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MACK rehab project reaches 100 days

New life for historic community arts center

The McCormick Arts Council (MACK)’s building project has now passed the 100 day milestone of Phase I.

The rehabilitation of the existing historic building is intended to ensure continued use as a community arts center. The project seeks to modernize the building in a historically sensitive way: installing new systems and utilities while increasing critical ADA accessibility for patrons. Recent project highlights include the completion of critical abatement and demolition services, the installation of mechanical infrastructure, substantial progress in electrical, plumbing and framing. This project required an investment in the installation of water and sewer lines, which extended into the parking lot and park, are all now complete. Director of Programs and Development Heather McNally briefly summarized the progress. “We are happy to report that while we did discover some problematic items, mainly areas of rotten wood, damaged water lines and electrical challenges, the impact was minimal and solutions have corrected any issues. The project continues to advance on track, on schedule and on budget and we are striving to advance deferred work to include important life safety systems.”
The primary goal with this phase of investment is to provide the critical infrastructure for the historic Keturah Hotel, from which MACK operates:
  • the ground floor accessibility will be substantially improved,
  • gallery lighting and floorspace expanded,
  • a reception area will greatly support the long term needs of the MACK’s organizational plans,
  • and improve entrance and use of space, including accessible restrooms.
The project will feature a rehabilitation of the former lobby and parlor area which will serve to tell the history of our site and organization. A future docent program will assist with this programmatic goal. Renovations will provide highly flexible spaces that will allow the MACK to continue to serve the community and visitors of McCormick County for many years and to enhance its cultural purpose in the community. Future steps include a new exterior egress stair and a new elevator addition for additional life safety and accessibility improvements. Additional programmatic investments  will include a commercial kitchen, youth center, young adult studio, kiln room and event storage. Columbia-based Boudreaux Group and Solid Structures are overseeing the project, made possible through the generosity and leadership of the Yoder Rosenberg Family Foundation, and contributions from community members.
The purpose of the MACK is to stimulate and promote the arts, increase access to the arts and produce arts programming for the benefit of the citizens of McCormick, South Carolina and the surrounding region. Learn more at mccormickarts.org.

Jason Rapp

McCormick school a beneficiary of new murals

MACK program completes three new murals at elementary school

[caption id="attachment_45821" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural “Science Discovery: Oceans” at McCormick Elementary School.[/caption]

There are now three new murals on the McCormick Elementary School campus that provide engagement for specific educational goals: science, inquiry, and innovation.

These murals, painted by South Carolina artist Damion Johnson, are made possible through the McCormick Art Council (MACK) program "Painting a Brighter Future," a public art program designed to engage our community members, students, and visitors. We are able to combine the intentions of this public art program and help our schools deliver a series of engaging, rich, and vibrant paintings designed to make the student feel immersed in the learning environment. Each mural at McCormick Elementary School adheres to the curriculum standards and pacing guides for lesson plans and utilizes the arts as an important learning partner in providing a quality educational experience to our students.

BONUS CONTENT: Artist Darion Johnson discusses Science Discovery: Oceans on YouTube

This project was made possible through an Arts in Education grant provided through the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also an extension of the school district's participation in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project mission to provide students with quality art education and advance our student's educational experience by providing access to the arts for daily learning experiences. Most importantly, our students and teachers have celebrated the project and are actively enjoying and creating moments of learning engagement. The sheer scope and presence of the learning murals has transformed our school hallways with a quality project that excites, engages, and celebrates art in education. The images are truly spectacular. Our greatest accomplishment is to deliver these high-quality discovery walls for our students to enjoy. The look of awe and amazement on our littlest community members was worth every challenge this school year. We also are very encouraged by the continued greater commitment and value that art has to offer non-art curriculum. We believe these projects have accomplished achieving support and recognition for the value art has in enhancing our student's educational experiences. MACK extends its thanks to everyone involved.

Meet the Artist: Damion Johnson

“Art is the one thing that makes you enjoy the world. Art is far more important, far more than just being important to the world, it is the world. It is the world.” - Damion Johnson

Damion Johnson, a talented artist and native South Carolinian, is the featured artist for this series of educational murals. He is a regional artist, educator, and entrepreneur. His work was featured at the McCormick Arts Council (MACK) in October 2014 and again in September 2016. He is the visual arts teacher at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and was notably selected to represent his school as Teacher of the Year for 2018/2019. He is a professional artist and small business owner who represents the Orangeburg community. Johnson’s artistic journey formally began under the watchful eye of his middle and high school art instructor and uncle John Scott, who planted the seed for developing his artistic trade. Damion continued his studies and earned his bachelor's in professional art from Claflin University and now teaches and operates a successful art studio, as well as a barbershop, to serve his community. His current work honors a process Damion uniquely coins as the ‘capturing what is felt" ideal. His artistic work transforms song lyrics, phrases, and emotions into visual statements. Damion’s art features collage-style compositions where figures often exist on different planes in very involved ways and defines the character of his unique painting style.

Submitted material

‘The show can’t go on’

P&C  reviews hard times in the arts

Hub readers know the devastation felt in South Carolina's arts community because of the pandemic's economic effects.

Know, though, the story is reaching broader audiences. Today, the Greenville outpost of the Post & Courier published a story that paints a bleak picture throughout the state. From the story:

“You know the old adage, ‘The show must go on.’ Well, this is one of those times when the show can’t go on,” said Graham Shaffer, technical director at the Greenville Theatre. “We just have to sit here until we can.”

Some hoped for salvation via a federal coronavirus relief package that hasn’t materialized. Now, the South Carolina Arts Commission has asked the state General Assembly to approve $3.8 million in nonrecurring funds to prop up the ailing industry until it can recover. Originally, the arts commission asked for that amount to help venues make repairs to aging buildings.

Now it just hopes to keep the buildings open.

Read Nate Cary's full story here. Subscription possibly required.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Blythewood poet laureate, mural SZN, SEPF

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...

Surprise poet laureate named in Blythewood. Perhaps known most for horses and signifying to I-77 southbound travelers that their sojourn through the back country from Rock Hill is transitioning to civilization, Blythewood is embracing arts and culture of late. The first Doko Film Fest was just last weekend, Doko Meadows Park features community concerts through the summer, and Tuesday the town named Sara Corn its first poet laureate. Never heard of her? It's probably because she's 11. Read more about Sara and her honor from ColaDaily. Congrats, Sara! Say it with us: #BecauseOfArtsEd (Post continues below image.) [caption id="attachment_39999" align="aligncenter" width="600"]McCormick mural Jeffrey Callaham mural in McCormick. Image by McCormick County Coordinator La Ruchala Murphy/SCAC.[/caption] Welcome to MURAL SZN. Murals are time-honored public art displays that community planners and citizenry in search of a rallying point enjoy in equal measure. Two new ones came across The Hub's radar:
  • "Lady Vista" now resides in the Congaree Vista (an official South Carolina Cultural District) courtesy of Columbia artist Cait Maloney.
  • Another official South Carolina Cultural District also has a new mural: Spartanburg Downtown checks in with a work by Lucy Boland (w/ an assist from Russel Bannan).
  • With help from an SCAC grant, the McCormick Chamber of Commerce, Willington on the Way, and McCormick Arts Council (MACK) debuted a mural (above) celebrating the history of the Willington area. This mural consists of a series of panels created by McCormick artist Jeffery Callaham and included the support and enthusiasm of more than 120 local elementary, middle, and high school students.
"Keys" to the kingdom? Piano lovers take note: tickets are now on sale to all events of the 2019 Southeastern Piano Festival. Artists known the world over will descend on South Carolina for concerts June 16-22. Artists the world will soon know compete in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition and give a recital on the 22nd.

McCormick Arts Council invites photographers to enter juried exhibition

The McCormick Arts Council invites all residents of the United States, 18 years of age or older, to participate in its annual Juried Photography Exhibition held during July.  Cash prizes will be awarded to Best in Show, 2nd Place and 3rd Place winners. Artwork must be original and completed in the last three years. Any copy of the work of another artist, or of a picture or photo which has appeared in print and uses its composition or essential art elements is NOT considered original. This exhibition is limited to photography. Wall mounted work must be framed and securely wired, weigh no more than 50 lbs., or exceed 50". The MACK will not be responsible for glass breakage. No clip mounts will be accepted. Work not adequately prepared for display will be removed from jury. Delivery of Entries: Friday, June 17, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday, June 20, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Jurying of Artwork: Friday, June 24, 2016 Notifications will be made by email or phone through June 30. Opening Reception: Friday, July 8, 2016 Entry Fee: $25 for one entry, $35 for two, $45 for three. Non-refundable. Complete details are available online.