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Jason Rapp

Inaugural Southern Studies fellows announced

Visual artist, writer selected


Chapman Cultural Center and Hub City Writers Project are pleased to announce the selection of writer Morgan Thomas and visual artist Ben Winans as recipients of the first Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters.

The pair will begin their nine-month residency in Spartanburg this September and will collaborate on a joint project addressing the culture of the American South. The Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters is a three-year initiative jointly hosted by Chapman Cultural Center and Hub City Writers Project and funded through a three-year $150,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation.

Morgan Thomas

Morgan Thomas (they/them) is a writer from Gulf Breeze, Florida. Their work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Electric Literature, them., the Kenyon Review Online, and Storyquarterly. They’ve received support from the Bread Loaf Work-Study Program and the Fulbright Foundation. Manywhere, their debut story collection, is forthcoming from publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux’s MCD imprint in January 2022. Morgan earned a bachelor's in English and a bachelor's in zoology from the University of Florida in 2014 and a master of fine arts in fiction from the University of Oregon in 2016. In addition to their work as a writer, they has advocated for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ communities for three years.

Ben Winans

Ben Winans (he/him) of Raleigh is an interdisciplinary artist who engages in old and new media to tell stories regarding his upbringing in Southern evangelical Christianity. Through his multimedia works, Ben offers a broad discussion on Christian nationalism, a mediation of cultural and national identity informed by his family’s missionary work in Africa and Japan, and the assertion that what we believe matters. Ben has earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018 and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Michigan in 2021. His work began in 2014 as an artist assistant for Ben Sloat and at a gallery in Richmond, Virginia. Ben is currently an exhibitions assistant for Stamps Gallery and was a graduate student instructor for several art classes at Stamps School of Art & Design. Winan’s hard work has been recognized throughout the years through the John Roos Memorial Scholarship for Artists Working in the Humanities in 2017, the Smucker-Wagstaff Grant in 2019 and 2020, and the Jean-Paul Slasser Award for recognition of excellence, M.F.A. Thesis Project.
“We are so pleased to offer this unique opportunity to Morgan and Ben,” said Hub City Writers Project Executing Director Anne Waters. “Of all the outstanding candidates we interviewed for the Southern Studies Fellowships they were the most compelling. To have two such gifted individuals come to Spartanburg to create a project and share their talent with our community feels momentous.” “I’m thrilled about this selection of creative minds. We had dozens of talented and passionate people apply for this opportunity and it was a long and difficult task to bring together the two creative spirits we felt were on similar wavelengths. Ben and Morgan will need to work closely together and collaborate every step of the way. It’s going to be fascinating to see what evolves with these two deep thinkers and I can’t wait to experience the finished product,” said Chapman Cultural Center Community Impact and Outreach Director Melissa Earley. The fellowship is a nine-month residency of research, creativity, teaching, and travel to collaborate on a project informed by the region. The fellows will live and have studio space in Spartanburg and are tasked with immersing themselves in the culture of the American South, along with participating in community service for educational purposes. A key component of this unique fellowship is the opportunity to interact with leading scholars, artists, and writers throughout the Southeast and to conduct research at prominent cultural and educational institutions. This research will inform their work and will be critical in the development of their collaborative project to expand their understanding of the modern South.

Jason Rapp

Marlanda Dekine wins 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize

SCAC earns publication, cash prize


Hub City Press just announced that Marlanda Dekine is the winner of the fifth New Southern Voices Poetry Prize.

Marlanda Dekine (she/they) is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one's own body. Their work manifest as books, audio projects, and workshops, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. The prize for Dekine's unpublished manuscript, Thresh & Hold, is $1,000 and publication by Hub City Press in spring 2022. Their manuscript was selected as the winner of the prize by award-winning poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Dekine's work has been published or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, POETRY Magazine, Emergence Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, OROBORO, Screen Door Review, Root Work Journal, and elsewhere. They are the founder and former executive director of Speaking Down Barriers, Spoken Word Spartanburg, and other organizations that make space for all beings. Currently, she serves as a Healing Justice Fellow with Gender Benders and the 2021/2022 creative-in-residence with Castle of our Skins. Dekine is the recipient of many awards, including a Tin House Own Path Scholarship (2021), an SC Humanities Award for Fresh Voices in Humanities (2019), Emrys' Keller Cushing Freeman Fellowship (2019), and grants from the S.C. Arts Commission, Alternate Roots, The Map Fund, and other organizations. She holds a bachelor's degree from Furman University, University of South Carolina, and is a third-year master of fine arts candidate (Poetry) at Converse College. Of the collection, Calvocoressi wrote,

"I cannot and will not put Marlanda Dekine’s, Thresh & Hold down. The world it builds, celebrates, and reclaims is a reckoning and a symphony. From the brutality of the rice plantations of South Carolina to the specific privacy found inside one’s Saturn Vue, the breadth of human experience that unfold in these poems cover histories that, we too often forget, are all intimate stories. Dekine reminds us that every moment we read about is a moment some body has fought or celebrated or been unable to live through. The effect of this is that we are brought into the vast music of a world that is endlessly unfolding, It’s fairly common to read poems that speak about community but there are only a handful of poets alive; Nikky Finney, Destiny Hemphill, CA Conrad come to mind, whose poems truly make community as the work blooms before us. This is a poet of that order and ability. I am so blown away by the gift and the challenge of this book. A book that not for one moment looks away from the brutality and beauty of this world. A book that says, 'I am listening to Spirit. I am not dying today.'"

Calvocoressi is the author of the poetry collections Rocket Fantastic; Apocalyptic Swing, which was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, which was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and winner of the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. They are the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award, a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas, the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review, and a residency from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Calvocoressi teaches at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, North Carolina. The other finalists are Reyes Ramirez for Answers Without Questions and Andy Young for Museum of the Soon Departed. The biennial New Southern Voices Prize is sponsored by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. It is open to all poets who have either never published a full-length collection of poetry, or who have only published one full-length collection, and who currently reside in and have had residency in one or more of the following states for a minimum of 24 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The previous winner of this prize was Megan Denton Ray for her collection, Mustard, Milk and Gin which was released by Hub City Press in March 2020.

Jason Rapp

Chapman Cultural Center, Hub City Writers Project announce initiative

$150,000 helps create three-year partnership project


Chapman Cultural Center and the Hub City Writers Project have jointly received a $150,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation for a new, three-year initiative, the Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters.

This first-of-its-kind program will bring one early-career artist and one early career-writer to Spartanburg for a nine-month residency of research, creativity, teaching, and travel, culminating in a collaborative project informed by the region. The program, which will begin accepting applications this month, will be marketed nationally to artists and writers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of the American South. Creatives interested in the program can learn more and apply at www.southernstudiesfellowship.org. “By bringing dynamic creative people together with dynamic arts organizations and scholars through the region, we will set in motion new explorations of the modern South that will reverberate beyond our community,” said Jennifer Evins, Chapman Cultural Center president and CEO. “This grant is designed to create a life-changing experience for the fellows, to provide engaging intellectual opportunities for local students and citizens, and to create a model program for community cultural study through art and literature,” said Anne Waters, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project. Over the three-year period of the grant, each Southern Studies Fellow will be provided with a furnished apartment with paid utilities in downtown Spartanburg and a monthly stipend. Applications for the program will be available online in early 2021, and the first fellows will come to Spartanburg from September 2021 to May 2022. It is open to residents of the United States. The initiative replaces existing residency programs by Chapman and Hub City. In addition to focusing on their own creative projects, the Southern Studies Fellows will have opportunities and requirements for educational community service in Spartanburg County; these will include regular college and high school classroom visits/lectures, readings, open studios, workshops, and projects affiliated with the host organizations. The fellows will be expected to contribute up to 20 hours per week in the following areas: community service, artist-writer collaboration, and out-of-town travel for project research. A key component of this unique fellowship is the opportunity to interact with leading scholars, artists, and writers throughout the South. Each fellow will have opportunities to travel in the Southern region to conduct research at cultural and educational institutions, which will inform their work and will be critical in the development of their ideas for a collaborative project that expands the understanding of the modern South.
Named for Thomas E. Watson and J.J. Brown, the Watson Brown Foundation invests in education and historical preservation, annually awarding more than $2.4 million in merit and need-based college scholarships to students from an eighteen-county region of Georgia and South Carolina. The foundation, based in Thomson, Georgia, also operates a grant program that encourages responsible scholarship on the South and supports historic preservation. Additionally, it owns and operates three historic sites in Georgia. With roots that stretch back more than 50 years, the Chapman Cultural Center’s mission is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community. It serves as the official South Carolina Arts Commission-designated arts agency of Spartanburg County. Chapman provides general operating support for nine cornerstone cultural institutions, including the Hub City Writers Project, through its United Arts Fund and provides project grants to local artists and organizations. The Hub City Writers Project, founded in 1995, serves its mission to cultivate readers and nurture writers through its independent press, community bookshop, and diverse literary programming. Its flagship program, Hub City Press, is one of only three Southern book publishers funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is focused on finding and spotlighting new and extraordinary voices from the American South.

About Chapman Cultural Center

Our mission is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community. Visit our website to learn more.

About Hub City Writers Project

The Hub City Writers Project is a non-profit organization in Spartanburg dedicated to cultivating readers and nurturing writers through its independent small press, community bookstore, and diverse literary programming that serves our community and beyond. For more information please visit www.hubcity.org.

Jason Rapp

Six S.C. organizations receive Arts Endowment grants

NEA releases first FY21 grantees


The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to announce the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2021 totaling $27,562,040.

Supported projects span 14 artistic disciplines in communities throughout the U.S. Also included in this announcement are the recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation and support for arts research projects. “The creativity and resilience of artists and arts organizations across the country have inspired Americans during this challenging year,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These projects represent the vitality and perseverance of arts organizations small and large to overcome significant challenges, transform to new ways of engagement, and forge new relationships that benefit the diverse populations in neighborhoods and cities throughout the United States.” The Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards range from $10,000 to $100,000 and cover these artistic disciplines: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. In February 2020, the agency received 1,674 eligible GAP applications requesting more than $82.4 million in FY 2021 support. Approved for funding are 1,073 projects totaling nearly $25 million, with grants recommended to 64% of all applicants and an average grant amount of $23,190. Grant guidelines and upcoming application deadlines are now available on the Arts Endowment website for organizations wishing to apply. Five arts projects in South Carolina were granted in this cycle. They are:
  • College of Charleston ($20,000)
  • Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston ($40,000)
  • Columbia Film Society ($20,000)
  • Greenville Light Opera Works ($10,000)
  • Hub City Writers Project ($10,000)
The Arts Endowment is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Part of this commitment includes our partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Outreach to develop relationships and help HBCUs navigate funding opportunities has led to an increased number of applications from and involving HBCUs. A few Grants for Arts Projects examples of successful applications from this round of funding include:
  • A $20,000 award to National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, to support the Move/Dance! Program in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and Spelman College, which will virtually engage students in the appreciation of Black dance in America.
  • A $15,000 award to Illinois State University to support outreach to HBCUs and the publication of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. With the aim of growing its readership and cultivating new voices, Obsidian plans to offer online literary programming at HBCUs across the country.
  • A $25,000 award to Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts to support a master class series for aspiring classical music singers. The project will take place at several historically Black colleges and universities such as Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland; Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; and Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.
  • A $20,000 award to Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, Kentucky, to support an artist residency program for visual artists and related public programming. Artists will engage local rural audiences and a partnership with Kentucky State University will enable students to engage with the residency program as interns and volunteers.
  • A $100,000 award to Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to support the pARTners Project. The goal of the initiative is to increase access to arts education for students in West-Central Alabama, with a special focus on preK-12th grade students in rural areas, by creating a strategic plan, providing arts integration programs to schools, including developing curriculum and training teachers. Teaching artists will be recruited for participation from local colleges and universities such as Stillman College.

The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators. This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2021 fellowships are in poetry and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. In addition, the Arts Endowment approved $325,000 in fellowships to 24 translators to translate works from 16 languages and 19 countries into English. Click here to take a more in-depth look at these fellowships and other Literary Arts grants this round.
The National Endowment for the Arts also offers two funding opportunities for research projects. This year marks the tenth anniversary of grants for arts research, a program currently known as Research Grants in the Arts. For FY 2021, 14 organizations are recommended for Research Grants in the Arts totaling $833,000. In addition, five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $645,790. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors. Click here to explore more about the recommended arts research awards. A research project by Clinical Biotechnology Research Institute at Roper St. Francis Hospital in Charleston was the recipient of an $80,000 research grant.
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.

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South Arts awards arts orgs $1.67 million in Resilience Funding

Three awarded in South Carolina


Investing in the long-term success and strength of arts and cultural infrastructure is core to the South Arts Resilience Fund.

With grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, 34 small- and mid-sized arts organizations across the region are receiving a total of $1.674 million to build their resilience through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund, managed by South Arts, is part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “These organizations represent a cross-section of the creativity vital to our region,” said Susie Surkamer, CEO and president of South Arts. “Their work impacts artists and audiences across their respective states, the region, and the nation. These awards will allow them to reimagine their work in the face of the pandemic, and emerge stronger than before.” Some highlights of the funded organizations and projects include:
  • Junebug Productions of New Orleans will receive $30,000 to build new revenue streams through the creation of a Junebug Digital Platform as a digital extension of story-sharing as well as an expansion of their fundraising capacity.
  • Appalshop of Whitesburg, Kentucky will receive $100,000 to expand their capacity to provide online content and engage in racial equity planning to analyze their work and policies. Additional funds will convert their facility to renewable energy sources.
  • Collage Dance Collective of Memphis, Tennessee will receive $55,000 to support televised broadcasts of their season as well as a reimagination of their membership program to be more inclusive and robust while increasing revenue.
In June, nearly 500 arts organizations from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee were nominated for consideration by themselves and leaders in the field. Of those nominees, 95 were invited to complete a full application and proposal. The applications were then reviewed by panels of experts, who adjudicated each organization based on criteria including impact, vision, geographic scope, and service to the underserved. Three organizations in South Carolina were selected for awards:
  • Colour of Music Festival (Mount Pleasant) $35,900
  • Hub City Writers Project (Spartanburg) $30,000
  • Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston) $50,000
In contrast to funds dealing with the immediate needs of organizations during the pandemic, the South Arts Resilience Fund asked organizations to look further toward the future. “These are unprecedented times and we are glad to provide arts organizations the flexibility and resources to explore their work,” continued Surkamer. “The strategies for resilience look different for each organization, but the ultimate goal is almost always the same: create deeper, more meaningful connections with audiences while working towards long-term sustainability.” The South Arts Resilience Fund is part of South Arts’ comprehensive approach to supporting the arts throughout the pandemic. In April, South Arts distributed 450 grants of $1,000 directly to jazz artists nationwide. Throughout the summer, South Arts also awarded $725,000 in CARES Act funding to arts organizations supporting employment of their workers with an emphasis on rural, culturally specific, and statewide service organizations. Additionally, South Arts has adjusted their other programs to reflect new priorities over the course of the pandemic. A full list of South Arts Resilience Fund recipients as well as information about all other South Arts programs is available by visiting 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.

Jason Rapp

Watson-Brown Foundation to fund new Southern studies fellowships

$150,000 grant starts three-year initiative in Spartanburg

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, April 30, 2021

Chapman Cultural Center and the Hub City Writers Project have jointly received a $150,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation for a new, three-year initiative: the Southern Studies Fellowship in Arts and Letters.

This first-of-its-kind program will bring one early-career artist and one early-career writer to Spartanburg for a nine-month residency of research, creativity, teaching, and travel, culminating in a collaborative project informed by the region. The program, which begins in 2021, will be marketed nationally to artists and writers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of the American South. “By bringing dynamic creative people together with dynamic arts organizations and scholars through the region, we will set in motion new explorations of the modern South that will reverberate beyond our community,” said Jennifer Evins, Chapman Cultural Center president and CEO. “This grant is designed to create a life-changing experience for the fellows, to provide engaging intellectual opportunities for local students and citizens, and to create a model program for community cultural study through art and literature,” said Anne Waters, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project.

The program, which begins in 2021, will be marketed nationally to artists and writers who are interested in immersing themselves in the culture of the American South.


Over the three-year period of the grant, each Southern Studies Fellow will be provided with a furnished apartment with paid utilities in downtown Spartanburg and a monthly stipend. Applications for the program will be available online in early 2021, and the first fellows will come to Spartanburg from September 2021 to May 2022. It is open to residents of the United States. The initiative replaces existing residency programs by Chapman and Hub City. In addition to focusing on their own creative projects, the Southern Studies Fellows will have opportunities and requirements for educational community service in Spartanburg County; these will include regular college and high school classroom visits/lectures, readings, open studios, workshops, and projects affiliated with the host organizations. The fellows will be expected to contribute up to 20 hours per week in the following areas: community service, artist-writer collaboration, and out-of-town travel for project research. A key component of this unique fellowship is the opportunity to interact with leading scholars, artists, and writers throughout the South. Each fellow will have opportunities to travel in the Southern region to conduct research at cultural and educational institutions, which will inform their work and will be critical in the development of their ideas for a collaborative project that expands the understanding of the modern South.
The Watson-Brown Foundation invests in higher education through grants and its scholarship program, which annually awards nearly $5 million in merit- and need-based college scholarships to students from an 18-county region of Georgia and South Carolina. Based in Thomson, Georgia, the foundation also operates a grant program that encourages responsible scholarship on the South and supports historic preservation. Additionally, it owns and operates three historic house museums in Georgia. With roots that stretch back more than 50 years, the Chapman Cultural Center’s mission is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities, and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community. It serves as the official South Carolina Arts Commission-designated arts agency of Spartanburg County. Chapman provides general operating support for nine cornerstone cultural institutions, including the Hub City Writers Project, through its United Arts Fund and provides project grants to local artists and organizations. The Hub City Writers Project, founded in 1995, serves its mission to cultivate readers and nurture writers through its independent press, community bookshop, and diverse literary programming. Its flagship program, Hub City Press, is one of only three Southern book publishers funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is focused on finding and spotlighting new and extraordinary voices from the American South.

Chapman Cultural CenterAbout Chapman Cultural Center

Our mission is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community. Visit their website to learn more.

About Hub City Writers Project

The Hub City Writers Project is a non-profit organization in Spartanburg dedicated to cultivating readers and nurturing writers through its independent small press, community bookstore, and diverse literary programming that serves our community and beyond. For more information please visit www.hubcity.org.

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.

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Spartanburg arts orgs to share relief award

Balmer Foundation gifts $155,000


Chapman Cultural Center is pleased and honored to announce Spartanburg’s leading cultural organizations received $155,000 in emergency funding support from the Balmer Foundation.

Through this gift, $130,000 went towards funding Chapman Cultural Center’s General Operating Support Grantees and $25,000 will be designated to cost of operating Chapman Cultural Center. The Balmer Foundation trustees presented each organization with their funds at a limited-capacity ceremony on June 2 to encourage social distancing. Chapman Cultural Center, the leading local arts agency in Spartanburg County, awards General Operating Support Grants (GOS) to cultural organizations each year that have been established as a 501(c)3 for 3 years or more, and must continue working to advance the mission of the organization. Grantees for GOS Grants are evaluated on the basis of merit, evidence of sound management and fiscal responsibility, and service to all of Spartanburg County. These awards support up to 20% of the grantees’ annual operating expenses. The Balmer Foundation Board of Trustees offered the following statement in regards to their gift:

“The current trustees of the Balmer Foundation, inspired by the historic and remarkable commitment of Hans and Lucia Balmer to proactively support the Spartanburg community, have chosen to assist key institutions in this unique time of stress and challenge. The Balmers loved animal education and the arts, as they did other key projects that are important to our lives (such as Spots of Pride). While the foundation does not encourage grant requests, it believes the Balmers would want the foundation to commit to this contribution and thereby encourage your good work.”

In the last 25 years, through generous donations to the United Arts Fund, Chapman Cultural Center has awarded over $17 million in grants to strengthen, develop, and promote the cultural vibrancy in Spartanburg County in a sustainable way. “We are very concerned about the financial stability of the arts during these uncertain times. Our General Operating Support Grant program is critically important to our grantees because it gives them a reliable funding source which allows them to plan strategically to expand programs, reach larger and more diverse audiences, and retain creative talent. We are beyond grateful for the support of generous donors such as the Balmer Foundation, who truly see the value the arts bring to a community, especially during the most difficult times,” said President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center Jennifer Evins.
Emergency funding by The Balmer Foundation was awarded to the following organizations:
  • Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg*
  • Ballet Spartanburg*
  • Hatcher Garden
  • Hub City Writers Project*
  • Spartanburg Art Museum*
  • Spartanburg County Historical Association
  • Spartanburg Philharmonic*
  • Spartanburg Science Centre
  • Spartanburg Little Theatre and Spartanburg Youth Theatre
* arts organizations CCC’s Board Chairman Bert Barre, stated “The cultural sector has grown since we first started providing these grants in 1995 and more demands are being placed on organizations as our community grows and prospers. We evaluate the grantees in a thorough process that includes thirteen volunteer grant reviewers representing our Board and members of the Spartanburg community. They conduct site visits, review applications and listen to presentations made by each organization. Together, these organizations serve over 143,000 people each year and the grants allow these organizations to continue to grow their collective impact.”

About Chapman Cultural Center

Chapman Cultural CenterOur mission is to provide cultural leadership for Greater Spartanburg by developing, strengthening, and promoting the scope, excellence and educational role of the arts, humanities and sciences, and to further their significance in the life of our community. Visit our website to learn more.

Eight NEA grants designated for South Carolina

Federal government to provide $155,000 in funding


Chairman Mary Anne Carter announced today that organizations in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive federal funding for arts projects from the National Endowment for the Arts in this round of fiscal year 2020 funding. Overall, 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million will provide Americans opportunities for arts participation, and this year include projects that celebrate the Women's Suffrage Centennial. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support grants throughout the entire country that connect people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “These projects provide access to the arts for people of all abilities and backgrounds in both urban centers and rural communities.” This funding announcement includes the Art Works and Challenge America grant programs.
  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees sorted by city and state.
  • Click here for a list of recommended grantees separated by category: Art Works (sorted by artistic discipline/field) and Challenge America.
  • Click here to use the Arts Endowment’s grant search tool to find additional project details for these and other agency-supported grants.
  • Click here for the lists of the panelists that reviewed the applications for this round of funding.
Eight arts organizations in South Carolina from Abbeville, Aiken, Charleston, Richland, and Spartanburg counties are getting a combined $155,000 to present varied arts programming. Examples include high-profile events like Spoleto Festival USA and smaller public performances at Joye in Aiken and the Abbeville Opera House, among others. The former Tapp's Arts Center, now known as Tapp's Outpost, in Columbia (in the news recently for losing its Main Street space) received $40,000—the largest South Carolina grant—for its Cultural Entrepreneurship Incubator Program. "The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is delighted to hear that federal support is coming to these organizations and programming, all of whom are supported this fiscal year by state funding through Arts Commission grants. The combined support will ensure South Carolina citizens have access to and benefit from the highest quality arts experiences," SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

Art Works

Art Works grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. Cost share/matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. Art Works projects this round include:
  • A $30,000 award to Shreveport Regional Arts Council to support the new arts partnership with historically black universities Southern University at Shreveport and Grambling State University, documenting and celebrating the schools' artist alumni, who will be commissioned for artist talks, workshops, and residencies.
  • A $10,000 award to support the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust’s Yup'ik Dance Festival, where singers and dancers from villages in southwest Alaska will gather to exchange songs and dances, celebrating traditional dance in the region. The event will be the subject of a documentary film that will serve as an educational tool for future dancers.
  • A $45,000 award to support the 2020 Open Style Lab Summer Program in Great Neck, New York, which will bring together emerging fashion designers, product designers, engineers, and rehabilitation therapists to co-design adaptive clothing for people with disabilities.
For fiscal year 2020, the Arts Endowment encouraged Art Works applications for artistically excellent projects that honor the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, celebrating women’s voting rights in the United States. Among the many upcoming projects in this area are:
  • A $20,000 award to the Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky to support Metalworks for the Modern Muse. Master artists will offer metalworking and blacksmithing instruction, highlighting its relevance to Appalachian culture. Intended to serve girls ages 12-14, the project will recognize the contributions of women artists to the suffrage movement and the reforms that laid the groundwork for settlement schools in Kentucky.
  • A $15,000 award to the Chautauqua Institution to support Women’s Suffrage Centennial: Claiming a Voice, Claiming a Vote, a week-long summer opera festival that will highlight new works by a female composer-in-residence. The festival will be preceded by school performances addressing the centennial of women’s suffrage. Selected works will illustrate the challenges women have faced and the victories claimed throughout the past 100 years.

Challenge America

Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Each grant is for a fixed amount of $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. Challenge America projects approved for funding include:
  • A series of multidisciplinary Latinx cultural heritage arts events at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California, a first-time applicant for Arts Endowment funding. Artists will engage with the college’s largely Hispanic district population through workshops, school activities, dance, and music performances. Among the featured guest artists is National Heritage Fellow Ofelia Esparza and a culminating event will include a Dia de los Muertos panel discussion with guest artists.
  • NOMADstudio’s visual art program for incarcerated youth at Florida’s Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Guest artists will work with youth to create a mural and provide instruction on how to produce art independently during studio time. Artworks will be displayed during culminating events at the center and a local art gallery.
  • Theatre for Young America’s production of the play Fair Ball: Negro Leagues in America, about the history of Negro League baseball, and corresponding educational activities that include in-school workshops for K-12 students in rural Kansas.
The next funding deadline for applications to the Grants for Arts Projects category is February 13, 2020. Note: Grant applications previously submitted to the Art Works category will now be submitted to the Grants for Arts Projects category. The next funding deadline for applications to Challenge America is April 9, 2020.

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.

NEA awards grants to S.C. Arts Commission, others in state

$933,900 coming (back) to South Carolina

$80 million awarded across U.S. by NEA


WASHINGTON—The National Endowment for the Arts announces $80.4 million for 1,114 new awards located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. jurisdictions. This is the Art Endowment’s second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2019, and these awards continue the Arts Endowment’s commitment as the only arts funder reaching the entire country. Awards from this round of funding come from four categories: Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships and Research: Art Works, plus a renewal in NEA Research Labs. “Reflecting the diverse artistic richness of our nation, these Arts Endowment-funded projects are varied in their size, scope, and artistic discipline,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The projects also illustrate the unique geographic reach of Arts Endowment funding, serving Americans in places large and small in all corners of the country.” Grants recommended in this round are listed in two ways:
  • State/jurisdiction and listed by city/town and
  • Funding category (Art Works II, Our Town, state and regional partnerships, and Research: Art Works) and then listed by artistic discipline/field.
In the first funding round of fiscal year 2019 announced on February 13, 2019 the Arts Endowment made 1,145 grants totaling $27 million. Other awards will be made in the coming months through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. All current grants can be viewed through the Arts Endowment’s grants search.
SOUTH CAROLINA: 5 awards totaling $933,900
  • Columbia Film Society, Columbia $22,500; Art Works - Media Arts
  • South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia $811,400; Partnerships (State & Regional)
  • Greenville Symphony Association/Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville $10,000; Art Works - Music
  • City of Rock Hill $75,000; Our Town - Design
  • Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg $15,000; Art Works - Literature
Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director: “At the Arts Commission, our grant will be put to use serving communities throughout the state. It will fund community arts development initiatives that seek to foster the creativity and unity needed to address the unique issues facing rural South Carolina communities. It will further our goals to provide every South Carolina child with access to an arts-inclusive education. It will also let us help our artists develop their skills to grow businesses that contribute to the state’s $9.7 billion creative economy.”
ART WORKS II: 977 awards totaling $23,983,500 Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s largest category with projects supported in 13 artistic disciplines and fields in this Art Works II group, ranging from arts education to visual arts. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 with a median amount of $20,000. Examples of Art Works-supported projects in this round are:
  • A $10,000 award to the Madison Public Library Association in Madison, Wisconsin (a first-time Arts Endowment grantee) to support programming at the Wisconsin Book Festival featuring award-winning authors of genres such as literary fiction, poetry, and science.
  • A $10,000 award to Shreveport Opera in Shreveport, Louisiana to support the Shreveport Opera Xpress educational touring program, which offers performances and activities for public school students in central and south Louisiana.
  • A $15,000 award to the Pioneer School of Drama in Danville, Kentucky to support Voices Inside: The Northpoint Prison Writing and Performance Project, where theater professionals will conduct workshops for inmates at the Northpoint Training Center.
  • A $20,000 award to Cultural Resources in Rockport, Maine to support the Wabanaki Arts Mentorship Program, where accomplished Wabanaki artists will instruct youth in basket-making techniques and cultural knowledge.
  • A $30,000 award to the City of Phoenix to support a partnership with the city’s Neighborhood Services Department and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture to provide grants for intergenerational arts projects.

OUR TOWN: 57 awards totaling $4,115,000 Our Town is the Arts Endowment’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. Two program areas are place-based projects with grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, and knowledge building projects with grant amounts ranging from $25,000-$100,000. This year’s cohort is remarkable for its diversity. Approximately a third of the recommended grantees are first-time applicants to the Arts Endowment. The types of communities vary widely with 18 recommendations for projects in rural or tribal communities. And project types range from cultural planning to festivals and cross several artistic disciplines. Examples of Our Town-supported projects are:
  • A $25,000 award to the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in Hogansburg, New York, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will undertake a project to engage local artists and designers to develop public art and architecture that reflects Akwesasne Mohawk culture.
  • A $50,000 award to the City of Granite Falls in Minnesota to establish an artist residency program within local government. The program is the first of its kind in a small, rural setting, and has the potential to serve as a national model for other small communities.
  • An $85,000 grant to the Santa Fe Art Institute to re-enliven the shuttered campus of the former Santa Fe College of Art and Design by inventorying the campus’s cultural assets and creating community arts events to build enthusiasm around the campus’s development potential and to advance community goals.
In addition to funding, the Arts Endowment advances creative placemaking through publications and resource development. Those resources are available on the creative placemaking page.
STATE AND REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: 64 awards totaling $51,456,500 Through partnership agreements, the Arts Endowment translates national leadership into local and regional benefit. Every U.S. state and jurisdiction has its own state arts agency that coordinates cultural policies and invests in arts programming on behalf of, or as part of, state/jurisdiction government. The geographically-defined consortium of state arts agencies known as regional arts organizations are funded to manage programs across state, national, and international borders. Together, these organizations receive 40 percent of the Arts Endowment’s grantmaking funds each year to support their activities and to leverage state and other public and private funds. Partnership Agreements help support life-long learning in schools and communities, community economic development through creative districts, and arts participation through artist tours, festivals, readings, and exhibits. Some examples of state and regional programming funded by partnership agreements are:
  • The Delaware Division of the Arts and Delaware State Parks have been working together since 2008 to offer arts-in-the-park programming that has increased the number and diversity of visitors to state parks.
  • Through its Arts and Military Initiative, the Oklahoma Arts Council works with the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs and a local partner to provide arts activities to residents at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Norman.
  • Through its Launchpad initiative, South Arts is providing mentorships and other professional development services to presenting organizations beginning or expanding in the South Arts region.
RESEARCH: ART WORKS: 15 awards totaling $724,000 Research: Art Works supports research that investigates the value or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and with other domains of American life. Some examples of this year’s awardees are:
  • A $20,000 award to MINDPOP in Austin, Texas will support a study led by researchers from the Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin that examines relationships between schools and arts partners participating in a collective impact arts education project.
  • An $88,000 award to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio will support a randomized controlled trial examining the arts’ ability to improve health, resilience, and well-being in individuals with chronic health conditions.
Final reports for previously-awarded Research: Art Works grants are posted on the study findings page of the Arts Endowment website. A renewal of an NEA Research Lab to the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform for $150,000 will support research that examines the impact on social, emotional and other individual characteristics of elementary school students who participate in field trips to arts institutions.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA 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 NEA 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. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.
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