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Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council marks new fundraising record

From The Greenville News Article by Paul Hyde

[caption id="attachment_25924" align="alignright" width="300"]greenvilleMACawards Lorraine Goldstein and Hal Weiss accept the 2015 MAC Lifelong Support of the Arts Award at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Gunter Theatre on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.[/caption] Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council raised a record of more than $2 million in 2015, MAC board chairman Charles Ratterree announced Tuesday. Most of the money generated helps to support dozens of Greenville arts groups and artists. “This allows us to provide record high grants to individuals, arts organizations and arts education programs,” said MAC executive director Alan Ethridge. Among MAC's grants recipients, eight local arts groups received $25,000 each in operating support. Those organizations are Artisphere, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Little Theatre, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the Peace Center, the South Carolina Children’s Theatre and the Warehouse Theatre. MAC also committed $10,000 to the Greenville County Museum of Art to purchase works by Greenville-area artists for its permanent collection. To support its grants, MAC receives donations from a variety of sources: individuals, corporations, foundations, the city of Greenville’s accommodations tax, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Greenville’s arts scene has never been more vibrant and prosperous, Ratterree said, speaking at MAC’s annual meeting at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre. “We are in the midst of an arts renaissance in Greenville, with over 60 arts nonprofits that display not only the incredible talent in our community but an enthusiasm for sharing with others,” Ratterree said. “One of the great things about Greenville is the idea that the arts are for everybody. Many arts events are free and open to the public.” Now in its 43rd year, MAC also provided $111,336 for specific programs or projects to 60 schools, individual artists and local arts organizations, Ratterree said. Ratterree announced that last year’s Open Studios, a weekend MAC event that spotlights Greenville’s visual arts community, involved 132 artists, generated a record $277,548 in sales and was attended by 41,284 people. Before announcing MAC’s annual awards, Ethridge remembered Sherwood Mobley, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s executive director who passed away Feb. 26. MAC honored several Greenville arts leaders. The MAC Visionary Award went to Sally Potosky and Caroline McIntyre, sisters who lead the Greenville Chautauqua Society. The MAC Lifelong Support of the Arts Award was presented to local arts philanthropists Lorraine Goldstein and Hal Weiss. The Carl R. Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education went to Dr. Gary Robinson, a faculty member of the Fine Arts Center and longtime director of the Young Artist Orchestra, one of the ensembles of the Greenville County Youth Orchestras. The Young Supporter of the Arts Award was presented to Elizabeth and Michael Fletcher. Elizabeth Fletcher is the vice president for strategy and business development for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Michael Fletcher is a real estate broker and attorney. The TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership awards went to: McKinney Dodge Ram Chrysler Jeep & Mazda (businesses under 100 employees) and BMW Manufacturing Company, LLC (businesses with 100 or more employees). The Put Your Heart in the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carl Sykes.

Remembering artist Merton Simpson

Merton Simpson, a Charleston artist and musician who rose to prominence in the New York City art world, died March 9 in Manhattan. He was 84.

Merton Simpson"I have very fond memories of Merton Simpson, whom I have known since the early 1980s," said Harriett Green, visual arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission. "Merton was among the most respected experts in African and tribal art in the world, and the Merton Simpson Gallery is iconic as the premier showcase of African and tribal art. "Merton was a renaissance man of sorts. In addition to being a skilled and accomplished painter, he was a noted saxophone player who had a great reputation for enlisting other New York jazz musicians to perform with him during his exhibition openings. "Major exhibitions of his life's work have been organized by three museums in the state in the past three decades -- the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Greenville County Museum of Art and the Columbia Museum of Art. The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud to have in its own collection a seminal work, Confrontation #20, from his "Confrontation" Series from the 1960s." Confrontation #20Confrontation #20 was one of the first works acquired for the South Carolina Arts Commission's State Art Collection. In the 1987 edition of the State Art Collection catalog, art historian and critic Sandra Langer noted, " ... Confrontation #20 embodies the ideals of the mythic, the heroic, and the subjective fostered by abstract expressionism of the New York School." Confrontation #20 tours in the exhibition  African-American Voice and can be viewed at the Black Creek Arts Center in Hartsville through March 28. The work was also chosen for the Arts Commission's largest exhibition, Contemporary Conversations, and tours in Part II of that exhibition. More about Simpson's life and work is available in articles published by the Charleston Post and Courier and the New York Times. Read the Charleston Post and Courier article. Read the New York Times article. View more of Simpson's work in a video from the Greenville Museum of Art's 2011 exhibition. Images: Photo of Simpson courtesy of the Merton Simpson Gallery Confrontation #20, 1968, oil on canvas, 70 x 60