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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

SCAC approved for NEA Partnership Award

FY21 award means $891,400 toward agency initiatives


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced approval of an $891,400 FY21 partnership grant to the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC).

The SCAC will use its funding to address priorities identified at the state level, supporting the agency’s work in community arts development, folklife and traditional arts, and arts education. “As the country and the arts sector begin to work towards a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to fund the work of our partners,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These agreements, such as the one to the South Carolina Arts Commission, leverage federal funds for regional, state, and local impact, reinforcing the network of support that is vital for a healthy arts ecosystem.” “The South Carolina Arts Commission honors and appreciates its lengthy and vital partnership with the NEA. This generous award, when added to the investment in the arts from our state General Assembly, helps further our work in creativity and culture on behalf of all South Carolinians,” SCAC Executive David Platts said. Each year, 40 percent of the NEA’s grantmaking funds are designated for state arts agencies like the SCAC, regional arts organizations, and national service organizations that support the work of the states and regions. Of the $56.7 million recommended for these partners in FY 2021, $45.7 million is designated for state arts agencies. Each matches its Arts Endowment funding on at least a 1:1 basis. Other South Carolina arts organizations were included in this major grant announcement. A breakdown of recipients by state and territory is available here.

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.

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 social media.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Awards to stream live again in 2021

Virtual presentation planned for May 24


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Awards will honor South Carolinians for their exceptional achievements in, support of, or advocacy for the arts during a professionally produced online streaming presentation planned for Monday, May 24, 2020 at 6 p.m. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and partner McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina look forward to honoring the seven recipients of the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and two recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards in a special online presentation on SouthCarolinaArts.com. Lead host and SCAC Executive Director David Platts will be joined again by South Carolina First Lady Peggy McMaster as co-host from the Governor’s Mansion. UofSC McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz will join Platts and McMaster to announce the Folk Heritage Award recipients. Platts will announce the Governor’s Award recipients. Before the pandemic, the South Carolina Arts Awards were presented at an in-person ceremony. Rather than cancel in 2020, the ceremony was shifted to a virtual format that was successful for its extended reach and production quality. After overwhelmingly positive feedback—and with lingering COVID-19 transmission concerns—the ceremony will again be presented online, at no cost to viewers anywhere. Surprise guests will join to help introduce each recipient. Mini-films by South Carolina filmmakers Drew Baron, Lynn Cornfoot, Abe Duenas, Patrick Hayes, Roni Henderson, Lee Ann Kornegay, and Ebony Wilson will debut, telling each recipient’s story. The filmmakers worked under the direction of producer Betsy Newman. Location shooting for the ceremony and production of the stream are being provided by Midlands-based iSite Multimedia and Fisher Films. The Governor’s Award recipients were announced in February. The recipients are:
  • Tom Flowers (posthumous, Greenville): Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Charlton Singleton (Charleston): Artist Category
  • Jennifer Clark Evins (Spartanburg): Individual Category
  • Tayloe Harding (Columbia): Arts in Education Category
  • Colonial Life (Columbia): Business/Foundation Category
  • ColaJazz Foundation (Columbia): Organization Category
  • Marjory Wentworth (Mount Pleasant): Special Award
The Folk Heritage Award recipients were also announced in February. Being honored are:
  • Jugnu Verma (Lexington): Traditional Indian folk arts
  • Robert W. Hill, III (Plantersville): Advocacy, American long rifles and accoutrements

 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 social media. About McKissick Museum The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum, located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe, has more than 140,000 objects in its collection, including one of the most extensive natural science collections in the Southeast. For visitation information, online exhibits, and more, please visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

Jason Rapp

COVID-19 survey reveals ‘frightening situation’ for creativity, culture

Sectors surviving on emergency funding, more needed


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A recent survey of South Carolina nonprofit organizations revealed more than half serving in the creative and cultural sector lacked the funding to continue operations—and still face potential closure—without emergency funding for a sector that adds $9.7 billion to the state economy.

Together SC, in partnership with a mix of foundations and funders from across the state, commissioned a late-winter survey of non-profit groups served by those funders to determine their financial health considering COVID-19. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and Lowcountry-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (GDDF) provided questions geared toward arts, culture, and the humanities non-profits they serve. The survey was designed, collected, analyzed, and reported by Kahle Strategic Insights Managing Director Robert W. Kahle, Ph.D. with Gloria Roderick, MPA.

Key findings

  • Statewide, the outlook is bleak, with 48% of creative and cultural (arts, culture, and humanities) survey respondents claiming they can operate for six months at most without additional revenue.
  • Job losses at responding organizations reached 16% from March 2020 to March 2021.
  • Though a slight, 6% rebound is expected by June 2021, the resulting 11% aggregate drop could grow again once funding expires with the fiscal year on June 30.
“We have known for some time that creativity and culture are being hammered by this pandemic. These survey results show that difficult times are far from over,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “As resilient as the organizations served by the arts commission and Donnelley Foundation are, they are telling us the pandemic is not over for them. These are neighbors and friends in every community who need help and their options to support themselves are simply too limited to sustain them.”
Most respondents received PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans and either federal or state CARES Act funds. However, those funds were limited and only filled the gap for a few months. The SCAC requested additional funding in its proposed FY22 state budget. Platts points out that even though data from the survey shows SCAC respondents estimate needing a total infusion of $3.2 million to operate past June, the need is far greater because response rate to the survey was 32%. “We can only guess at the actual number, but creativity and culture here are facing a frightening situation,” he said. Many barriers prevent these organizations from a near-term return to pre-pandemic operating conditions that could generate self-sustaining revenue. With many sponsors and individual donors feeling effects of the pandemic, that leaves federal and state emergency funds as critical lifelines used to close the gap. Though significant majorities of respondents reported integration of digital programming, the survey showed that it is difficult to monetize. Among SCAC respondents, 75% reported at least some digital programming and 90% of GDDF respondents reported it. However, three quarters of both group’s respondents said digital programming was only able to make up, at most, 19% of their income. Cost was identified as the most significant barrier to digital programming. “The survey points to the immediate critical need to support our arts and culture organizations. We will know the non-profit sector has recovered when the arts and culture sector has recovered,” David Farren, GDDF executive director said. “These organizations and their staffs are a vital part of the quality of life and economy in our communities.  We all need to step up to ensure they are able to return, when it is safe to do so, viable and ready to serve the community.”

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 social media.

About the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina.   The Foundation supports a wide spectrum of arts groups that reflect the vitality and diversity of the Lowcountry, providing general operations grants to arts organizations, as well as other assistance to support, strengthen and connect the Lowcountry arts ecosystem. For more information on the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, visit www.gddf.org or contact Lowcountry Program Director, Kerri Forrest, at kforrest@gddf.org.

Jason Rapp

2021 Folk Heritage Awards recipients announced

Proving S.C. traditions 'long-lived and ever-evolving'


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In 2021, the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards will be presented by the General Assembly to two recipients being honored for work keeping the state’s traditional art forms alive.

One practicing artist and one arts advocate are to be recognized as ambassadors of traditions significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. The 2021 recipients are:
  • Jugnu Verma (Lexington): Traditional Indian folk arts
  • Robert Hill, III (Plantersville): Advocacy, American long rifles and accoutrements
The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the lieutenant governor and president of the Senate select the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state. “From a gun-making tradition that hearkens back to colonial America, when Carolinians commonly used rifles for hunting, to the art of rangoli—a patterned ground decoration created with colored rice and flower petals that community members have more recently brought with them from India and introduced to South Carolina—the state’s folklife is both long-lived and ever-evolving,” observes McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz. “By their very definition, folk arts illustrate both the rich heritage and broad diversity of who we, as South Carolinians, are as a people,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “It is sometimes said that we are a state where change and changelessness co-exist, and this year’s award recipients reflect something of this balance between preserving South Carolina’s traditions and opening ourselves to new and exciting art forms and experiences from around the world. Both artists do exceptional work on our behalf, and we are all grateful for what they do.” The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards and South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and are presented at the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony. The pandemic forced the shift of last year’s ceremony to a virtual format in July rather than May. A virtual ceremony is planned once again for 2021, but it will revert to its normal timeframe in the spring. The SCAC and UofSC McKissick Museum will announce a date and time later.

About the 2021 South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts Recipients

Jugnu Verma | Lexington | Traditional Indian Folk Arts Growing up in the Indian state of Bihar, Jugnu Verma found herself surrounded by Madhubani artists, whose painting was characterized by distinctive geometric patterns and depicted people, nature, and scenes featuring Hindu deities. An early interest led to learning the art form from neighbors in the community, as well as rangoli from the neighbor’s grandmother. From her mother, Verma learned the art of Henna, an integral part of Indian weddings and festivals where a plant-based dye is used to create temporary designs on the body. Verma is eager and enthusiastic about sharing her artistic traditions at various venues, which include her work as a Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) Kick-off Party Organizer, workshops, and exhibitions at the Columbia Museum of Art, the rangoli educator at Overdue: Curated for the Creative, Richland Library Main Branch, and as a lead artist at Artista Vista in Columbia. She has served as Artist in Residence at Lexington District One’s New Providence Elementary, River Bluff High and White Knoll elementary school where she taught students Madhubani and other art forms. Verma feels it is important for South Carolinians to know about India and its culture and she serves as a cultural ambassador through her work throughout the state. Robert W. Hill, III | Plantersville | Advocacy: American Long Rifles and Accoutrements From Plantersville, Robert W. Hill III grew up an avid outdoorsman eager to learn the skills to support his passion for decoy carving, forging knives, and carving gun stocks. His paternal grandfather had been an accomplished blacksmith, woodcarver, and gun stocker who, unfortunately, did not live long enough to teach Hill his skills. But he was nonetheless an inspiration to Hill pursuing his passion. Hill had the opportunity to watch and learn from master engraver Jack Spain and developed a relationship with master gunsmith Frank Burton. After a year of studying and experimenting, Hill completed his first rifle. He recognized the need to preserve the craft and continued his training by studying historic firearms from the Carolinas. Today, he is recognized by gunsmiths across the region as both an exemplary artist and an advocate. In 1994, he co-founded the South Carolina Artist Blacksmith Association, later to become the Phillip Simmons Artists Blacksmith Guild of South Carolina. Through demonstrations and lectures, he has educated people about gun makers from South Carolina to recognize and preserve the artists of the state’s past. Hill passes his skills onto others, including his son and grandson, assuring a legacy of continued preservation, study, and celebration of the traditional craft of gunsmithing.

About the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

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 social media.

Jason Rapp

SCAC to honor 7 with Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Four artists, one advocate, two organizations


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is announcing seven qualified recipients of South Carolina’s highest award for high achievement in practicing or supporting the arts.

The South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts are presented annually by the SCAC. The appointed members of the agency’s board of directors vote on panel recommendations for the award. For 2021, the following honorees from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Tom Flowers, Greenville (posthumous)
  • ARTIST: Charlton Singleton, Charleston
  • INDIVIDUAL: Jennifer Clark Evins, Spartanburg
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Tayloe Harding, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Colonial Life, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: ColaJazz Foundation, Columbia
  • SPECIAL AWARD: Marjory Wentworth, Mount Pleasant
“With the Governor’s Award, we celebrate achievement and thank these accomplished recipients for enriching life and culture here in South Carolina. Recipients always represent the best of South Carolina. They are talented, successful, and dedicated. They exemplify giving of themselves to ensure everyone who wants to can benefit from access to the arts,” S.C. Arts Commission Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors and drawn from members community statewide, reviews all nominations. After a rigorous process and multiple meetings, the panel produces a recommendation from each category that is sent to the board for final approval. Serving on the panel for the 2021 awards were Flavia Harton (Greenville), Glenis Redmond (Mauldin), Bob Reeder (Columbia), Bhavna Vasudeva (Columbia), and Kim Wilson (Rock Hill). The South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are presented to recipients at the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony, normally held in person every spring. The pandemic forced the shift of last year’s ceremony to a virtual format in July rather than May. Reaction to that was positive and it is planned once again for 2021, but instead of being held in the summer it will revert to its normal timeframe in the spring. The SCAC and its partner for the Folk Heritage Awards, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, will announce a date and time later.

About the 2021 S.C. Governor’s Awards for the Arts Recipients

Washington, D.C. native TOM FLOWERS (Lifetime Achievement) came to South Carolina for football at Furman University and left with a bachelor’s in art. After earning a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa and serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, his teaching career wound its way from Kansas and North Carolina back to Furman. He spent the next 30 years teaching arts at the school, from 1959 to 1989, and was chairman of the art department for most of his tenure. Upon completion he was named to the school’s emeritus faculty. Decorated and widely exhibited as an artist, Flowers’ works have homes in museums and collections throughout the Southeast, including the South Carolina State Art Collection. He served on several Upstate arts boards and commissions and as a state representative on the American Craft Council. Thomas Earl Flowers passed away Dec. 13, 2020 after his nomination was made in the Governor’s Award artist category. He is survived by multiple practicing artists in his family, further adding to his legacy. Over the past several years, CHARLTON SINGLETON (Artist Category) has emerged as the face of jazz performance in the Lowcountry. Because of his membership in the band Ranky Tanky, a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah culture, he can also be called a Grammy Award winner. Singleton studied organ, violin, cello, and trumpet throughout childhood and adolescence and earned a music performance degree from South Carolina State University. Since, he’s taught music at every level from elementary school through college. In addition to Ranky Tanky, he is previous artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, has his own touring ensemble, is organist and choir director of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston and was named inaugural artist-in-residence at the renovated Gaillard Center in Charleston. He is in demand as a speaker, composer, and arranger. As president and CEO, JENNIFER CLARK EVINS (Individual Category) leads the day-to-day operations and management of Chapman Cultural Center (CCC), Spartanburg city and county’s local arts agency. Along with her county-wide arts coordination, she has nearly 26 years as a visionary community and statewide arts leader to her credit. As a volunteer, Evins led the 10-year project and capital campaign that raised $42 million that built CCC, led another successful campaign to add Mayfair Art Studios to CCC, and led the charge to get Downtown Spartanburg named a South Carolina Cultural District. Evins was the author and director for the winning $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Her Culture Counts program, which started as a local asset inventory and mapping project, is now used as a South Carolina cultural tourism tool through Ten at the Top. A winner of numerous awards for service and leadership, she serves or served on prominent Upstate boards. Evins is a strong advocate for local artists, arts organizations, and arts education, and is an active board member of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. TAYLOE HARDING (Arts in Education Category) has a belief in the power of music and the arts to transform communities and individuals that is evident in his work with local and state arts education and advocacy organizations. The dean of the University of South Carolina School of Music has participated in and led efforts as diverse as 12 years on the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project steering committee, consulting on the city of Columbia’s cultural plan and for its One Columbia for Arts & Culture office, frequent advocacy work on behalf of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, and on grant panels for the defunct Cultural Council of Richland/Lexington Counties. Harding has national exposure as past president of the College Music Society and past secretary of the National Association for Schools of Music. He remains active as a composer, earning commissions, performances, and recordings worldwide. COLONIAL LIFE (Business/Foundation Category) is a Columbia-based market leader of financial protection benefits offered through the workplace. For more than 80 years the company has demonstrated a commitment to the community through corporate giving, the employee matching gift programs and volunteerism. The company also has made significant investments each year to support educational, health, wellbeing, arts and culture state programs. Colonial Life’s mission to help America’s workers face unexpected events and challenging times makes it the extraordinary company it is today. Since its 2014 founding, COLAJAZZ FOUNDATION (Organization Category) has worked tirelessly to establish Columbia as a premier jazz destination by highlighting the accomplished jazz artists and educators active in and around the city. Successful and vibrant programming includes bringing international jazz stars, including NEA Jazz Masters and Grammy Award winners, to Columbia. Its annual season includes the ColaJazz Summer Camp; ColaJazz Fest; Great Day in Columbia; Live in the Lobby (Koger Center for the Arts) series; monthly Dinner & Jazz concerts; Jazz Appreciation Month; ColaJazz Crawl; live and virtual concerts, workshops, after-school curriculum for International Jazz Day; and Jazz for Young People concerts that bring people from across the state and beyond to enjoy the capital city. The erstwhile poet laureate of South Carolina, MARJORY WENTWORTH (Special Award) is its second-longest serving. She received her appointment to the position from Gov. Mark Sanford in 2003 and served until 2020. Wentworth is New York Times bestselling co-author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets and author of prize-winning children’s story Shackles. Her lengthy list of published titles includes several of her own poetry books, additional co-authored titles, and she is co-editor, with Kwame Dawes, of Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green. Wentworth serves on the board of advisors at The Global Social Justice Practice Academy, and she is a 2020 National Coalition Against Censorship Free Speech is for Me Advocate. She teaches courses in writing, social justice and banned books at the College of Charleston and formerly taught courses at The Citadel and Art Institute of Charleston and Charleston County School of the Arts.

Correction

On Feb. 17, this copy was corrected to reflect that Charlton Singleton is a former artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. The original copy stated he is the current artistic director and conductor.

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 social media.

Jason Rapp

Be S.C.’s next poet laureate

Applications open for honorary position

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, March 19, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is accepting applications through Friday, March 19, 2020 to assist Gov. Henry McMaster in appointing the state’s next poet laureate.

Applications opened Monday, Feb. 8 on the SCAC website. To be eligible for the honorary position, applicants must be 18 or more years old, U.S. citizens, and residents of South Carolina for at least a year among other requirements. Anyone who wishes to be considered must apply by the deadline. “South Carolina has a long, storied history of gifted poets and writers,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “I have no doubt the next poet laureate will continue this tradition of excellence and will serve as an inspiration to our next generation of artists. I look forward to reviewing the candidates and making my selection.” “The South Carolina Arts Commission is both pleased and honored to be a part of naming the state’s next poet laureate,” said David T. Platts, SCAC executive director. “Words are powerful, with the ability to tear down walls and to build bridges.  The poet laureate’s role as artistic and cultural ambassador, representing both the voice and even the conscience of the state, provides a unique opportunity and platform to inspire and unite all South Carolinians.” In FY2018, legislation passed by the General Assembly directed the SCAC to recommend poet laureate candidates to the governor. After a panel reviews the applications submitted to the SCAC, it will make recommendations from among those to the governor for consideration. He will then “name and appoint an outstanding and distinguished person of letters as poet laureate for the state of South Carolina” who will serve a four-year term. The named poet laureate will be eligible for one re-appointment. That person will be the sixth poet laureate since the first was named in 1934. The most recent was Marjory Wentworth of Mount Pleasant, who was appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford in 2003 until she stepped down this past December. Poetry is enjoying the spotlight after National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman captured the country’s attention with her high-profile appearances at the inauguration of President Joe Biden last month and the Super Bowl just days ago. She infused those moments with powerful commentary on society and culture using the power of poetry. “Artistically speaking, there is an immediacy to poetry that can offer insight, hope, and encouragement,” SCAC Program Director for Artist Services Ce Scott-Fitts said.
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 social media.

Jason Rapp

SCAC announces eight competitors for Poetry Out Loud state finals

Finalists from Aiken, Boiling Springs, Charleston, Greenville, & Myrtle Beach


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eight South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud—an annual, nationwide recitation contest—scheduled to be held virtually on March 6, 2021. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the competition to the state’s high schools. Rather than be completely upended like so much else in the 2020/2021 school year, Coordinator Bonita Peeples arranged a competition with a different structure. In lieu of class or school competitions, students in grades 9-12 were invited to submit videos to be judged in twin regional competitions. Both regionals yielded four finalists to compete on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in the virtual state finals:
  • Emily Allison (Greenville High School in Greenville)
  • Meenakshi Balachandran (Calvary Christian School in Myrtle Beach)
  • Simone Cory (James Island Charter School in Charleston)
  • Teagan Domm (Academic Magnet High School in Charleston)
  • Anna Matson (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Pagelyn Smalls (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Caleb Xiao (Spartanburg Day School in Boiling Springs)
  • Jazmine Vivas Young (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
Adjudicating the virtual finals will be veteran Poetry Out Loud judges Al Black, Ray McManus, Michelle Reese, and Kimberly J. Simms. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. The winner of the state finals will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win a $20,000 first prize. Cancelled last year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, the 202 national finals will be held but virtually. Find out more about the national competition here.

Correction

The initial version of this post incorrectly identified Academic Magnet High School in Charleston as "Academy" Magnet High School.

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 social media.

Jason Rapp

SCAC commitments to DEI, rural aided by grant from Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.

$14,339 grant expands agency work in Lowcountry


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A grant awarded to the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) by Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (CCF) supported commitments to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion and reaching rural communities.

Visit the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina's website at https://coastalcommunityfoundation.org/That perfectly complements the SCAC’s new strategic plan, released in late 2020, which calls for it to “promote equitable access to the arts” through a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the agency has a commitment to expanding arts opportunities in rural communities through such initiatives as its nationally recognized program The Art of Community: Rural SC. Extenuating circumstances in FY19 led to $500 from that year’s Expansion Arts Fund award being held over to FY20, bringing that year’s funding to $14,839. This is how the funds were distributed by the SCAC:
  • Aldwyth, an individual artist in Beaufort County, was granted $2,500 to support the creation of works for Pictures of Nothing or Mr. Varnedoe, Why Abstraction?, a multi-disciplinary exhibition focused on Kirk Varnedoe’s book, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock. Pandemic restrictions continue to postpone the public display of the works created by Aldwyth and an assistant.
  • Fletcher Williams, an individual artist in Charleston County, was granted $2,500. He worked with a local fabricator and a team of assistants to create the mobile walls for his Picket Fence – Promiseland Consisting of sculpture and large-scale paper art, the installation encouraged visitors to imagine and observe the Aiken-Rhett House as possibly seen through different eyes, times, and sets of experiences. Though delayed, the project opened and was used as a tool to address current events, serving both artistic and social-awareness goals while engaging new patrons who may have previously been unaware of or disinterested in the arts.
  • Marlanda Dekine, an individual artist in Georgetown County, received $2,500 for research related to the experiences of the artist as a Gullah-Geechee descendant living in South Carolina “with a rootedness in Africana & Caribbean being and creolization.” Written and recorded interviews, community engagement, and tours of local museums and plantations assisted in the completion of written-word poetry. The culmination of this work is to be a serial poem offered through spoken word as a site-specific soundscape, or aural architecture, as well as in live performances for the community, with discourse and audience interaction as part of the final product. In this context, Dekine acts as a conduit and witness of present, past, and future.
  • Community arts organization Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Colleton County received $7,339 from the Expansion Arts Fund to support the development of WHAM!, Walterboro History, Art, & Music, a new public festival. They’ve used an indefinite delay to reexamine how they implement content for the rural community they serve. By reconceptualizing the initial project, they’ve seen increased interest from artists representing a broader segment of the community and now have a more flexible framework that can be used and reused at any time.

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 social media.

Jason Rapp

Six emerging artists to receive inaugural SCAC grant

Up to $1,500 grant includes mentorship, more


Visual artists working in ceramics, sculpture, and photography and performing artists working in dance and music are inaugural recipients of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s new Emerging Artist Grant.

For the purpose of the grant, emerging artists were defined as being at an early stage in their artistic career development with no basis in age. The six South Carolina artists each receive an up to $1,500 Emerging Artist grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) in the current fiscal year (2021). They are:
  • Luke Hodges of Columbia (photography)
  • Chris Jenkins of Irmo (performing musician)
  • Kimberly Washburn Motte of Florence (visual artist, sculpture)
  • Kela Portee of Ravenel (film photography and multimedia artist)
  • Sonny Sisan of North Charleston (craft artist, ceramics)
  • Ashlea Sovetts of Myrtle Beach (performing dance and choreographer)
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In addition to financial support, the artists will benefit from mentorship and professional support facilitated by the SCAC and Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts. The combined benefits are intended to deepen artistic practice and foster artistic excellence; encourage career growth, advancement, and sustainability; and provide professional development and opportunities for collaboration. “It means a lot to be recognized as an artist in your state. Programs like this will not only propel our next generation of artists, but also provide the fuel for them to keep the legacy alive for years to come,” Jenkins said. “As a full-time professional and mother of two children, my own art making is often pushed to the back burner. To have the opportunity to build community with a group of talented artists and to meet regularly with a mentor allows me to prioritize my own artistic process,” Motte said. While the mentorship and networking components of the program begin next month and run through June 2021, several of the artists expect the benefits to last well beyond that. Sovetts is eager for the additional insight from the group to help her grow, and Hodges points to the validation the program provides. “This opportunity is so much more than a confidence booster—it's an affirmation that my creative work matters,” he said. Portee foresees the opportunity to be challenged, while Jenkins added that he hopes other South Carolina artists will see they no longer have to travel or leave altogether for the knowledge he hopes to gain. The application period for the next round of the Emerging Artist Grant is to begin in Fall 2021. The SCAC will announce it here on The Hub, on its social media at @scartscomm (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and other channels.
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 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 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.