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Four South Carolina Cultural Districts earn recertification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The first four South Carolina Cultural Districts designated in 2015 after the program’s launch earned recertification based on FY2020 data gathered by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC).

The districts recertified are: the Congaree Vista (Columbia), Lancaster, Rock Hill and Spartanburg Downtown, all designated in 2015. Their recertification is effective July 1, 2022 and will be run through FY2027. SCAC Executive Director David Platts approved recertification at the recommendation of reviewer Jason Rapp, the South Carolina Cultural Districts program director. The SCAC reviews annual reports and action plans submitted by the cultural districts and, every five years after designation, is to evaluate the districts eligible for recertification. Though delayed because of the pandemic, FY2020 data was collected and reviewed for these original four districts. “The South Carolina Arts Commission commends these districts for many things, but top-of-mind right now is the way they didn’t allow the upside-down pandemic world of lockdowns and restrictions to take their focus off arts and creativity. The reports showed each district managed to find its way in the face of major challenges. They are poised for big things as the world returns to normal, and we congratulate them on their significant achievements,” Platts said. Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014 authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts. The legislation specifies the following goals of this program:
  • attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
  • encourage economic development
  • foster local cultural development
  • provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
“A district is designated after a rigorous application and review process that determines the extent to which they use arts and creativity to build community and encourage economic growth,” Platts said. Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. They are easily identifiable and serve as centers of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They frequently have galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, and arts schools in addition to non-cultural attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity. Additional South Carolina Cultural Districts are designated in Beaufort, Bluffton, Camden, Florence, and Greenwood.

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

Arts Council of York County announces new leader

New executive director starts next month


Lori Robishaw was named the new executive director of the Arts Council of York County (ACYC) Thursday, and the organization expects her tenure to begin Monday, Nov. 15.

[caption id="attachment_48064" align="alignright" width="175"] Lori Robishaw[/caption] Robishaw will come to Rock Hill after five years as executive director of La Grua Center in Stonington, Connecticut, a small cultural venue that presents concerts, art exhibitions, and speakers on a wide range of topics. She was responsible for increasing both earned and contributed revenues there, as well as leading the organization through a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training that then informed the organization’s new strategic plan. Prior to that position she was the executive director of the Ashtabula Arts Center in her Ohio hometown and an arts management consultant who helped launch the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition in 2013. ACYC Board of Director President Priscilla Nealy said Robishaw's "wide breadth of experience and connections to the greater arts community makes her perfectly suited to propel the ACYC into our next chapter.” Her career has also included a five-year stint in Washington, where she headed the communications office for Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and arts education. She continued with the organization as a consultant for 15 years, which included writing the book commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary and the program journal and event script for its annual National Arts Awards in New York City. “I am delighted to be joining the Arts Council of York County and excited to move to this growing region,” Robishaw said. “It is a tough time for the arts and culture world as we continue to move through this pandemic, but surely the last year and a half has shown us how critical the arts are to our health and well-being, not to mention the economy of our communities.” “I feel like I am returning to my roots, working with what I call the arts infrastructure of our country. I started out with a state arts agency in Ohio, worked at the national level in Washington, and now have the chance to run an arts council at the local level. These umbrella organizations are so important for communities to be able to look at the big picture as they foster partnerships among cultural assets to strengthen a sense of place, while at the same time, play a role in attracting and retaining businesses, residents, and visitors,” said Robishaw. “The board and staff have done a stellar job this past year following Debra Heintz’s long and distinguished tenure, and I am eager to contribute what I can to moving the organization forward.”

More about Lori Robishaw

Lori Robishaw has held positions with some of America’s leading regional theatres, including managing the National Playwrights Conference for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in New York City and Waterford, CT. She also was a founder of CATCO, now Columbus’s major resident professional theatre, The Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. In addition, she has worked in higher education in a senior staff communications position at Ohio State, as well as in the broader nonprofit arts sector for the Ohio Arts Council—which included a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts—and The Music Center of Los Angeles County. She has also forayed briefly into the commercial sector by managing a producer’s office for a season on Broadway and working for two film production companies and as a script analyst in Hollywood. Robishaw holds a BA in theatre from Ohio State and an MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama.

About the Arts Council of York County

The Arts Council is headquartered in downtown Rock Hill, a state-recognized cultural district. For more information on Arts Council events, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803.328.2787, by email at arts@yorkcountyarts.org, or visit yorkcountyarts.org.

Jason Rapp

Fast-growing S.C. region adds professional orchestra

It is the hub of a region that has three of the top 20 fastest-growing communities in South Carolina (and two of the top three). It boasts the state's first officially-recognized cultural district. And now Rock Hill has a professional orchestra, joining several others across the state in Aiken, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg. Read more about the genesis of the new cultural offering from the Herald. The three-concert inaugural season begins in September and runs through next May, but a "sneak peek" offering is coming June 10. Congratulations to York County and everyone at the Rock Hill Symphony!

Image courtesy of the Rock Hill Herald.