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Jason Rapp

For your weekend: SCAC’s Emerging Artists

Multidisciplinary arts for the long weekend


Not that anybody needed to tell you, but we're entering a long weekend.

(For the record, nobody needed to tell The Hub.) The SCAC has a multidisciplinary arts fix for you from the six inaugural Emerging Artist Grant recipients announced late last year: A virtual portfolio from the artists participating in the program's first year went live today on SouthCarolinaArts.com. It's a mini-exhibition of sorts curated by Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts. The multimedia page features works from #SCartists:
  • Luke Hodges (formerly) of Columbia (photography)
  • Chrisjenkins 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)
Here's that link one more time. Have a great weekend!
 

Jason Rapp

Pair of #SCartists get good news

A hot summer continues for a South Carolina poet and one of the S.C. Arts Commission's inaugural Emerging Artist Grant recipients will exhibit in a prominent location this fall.

[caption id="attachment_45489" align="alignright" width="150"]Close up facial image of Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul[/caption] First, Marlanda Dekine is having quite a summer. In July, The Hub shared the news that she won the 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize. We are pleased to share now that Dekine is included in the current Poetry Out Loud anthology. Whatever will the next announcement bring? Second, it's going to be an exciting fall for Kimberly Washburn Motte. You might remember her as one of the inaugural recipients of the SCAC's new Emerging Artist Grant. Because you know we love seeing #SCACGrantsAtWork, we were thrilled when she let our team know that five sculptures created as a result of her grant are going on exhibit, just down the road from her Florence home. TRAX Visual Art Center in Lake City is set to include Motte in an upcoming exhibition from Sept. 10 to Nov. 13.

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S.C. Phil puts SCAC grants to work

The South Carolina Philharmonic has been awarded a General Operating Support Grant of $37,013 and an Arts Education Project Grant of $10,000 from the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Funds awarded from the General Operating Support grant will go to support the SC Philharmonic’s 2021/2022 season; specifically, production costs and day-to-day operations. Funds awarded from the Arts Education Project Grant will support "Phil the Music," a new education program that will debut in Richland District 1 this year. “Both the general operating support and education grants will enable us to present concerts and programs to those who might otherwise never have the chance to experience live symphonic music,” said Executive Director Rhonda Hunsinger. “We are especially thankful to the Arts Commission for their ongoing support, especially with the challenges we have faced because of the pandemic.”
The SCAC General Operating Support Grant exists to help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities and other organizations throughout the state. The grant provides three years of unrestricted support for basic operations for applicants ranging from emerging to established arts organizations with primary missions involving these artistic functions: producing, service, presenting and/or education. South Carolina Philharmonic’s award of $37,013 will be funded annually for the next three seasons. For 2021/2022, the South Carolina Philharmonic will produce six concerts at the Koger Center in their Masterworks Series including Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony (October 9, 2021), Mozart Symphony No. 40 (November 13, 2021), Beethoven and Blue Jeans (January 15, 2022), American Memories (February 5, 2022), Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (March 19, 2022) and Scheherazade (April 23, 2022). The SC Phil will bring back the extremely popular Halloween Spooktacular to the Koger Center (October 31, 2021), and will return to Harbison Theatre with Holiday and Broadway pops concerts.
The purpose of the SCAC Arts Education Project Grant is to fund projects and programs that use the arts to meet the educational, developmental and social needs of K-12 students. Arts Education Project grants support quality arts education programs in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and through other organizations that utilize the arts to advance learning in students (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). South Carolina Philharmonic’s award of $10,000 will support the SC Phil’s new education program: Phil the Music. [caption id="attachment_47491" align="alignright" width="150"]Nakahara, wearing a neon yellow Columbia Fireflies jersey, conducts the orchestra at the Fireflies' ballpark at dusk. Nakahara and South Carolina Philharmonic musicians perform to a sold-out concert at the Columbia Fireflies' Segra Park July 3, 2021. Provided photo.[/caption] Debuting in the 2021/2022 season, the SC Philharmonic’s "Phil the Music" program will partner with middle school music classes in Richland District One. Music educators will have the opportunity to expand their curriculums by offering complimentary audiovisual resources including live recordings of the SC Phil, and virtual interactions with musicians, composers and Music Director Morihiko Nakahara in an “up close and personal” experience. This program was created during the pandemic and specifically designed to offer students a unique environment in which to learn about music, while following COVID guidelines for safety. Season subscriptions are now on sale at SCPhilharmonic.com or patrons can call (803) 771-7937 for more information. Discounts are available for first-year buyers, seniors, students, active-duty and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The South Carolina Philharmonic is committed to performing live symphonic music and providing dynamic educational opportunities in the Midlands. We carry forward a legacy of passion for the music and embrace our responsibility to be a vibrant part of the cultural fabric of our diverse community.
For more information about the South Carolina Philharmonic, please visit SCPhilharmonic.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jason Rapp

Marlanda Dekine wins 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize

SCAC earns publication, cash prize


Hub City Press just announced that Marlanda Dekine is the winner of the fifth New Southern Voices Poetry Prize.

Marlanda Dekine (she/they) is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one's own body. Their work manifest as books, audio projects, and workshops, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. The prize for Dekine's unpublished manuscript, Thresh & Hold, is $1,000 and publication by Hub City Press in spring 2022. Their manuscript was selected as the winner of the prize by award-winning poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Dekine's work has been published or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, POETRY Magazine, Emergence Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, OROBORO, Screen Door Review, Root Work Journal, and elsewhere. They are the founder and former executive director of Speaking Down Barriers, Spoken Word Spartanburg, and other organizations that make space for all beings. Currently, she serves as a Healing Justice Fellow with Gender Benders and the 2021/2022 creative-in-residence with Castle of our Skins. Dekine is the recipient of many awards, including a Tin House Own Path Scholarship (2021), an SC Humanities Award for Fresh Voices in Humanities (2019), Emrys' Keller Cushing Freeman Fellowship (2019), and grants from the S.C. Arts Commission, Alternate Roots, The Map Fund, and other organizations. She holds a bachelor's degree from Furman University, University of South Carolina, and is a third-year master of fine arts candidate (Poetry) at Converse College. Of the collection, Calvocoressi wrote,

"I cannot and will not put Marlanda Dekine’s, Thresh & Hold down. The world it builds, celebrates, and reclaims is a reckoning and a symphony. From the brutality of the rice plantations of South Carolina to the specific privacy found inside one’s Saturn Vue, the breadth of human experience that unfold in these poems cover histories that, we too often forget, are all intimate stories. Dekine reminds us that every moment we read about is a moment some body has fought or celebrated or been unable to live through. The effect of this is that we are brought into the vast music of a world that is endlessly unfolding, It’s fairly common to read poems that speak about community but there are only a handful of poets alive; Nikky Finney, Destiny Hemphill, CA Conrad come to mind, whose poems truly make community as the work blooms before us. This is a poet of that order and ability. I am so blown away by the gift and the challenge of this book. A book that not for one moment looks away from the brutality and beauty of this world. A book that says, 'I am listening to Spirit. I am not dying today.'"

Calvocoressi is the author of the poetry collections Rocket Fantastic; Apocalyptic Swing, which was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, which was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and winner of the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. They are the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award, a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas, the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review, and a residency from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Calvocoressi teaches at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, North Carolina. The other finalists are Reyes Ramirez for Answers Without Questions and Andy Young for Museum of the Soon Departed. The biennial New Southern Voices Prize is sponsored by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. It is open to all poets who have either never published a full-length collection of poetry, or who have only published one full-length collection, and who currently reside in and have had residency in one or more of the following states for a minimum of 24 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The previous winner of this prize was Megan Denton Ray for her collection, Mustard, Milk and Gin which was released by Hub City Press in March 2020.

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Spartanburg artist, arts org receive community grants

Chapman Cultural Center awards two


Chapman Cultural Center is committed to broadening and strengthening Spartanburg's Cultural community.

Chapman Cultural CenterBecause of this commitment, a major part of the work we do is centered around funding Spartanburg's arts and cultural community. One of Chapman Cultural Center's major funding opportunities comes in the form of our quarterly Community Grants Program. The Community Grants Program awards up to $5,000 per application and is open to both individual artists and non-profits/government agencies. We're proud to announce we've awarded the following artists and organizations a Community Grant for our Q1 2021-2022 grants cycle! Learn more about their projects and programs below.

Speaking Down Barriers

Black man sits, eyes close, with his right hand over his chest listening to poetry Speaking Down Barriers was awarded a Community Grant for their event "An Evening of Transformation." An Evening of Transformation will feature 8 artists: culinary artists, visual artists, spoken word artists, and musicians. Each will create art for the event that will examine our mission "Equity for all." The artists will present their art and the participants will engage the artist and each other around themes that emerge from each piece. All of the artists will be representing marginalized communities and perspectives. (The tentative date is November 13, 2021, 5:30-8:30 at the United Universalist Church of Spartanburg.)

Quinn Long

Local artist Quinn Long was awarded a Community Grant to help with purchasing a high-end printer to produce copies of her art from home, which will enable her to sell high-quality prints of her original artwork.
Chapman Cultural Center receives general financial support for cultural projects impacting Spartanburg County, funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. The full version of this story appears on the CCC website here.

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.

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Online intensive planned for Artists U

Sustaining Through + Beyond the Pandemic


The transitions out of lockdown offer big opportunities and challenges for artists.

This online workshop brings the fundamentals of Artists U (planning, finances, time management, mission) to this complex moment. Now is a powerful moment to imagine and plan what is next for our work, our lives, and our communities. This June, plan to meet on Zoom three Wednesdays in a row. We will take breaks, we will breathe. We will build a positive, rigorous conversation about building balanced and sustainable lives as artists. You will get assignments between each session. Plan on an hour or two each week. Here’s the schedule:
  • Wednesday, June 9, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 16, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 23, 12-1:30 p.m.
Who is eligible to participate? Any South Carolina artist. Do you have to attend all three sessions? Yes. And we will give you brief assignments (1-2 hours) for each session. How much does it cost? It’s free, thanks to support from the South Carolina Arts Commission. How do I register? You can sign up here.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Governor’s School for Arts recognized for arts ed research

Link uncovered between drama curriculum and reading success


The Arts Schools Network Board of Directors has awarded the Research Initiative-Institution Award to the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

The award honors an organization for its commitment to ongoing research and the dissemination of knowledge in research in arts education. The Governor's School's research initiative, implemented by the Office of Outreach in partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance, examines the potential impact that drama curriculum has on reading motivation and success for young children. Melissa Brookes, managing director for ASN, said, “Each year the Arts Schools Network board of directors take great pride in honoring and recognizing schools and individuals for their extraordinary efforts and impact throughout arts education. This year, we are thrilled to recognize the Governor’s School as the winner of our Research Initiative Award.” In the Spark! outreach program that this research is based on, at-risk third-grade readers attending the state mandated Read-To-Succeed summer program are exposed to drama principles in addition to their reading requirements. Now in its third year, Spark! participants are showing increased gains in creativity measures like fluency and originality, along with critical reading measures required by MAP testing, when compared to similar students not exposed to the drama component. “While we are only three years into this five-year initiative, the combination of creativity gains and reading gains together are what draws us further into this research, and we’re very excited to see these promising trends,” said Carol Baker, outreach director at the Governor’s School. “We’re grateful for this acknowledgement from the Arts Schools Network and for the ongoing support and participation of our partners, the South Carolina Arts Commission, who is funding this project, and the USC Department of Theatre and Dance, who is compiling and analyzing the data.”

About the Research

Dr. Peter Duffy, who heads the Master of Arts in Teaching program in theatre education at the University of South Carolina is leading this research which combines the qualitative measures of theatre making and creativity with quantitative methods of reading and motivation. “This research matters because it examines how story, motivation, and embodied learning through drama can impact a child’s desire to read, and how this component can affect the way young readers interact with their reading materials,” said Duffy. “We are studying how more creative teaching methods can motivate readers to really know the story inside and out. “Our research suggests that students who engage in the drama work make small but important improvements in their overall reading scores. Gathering five years of data will help us see whether these trends hold overtime, giving us a stronger impression of the real impact these programs can make.” The Spark! program was initiated at Kenneth Gardner Elementary in Williamsburg County School District, and thanks to two years of early positive findings, received increased funding to expand to Hardeeville Elementary in Jasper County School District. Both districts serve high poverty, rural, under-resourced populations and neither has a certified drama teacher at any level. Each school offers a multi-week summer remedial reading camp for rising fourth-grade students at risk of retention due to low test scores. The summer camp is part of the Read-to-Succeed program and is the last possible opportunity for these young students to increase their scores enough to move on to the next grade. How this research impacts arts education funding priorities “The Spark! outreach program’s research into the relationship between drama and reading in young, at-risk readers, provides compelling evidence of the correlation between creativity and reading retention,” said David Platts, executive director of the SCAC. “Working with Dr. Duffy and his team at the University of South Carolina and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities has demonstrated how these types of programs, while specifically designed to help students, also provide vital information for agencies such as ours as we analyze and prioritize our programming decisions. Good decisions and responsible stewardship of public funds are possible only with the availability of solid and meaningful research and data.” Getting students back on track “Ultimately, this is about improving reading skills and reading motivation of young students in South Carolina,” said Dr. Cedric Adderley, Governor’s School president. “We know that early reading comprehension is the key to success, and in this day and time, when we’re seeing reading regression in elementary school students due to pandemic-imposed virtual learning, we hope that programs like Spark! will be part of the solution to getting these students back on track.” “At the Governor’s School, we see first-hand how incorporating the arts into education can help improve student engagement, academic success, motivation, and hope for the future,” continued Adderley. “Now our challenge, as an arts resource and research center for teachers and students throughout the state, is to expand these proven programs to impact more students in need.”

About SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. In the public, residential high school, students refine their talents in an arts-centered community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students. The Governor’s School serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org

About the Arts Schools Network

Dedicated to excellence and leadership in arts education, Arts Schools Network, a non-profit association founded in 1981, provides arts school leaders, innovative partners and members of arts education institutions with quality resources, support and networking opportunities. Visit www.artsschoolsnetwork.org to learn more.
Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay

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McCormick school a beneficiary of new murals

MACK program completes three new murals at elementary school

[caption id="attachment_45821" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural Artist Darion Johnson sits for an interview in front of his mural “Science Discovery: Oceans” at McCormick Elementary School.[/caption]

There are now three new murals on the McCormick Elementary School campus that provide engagement for specific educational goals: science, inquiry, and innovation.

These murals, painted by South Carolina artist Damion Johnson, are made possible through the McCormick Art Council (MACK) program "Painting a Brighter Future," a public art program designed to engage our community members, students, and visitors. We are able to combine the intentions of this public art program and help our schools deliver a series of engaging, rich, and vibrant paintings designed to make the student feel immersed in the learning environment. Each mural at McCormick Elementary School adheres to the curriculum standards and pacing guides for lesson plans and utilizes the arts as an important learning partner in providing a quality educational experience to our students.

BONUS CONTENT: Artist Darion Johnson discusses Science Discovery: Oceans on YouTube

This project was made possible through an Arts in Education grant provided through the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also an extension of the school district's participation in the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project mission to provide students with quality art education and advance our student's educational experience by providing access to the arts for daily learning experiences. Most importantly, our students and teachers have celebrated the project and are actively enjoying and creating moments of learning engagement. The sheer scope and presence of the learning murals has transformed our school hallways with a quality project that excites, engages, and celebrates art in education. The images are truly spectacular. Our greatest accomplishment is to deliver these high-quality discovery walls for our students to enjoy. The look of awe and amazement on our littlest community members was worth every challenge this school year. We also are very encouraged by the continued greater commitment and value that art has to offer non-art curriculum. We believe these projects have accomplished achieving support and recognition for the value art has in enhancing our student's educational experiences. MACK extends its thanks to everyone involved.

Meet the Artist: Damion Johnson

“Art is the one thing that makes you enjoy the world. Art is far more important, far more than just being important to the world, it is the world. It is the world.” - Damion Johnson

Damion Johnson, a talented artist and native South Carolinian, is the featured artist for this series of educational murals. He is a regional artist, educator, and entrepreneur. His work was featured at the McCormick Arts Council (MACK) in October 2014 and again in September 2016. He is the visual arts teacher at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and was notably selected to represent his school as Teacher of the Year for 2018/2019. He is a professional artist and small business owner who represents the Orangeburg community. Johnson’s artistic journey formally began under the watchful eye of his middle and high school art instructor and uncle John Scott, who planted the seed for developing his artistic trade. Damion continued his studies and earned his bachelor's in professional art from Claflin University and now teaches and operates a successful art studio, as well as a barbershop, to serve his community. His current work honors a process Damion uniquely coins as the ‘capturing what is felt" ideal. His artistic work transforms song lyrics, phrases, and emotions into visual statements. Damion’s art features collage-style compositions where figures often exist on different planes in very involved ways and defines the character of his unique painting style.

Jason Rapp

Bullying prevention materials available to S.C. schools

Free S.C. Children’s Theatre programming  offered to elementary, middle schools


October is PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month. This month-long event was founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, in an effort to prevent childhood bullying and promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

For the past 12 years, South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) has delivered in-person bullying prevention programming during the month of October to Upstate South Carolina schools. The theatre-based program directly addresses the experiences of youth in their day-to-day lives, through age-appropriate terminology and visuals. For third grade students, SCCT traditionally tours a live production of The Boy Who Cried Bully, offering factual information in an engaging format that is thought-provoking and stimulates post-show open discussions. This production sets the course for the continuation of bullying-prevention efforts in the sixth grade, with SCCT’s facilitated bullying prevention workshop. In light of limitations placed on SCCT by COVID-19, the organization is offering a virtual version of their bullying prevention programming to all South Carolina elementary and middle schools in 2020. All content for both programs will be available for October and November, expiring on Nov. 21. All video links can be viewed as many times as needed, during these times, to meet varying school schedules. Educators can access the virtual content by simply clicking the appropriate link below: This offering has been generously underwritten by grant support from South Carolina Arts Commission and by the Amick Family in honor of Suzanne Amick. Special thanks to Tom Quinn for kindly allowing distribution of his work. To learn more about this programming, please visit our website at www.scchildrenstheatre.org. Direct questions to SCCT Tour Manager and School Liaison Lauren Imhoff (864.235.2885, ext. 107 or lauren@scchildrenstheatre.org).
Photo by CDC from Pexels