← View All Articles

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Arts people news + down to the wire

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...


South Arts names two from S.C. to Emerging Leaders of Color program

The Hub helped promote South Arts' Emerging Leaders of Color opportunity once, twice, or three times, so it's only right that we let you know how it all shook out. Two leaders from South Carolina were named to the cohort: Melanie Colclough of Sumter (executive director of Patriot Hall/Sumter County Cultural Center) and Jemimah Ekeh of Columbia (freelance designer + administrator with One Columbia for Arts & Culture). There is more about the program and see who was accepted from other states right here.

State's arts community loses two beacons

We pause to note with sadness the passing of two members of South Carolina's tight-knit arts community:

It's down to the wire

No. Not that. This is your two-weeks' two-day notice that nomination time is coming to a close for the South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Nominations for both are due by 11:59 p.m. ET THIS FRIDAY, Nov. 6.

Jason Rapp

One Columbia to provide Columbia artist relief

$100,000 fund goes live today


Columbia area artists may apply starting today for a new potential source of relief. The Artists’ Emergency Fund was created to provide 40 emergency grants of $2,500 each to support professional artists in the Columbia area. By providing these funds, the partners hope to provide assistance for artists facing hardships caused by the loss of events, performances, and sales. The program serves the mission of the three partner organizations by supporting an ecosystem for professional artists to live, work and remain in and around Columbia. The funds provided by this program can be used to assist artists with any relevant professional needs including artist supplies and materials, rent or mortgage, health insurance, or another professional purpose. This fund was developed out of a partnership among the Knight Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation and One Columbia for Arts and Culture. The Knight Foundation has committed $100,000 to assist artists in the Columbia area in order to temper the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting emergency shutdowns. Go here to learn more and apply.

Jason Rapp

Six findings from Amplify Columbia

From ColaToday (10/1/2018):

Back in January, the City + One Columbia announced that they were enacting a cultural arts planning process called Amplify in Columbia: an 18-month project that would kick off with focus groups + surveys to discover how the arts could better serve our city – and vice versa – and end with a formalized draft of a cultural section of the City Planning Department’s Comprehensive Plan in-the-making, Columbia Compass: Envision 2036.

...

Now, Amplify is in its tenth month of its 18-month planning process. So – what has the Amplify team found out about cultural needs, wants, barriers + opportunities in Columbia? And how can that be written into Columbia Compass as future public policy for our city?


Data collected from 70 public meetings in 59 places across Columbia has uncovered a few things, and identified six themes that have come from people who attended. (The S.C. Arts Commission was the site of one such meeting, and Amplify's lead consultant served on the panel that reviewed applicants to our biggest grant program: General Operating Support for Organizations.)
  • 96% of survey-takers feel Columbia needs more arts activities and events
  • 50% feel that increasing public space for interactive experiences is a top priority
  • Other top priorities included focusing on the preservation and support of Columbia history and continuing to add more public art 
  • Columbia has artists who are willing to teach in their communities
  • Columbia's citizens define culture + art beyond visual creationsincluding food, festivals and more
Additionally, six themes emerged from the public hearings, discussions + forums:
  • Leadership
  • Investment
  • Spaces
  • Valuing Artists
  • Art Learning and Mastery
  • History
Head over to ColaToday to read more about the process and the findings to this point.  

The rise of public art in South Carolina

From the Charleston Post and Courier Article by Adam Parker; photos by Brad Nettles and Adam Parker (Image above: This mural is located at the corner of Huger and Hanover streets in Charleston.)

In West Ashley’s Avondale neighborhood, an alley behind the shops and bars near Magnolia Street has become an outdoor exhibition space filled with large and small murals. Artists have painted images ranging from an enormous turkey vulture to small cartoon-like figures on the sides of the buildings. On the Charleston peninsula, three murals by Shepard Fairey and several more on Huger Street by a variety of artists can be viewed. David Boatwright’s work — part art, part commercial signage — is scattered throughout the downtown area. In Columbia, a growing number of murals and sculptural pieces are adding a colorful dimension to a city so enthusiastic about public art that it has a dedicated nonprofit organization whose main purpose is to facilitate more of it.
This deliberate approach adopted by Columbia now is taking hold in the Holy City where efforts are underway to introduce more curated public art to the shared environment, and not just downtown. One advocate is even calling for a “1 percent for art” program that would set aside money in every public building construction budget for the purpose of procuring artwork. “I love public art,” said Mark Sloan, director of the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art. “It does serve a vital role in terms of meeting people where they are. It’s in the public way; you have no choice.” Sloan thinks public art is important enough to warrant more consistent support from patrons, civic leaders and private interests. Mostly recently he helped arrange the public display of five Fairey works in conjunction with a 2014 Halsey exhibition. (Three of those pieces remain.) Sloan also curated a big 2016 project in the Upstate called “Seeing Spartanburg” which featured nine outdoor light installations by Erwin Reidl. “Innovative, temporary public art can spur creative thought,” Sloan said. “That has unintended positive consequences.” It democratizes art, giving residents a chance to appreciate it outside the often rarified museum or gallery environment, he said. It also inspires dialogue about the urban landscape, city life, acute issues confronting the community and more. “The role of public art is to help us formulate better questions,” he said. In Columbia, a nonprofit established in 2012 that is almost entirely funded by the city has worked to cultivate public art, commission projects and establish a procurement and review process. One Columbia typically partners with private donors (individuals and companies) on these projects, according to its director Lee Snelgrove. To date, it has been involved in about 24 mural, sculpture and installation projects, 15 of which have come to fruition just this year. [caption id="attachment_31853" align="alignright" width="400"] A mural in Columbia by the Milagros Collective, made for the Indie Grits Festival earlier this year. (Adam Parker/Staff)[/caption] Several murals and sculptures are located downtown near Main Street, providing an important dimension to the city’s ongoing revitalization, Snelgrove and other civic leaders said. Public art also is helping to connect the Main Street area with the Vista neighborhood across Assembly Street, and it's being embraced by the Richland County Library, too. “It’s kind of all coming to a point where people want more coordination,” Snelgrove said. When an opportunity comes along, One Columbia hashes out some basic details with the organization sponsoring the art; helps to identify an appropriate location, coordinating with city planners; then assembles its public art selection committee. The committee, which consists of an artist, architect, developer, curator and others, meets quarterly, Snelgrove said. They issue a call for artists, assess submissions and determine a short list of candidates. They flesh out the project plan and budget, which includes a 20 percent earmark that goes into an art maintenance fund for use by the city. Each project takes about a year to fully implement on average. The process can be adapted for art projects on private property, Snelgrove said. The response has been positive. One Columbia might receive a few complaints about the aesthetics or design of a particular work, but no one has expressed any dissatisfaction about the concept itself, the process or the fact that the cityscape now includes numerous artistic landmarks, Snelgrove said. The city has been an essential partner, helping with site preparation, installations, safety issues and more. When one project required the creative painting of crosswalks, the city balked at first. Would it endanger pedestrians? But when they witnessed the results (no one was confused about where and how they trod), city officials became enthusiastic supporters of the quirky crosswalk initiative. “There is an appetite for (public art), but they don’t always know they have an appetite for it until they see it,” Snelgrove said. Lately, One Columbia has turned its attention to places outside the downtown area, such as the Five Points neighborhood, the Vista neighborhood and the Columbia Bethlehem Community Center a mile and a half north of downtown. It's also involved in the "Southern Lights" project, a laser installation at the Congaree River. [caption id="attachment_31854" align="alignleft" width="400"] An installation at the Richland Library (Provided)[/caption] Meanwhile, the Richland County Public Library has embraced Sloan’s concept of a “1 percent for art” program. Currently in the midst of an extensive facilities improvement project, funded by a $59 million bond referendum passed in 2013, the library network is ensuring that each of 11 branches has at least one commissioned work of art, according to Emily Stoll, media relations specialist. The four-story central library on Assembly Street includes a gallery space temporarily showcasing the works that will eventually find a permanent place in each of the branches. Most of the artists are local, Stoll said. The art project is part of a larger effort to transform the library system into a robust public space. “It’s a hub of information, but also a conversation hub, a place where people can learn and share,” Stoll said. And they do. The main branch soon will include a new department of studio services where artists and writers can work. Another floor will be devoted to children and teenagers. Another level will have research and career materials. Think of it as a community center, Stoll said, one in which art plays a central role. Art also plays a central role for nine days each April in Lake City, the small town in Florence County that hosts the big — and growing — Artfields event, a multifaceted, multidiscipline showcase and competition. And in Myrtle Beach, an effort was launched a few years ago to improve the area with public art. "The Myrtle Beach Downtown Public Art Initiative was created to lead the process of establishing physical and performing arts in the (Downtown Redevelopment Corporation) District," its website states.

Public art evolves

In Charleston, public art efforts so far have been ad hoc. The Halsey Institute coordinated Fairey’s mural-making. The nonprofit Enough Pie, which is concerned with responsible development and arts advocacy on the upper peninsula, arranged for the murals on Huger Street. There are a couple of remnants of Spoleto Festival USA’s landmark 1991 public art show called “Places with a Past,” the most prominent being David Hammons’ odd-shaped “House of the Future” on America Street. [caption id="attachment_31855" align="alignright" width="400"] Some of the mural art in Avondale is graffiti-like, some fantastical, some representative. (Brad Nettles/staff)[/caption] The murals in Avondale were largely facilitated by the chART Outdoor Initiative & Gallery and include an enormous turkey vulture by the well-known Italian street artist Hitnes. Hitnes happens to be in town working on an exhibition to be mounted at the Halsey in the fall of 2018. He said he got his start 20 years ago making rogue art — unauthorized graffiti, but after a few years graduated to street art that required more planning and cooperation with others. He has painted large murals all over the world and gained a reputation as a leader of the street art movement. In recent years, Hitnes’ work has taken a naturalistic turn. His Halsey show is called “The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon.” Hitnes spent three months traveling through the eastern half of the United States, following the ornithological trail Audubon forged in 1820-22. He collected bird samples (photographic), make a video documentary and created art along the way. One of the murals he painted was the Charleston turkey vulture. Another was a barn owl at a friend’s residence.
Hitnes said the nature of painted public art — which is clearly divided into two categories, graffiti and street art — has changed significantly in the past 20 years. Graffiti is unauthorized yet relies on strict codes and rules, he said. It’s the same everywhere. Street art is illustrative, comprehensible, often commissioned. With the advent of social media, the availability of digital tools like Photoshop, the emphasis on graphic design and the introduction of moneyed interests, the public art enterprise changed, and along with it the way galleries work, the way street artists are treated and the way art is perceived. “Street art became curated, desirable, more like contemporary art,” he said. Now, one local nonprofit is seeking to become a public art facilitator, not unlike One Columbia. The Charleston Parks Conservancy has been awarded a $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant for the purpose of installing artwork along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway. Think of it as a pilot program, said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Parks Conservancy. The organization, now 10 years old, has worked closely with the city to improve its greenspaces. Its last big capital project was the renovation of Colonial Lake. The Parks Conservancy remains dedicated to this kind of work, Lesesne said. “But we felt it was time for us to expand our horizons a bit,” he said. He and his colleagues hope to become standard-bearers for public art, facilitators akin to One Columbia, advocates who argue that engagement with art enhances the park experience and improves quality of life, he said. “It’s kind of a void in our city, so that was something we thought we could catalyze some attention around,” Lesesne said. Half of the NEA grant will be spent on planning, the other half on art. “Number one, we want to incorporate an artist into the master-planning process and have that artist help us with the design,” as well as identifying other artists who might participate, good sites and necessary infrastructure, he said. “Number two is to install pieces of art along the greenway.” The effort should take less than a year, Lesesne said. It is meant “to show people what can be done and that more is coming, both on the bikeway and all over the city.” For example, Lesesne said, one other piece of public art —coming to Hampton Park in the fall — is a sculpture by Joe Dreher of Decatur, Georgia, whose work was featured in Lake City's Artfields this year. Scott Watson, executive director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, said his goal is to define a sustainable public art process based on the Parks Conservancy project and other models, such as One Columbia’s. It’s useful, he said, to take into account the recent dustup in Mount Pleasant over a Sergio Odeith mural at Moe’s Southwest Grill that some town officials initially took to be a sign and therefore not allowed. Watson said public art is a good way for communities to express their aspirations and initiate change, especially in areas in need of improvement, such as West Ashley. “Why wouldn’t we want public art to be a crucible for how revitalization can happen?” And not everything needs to be a mural, he added. “We could have light installations, sound installations, an eclipse-related project — if we had a process to get it done,” Watson said. “We (at the Office of Cultural Affairs) would like to help frame out and organize a structure that’s sustainable and scalable. We don’t want it to be arbitrary. At end of the day, it should be something that pushes boundaries.”

Nine students ready to compete for state Poetry Out Loud championship

Congratulations to the nine high school students advancing to the state finals in the South Carolina Arts Commission's Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The students will compete for South Carolina's spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. State finals take place March 11, from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C. The public is invited to attend.

Finalists:

Region 1: Upstate
  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Simone Rice, Dorman High School, Spartanburg County
  • Livia Salle, NEXT High School, Greenville County
Region 2: Midlands
  • Taylor Wade, Andrew Jackson High School, Lancaster County
  • Emilie Martin, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County
  • Alyssa Williams, Spring Valley High School, Richland County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Janae Claxton, First Baptist Church School, Charleston County
  • Abby Edwards, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • Julie Crosby, Goose Creek High School, Berkeley County
Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year, advancing from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. The state champion will compete in the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C. The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library. [caption id="attachment_29712" align="aligncenter" width="560"]POLcollage2017 Top row, l to r: Alyssa Williams; Region 3 participants. Bottom row, l to r: Region 2 finalists Taylor Wade, Emilie Martin, & Alyssa Williams; Region 1 finalists Jamie Montagne, Livia Salle & Simone Rice; Region 2 judges[/caption] Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship. Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1; One Columbia, Richland Library and S.C. Center for Oral Narrative at USC Sumter in Region 2; and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.

For more information, contact Frances Kablick Keel at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov.

Public invited to Poetry Out Loud competitions

[caption id="attachment_25675" align="alignright" width="250"]Nicole Sadek Nicole Sadek, 2016 S.C. Poetry Out Loud champion[/caption] Since school began in the fall, high school students around the state have been memorizing poetry, practicing recitation skills and polishing performances to compete in Poetry Out Loud school-level competitions. School-based winners are competing in three regional competitions taking place January 21 and 22 in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. Winners from each regional competition will advance to the state finals taking place March 11 in Columbia. The competitions are free and open to the public. Regional competition schedule:

  • Region 1 (Upstate) Jan. 21, from 2 - 4:30 p.m. Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus, 220 E. Kennedy St., Spartanburg, SC 29302 (Please use entrance at back of building.) Counties: Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee, York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Anderson, Laurens, Union, Chester, Abbeville, McCormick and Greenwood Partner: Hub City Writers Project
  • Region 2 (Midlands) Jan. 21 from 2 - 4:30 p.m. Richland Library Main (second floor), 1431 Assembly St., Columbia, S.C. 29201 Counties: Edgefield, Saluda, Newberry, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Darlington, Marlboro, Aiken, Lexington, Richland, Sumter, Florence, Marion, Dillon and Calhoun Partners: One Columbia, South Carolina Center for Oral Narrative-USC Sumter and Richland Library Main
For 11 years, the South Carolina Arts Commission has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the Poetry Out Loud National Poetry Recitation Contest to South Carolina. The Arts Commission engages regional partners to promote participation and to manage regional competitions. Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year. The state champion will compete in the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C. About Poetry Out Loud Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The national winner received a $20,000 scholarship.  

One Columbia gives Terrance Henderson the 2016 Steve Morrison Visionary Award

From The Free Times Article by Kyle Peterson

Terrance HendersonThe arts and history non-profit One Columbia has announced its 2016 Steve Morrison Visionary Award winner is Terrance Henderson, a dynamic creative presence in Columbia as an actor, dancer, educator and choreographer. The annual award, now in its third year, is presented to an individual who is a true leader in driving the artistic growth and vitality of the city. Born in Newberry and a Columbia resident since 1996, Henderson has served as a long-term artist in residence at both Logan and A.C. Moore Elementary Schools where he teaches dance and drama, but his role in the arts community extends far beyond that. He has long focused on art that illuminates provocative societal issues in both his theatrical work and original creations, while also striving to provide opportunities for those not formally trained in either dance or theatre. Along the way he’s won awards from the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago, the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Performance, Broadway World and Jasper magazine (where, full disclosure, I serve as assistant editor). Some of his more recent creations include The Black Man … Complex at Trustus Theatre, Ruins as part of Harbison Theatre’s MTC Performance Incubator, and Blank Page Poetry: Words and Shadows at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. Henderson’s selection marks a turn from past award winners like Columbia City Ballet Artistic and Executive Director William Starrett and Riverbanks Zoo Director Satch Krantz, both of whom are more senior figures in the community. As a vital and contemporary artistic force in the, and one explicitly engaged in political and social issues, this perhaps indicates a shift towards more daring and cutting-edge figures that are being celebrated for their work in the moment and their future potential, rather than people with long histories in the Columbia arts scene. Henderson will be formally presented with his award Nov. 12 on Main Street in Columbia during the Jam Room Music Festival.

Inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival to honor traditions and forge new ground

Note: One Columbia for Arts and History received a South Carolina Arts Commission Quarterly Grant to help support the Deckle Edge Literary Festival. The inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival, taking place Feb. 19 – 21 in Columbia, S.C., features readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a range of other literary events for many interests and all ages. Events take place in or near downtown Columbia, and many events are free. A sample of events: Friday, Feb. 19

  • 1 - 2 p.m.: Top 20 "Outside the Box" Book Marketing Ideas, Shari Stauch, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 2 - 3 p.m.: Plotting Strategies for Short Stories, Novels, and Plays, $30 per person, Paula Gail Benson, Historic Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • 7 p.m.: Opening Night Celebration - Concert and Burlesque Show, Columbia Museum of Art, $10
Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 9 - 10 a.m.: S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Workshop for Kids, free, presented by The Watering Hole Poetry Organization, Tapp's Art Center
  • 11 a.m. - noon: Hub City Press Executive Director Betsy Teter moderates a panel of First Novel Prize winners Matt Matthews, James E. McTeer and Susan Tekulve, Columbia Museum of Art
  • 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.: Conversation with Southern Superstar Mary Alice Monroe, Columbia Museum of Art
Sunday, Feb. 21
  • 9 - 10:15 a.m.: Overcoming Creative Anxiety: 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Writing & Remain Calm, Cassie Premo-Steele, $30 per person, location TBA
  • 1 - 2:30 p.m.: Writing and Healing with Ed Madden, $30 per person, Historic Columbia's Seibels House
  • 3 - 4 p.m.: IndieSC Launch - Calling all indie authors and aspiring writers in S.C! Presentation of free self-publishing platform by the South Carolina State Library, Columbia Museum of Art
View the full schedule online. Read a Free Times article about the festival. While Deckle Edge has its roots in the storied tradition of South Carolina’s literary life, festival organizers are committed to forging new ground and hope to appeal to regional and national audiences while remaining a community-focused effort. Festival partners make up an extensive network of South Carolina literary and cultural organizations, including Richland Library, the University of South Carolina PressHub City Writers Project, the S.C. Center for Children’s Books & LiteracyEd Madden and the Columbia Office of the Poet LaureateSouth Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, the Low Country Initiative for Literary ArtsJasper Magazine, Richland County schools, and others. Deckle Edge is built on the strong foundation of the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities CouncilSC , which announced the festival’s dissolution this past summer. The Humanities CouncilSC is now actively pursuing a variety of year-round statewide literary initiatives and has been supportive of the plans for Deckle Edge as a new literary event to be hosted in Columbia. “The S.C. Book Festival was a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we’re grateful to the Humanities CouncilSC for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Darien Cavanaugh. “We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will.” In addition to local talent, the festival will highlight a handful of New York Times bestselling authors from the Carolinas, beloved favorites from past S.C. Book Festivals, and many voices not previously heard from at South Carolina literary events. “This is Columbia’s literary festival,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Annie Boiter-Jolley, “but it’s also joining the larger conversation about literature of and in the South. We look forward to sharing our vision with writers and readers, and to hearing from them as to what Deckle Edge might become in future years.” Via: Deckle Edge Literary Festival

Winthrop University faculty create public art for downtown Columbia, S.C.

[caption id="attachment_18349" align="alignright" width="224"]Shaun Dargan Cassidy and Tom Stanley, "Moments" Shaun Dargan Cassidy and Tom Stanley, "Moments"[/caption] One Columbia for Arts and History and the city of Columbia announce the installation of a second sculpture resulting from the public art pilot program. Commissioned with a donation from Agapé Senior, "Moments” was created by artists Shaun Dargan Cassidy and Tom Stanley. Both artists are faculty members in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University. The stainless steel sculpture is composed of an open box structure with an attic above and a tree root system below evoking memory and a collected lifetime of stories. These elements combine into a new sapling that grows up from these symbols of one’s life moments. Artist Shaun Cassidy explains, "'Moments' was designed to use recognizable imagery as triggers to provoke associations with memory, decay, growth, the past and the future. The sculpture is intended to be both contemplative and aspirational and to provide a quiet moment of beautiful visual poetry on Main Street.” “Agapé Senior is pleased to support the city and One Columbia’s public arts initiative by funding this sculpture," says Scott Middleton, founder and CEO of Agapé Senior. "Our company works to improve the communities in which we serve through local chambers and Rotary clubs, as well as nonprofit support, and now with our corporate headquarters on Main Street, this opportunity just seemed like a great fit for us. Plus, I am a graduate of Winthrop University, so having the artists from my alma mater create the piece made this project came full circle for me personally.” “Not only is this a great addition to Main Street, it also serves to demonstrate public art’s power to transform Columbia into a true city of creativity,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “None of this would be possible without strong public/private partnerships with great businesses like Agapé, and we’re very excited about what the future holds.” A public announcement ceremony will be held Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. at the sculpture on the 1600 block of Main Street. Artists interested in submitting their qualifications for consideration for future projects can find the call for artists on the One Columbia for Arts and History website at onecolumbiasc.com. About One Columbia for Arts and History One Columbia for Arts and History is a nonprofit corporation that works to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for our residents, attract tourist dollars to our city, and further build our vibrant community. In short, it serves as the promotional arm of the City for Columbia’s cultural community. Visit the One Columbia website (onecolumbiasc.com) for a continuously updated master list of art and cultural activities occurring throughout the city. Via: One Columbia

Columbia, S.C., names first poet laureate

[caption id="attachment_17625" align="alignright" width="134"]Ed Madden Ed Madden; photo by Forrest Clonts[/caption] One Columbia for Arts and History and the city of Columbia, S.C., announce the selection of poet Dr. Ed Madden as Columbia’s first poet laureate. Madden will serve a four-year term that begins January 2015. Columbia is one of the few Southern cities to have a poet laureate position, according to One Columbia. Recognized by Mayor Steve Benjamin and the members of City Council in a resolution passed on October 21, 2014, the honorary position of poet laureate will “encourage appreciation and create opportunities for dissemination of poetry in Columbia, promote the appreciation and knowledge of poetry among the youth, and act as a spokesperson for the growing number of poets and writers in Columbia.” “Dr. Madden is not only a world-class talent and scholar but also a leader who, through his actions as well as his words, exemplifies the very best of who we are and who we hope to be,” said Benjamin. “We’re honored to have him serve as our city’s first poet laureate and confident that he will exceed our highest expectations.” Madden, associate professor of English and the director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of South Carolina, holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Newport, Arkansas, he has lived in Columbia since 1994. He has published three books of poetry and is currently working on a fourth book, titled Ark, to be published in 2016. He is the recipient of the inaugural Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship in poetry from the S.C. Academy of Authors as well as a 2011 fellowship for prose writing from the S.C. Arts Commission. His first scheduled readings as poet laureate include the State of the City address on January 20, 2015, and commemoration events for the 150th anniversary of the burning of Columbia on February 17, 2015. “I am excited to have been chosen for this position and really honored to be the first poet selected,” said Madden. “Columbia is a city so rich in writers, I’m also very humbled. I want to be a champion for poetry, language, and the arts, and I want to use poetry to document the life and culture of the city.” One Columbia will provide financial support for the poet laureate to conduct activities that support the organization’s mission to promote and strengthen the arts in Columbia. Madden was selected by a committee representing the literary community, city government and academia. Committee members were Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry; Tony Tallent, director of literacy and learning at the Richland Library and board chair of One Columbia; Councilman Moe Baddourah; Michael Wukela, representing the office of Mayor Benjamin; Jonathan Haupt, director of the University of South Carolina Press and One Columbia board member; Sara June Goldstein, senior coordinator for statewide partnerships with the S.C. Arts Commission; Cynthia Boiter, co-founder of Muddy Ford Press and editor of Jasper Magazine; and Alejandro García-Lemos, a Columbia artist and founder of Palmetto Luna. "The choice of Ed Madden, as Columbia's first poet laureate, is a lovely luminous moment for our city and state,” says Finney. “Poetry has the grace and power to both inspire and guide. The city of Columbia and the state of South Carolina need more poetry in its heart and soul. Ed is absolutely the one to help direct it there and there.” An official presentation will take place on January 15, 2015, between 6 - 8 p.m. at the Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street, Columbia. The event will also feature the official launch of Columbia’s One Book, One Community 2015 selection of On Agate Hill by Lee Smith. The event is open to the public. About One Columbia for Arts and History One Columbia for Arts and History is a nonprofit corporation that works to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for our residents, attract tourist dollars to our city, and further build our vibrant community. In short, it serves as the promotional arm of the City for Columbia’s cultural community. Visit the One Columbia website (http://onecolumbiasc.com) for a continuously updated master list of art and cultural activities occurring throughout the city.