NEA announces $57 million in American Rescue Plan grants
567 arts organizations benefit, including five in S.C.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced it has recommended American Rescue Plan (ARP) awards totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic.The organizations may use this funding to save jobs, and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. The full list of recommended awards, sorted by city/state, is available from arts.gov. “Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial to helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.” Grants are recommended to organizations in both rural and urban communities; in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC; and represent all 15 of the NEA’s artistic disciplines. The NEA encouraged applications from a variety of organizations for this opportunity and provided numerous resources for navigating the application process. Among the recommended organizations, 27 percent are first-time NEA grantees and 78 percent are small or medium sized organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. [caption id="attachment_14408" align="alignright" width="250"] Catawba potter Keith Brown works on a project in this file photo.[/caption] Grant award recommendations are for $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 and do not require cost share/matching funds. In South Carolina, five organizations are recommended for the awards:
- Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce: $150,000
- Greenville Light Opera Works: $50,000
- Hampton County: $150,000
- Colour of Music, Inc.: $150,000
- Catawba Indian Nation: $150,000
About the National Endowment for the ArtsEstablished 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. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Rural arts and culture initiative expands to 15 counties
Addressing local issues with S.C. Arts Commission program[caption id="attachment_45057" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mavens join heads and hands to celebrate their local communities and discuss shared challenges in a January meeting in Eastover, South Carolina, hosted by Michael Dantzler. Shown l to r, mavens and their corresponding counties: Brooke Bauer, Catawba Indian Nation/York; Marquerite Palmer, Newberry; Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Betty McDaniel, Pickens; Victoria Smalls, Beaufort; Evelyn Coker, Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Hampton; Libby Sweatt-Lambert, Chester; Luis Rodriguez (seated), Marion; Johnny Davis, Jasper; Michael Dantzler, Richland; and Matt Mardell, Colleton. Photo credit: Sherard Duvall, OTR Media.[/caption]
For Immediate Release
Across South Carolina, an initiative called The Art of Community: Rural SC has taken root, creating new networks, community engagement, partnerships and energy to change minds and build communities together.The initiative, a program of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), poses a central question: “How can we use arts and culture as strategic tools to address local challenges we face?” “It’s growing, and it’s always a learning opportunity,” said Matt Mardell, executive director of the Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Walterboro, South Carolina. Mardell is one of the ‘mavens’ for The Art of Community; Rural SC. He said that, as part of this network of rural leaders and their teams, he is “hearing others’ creative solutions to issues we all face.” He and his predecessor, Gary Brightwell, have participated in the initiative with five other mavens from throughout a six-county Lowcountry region since it was conceived in 2015 and launched in 2016. Mavens in other counties include: Lottie Lewis of Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel representing Bamberg; Evelyn Coker of Barnwell; Audrey Hopkins-Williams of Hampton; and Johnny Davis representing Jasper County. The growth Mardell references is an expansion of the initiative in 2019 that includes a broader swath of rural South Carolina. Nine additional mavens represent their communities from the mountains to the sea and myriad cultures in between. They include the following community leaders and their corresponding counties: Kayla Hyatt-Hostetler of Aiken; Victoria Smalls of Beaufort; Lydia Cotton of Berkeley; Libby Sweatt-Lambert representing Chester; Luis Rodriguez representing Marion; Marquerite Palmer of Newberry; Betty McDaniel of Pickens; Michael Dantzler of Richland; and Dr. Brooke Bauer with co-maven Laney Buckley of The Catawba Indian Nation in York County. How does the initiative work? “It’s a framework built with four critical components: mavens, local teams, partners and advisors coupled with a state arts agency willing to invest in rural and tribal communities in a new way,” said Community Arts Development Director Susan DuPlessis of the arts commission. All 15 teams, created and led by the mavens, gather locally and as a statewide network to get to know each other better, to listen, and to consider their local assets and challenges—ultimately, to learn together. "Mavens are 'the bridges' who make this initiative work," DuPlessis said. "Knowing that I have a community beyond my community has bolstered me in my local work," said maven Lottie Lewis of Allendale. As part of this initiative, Lewis led members of her local team on a fact-finding field trip to Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in 2019. They went to explore how another small, rural town had spurred connection and growth using arts and culture. They then planned to integrate some of that learning into their local project. “We learned so much from our new friends in Tamaqua,” Lewis said. “We were inspired by how they engaged their local community to share their ideas about where they live.” Allendale’s local project plan, though, along with the plans of the other 14 sites in this initiative, took an unexpected turn beginning in the spring of 2020. “We all had to shift in how we were engaging with one another and ask what our roles are in this moment of quarantine and separation,” according to DuPlessis who said many of the participating teams shifted their focuses to react to the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting social justice issues. Since March 20, the arts commission has convened mavens in weekly meetings to continue the practice of sharing, listening and learning together. "That's what's been so important to me and other mavens who I now count as dear friends," Lewis said. She also notes the spirit of the initiative which, built on trust and relationships, has allowed for flexibility with grant-funded local projects in this “uncertain time.” Each of The Art of Community: Rural SC teams received a $7,500 grant award in FY20 to engage and build community in ways that use arts and culture strategically. “Project plans in January 2020 didn’t look the same three months later in March,” DuPlessis said. Some communities planning festivals and other gatherings have had to postpone those for now. In a number of cases, mavens and their teams retrofitted their projects to respond to the current context and include the following examples:
- In Aiken, in addition to getting helpful information out about the pandemic, the local project also incorporated the NextGen fight for equality, justice and respect for all people through the creation of a ‘peaceful protest’ linking them with other students around the country;
- In Allendale, the local project’s focus became community engagement through a celebration of frontline pandemic workers as ‘hometown heroes;’
- In Bamberg County, the local team developed a 'Little People's Learning Page' to accompany the local newspaper and address learning in a fun, creative way for students who are isolated from one another;
- In Barnwell County, the Town of Blackville team developed a new dance called ‘The Wagon Wheel’ to engage its residents on social media in a healthy activity during a time of isolation;
- In Beaufort County, a collective of Gullah Geechee artists used their voices and talents for public service announcements that address safety protocols for the pandemic;
- In Berkeley County, a Spanish-language video was created to remind its community of best practices for reducing infection rates; and
- In Chester County, the town of Fort Lawn team partnered with local businesses and state parks to showcase artists' and entrepreneurs' work to help generate income during this time of economic distress.
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.
Traveling Gullah Geechee art exhibit to debut in Hampton
The Hampton County Arts Council announced that the Stanley Arts Building will be the first venue to exhibit the private art collection of Gullah native Victoria A. Smalls. A formal gala will mark the opening of this prestigious exhibit, which will then run through the month of February. The public is invited to come enjoy art featuring notable and emerging artists, entertainment, silent auction and authentic Gullah cuisine at the 7 p.m. Grand Opening Gala on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at the Stanley Arts Building in Hampton. Read more about the art collection from the The Charleston Chronicle here. Smalls is connected to the S.C. Arts Commission through its program the Art of Community: Rural SC, which walks residents of rural communities through reimagining their communities through an arts and culture lens and use those to address long-standing problems. In the process, fresh leaders are identified as new voices bring their own energies to the table and foster greater community involvement.
Rural creatives: network on July 25
Network, celebrate, and catch the creative spirit
After a year of creating new connections and networks, CREATE: Rural SC wants you to join us and continue its creative exploration. Creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, makers, tradition-bearers, mavens, advisors, friends and partners: you are especially invited to be part of this conversation and celebration. On Thursday, July 25, we’ll ask what matters to artists working deeply in communities to make positive change and what matters to communities that host visiting artists. As we share and network, we’ll learn more about the community-based work of visiting artist Markus Tracy of Nevada who will lead a conversation about his South Carolina experiences in Estill and Blackville this spring and summer. Join us to learn more about staying connected with the S.C. Arts Commission and this program and come meet the agency's new director, David Platts. Light refreshments will be served and a mic provided for artists and others to share brief creative updates and insights. Artists are invited to bring a sample of their artwork for sharing and informal discussion. And perhaps a few of you will bring instruments—these meetings have a history of turning into jam sessions.
THANKS!We are excited to join with the Estill/Hampton County Team for The Art of Community: Rural SC to support this important meeting and give special thanks to the Town of Estill for its support. In addition, financial support from USDA-Rural Development, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission (which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts) is fostering new ideas, new programs and new projects for community arts development in South Carolina. Special thanks as well to associates affiliated with the Promise Zone region, which includes Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.
RSVPCheck out this e-vite link and rsvp today: http://evite.me/jBdWNpf5gm
Photo by Isabella Mendes from Pexels
South Arts grants support “Southern Creative Places”
South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine Southern states, has announced $78,189 in grants to 18 communities in the region. These grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South. “Creative placemaking uses arts and culture to activate and animate communities,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Creative placemaking puts arts, culture and creativity at the center of planning and problem-solving. It brings people and partners together to design creative solutions to community challenges using arts and culture as catalysts. The results can be more connected communities, enhanced quality of life, more economic opportunities, and the showcasing of a community’s most unique characteristics.” The grants, which must be matched by the recipient organization, support organizations in South Arts’ region. Organizations applied this spring and were recently notified of their status. “In our new strategic plan, South Arts has made a commitment to address the evolving needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs,” continued Surkamer. “Supporting these creative placemaking efforts – from a small-business incubator for creative entrepreneurs to public art projects embracing civic pride and even a project using the arts to promote healthy eating and locally-grown produce – is an important step in serving the cross-sector needs of our region through the arts.” The Southern Creative Places grant program represents South Arts’ first programmatic offering in the arena of creative placemaking, following up on its successful co-sponsorship of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in March 2018 in Chattanooga. For more information about opportunities from South Arts, visit www.southarts.org.
About South Arts South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.
S.C. Grant Recipients
- The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg received a $5,000 grant to establish a cultural center in the majority Hispanic community of Arcadia.
- The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs received a $5,000 grant to implement the conNECKted Too project, pairing artists with tiny businesses in an isolated part of Charleston.
- Fresh Future Farm, Inc. in Charleston received a $3,038 grant for a community mural project celebrating community history and promoting healthy, locally-grown foods.
- The Holly Springs Center in Pickens received a $4,365 grant to present a festival of Appalachian arts on the grounds of a former school.
- The Town of Estill received a $3,375 grant to create a mural celebrating diversity.
Ment Nelson brings pride of place to ‘Souf Cak’
It's a great day in
South Carolina Souf Cak.
One can easily envision that phrase appearing among Ment Nelson's tweets at some point, if it's not in the 3,100+ already tweeted. His mission statement on the social media platform is "I make it cool to be from South Carolina," so we posit that our lede is not a stretch.
But don't take The Hub's word for it; the Post & Courier undoubtedly has more cachet and on Monday made the case for Nelson's innate coolness with a wonderful story you should read if you haven't already:
As an emerging artist who has gone from bagging groceries to collaborating on a New York gallery show in the span of two years, Nelson doesn't draw a line between his portraits, his hip-hop songwriting, his computerized artwork and his ebullient social-media presence. He'll use any format that gets the job done, up to and including posing for a selfie with a roost full of chickens.Hat tip to P&C writer Paul Bowers. Artists from South Carolina are certainly germane to a Hub story, but Ment is also working on a new initiative we're going to begin talking about soon called "Create: Rural S.C." The S.C. Arts Commission will lead research on South Carolina’s creative cluster, with a deeper examination of the creative economy in the state’s rural Promise Zone (Barnwell, Bamberg, Allendale, Hampton, Jasper, Colleton Counties), a priority community of the USDA-RD (the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development). A cohort of “Next Generation” creative professionals in the Promise Zone will assist in all aspects of the development and roll-out of the plan. This program is an outgrowth of the SCAC's "The Art of Community: Rural S.C." initiative, which is active in each of the Promise Zone counties as the umbrella organization for this program and already bearing fruit in the region. Hear more from the young voices of "Create: Rural S.C." in this video. YOUNG VOICES VIDEO 5 MINUTES from Cook Productions on Vimeo.
Tuning Up: The arts and rural health, SC flag call for art?
Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a new, morning series of posts 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...
(Image credit: South Carolina Philharmonic/Michael Dantzler)
- Rural health: The Art of Community: Rural S.C. was in the national spotlight yesterday for work in Walterboro, but the program extends well beyond that. In Hampton County, the focus is on merging the arts with public health to address those needs with creative initiatives. (Courtesy of the Times & Democrat.)
- Call for art? The South Carolina State Flag does not have an official design. Nobody's looking for a redesign; some want it standardized. (Courtesy of The State.)
Estill group embracing opportunities with Art of Community: Rural SC
(Image: The Art of Community: Rural S.C. team serving the Estill community. Shown, l to r: Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Deon Martin, Maude Saunders, Loretta B. Beckett, and Vonzetta Strong. Team members not pictured: Jacqueline Hopkins and Egeria Bostick.) In Estill, South Carolina, a small group of local citizens has embraced a new opportunity to make a positive contribution to the community through involvement with the South Carolina Arts Commission. For several months, Audrey Hopkins-Williams has been leading a team of individuals to consider which issues local citizens face and how arts and culture might be incorporated to address one or more of those challenges. Last spring, when the South Carolina Arts Commission reached out about a pilot program, The Art of Community: Rural S.C., Hopkins-Williams answered the call. Today, as part of the Art of Community initiative, she and her team are celebrating the creation of a plan to add arts and culture to the Estill Nature Walking Trail and engage more citizens in use of the park. [caption id="attachment_29095" align="alignright" width="300"] Partnering with the Parks and Recreation Division of the Town of Estill, the local team is exploring ideas to help promote a more healthy community at the 1st Street park site.[/caption] “We know that this park is an asset and that health issues are major concerns here,” she said. “We asked ourselves, ‘can we add some elements to the park that will get people here and help them become more active?’” Hopkins-Williams and her team are considering the variety of ingredients that may fit the bill—from a performance series featuring storytellers to new play equipment that encourages creativity in children. “We don’t have all the answers yet, but we are looking at what keeps people from using the park. What can change the dynamic?” To aid in the development of the arts and culture “ingredients,” the South Carolina Arts Commission made a $1,000 award to help the local team design the project and solicit additional funds. “We are also pleased to have donations from the Martin Funeral Home of Estill, the Hampton County Sheriff’s Department, Maude Saunders of Gordon Logging Company and Mt. Moriah Worship Center of Furman,” she said. “We have just begun to see how the arts make change in communities—already we are being more creative in planning this project and getting people involved in the process.” The Estill team includes Jackie Hopkins, Maude Saunders, Loretta B. Beckett, Vonzetta Strong and Egeria Bostick. While Hopkins-Williams is serving as the “maven,” or connector, for Hampton County, five additional leaders were identified to serve as team mavens in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton and Jasper counties. Since June, these leaders and their team members have participated in a series of regional meetings. “We are so happy to know more citizens of Hampton County through this project,” South Carolina Arts Commission Program Director Susan DuPlessis said. “Not only have we built new relationships in Estill, we are also building a regional network of citizens who are community builders. We are exploring ways that arts and culture can be used to engage people, to rediscover each community’s assets, and to build on those assets.” Part of the strength of the Art of Community is its connectivity both within the state and beyond. The initiative is informed by a committee of 24 advisors who hail from around the country and from South Carolina. Dr. Ann Carmichael, dean of USC Salkehatchie, and John Robert “Bob” Reeder co-chair the advisory committee. “This initiative is an example of how a state arts commission re-imagines arts and culture within the communities they serve,” said Reeder, a native of Rock Hill, S.C., and program director for Rural LISC, a national community development intermediary working in 44 states. “This effort is being recognized nationally as innovative. Its unique approach—starting with the partnership between a state arts agency and a Promise Zone—is getting well-deserved attention and building new relationships and engagement within small communities.” The Arts Commission received funding from USDA Rural to start this program in South Carolina’s rural Promise Zone in 2015. “As an official partner of the Promise Zone effort and as investors in South Carolina communities through grants, assistance and programming, we are extremely interested in challenges our communities face,” said Ken May, South Carolina Arts Commission executive director. The range of community development issues that have been discussed include health, housing, transportation, safety, environment, economic and workforce development and education. The initiative has also asked the participants to identify what makes them proud of their communities. “This begins with ‘what works,’ ‘what characteristics do you love about your town,’ and ‘what makes you feel connected.’ The best part is that we are working with the community teams—what happens is born out of local ideas and creativity. It’s exciting and inspiring to watch,” said May. Hopkins-Williams advises her local community to “stay tuned. We’re on it!” Anyone interested in becoming part of the Hampton County local team should call Audrey Hopkins-Williams at 843-943-8591.
Salkehatchie Arts hires new director
Salkehatchie Arts has announced that Susan J. Oswald, a local artist and lifelong resident of Allendale County, is the new director for Salkehatchie Arts. Her position will include management of the Salkehatchie Arts Center, a retail outlet for local artists, promoting arts in the Salkehatchie region, and assisting with Salkehatchie Stew, a storytelling initiative that promotes stories of the region through an original play each year. She comes to Salkehatchie Arts with extensive experience in management, retailing, wholesaling, marketing, and advertising. Oswald graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor of fine arts. She gained experience in retailing as the owner and operator of Country Flair, a retail business in Allendale, for 23 years.