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Ken May becomes surprise recipient at S.C. Arts Awards

Receives McNair Award from S.C. Arts Foundation

Ken May making keynote address at 2019 S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon As he’d done at nine previous South Carolina Arts Awards ceremonies, Wednesday morning Ken May read the names and brief details of recipients as their awards were handed out—then it was happening to him. May was called to the stage to deliver the keynote address at the luncheon following the public ceremony when Flavia Harton of Greenville, president of the South Carolina Arts Foundation (SCAF), turned the tables. She began describing the Gov. Robert E. McNair Award, which the foundation presents to honor outstanding leaders who have built on the legacy of the award's namesake by working diligently to make South Carolina a place where the arts thrive for the benefit of all South Carolinians. “That sounds like a description of Ken May, and that’s why it is my privilege on behalf of the South Carolina Arts Foundation to present the seventh Robert E. McNair Award to Ken,” Harton said, after she and S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) Board Chairman Henry Horowitz alternated extolling May’s leadership on the national and regional levels, advocacy, and "for leading the agency through turbulent times to flourish afterward." May, visibly moved by the presentation, expressed his gratitude and launched into a "state of the arts" keynote address. Gov. McNair was the first recipient of his namesake award when it was created in 2007 and awarded to him posthumously. Subsequent recipients include Gov. Richard Riley (2010), former State Sen. Wes Hayes (2015), and erstwhile Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley (2017) from the political field and Susie Surkamer (2011), previous executive director of the SCAC, and Patrick VanHuss (2013) who served in leadership roles for the SCAC and SCAF boards of directors. In January, May announced that he will retire from the SCAC after nine years as its executive director and 33 years in total. A search committee is currently reviewing applicants to be the next executive director.
Image by Lee Ann Kornegay

Senator Wes Hayes of Rock Hill receives national Public Leadership in the Arts Award

Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures today announced South Carolina State Senator Robert Wesley (Wes) Hayes of Rock Hill as the recipient of the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership. The award honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. Senator Hayes will receive his award today at the National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Senator Wes Hayes“I am deeply honored to be recognized as the recipient of the 2013 Public Leadership in the Arts Award. Over the years I have been an advocate for the arts because of the vital role they play in our education system, and because of the important impact that the arts make on the quality of life in my community and throughout the state. Additionally, I have supported the arts because they play an important part of the economic well-being of my state by creating jobs, improving the business climate, and bringing in tourism dollars,” said Hayes. Senator Hayes has been one of the most faithful and effective advocates for the arts to ever serve in South Carolina’s General Assembly. During his nearly 30-year tenure, he has taken a high profile role as a pro-arts legislator, speaking regularly at Arts Advocacy Day events, press conferences and statewide meetings. He has consistently supported and advocated among his colleagues for increases to the South Carolina Arts Commission’s budget, and has consistently led Senate efforts to override the gubernatorial vetoes of arts funding that have become a regular feature of the budget process in recent years. Senator Hayes not only founded South Carolina’s Senate Arts Caucus, but also continues to serve as its co-chair. In addition, he confers annually with arts leadership in the state to develop a legislative agenda for the arts, providing key insights and wise counsel about issues and opportunities. During the last legislative session, he played a key role in winning a $1 million increase to the Arts Commission’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget. “Senator Hayes is one of the great champions for public support of the arts in South Carolina,” said Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. “Whether the issue is education policy or the state budget, he is always there to stand up and speak out to make sure that all citizens have a chance to benefit from the arts in their communities and classrooms. He is one of the most respected members of the Senate, and as a Senate co- chair of our Legislative Arts Caucus, we are very lucky that he is willing, time and again, to use his influence to support and defend the arts for the people of our state.” “Senator Hayes has been a tremendous supporter of the arts,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "His advocacy efforts on behalf of the arts in South Carolina not only demonstrate his commitment to public funding for the arts as a financial stimulus in the state’s communities, but also to the people of South Carolina, who benefit from the arts in so many ways.” Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org. Via: Americans for the Arts