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Camden to hold week-long celebration of cultural district

The City of Camden and the Arts Center of Kershaw County are thrilled to announce a week-long celebration of the cultural district, featuring art, live music, historical lectures and education, a community art project and a special visit from GRAMMY nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon.

This celebration begins Saturday, Sept. 3 and runs through Saturday, Sept.10. The majority of events will be free or at little cost. In October 2020, the South Carolina Arts Commission designated a portion of downtown Camden as the state’s ninth cultural district. Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities and activities, galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, in addition to other attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity.
The week-long celebration includes:
  • Two events on Saturday, Sept. 3:
    • a “community coloring” project at the Kershaw County Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to noon at 906 Broad Street, sponsored by First Palmetto Bank. Residents are invited to color one of several large posters that will be hung around downtown.
    • A “Let's Talk About....." symposium at the Arts Center of Kershaw County from 1–3 p.m. at 810 Lyttleton Street. This discussion will focus on critical race theory (CRT), led by civic activist, author, and former Camden mayor Tony Scully and law professor and practicing attorney, Barbara Ransom. Together, these two individuals representing quite different life experiences will explore what CRT is and is not. “Let’s Talk About…” is a community engagement initiative offered by the African American Cultural Center of Camden, a department of the Camden Archives & Museum. The program consists of a series of lectures, literary readings, panel discussions, and stories woven together to present different perspectives on the achievements, culture, and history of African Americans. Admission is free, with donations welcome. Seating is limited. Register at eventbrite.com or by calling 803-425-6050.
  • Monday, Sept. 5, the community coloring project continues from 12–4 p.m. on Town Green, 1015 Market St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, join Preservation South Carolina to learn about their statewide Sacred Spaces Program. They will discuss how the organization has built solutions for historic church buildings that have lost or are losing their congregations. Explore the different approaches to help preserve the legacy of these buildings that are a vital part of the state’s cultural landscape. This event will take place at 4 pm at Camden Second Presbyterian Church, 816 Market Street and is free and open to the public.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8, see art in all its forms during the downtown Art Walk from 4–7 p.m.will feature the opening reception of “The Mountain Girls” at the Arts Center’s Bassett Gallery, 810 Lyttleton St., which begins at 5:30 p.m. Other locations on the Art Walk include Rutledge Street Gallery (508 Rutledge St.), featuring scenes of Camden by local artist Salley McInerney; Artists Attic (930 Broad St.) and Camden Art Shoppes (1011 Broad St.), featuring works from more than a dozen local artists; Gallery 537 (537 East DeKalb St.), featuring the work of Lori Isom-Starnes; and Laurie McIntosh Art (1014 Broad St.), one of “The Mountain Girls” herself. This event is free.
  • Friday, Sept. 9, Gallery 537 will host cellist and Camden native Clair Bryant in the debut of her new album “Whole Heart” from 7–10 p.m. This debut album from Bryant features seven bold works for solo cello and string duo, written by a luminary slate of diverse living composers. These works reflect love and the human experience. “Whole Heart” is a reminder of the collective challenges we face and the resilience and strength that live inside each of us. Gallery 537 is located at 537 East DeKalb St.
  • Two events on Saturday, Sept. 10:
    • Fire fighters, law enforcement and first responders invite the public to join in or watch as the third annual 9/11 Walk of Remembrance makes its way from Lugoff Fire Department beginning at 9 a.m., along U.S. Hwy 1 and through downtown Camden to Camden Fire Station 1, 1000 Lyttleton St. Register at bit.ly/911walk.
    • Rounding out the cultural district celebration, what is truly considered to be the highlight of the week, will be “Thoughts on Grief: An Intimate Conversation with Nneena Freelon.” In this guided conversation with Rosalyn Smith-Stover, executive director of the Family Resource Center and founder of Act Up Drama in Camden, Ms. Freelon will discuss how the loss of her soulmate and husband, renowned architect Phil Freelon, and her sister Debbie have reshaped her way of being in the world. Ms. Freelon has felt the need to find her "voice" once more, through the lens of grief and loss. Her 2021 recording "Time Traveler" (her first studio recording in nearly ten years) is a reflection of this new territory, an intimate expression of her love for Phil and their 40 year journey and a universal love letter to all who’ve lost someone dear. This event will begin at 4 pm at Camden Second Presbyterian Church, 816 Market Street. This event is free, with a suggested $25 donation. Tickets can be reserved online at https://thoughtsongrief.eventbrite.com or by calling 803.549.5648. Tickets to both the conversation and a private 30 minute reception with Ms. Freelon afterwards are available for $35.
In addition to these events, residents are encouraged to explore all of the cultural district’s shops and restaurants, where activities and special events are planned year round. For more information on the cultural district or any of the events taking place during the celebration, visit www.downtowncamdensc.org/cultural-district or call 803.549.5648.
Learn more about South Carolina Cultural Districts here.

Jason Rapp

Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County seeks staff leader

Established arts org hiring executive director

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, March 1, 2021
The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, located in historic Camden, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing arts center serving Kershaw County as a cultural center for entertainment and education in the performing and visual arts. Founded in 1974 the campus has three main buildings: The Bassett Building with a 284 seat auditorium, gallery, and a smaller black box theatre in a performing arts wing that also includes an outdoor Pavilion area; The Daniels Education Building (music, visual art and dance studios) and the historic The Douglas-Reed House circa 1812. The executive director provides overall artistic and administrative leadership to the center. The director is responsible for achieving the center’s goals for artistic excellence, audience development, fundraising, sponsorship and business relations development, financial sustainability, and community engagement. The director sets the artistic vision, including the selection of performances, artists, and other creative and educational programming. The position is a full-time, salaried position with a competitive compensation package. The director’s duties include, but are not limited to, hiring and managing full and part-time employees as well as contract employees, fundraising and development, budget management, and season development and implementation of performances and programs.  In addition, effective communication with the board of directors and other committees that pertain to the functionality of the center.


  • College graduate with at least 5 years management experience, preferably in a nonprofit organization, with significant experience in the arts or a related area.
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field is a plus.
  • Knowledge of the Kershaw County area arts community is a plus; with a desire to live in the area.
  • Proven record as a successful fundraiser.
  • Outstanding written, oral and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Strong planning, organizational and analytical skills.
  • Ability to positively motivate and develop staff, board, and volunteers and build consensus.
  • Visionary and innovative thinker.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with all sectors of the community, the board of directors and staff.

Procedure for applying

Qualified candidates should e-mail a current resume, together with a cover letter indicating interest in the position and salary requirements to Board President Mary Ellen Green at megreen@firstpalmetto.com. Deadline for applications is March 1, 2021. For more information about the Arts Center, visit www.fineartscenter.org.

Submitted material

Ninth S.C. Cultural District approved in Camden

S.C. Arts Commission board votes unanimously for approval

For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The city of Camden was awarded the ninth South Carolina Cultural District today by a unanimous vote of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) board of directors, effective immediately.

The new Downtown Camden Cultural District runs along Broad Street from West/East DeKalb streets south to York Street and along Rutledge Street from Church to Lyttleton streets, touching all or part of 14 city blocks. It includes the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, galleries, studios and other makers spaces, artisan and farmers markets, and prominent historic landmarks dating to the late 1800s. Signage and other markers are planned to define the area to residents and visitors. Children making chalk drawings in an alley in Camden“Camden has had a strong arts community for well over half a century, and downtown Camden hosts several arts spaces, including the Arts Center of Kershaw County, private galleries and studios, music and maker spaces,” said city of Camden Main Street Program Manager Katharine Spadacenta. “We’ve identified 60 cultural assets in this area to be designated as the Cultural District. We are very excited for the arts and culture of our community to be recognized as an official South Carolina Cultural District.” Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. They are easily identifiable and serve as centers of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They frequently have galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, and arts schools in addition to non-cultural attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity. Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014 authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts. The legislation specifies the following goals of this program:
  • attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
  • encourage economic development
  • foster local cultural development
  • provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
“Cultural districts show the best of what South Carolina has to offer. They prove that arts and culture drive growth, bring people together, and make our communities stronger. We welcome Camden’s new cultural district. The possibilities and impact are boundless. We hope other cities and towns make arts a focal point of progress,” SCAC board of directors Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. “Our South Carolina Cultural Districts attract tourists, help preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance the image and visibility of a place, foster a supportive environment for arts and culture,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “You don’t have to be in Camden long to see all of that is going on in our newest district. It is a wonderful and fitting addition to the program, and I congratulate them for making arts and culture a point of community pride.” “Personal connections in Camden let me observe the progress of its ongoing downtown revitalization through the past 13 years. Strong, visionary leadership steered toward this accomplishment, and the arts commission is thrilled to see the arts and creative sector used yet again to keep momentum building,” South Carolina Cultural Districts Program Director Jason Rapp said. Downtown Camden Cultural Districts joins eight other districts: Beaufort, Bluffton, Congaree Vista, Florence, Greenwood, Lancaster, Rock Hill, and Downtown Spartanburg. More information about South Carolina Cultural Districts is available at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/community-development/programs/cultural-districts/.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. 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.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: SCAC fellow’s new play to debut + Camden gallery’s season opens

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

SCAC fellowship recipient to debut new play. “Boy About Ten” will debut Aug. 17 and run until Aug. 25 on the Thigpen Main Stage at Columbia’s Trustus Theatre. It is playwright Dr. Jon Tuttle's sixth world premier at Trustus, where he is resident playwright. Tuttle received the SCAC's fellowship for playwriting in 2000. Read more on "Boy About Ten" and Tuttle from the Morning News/SC Now. Bassett Gallery opens new season. "Tuning Up" is happy for a quick check-in just up U.S. 1 in Camden, where grantee the Fine Arts Center is set to open the 2018/2019 Bassett Gallery season on Thursday night. Camden artist Dot Goodwin's exhibition "Life with HeART" is first up. Spartanburg 1 touts ABC Project grants. Spartanburg School District 1 scored the largest percentage of ABC — Arts in Basic Curriculum — grant funding of any district in the state, according to the Herald-Journal. The total amount headed to the district is $67,000 distributed among seven district schools. Thanks for promoting your grant!
[caption id="attachment_34666" align="alignright" width="251"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption] ICYMI: Calling all potters! The Macon (Ga.) Arts Alliance would like to share with you Fired Works 2019 Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale featuring 60 potters from Georgia and the Southeast to be held April 5-14, 2019 in ... Macon, Georgia. The entry fee and exhibition are free to the exhibitors. Get, ahem, fired up! Hard details here. Let's show them what #SCArtists can do! (The deadline is Dec. 1, so we'll remind you once or twice between now and then.)

Time to make hay

The first weekend in June is just days away, and that means it’s time for another arts festival in South Carolina. More low-key than its larger brethren, the Ag + Art Tour (Ag and Art Tour) continues to grow and in 2018 is spread throughout 12 counties. Ag + Art Tour is a free, self-guided tour of designated farms in South Carolina featuring local artisans and farmer's markets.  During this tour you will have the opportunity to see first-hand where your food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, dance to the melodies of bluegrass and folksongs, and learn more about rural life. It’s the largest free farm and art tour in the nation with more 30,000 visitors participating since it began in 2012. And it’s ready to, ahem, make hay for the next four weekends in the counties of:

  1. Chesterfield County (June 2-3)
  2. Darlington County
  3. Florence County
  4. Horry County
  5. Kershaw County
  6. Chester County (June 9-10)
  7. Lancaster County
  8. York County
  9. Fairfield County (June 16-17)
  10. Newberry County (June 23-24)
  11. Union County
  12. Spartanburg County
2018 Tour Times
  • Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays 1-5 p.m.
Once again, yes, admission is free, but there will likely be a charge to purchase food, beverages and a farmer’s and/or artisan’s products. Some activities may also have a cost. Head to the Ag + Art Tour website to begin plotting the course that works for you. (And do them a solid: don’t forget to use the hashtag #agandarttour in your social media posts.)

Midlands writers! Deadline extended for anthology submissions

Muddy Ford Press is looking for a few more poems, essays or short fiction to finish up the anthology, A Sense of the Midlands. The deadline has been extended -- you now have until Oct. 15 at midnight. Call for submissions details Muddy Ford Press is accepting submissions of poetry, essays, and short fiction exploring the sensory world of the South Carolina Midlands for an anthology titled A Sense of the Midlands. Submissions should deal with how the sensory experiences (taste, touch, sight, sound and smell) of living in the South Carolina Midlands grounds, changes, challenges and enriches us. Submission is open to residents of Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Fairfield, Calhoun, Saluda, Orangeburg, and Kershaw counties.

  • Short fiction – no more than 2,500 words
  • Essays – no more than 1,200 words
  • Poetry – no more than 5 pages
Submit in a standard 12 pt. Word document to Publisher@MuddyFordPress.com and include a cover sheet with your name, address, email, phone and the title of your work. A little more information is available on the Jasper Magazine website. Questions? Contact editor@JasperMagazine.com Via: Jasper Magazine


Florence Museum invites entries to Pee Dee Regional Art Competition

The 59th annual Pee Dee Regional is the oldest continuing art competition in South Carolina, according to the folks at the Florence Museum. Entries for the 2012 competition will be accepted Sept. 20-22, and the exhibition will be presented by the museum's board of trustees Oct. 5 through Dec. 16. Artists who are natives or residents of these counties are eligible to enter: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter and Williamsburg. This year's competition judge is artist Jane Allen Nodine, professor of art and director of the Curtis R. Harley Gallery at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. Visit the Florence Museum's website for more information and to download a prospectus and registration form. [caption id="attachment_682" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Interrogate 33 by Jim Boden Jim Boden's Interrogate 33 received top honors at the 2011 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition[/caption] via: Florence Museum


Writer, poet and choreographer named artist fellows

Congratulations to the new class of South Carolina Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellows!

Each fellow receives a $5,000 award and recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. The fellowship program highlights South Carolina's exceptional artists, who are true entrepreneurs running home-grown businesses and who are central to the creative industries in our state. These successful artists highlight South Carolina’s culture and creativity and help project a positive image beyond our borders. The S.C. Arts Commission board approves fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select fellows based solely on a review of anonymous work samples. Individual artists working in visual arts, craft, media production and media screenwriting are invited to apply for the 2013-2014 fellowship awards. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2012. Visit the South Carolina Arts Commission website for more information.