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Pop in to SCAC, One Columbia “Midlands Meet-Up”

Refreshments, short performances, networking and more on March 15

Join other Midlands artists, arts organizations, and arts nonprofits to meet members of the South Carolina Arts Commission team Tuesday, March 15 from 2-7 p.m.

Artists and arts groups from all disciplines are encouraged to attend. This indoor-outdoor pop-up has it all, to include refreshments, short performances, and networking time.
There are two components to the event.

ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS WITH SCAC STAFF

Select SCAC staff will be available for one-on-one meetings with individual artists or arts organization staff between 2-5:30 p.m.:
  • Ce Scott-Fitts, Artist Development Director
    • Focus area on support materials, resumes, or how to write a narrative/description on grant applications, for individual artists, across disciplines
  • La Ruchala Murphy, Arts Industry Director
    • Focus area on arts organizations, nonprofit best practices, applying for project/operating support funding, and capacity building
  • Amber Westbrook, Grants Coordinator
    • Focus area on best practices including finding grants that best fit your project, navigating the the grant process application through final report, and grantor/grantee relationships

OUTDOOR POP-UP

The outdoor popup begins at 5:30 p.m. and will take place in the backyard featuring refreshments, performances and networking. Staff from the SCAC, Central Carolina Community Foundation, and One Columbia will be on hand to share details about artist resources in the Midlands.
The Midlands Meet-up will take place at the 1013 Co-Op (1013 Duke Ave., Columbia, 29203) on March 15, 2022. Parking is available on Arlington Street just across from the 1013 Co-Op. Registration is required for one-on-ones by going here to register. Registration for the open meet-up is encouraged. Free.
Photo by Mo Abrahim from Pexels

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Commission to present four Governor’s Awards for the Arts in 2022

for immediate release COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is happy to announce four recipients who are to be honored in 2022 with South Carolina’s highest award for exceptional achievement in practicing or supporting the arts. The SCAC presents the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts annually each spring. The appointed members of the agency’s board of directors vote on panel recommendations for the award. In 2022, the SCAC board approved the recommendations of the following honorees from their respective categories to be recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:

  • ARTIST: Darion McCloud, Columbia
  • INDIVIDUAL: Ed Madden, Columbia
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Carrie Ann Power, Aiken
  • ORGANIZATION: One Columbia for Arts and History, Columbia

BONUS CONTENT: 2022 Governor's Awards for the Arts recipient reveal video


"Recipients always represent the best of South Carolina. They are talented, successful, and dedicated. They give of themselves to ensure access to the arts for all,” SCAC Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. “By presenting them the Governor’s Award, we celebrate their achievements and thank these accomplished recipients for enriching life and culture throughout South Carolina.” “This class of Governor’s Award recipients is notable for the ways it improves access to the arts across the spectrum,” elaborates SCAC Executive Director David T. Platts. “Making the arts more representative is central to the South Carolina Arts Commission’s mission. All four of these recipients demonstrate tireless efforts to help the arts be more inclusive and accessible.” 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 with a nomination that is sent to the board for final approval. Serving on the panel for the 2022 awards were Shani Blann (Lexington), Dr. Philip Mullen (Columbia), Glenis Redmond (Mauldin), Bhavna Vasudeva (Columbia), and Bradley Wingate (Greenville). Recipients of the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are honored during a video presentation of the South Carolina Arts Awards. The SCAC and its partner for the Folk Heritage Awards, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, are working to finalize plans for the 2022 awards and announce details on a later date.
About the 2022 South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts Recipients DARION MCCLOUD (Artist Category) is an actor, director, storyteller, educator, arts activist, and children’s literature advocate from Columbia. He is also the founder and creative director both of NiA Theatre Company and Story Squad. McCloud is a Riley Institute Diversity Fellow and the 2019 recipient of the Theatre Artist of the Year Award from The Jasper Project. A formally trained visual artist with a bachelor’s in art studio from the University of South Carolina, he found his way to the stage via telling stories and stayed, acting and teaching there for more than 20 years. He enjoys crafting theatre, storytelling, and art experiences for old and young and the initiated and the un-initiated in environments as varied as classrooms, corporate settings, libraries, campfires and, of course, theatres; he is a company member for Columbia-based Trustus Theatre and the South Carolina Shakespeare Company. McCloud has numerous statewide partnerships to his credit in higher education, the humanities, and the arts. He considers himself as having committed his life to the transforming power of art. ED MADDEN (Individual Category) is a poet, activist, and a professor of English, with a focus on Irish literature, at the University of South Carolina. There, he is also director of the women’s and gender studies program. His academic areas of specialization include Irish culture; British and Irish poetry; LGBTQ literature, sexuality studies, and history of sexuality; and creative writing and poetry. In 2019 he was named a Poet Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets and a visiting artist fellow at the Instituto Sacatar in Bahia, Brazil. In 2015, Madden was named Columbia’s first poet laureate, a post he maintains today. Madden has been a South Carolina Academy of Authors Fellow in poetry twice and was South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow in 2011. He has been writer-in-residence at the Riverbanks Botanical Garden and at Fort Moultrie in Charleston as part of the state’s African American Heritage Corridor project. He also was 2006 artist-in-residence for South Carolina State Parks. His numerous publishing and editing credits include four of his own: NestArk, Prodigal: Variations, and Signals, and his chapbook So They Can Sing won the 2016 Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Photo by Forrest Clonts. CARRIE ANN POWER (Arts in Education Category) has been an arts educator and advocate in South Carolina for more 30 years. Beginning in 2004 she was the fine arts department chair, grant manager, and visual arts teacher at East Aiken School of the Arts (EASOA) until 2015. During that time, she transformed EASOA by adding full-time dance and theatre programs, developed and implemented all aspects of the EASOA after-school arts program, and secured donations to fund scholarships providing low-income families access to programs. During that tenure she coordinated the Curriculum Leadership Institute in the Arts, which improves and enhances arts lesson plans based on the 2010 S.C. Visual and Performing Arts Academic Standards. She then served as the education associate for visual and performing arts at the South Carolina Department of Education from 2015 until 2019, where she oversaw the development of K-12 Design Standards for visual and performing arts and later coordinated their revisions. Power served an active role on notable state arts or arts education boards and, in her community, supports educational outreach programs that bring professional artists into schools. Founded as a non-profit in January 2012, ONE COLUMBIA FOR ARTS AND CULTURE (OC) (Organization Category) served as de facto office of cultural affairs for Columbia until being officially named as such earlier this year. Its mission is to “advise, amplify and advocate for strengthening and unifying the cultural community of Columbia” and does so by promoting cultural activities taking place in the city through various means. In 2014, OC facilitated the formalization of Columbia’s public art program, which has resulted in the creation of more than 60 public artworks and an online directory of public art throughout the city of Columbia. The organization facilitates other projects related to tactical urbanism, creative placemaking and enhancing public space. When Columbia established the honorary position of city poet laureate in 2015, it tasked OC with creating the selection committee that resulted in Dr. Ed Madden being awarded the title. OC is responsible for Amplify, a comprehensive cultural plan approved by city council in 2020. In recent years, it undertook the lengthy process of developing of a modern flag for the city adopted by city council in 2020.
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 four areas: arts learning, community and traditional arts, artist development, and arts industry. 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 for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.
South Carolina Arts Commission News Release, Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Checking in with Sam Wang + visual artists workshop

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...
Photonola features Sam Wang. It's a shot in the dark to be sure, but if you find yourself in the Big Easy through Dec. 29, there's an #SCartists connection. 2012 Governor's Award for the Arts recipient Sam Wang (individual category) is the subject of a 25-minute film in the Photonola 2021 film festival. Sam Wang: Persistent Discoveries is playing through the 29th. Born in Beijing, Wang has left an indelible mark at Clemson University where he has served on the faculty, teaching photography, for some 40 years. 2D or Not 2D? Next up in the SCAC's Artist Entrepreneur Incubator workshop series is a track for visual artists (though it's open to artists of any medium from across the state!). SCAC Artist Development Director Ce Scott-Fitts welcomes artists Mary Gilkerson and Tiffany Thomas will lead the virtual workshop "2D or Not 2D: Visual Art & Craft" on Jan. 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. Additional information and registration link here. Presented in partnership with One Columbia for Arts & Culture.

Jason Rapp

#SCartists: Make a living with your art form

Introducing the Artist Entrepreneur Incubator

Image of a tandem skydive, midflight as the parachute deploys. Text says, Take the leap. You can make a living with your art. Introducing the Artist Entrepreneur Incubator.

The Artist Entrepreneur Incubator (AEI) is a series of monthly discipline-based interactive workshops for artists who are interested in transitioning their craft into a business.

Workshops are led by artists of all disciplines, arts consultants, and educators. They’ll include information on basic business, licensing, marketing, contracts, and identifying resources for support and sustainability. Nominal fees apply, but there are exceptions. Learn more here.
The AEI virtual series is a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission and One Columbia for Arts and Culture. It’s available to artists across disciplines who live and work throughout South Carolina.

AEI Dates and topics

  • 9/21/21: Better Business for Creatives In conjunction with the Columbia Office of Business Opportunities. This workshop is a prerequisite for any further participation. Sign up today!
  • 10/5/21: Hit the Right Notes: Music
  • 11/9/21: Going Public: Public Art
  • 12/7/21: Become a Media Darling: Multimedia
And more to come!

Jason Rapp

Office manager arts job open in Columbia

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, July 31, 2021


One Columbia for Arts and Culture is hiring for the position of office manager.

  • Location: Columbia, SC
  • Employee Type: Full Time
  • Salary Range: $32,000-35,000 based upon experience

Position Scope and Objectives

One Columbia for Arts and Culture, a 501(c)3 organization that promotes collaboration and celebrates the arts and historic preservation community in Columbia, seeks an office manager for a paid, full-time position. The selected candidate will perform administrative duties including email messaging, social media, daily financial and organizational record keeping, event calendar moderation, project administration and volunteer coordination. Other duties may be required as assigned by the executive director. This is a moderately supervised position and supervisor will provide on-the-job training regarding specific duties.

Necessary Skills and Expertise

  • Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree and 2 years of experience, or a high school diploma and 4 years of experience
  • Strong administrative skills including typing, writing, and editing
  • Ability to effectively communicate with the general public and provide positive customer service
  • Excellent verbal presentation, written communication and organizational skills
  • Experience with Microsoft office, including Word and Excel required.
  • Email messaging, social media, HTML, Adobe Creative Suite and Quickbooks experience required
  • Experience in non-profit organizational operations preferred
  • Grant writing and grant administration experience is a plus
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and to thoughtfully respond to shifting priorities
  • Respect for and ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information
  • Availability to work some evenings and weekends
  • An understanding of and appreciation for art and history

Application process

Send cover letter and resume to jobs@onecolumbiasc.com by July 31, 2021. One Columbia for Arts and Culture does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, class, creed, physical or mental disability.

Submitted material

Columbia-area artist directory opens

If you're interested in learning more about or connecting with other creatives in the Midlands region, there's a new resource.

Thanks to a partnership with former Richland Library artist-in-residence (AiR) Crush Rush and One Columbia for Arts & Culture, Richland Library is excited to announce the launch of the Local Artist Directory. It provides an online platform for local artists to share a brief biography, indicate their art medium or area of focus, and exhibit some of their work. They can also add ways to communicate by listing a personal or business website, social media channels, and contact information. You can view the Local Artist Directory through our website at richlandlibrary.com/art and One Columbia for Arts & Culture's website at https://www.onecolumbiasc.com/artist. The Local Artist Directory was part of Rush's final project as the library's artist-in-residence at the end of 2020. He proposed working with One Columbia for Arts & Culture to offer a free online resource that features working artists and allows local residents to engage with or hire artists in our community. If you're interested in becoming part of the Local Artist Directory, you can create an artist profile by visiting https://www.onecolumbiasc.com/artist/. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803.587.3637 or estoll@richlandlibrary.com.

About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Submitted material

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.  

Jason Rapp

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.”