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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

‘Communal Pen: Water/Ways’ debuts July 18

Two-part writing workshop reboots with new theme

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption] Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is coming back starting Saturday, July 18 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. The McCormick County Chamber of Commerce and Hickory Knob State Park are hosts of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings this month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, July 25
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the "Art of Community: Rural SC" initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. . She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.

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.

Professional storyteller visits McCormick Learning Center

McCormick County children in the First Steps, Even Start child care center and the Head Start classrooms last Friday had a special visitor last week. [gallery columns="2" ids="38313,38314"]

Click on images for larger view. Submitted photos.

(Ed. note: The Hub welcomes stories from grantees about how you're using your SCAC grants. Today we offer just such a story from McCormick County. Thanks to Ruth Detrick, executive director of the county's First Steps program.) With help from S.C. Arts Commission grants to both, professional storyteller Tim Lowry was able to captivate the children, telling animal stories that got them involved by making animal sounds and making movements like the animals. The children and teachers all laughed at the story of the "Wide Mouth Frog" and the funny ending when he met up with a crocodile! They were horrified when the elephant ate the children in the story of "Unanana And The Elephant," an African Folk Tale. but were relieved when miraculously there was a happy ending. Lowry kept the children interested and engaged (which isn't always easy with pre-school children).  After several more stories, the event was over but won't be forgotten, as the children learned several new vocabulary words and experienced a professional storyteller for the first time. First Steps partnered with the McCormick Library to share the costs of bringing Tim Lowry to McCormick. He entertained the children in the morning and did a wonderful presentation of Dickens' "Christmas Carol" in the evening at the library. Both organizations received generous grants from the S.C. Arts Commission to cover all costs, which made the events possible. The S.C. Arts Commission receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Submitted material