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Jason Rapp

Announcing the FY22 SCAC Fellows

for immediate release


Four South Carolina artists exhibiting hard work and exceptional ability in visual art, craft, and media production and screenwriting are recipients of fiscal year 2022 South Carolina Arts Commission fellowships.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) Board of Directors approved four $5,000 fellowships among several other FY22 grant awards to be announced on a later date. The SCAC’s four fellows are:
  • Kristi Ryba of Charleston County in visual art,
  • Clay Burnette of Richland County for craft,
  • Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall of Richland County for media production,
  • and Triza Cox of Florence County for media screenwriting.
Individual artists residing in South Carolina full-time were invited to apply last fall for a fellowship in any of the four categories represented in this cycle. Out-of-state panelists were recruited from each of those disciplines to review applications. Starting with this cycle and going forward, applications are no longer anonymous and awards no longer made solely on artistic merit. The panelists also considered achievements and commitment to the discipline in which artists apply, which can be more than one if separate applications are submitted. Panelists then recommend recipients of each $5,000 fellowship. “Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of exceptional South Carolina individual artists. Recognition from a fellowship lends artistic prestige and can often open doors to other resources and employment opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “We will no doubt hear more from these amazing artists, and we congratulate them on this honor.”

About the FY22 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients

Kristi Ryba | Visual Arts | Charleston County Winner of the 2020 South Arts State Fellowship for South Carolina and a 2018 ArtFields second place award, Ryba’s work has been touring the Southeast in painting and printmaking exhibitions since 1990.  A Magna cum laude graduate of the College of Charleston, Ryba also studied at Vermont Studio School and Studio Camnitzer in Valdotavvo, Lucca, Italy, and has her Master of Fine Arts from Union Institute and University, Vermont College. She has won various awards and scholarships. A founding organizer of Print Studio South, Inc., she served as its president and on its board and has taught locally in both adult and children's programs. Ryba was one of 10 artists featured in a 2002 Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and was invited to exhibit in Contemporary Charleston 2004 and in Helping Hands: an artist's debut among friends in 2005. Her work was featured in the 2018 Biennial in Columbia. Ryba also exhibited at Silo in New York City and her work was in the 2007 SOHO20 Chelsea show honoring The Feminist ART Project. Clay Burnette | Craft | Richland County Clay Burnette is a self-taught pine needle basketmaker who has been coiling longleaf pine needles with waxed linen thread since 1977. Burnette’s work is included in numerous public and private collections—including the State Art Collection—and has been included in more than 250 exhibition venues throughout the U.S. and abroad for 40-plus years. He has also been published in numerous international, national, and regional magazines, catalogs, and fine craft publications. Burnette has taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee since 2015. Images of his work are available at www.clayburnette.com. Sherard Duvall | Media: Production | Richland County Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall is a film and messaging professional from Columbia, S.C. He specializes in visual storytelling, film education, media strategy, diversity consulting and is an advocate of Hip-Hop culture. He’s produced commercial and documentary projects for VH1, Oxygen, and more. A 2021 Liberty Fellow, a 2016 Riley Fellow, a Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholar and one of the founders of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Family Day: Love Peace & Hip-Hop. A 2001 University of South Carolina grad, Sherard is a product of Richland District One schools. Sherard is the Founder and Executive Producer at OTR Media Group, and the proud dad of his son, Cairo. Triza Cox | Media: Screenwriting | Florence County Triza Cox is a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre artist. She is currently the South Carolina Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Her research and creative work center on playmaking using Jungian archetypes, motifs, and symbols of the collective unconscious. Triza holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Louisville and has trained with Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the Mandala Center for Change as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator. Her original plays include A Last Supper; The Willing, which recently received a staged reading with Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina; God in the Midst of it All; and Lil’ Bard which was a semi-finalist in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience 2018 and premiered at Charlotte’s Children Theatre in a staged reading. Triza has received a Kentucky New Voices grant for her playwriting.
A diverse group of panelists reviewed applications from the discipline in which they work. The visual art and craft panelists were Kesha Bruce, a curator and artist programs manager for the Arizona Commission on the Arts; arts consultant and curator Mark Leach based in St. Louis; and Holly Blake, residency manager for Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. Reviewing media production applications were panelists Eleanor Savage, activist and program director with the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Jerome Foundation; and Bill Gaskins, (re)director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s photographic and electronic media graduate program. Writer and producer April Turner of Charlotte was the media screenwriting panelist.
Four fellowships per year are awarded to artists working in rotating disciplines. One artist from each of these fields: prose, poetry, and theatre acting and playwriting will be honored in fiscal year 2023. To be eligible, artists must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident with permanent residence in the state for two years prior to the application date and throughout the fellowship period. Applications will be accepted later this summer following announcement by the SCAC. For more on discipline rotation, eligibility requirements, and the application process, please visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/grant/fel/.
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. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC 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 SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Jason Rapp

Important South Arts deadline coming up

Visual #SCartists eligible for up to $30,o00


[caption id="attachment_44629" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kristi Ryba, the 2020 South Arts State Fellow from South Carolina, seated and painting in her studio. Kristi Ryba, the 2020 South Arts State Fellow from South Carolina, in her studio.[/caption]

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET South Arts' Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, celebrate and support the highest quality artistic work created across our region. Nine artists living in AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN will share $80,000 in cash awards. One artist per state will receive a State Fellowship of $5,000. Two State Fellows will receive the Southern Prize awards, with one Southern Prize finalist receiving an additional $10,000, and one Southern Prize winner receiving an additional $25,000. Both Southern Prize recipients also receive a two-week residency with The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. All nine artists will be featured in a touring exhibition in 2021, with dates/locations TBD depending on the status of the pandemic. This program is open to artists living in our region working in crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, and multidisciplinary artforms. The jurors will make their selections based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of the region. Applications for the 2021 Southern Prize and State Fellowships are now open. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. ET on January 11, 2021.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Southern Prize awarded Monday

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...


ICYMI... Monday, our partner South Arts awarded the 2020 Southern Prize to North Carolina's Sherill Roland. A multidisciplinary artist from Morrisville, Roland received the $25,000 prize and a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Chareston's Kristi Ryba was South Carolina's finalist for the prize. We hear... SOBA Art Gallery in Old Town Bluffton will be open for business at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 21. The gallery will have limited hours and other restrictions, as you might expect. The public is invited to a grand reopening set for 11 a.m. May 21 at the gallery, located at 6 Church St. SOBA artists will work on paintings from the gallery’s porch. A virtual tour of the gallery, showcasing the latest art on exhibit, will take place 11 a.m. May 28 from SOBA’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/sobabluffton/. More at SobaGallery.com.

Submitted material

Kristi Ryba named S.C.’s South Arts State Fellow

South Arts awarding more than $160,000 to 18 artists


South Arts, the nonprofit regional arts service organization advancing Southern vitality through the arts, announces the recipients of two fellowship programs.

Southern PrizeNine visual artists (one per state from its nine-state service area) will each receive a $5,000 State Fellowship; additionally, they are now in competition for the $25,000 Southern Prize with a residency at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences as well as the $10,000 Southern Prize Finalist awards.

The other 2020 State Fellowship recipients are:

  • Carlton Nell. Drawing. Opelika, Alabama.
  • Alba Triana. Experimental. Miami, Florida.
  • Fahamu Pecou. Painting. Decatur, Georgia.
  • Letitia Quesenberry. Multidisciplinary. Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Karen Ocker. Painting. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Ashleigh Coleman. Photography. Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Sherrill Roland. Multidisciplinary. Morrisville, North Carolina.
  • Bill Steber. Photography. Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Additionally, another nine traditional artists and culture-bearers from Central Appalachian counties in KY, NC, and TN will each receive $9,000 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships to continue their lifelong learning and practice. The 2020 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients are:

  • Roger Cooper. Old-time music. Garrison, Kentucky.
  • Charlene Long. Willow & honeysuckle basket making. Upton, Kentucky.
  • Octavia Sexton. Storytelling. Orlando, Kentucky.
  • Janet Calhoun. Pottery. Lenoir, North Carolina.
  • Susan Leveille. Handweaving. Webster, North Carolina.
  • Bobby McMillon. Ballad singing. Burnsville, North Carolina.
  • Meredith Goins. Violin luthiery. Dunlap, Tennessee.
  • Jordan Hughett. Ballad singing. Winfield, Tennessee.
  • Mark Newberry. Chair-making. Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee.

“South Arts is immensely proud to support every one of these artists, craftspeople, and tradition-bearers,” says Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts and a former executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. “Especially as our country enters the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, artists are among those most vulnerable to losing income. Yet their creativity, work, and stories are what carry us forward and will be integral to rebuilding our communities.”


Applications were open for both fellowship programs in the fall of 2019. The State Fellowships application pool was reviewed by a panel of experts including Ndubuisi C. Ezeluomba of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Edward Hayes, Jr. of The McNay Art Museum, independent art historian and consultant David Houston, and Marilyn Zapf of the Center for Craft. The panel made their recommendations based on the artistic excellence of their work and inclusiveness of the diversity of the Southern region. The Folk & Traditional Art Master Artist Fellowship applications were reviewed by a panel including Native American potter and storyteller Beckee Garris, Zoe van Buren of the North Carolina Arts Council, Mark Brown of the Kentucky Arts Council, and Evangeline Mee of the Tennessee Arts Commission. The panel made their recommendations based on the artists’ history and mastery of their respective tradition as well as the proposed lifelong learning opportunity.

The nine State Fellowship recipients will be featured in an exhibition that is scheduled to open at the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia in May 2020; due to the current closures of facilities, this date may be postponed. The announcement of which State Fellowship recipients will also be named as the Southern Prize winner and finalist will be announced at a ceremony surrounding the opening of this exhibition.

“I would like to thank each and every one of our donors and sponsors,” continues Surkamer. “Their support and investment in the arts, culture, and tradition of our region is vital even in the best of times, and their ongoing generosity is more important than ever before.”

To view the work by each of these fellowship recipients and read more about the artists and tradition-bearers, visit www.southarts.org.


About Kristi Ryba

[caption id="attachment_44630" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kristi Ryba's Chapel Of Perpetual Adoration II Chapel Of Perpetual Adoration II ; 2018 ; Egg Tempera & 22k Gold leaf on panel ; 3 panels each 18.75 x 15.25[/caption]

Kristi Ryba enchants viewers with her narrative works as she combines the elaborate skill of handmade egg tempera painting with subjects that explore contemporary events and messages of morality. Museum visitors will experience the different stages of a painting; how the artist lays out the composition, prepares the painting supports, grinds the pigment, and applies gold leaf to envelop the final piece in regalia.

Kristi Ryba holds an MFA from Vermont College, Montpelier, Vermont and most recently won 2nd place in the esteemed annual visual art competition ArtFields (2018). The artist is represented by Corrigan Gallery in Charleston and is in numerous private collections including the Medical University of South Carolina.

Artist Statement

Over the last several years, my interest in the study of Medieval and Renaissance art has informed my work. This series of paintings is taken from images from centuries ago and serve as a vehicle to simplify an urgent message by providing the symbolic and instructional imagery to illustrate and illuminate the leadership crisis we are in. All the gold, elaborate surroundings and messages of morality and ethics corresponded with what is happening in our government; the gutting of our social safety net and health care, eliminating environmental protections, the lack of restraint in spending money on personal enrichment and pleasure and the build-up of military spending and deficit in international diplomacy to name a few.

For more on the other 2020 State Fellows and the 2020 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients, please visit those links to content on SouthArts.org.

About South Arts

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.