LINK: McLeer bids a fond farewell.

Here's an excerpt:

Eleven years ago, while attending my first-ever National Arts Advocacy Day in [Washington] as the executive director of the Mauldin Cultural Center, I sat down to dinner with members of the board of the S.C. Arts Alliance. I met Betty Plumb at that dinner, the [Alliance’s] long-serving executive director. I found their work interesting, exciting, and something I wanted to be a part of.

Two months later, in May of 2011, I was asked to join the board. Five years later, I became executive director.

After six years of service as executive director, and five years before then as a member of the Board, today I announce my departure from the S.C. Arts Alliance. My last official day will be May 15, 2022.

The S.C. Arts Alliance board of directors is to approve a full transition plan in the coming weeks, to include the hiring of an interim director ahead of a formal search for a new executive director later this summer. All announcements will be posted online at scartsalliance.net.

Jason Rapp

Charleston Scene takes on ‘sea change’ in CHS, S.C. arts leadership

Thought-provoking piece on future of S.C. arts

In a sweeping new story, Charleston Scene interviewed several arts leaders who recently—or will—depart their posts as change comes to South Carolina's arts scene.

Picture of an iconic church steeple in downtown CharlestonWriter Maura Hogan asks, "What will the next phase look like?" after several high profile departures dating back to 2019. Among them:
  • Kathleen (Kathi) P. Bateson (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina)
  • Stephen Bedard (Gaillard Management Co.)
  • Ken May (S.C. Arts Commission)
  • Valerie Morris (College of Charleston School of the Arts)
  • Nigel Redden (Spoleto Festival USA)
  • Mark Sloan (College of Charleston Halsey Institute)
  • Marjory Wentworth (former state poet laureate)
While reasons for the departures varied, nearly all involved foresee major change on the horizon in Charleston and the state, whether as a result of the pandemic, recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion, or other things. Click here to read the story from Charleston Scene (subscription possibly required).
Charleston photo by Jason Rapp/SCAC.

Jason Rapp

‘The show can’t go on’

P&C  reviews hard times in the arts

Hub readers know the devastation felt in South Carolina's arts community because of the pandemic's economic effects.

Know, though, the story is reaching broader audiences. Today, the Greenville outpost of the Post & Courier published a story that paints a bleak picture throughout the state. From the story:

“You know the old adage, ‘The show must go on.’ Well, this is one of those times when the show can’t go on,” said Graham Shaffer, technical director at the Greenville Theatre. “We just have to sit here until we can.”

Some hoped for salvation via a federal coronavirus relief package that hasn’t materialized. Now, the South Carolina Arts Commission has asked the state General Assembly to approve $3.8 million in nonrecurring funds to prop up the ailing industry until it can recover. Originally, the arts commission asked for that amount to help venues make repairs to aging buildings.

Now it just hopes to keep the buildings open.

Read Nate Cary's full story here. Subscription possibly required.

Jason Rapp

Workshops to unite communities’ business, creative sectors

Orangeburg, Georgetown first to benefit

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Business and creative sector representatives in two communities will have opportunities to explore potential collaborative efforts there because of a new South Carolina Arts Commission initiative. Logo for AIR Institute of Berea CollegeThe workshop “Art Builds Business Builds Art” is itself the result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and AIR Institute of Berea College in Kentucky, which was created to teach creatives and business people to connect and share their strengths. Funding for the free workshop is provided by SCAC and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (ETF). Business owners and those who work in the business world and creatives—be they chefs, painters, musicians, photographers, graphic designers or from other creative disciplines—are invited to gather at The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium on the campus of South Carolina State University (300 College St.) from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 for the workshop. The workshop is free, light refreshments will be served, and parking is also free. AIR Institute founder Beth Flowers will join workshop facilitators Yvette McDaniel, director of choral activities at Denmark Technical College and chairwoman of Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL), and GP McLeer, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. South Carolina State University and The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium are pleased to bring “Art Builds Business Builds Art” to Orangeburg. Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association, and Simple Chef are also serving as event sponsors. Three days later, a workshop will take place in Georgetown Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 from 1-3 p.m. at the Georgetown County Airport (129 Airport Rd., Georgetown). The new Georgetown Arts & Humanities Council is responsible for bringing ABBBA to the lower Grand Strand. Vanessa Greene is the director of the new council, and she will co-facilitate with Georgetown-based actress and artist Natalie Daise. “The South Carolina Arts Commission sees the business and creative communities as natural partners for community revitalization. In business you need creative solutions to finding competitive advantages, and creatives often need connections offered by business to realize the unique solutions they can offer. ‘Art Builds Business Builds Art’ is an important first step in Orangeburg and for the state as the commission seeks to expand these opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. 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.

About AIR Institute

The AIR Institute is an empowering ecosystem that provides artists, businesses and communities the tools, resources, and support to learn, connect, and succeed. The AIR Institute merges the creativity of the arts with the innovation of business to raise the value of arts and creativity in all our communities. AIR has evolved since its humble beginnings in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve transformed from a small town’s big idea to an impactful program that has served several thousand artists, creatives and communities across the United States. Learn more at AirInstitute.org.

South Carolina’s arts need you!

It's time to rally in support of the arts.

The budget process is getting underway, and advocates are invited to the Statehouse on Wednesday, Feb. 13 to join the SC Arts Alliance in encouraging increased support for the arts. There are 17 new members of the legislature, and new members for almost every committee – and each of them need to hear from constituents about the impact the arts have on our state. Join the SCAA for their annual Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 13, and come down the day before to help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary! And join the SCAA throughout the week of February 11 for Arts Advocacy Week - with daily advocacy actions emailed directly to your inbox and toolkits to raise the profile of the arts in your community. Details are below! GP McLeer Executive Director SC Arts Alliance
The S.C. Arts Alliances invites you to join them for their 40th anniversary and Arts Advocacy Day. Registration for each of the featured Advocacy Week events is now open. Changes for 2019: The first Advocacy Days started with breakfast followed by meetings with legislators and then a rally? The SCAA is going back to those roots in 2019. Arrive in Columbia on Tuesday, Feb. 12 for an evening reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of the S.C. Arts Alliance, and join us Wednesday morning (February 13) for a Legislative Breakfast followed by scheduled meetings with your legislator in their office! End the day with our usual Rally at the Statehouse featuring student performances and lots of excitement! Register today!
40TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION Tuesday, February 12  |  5:30-7:30 p.m. Lula Drake Wine Parlour (Upstairs) 1635 Main St., Columbia Tickets: $40/person Beer/Wine + Light Apps Provided
LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST + STATEHOUSE RALLY Wednesday, February 13 | 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. South Carolina Statehouse 1100 Gervais St., Columbia 7:45-9 a.m.: Annual Meeting Breakfast & Legislative Briefing 9-11 a.m.: Meetings with Legislators (Organized by Regional Captains**) 11 a.m.: Student Performances 11:30 a.m.: Rally in Statehouse Lobby Registration is required. Registration Fee: $30/person* *Contact SCAA for student discounts. **Regional Captains recevie free registration. Click to learn more.

Guest submission

George Patrick McLeer changes gears from Mauldin to state arts advocacy

From The Greenville News Article and photo by Scott Keeler

For someone who serves as executive director of the leading non-profit arts advocacy group in the state and works out of a performing arts center that has helped revitalize Fountain Inn, George Patrick McLeer’s new office really isn’t artsy. “I really probably should have more stuff up and I will eventually,” McLeer said as he looked around the white walls of his new work space at the Younts Center for Performing Arts. “We’re a pretty mobile office though. It’s a one-person show.” McLeer completed the move last week as the South Carolina Arts Alliance office officially shifted from Rock Hill to Fountain Inn. McLeer actually doesn’t have a typical office. It’s part of a shared space in the box office of the Younts Center. That’s just fine with him. McLeer didn’t take over as SCAA’s new executive director July 1 for a title or for fancy artwork in a luxurious office. He took it to continue doing what he’s done in Mauldin for the past six years, but on a statewide level. The SCAA is a coalition of arts organizations, educators, administrators, artists and other business and community leaders, that serve the arts through advocacy and leadership development. The SCAA works throughout South Carolina to encourage civic engagement to advance the arts, to inform public policy and to advocate for public-sector support for the arts and arts education. “Some of the work that the Arts Alliance does at the state and federal level is making sure that the arts are seen as a tool for community and economic and quality of life,” McLeer said. Having a mobile office is essential for McLeer as he works throughout the state. A goal is to visit all 46 counties over a two-year span. McLeer has spent the past six years transforming the Mauldin Cultural Center into an arts center that attracts more than 30,000 visitors each year to a variety of events. In addition to programs, McLeer also led beautification projects outside and inside the old Mauldin Elementary School. In 2013, McLeer joined the City of Mauldin’s team when it created a new Office of Cultural Affairs. As the Office of Cultural Affairs' administrator, McLeer continued to manage the Cultural Center's facility and programs. At the same time, McLeer was responsible for implementing the Mauldin’s new branding and logo, managing all citywide marketing as well as the city’s website. McLeer started the Railroad Concert Series, an annual free series featuring locally and nationally known performers. He managed the BBQ Cook-Off, which ranks as arguably the most popular annual event in Mauldin. Most recently, McLeer created the Maudlin Public Art Trail, a 10-year continuous cycle of public art installations surrounding the Cultural Center’s amphitheater. Soon after McLeer starting working in Mauldin in June of 2010, Southwest Airlines arrived at the GSP International Airport. A cheap fare to Washington D.C. played a big role in where McLeer is today. “In March of 2011, I ended up going to National Arts Advocacy Day almost by accident,” McLeer said. “Southwest had $40 one-way flights to D.C. and me and my family happened to go on the same weekend as Arts Advocacy Day.” McLeer said that experience inspired him to really become hands-on in advocacy work. Shortly after making those connections in Washington, McLeer accepted an invitation to join SCAA’s board. He most recently served as the vice president before becoming executive director following the retirement of Betty Plumb. Plumb, who served as executive director for 27 years, said McLeer brings a fresh look at what a new generation would want from the SCAA. While McLeer officially took the reins July 1, Plumb will be assisting in the transition until Sept. 1. “We think we've got the best man for the job," Plumb said. "He brings a new skillset and a lot more technology. He’s a real people person with a lot of enthusiasm and great ideas. “Our constituents enjoy working with him and there’s a real trust factor there because he’s worked with us so closely as vice president.” A perk of McLeer’s new position is that the SCAA shifted its physical location based on where the executive director lives as well as the commitment the city has made to the arts. McLeer said his Fountain Inn home is about 200 yards away from the Younts Center. In addition to walking to work, the Younts Center also serves as a homecoming location for McLeer. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2010, McLeer began working as an intern in the same box office at the Younts Center which was then led by Van Broad. Much like the Mauldin Cultural Center, the Younts Center is an old schoolhouse that has transformed into a thriving arts facility. Working at an old school seems to come naturally for McLeer, whose parents were both teachers and whose sister is currently studying to become a teacher. “It’s nice being back. It’s like a full-circle moment,” McLeer said. “I’m on the Board of Trustees at St. Joseph’s (Catholic School) and the School of the Arts Council for College of Charleston, so I have a thing for my alma maters. It’s funny that I’ve always worked in someone’s alma mater.” McLeer added that education is a passion of his thanks to his family, and arts education is a big focus of the SCAA. Fountain Inn Economic Development Director Byron Rucker is thrilled to have McLeer as a part of the building that he manages. “With the ever-growing focus on performing arts in Fountain Inn, this is a natural location for the SCAA and its leadership as it moves into a new era,” Rucker said The Younts Center’s transformation that began years ago helped start what has been a city-wide revitalization of Fountain Inn. McLeer said part of his duties is to show what the arts can do for other cities — no matter their size — throughout South Carolina. “I remember building the set pieces for the very first theatrical show inside what is now Cucina 100 (restaurant in downtown Fountain Inn), and I remember having to always bring my dinner with me to rehearsal because there was almost nowhere to eat,” McLeer said. “I have seen firsthand how the arts continue to transform this community and how the vision set by city leaders includes the arts. It’s a vision which mirrors that of the SCAA, and made the move to Fountain Inn an easy decision for our board.” McLeer said his new job feels like a pinnacle in his career. He joked that with him being 27 years old and Plumb retiring after 27 years, SCAA’s next executive director may have just been born this year. “I’ve really fallen in love with the advocacy work and working with art in public policy. Mauldin was able to give me a really great platform to explore that,” McLeer said. “So I went for it (the executive director position) and luckily was chosen to do it. “To see your fingerprints and your impact happen in other areas of the state, not just your own backyard, is kind of surreal, overwhelming, thrilling and terrifying at the same time. But it’s a lot of fun.”

GP McLeer named new executive director of SC Arts Alliance

George Patrick McLeerGeorge Patrick (GP) McLeer, Jr., administrator of the City of Mauldin's Office of Cultural Affairs, has been named to succeed Betty Plumb as executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, SCAA President Rose Sheheen of Camden announced today. McLeer officially will take the reins of the statewide nonprofit arts advocacy and service organization on July 1, with Plumb assisting in the transition until September 1, including the relocation of the SCAA office from Rock Hill, Sheheen said. "The Arts Alliance Board completed a five-month search for its new executive director, and we were quite pleased to attract a number of highly qualified candidates, which made the selection process exceedingly difficult. However, GP was the board's unanimous choice," Sheheen said. "Not only has he been a board member since 2011, most recently as first vice president, but he also brings knowledge, enthusiasm, vigor, youth and passion to a most important position in the art world of South Carolina. It is with excitement and confidence that the Art Alliance welcomes GP as its next leader!" Sheheen continues, "He has extensive experience working with government officials and a broad spectrum of artists and arts agencies. As the sole employee of a nonprofit arts center and local government office, he has been responsible for everything from booking acts to grantwriting and even operating the lights during performances." Plumb, who has headed the SCAA for 27 years, achieved state and national prominence as a leader in advocacy for public funding of the arts and arts education. In recent weeks, she was announced as winner of the 2016 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award, in the individual category; the "Together for Good Advocacy Award," from the S.C. Association of Non Profit Organizations (SCANPO); and the S.C. Theatre Association's advocacy award. McLeer thanked Plumb "for her years of service in building the organization to the level it is today. The next chapter for the SCAA would not be possible without her having written the one before it. I am excited and honored to be selected as the next executive director for the SCAA. I have lived in South Carolina my whole life and have seen how the arts have positively impacted the lives of my family, friends and community. My passion has always been to help ensure that the arts can thrive in my community, so to be able to expand that passion to all communities in South Carolina is something I am ecstatic about. I look forward to working with the board of directors to continue advancing the arts for all South Carolinians, and to partnering with artists, arts administrators, advocates and community leaders all over the state to help the arts grow in South Carolina." McLeer's current responsibilities include managing the Mauldin Cultural Center, a repurposed 1937 school that hosts 30,000 people and more than 1,500 events annually, and handling all city-wide marketing efforts. He was responsible for starting the Railroad Concert Series, an annual free series featuring locally and nationally known performers; managing the Mauldin BBQ Cook-Off, a signature community event; and creating the Maudlin Public Art Trail, a 10-year continuous cycle of public art installations. Before working for the City of Mauldin, he was executive director of the Mauldin Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization. McLeer, 27, is a 2010 graduate of the College of Charleston's Arts Management Program. He lives in Fountain Inn.

Local Arts Classroom designed for emerging arts leaders

Americans for the Arts is accepting applications for its popular Local Arts Classroom, a virtual leadership development series. LAC provides opportunities for emerging local arts leaders to master concepts and build skills through exposure to core areas of local arts development. The program serves arts professionals with less than 10 years of experience in the arts field, including current undergraduate or graduate students, and those who are transitioning into the field from another sector. The next Local Arts Classroom runs January–May 2013. The application deadline is Nov. 16. George Patrick McLeer Jr., executive director of the Mauldin Cultural Center, participated in the 2012 class. "Over the course of four months I hopped on the phone almost every Wednesday with 50 fellow emerging arts leaders from around the country. The webinars, hosted by experts in various fields, were phenomenal and covered everything from fundraising to advocacy. The information, ideas and new materials we learned about and discussed helped me strengthen my skills as an arts manager and opened my eyes to new aspects of the field. "But the learning experience didn't stop there. Through a very active Twitter "co-conversation," I was able to connect with LAC colleagues on a more personal level. Even today, a handful of us email each other or talk on Twitter about trends or new information. And whenever a national conference rolls around, you can bet there is a small group of LAC grads meeting face-to-face for the first time." Visit the Americans for the Arts website for schedule and application details. For more information, contact Leadership Development Program Manager Stephanie Evans Hanson at shanson@artsusa.org. Via: Americans for the Arts