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South Arts’ 2021 Southern Prize & State Fellows debut in S.C.

Traveling exhibition opens today in Columbia

[caption id="attachment_48982" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Marielle Plaisir | R. Bridges | In The Malediction of Cham Series | 2021 Printing on Duratrans, backlit transparent archival film | 63 x 43 in.[/caption]

Nine accomplished Southern artists—or some of their works, anyway—debut in Columbia today as part of a traveling exhibition to showcase South Arts' 2021 Southern Prize contenders.

Among them is Charleston's Fletcher Williams III (right) of #SCartists fame, the Southern Prize finalist (runner up) last year. The exhibition series, which fans out across the Southern states served by frequent SCAC partner and regional arts agency South Arts, began at 701 Center for Contemporary Art (701 Whaley St., second floor, Columbia) in 2019 (known affectionately at Hub HQ as "the before times"). It returns today beginning at 1 p.m. and runs through March 6, 2022. Williams, certainly, will draw much attention as a native son. Joining him are Southern Prize winner Marielle Plaisir of Florida, Tameca Cole of Alabama, Raheleh Filsoofi of Tennessee, Joyce Garner of Kentucky, Myra Greene of Georgia, Jewel Ham of North Carolina, Ming Ying Hong of Mississippi and artists duo Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick of Louisiana. South Arts rightfully lauds the 2021 cohort of state fellows is the most diverse group to date; of the six American-born artists, all but Garner are African American. Filsoofi is from Iran, Plaisir was born in France but has roots in Guadeloupe, and Hong was born in China but raised in Los Angeles. With COVID continuing to rage in South Carolina (perhaps plateauing? maybe?), 701 will not be holding an opening reception. The gallery hopes it can present a smattering of events to accompany the exhibition instead—details TBA. Presenting sponsors are Cyberwoven and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

Jason Rapp

South Arts opens Southern Prize + State Fellowship apps

$80,000 in cash awards up for grabs

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, January 10, 2022

They're back, y'all! The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support, and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South.

The program is open to individual visual artists living in the South Arts region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. South Arts is committed to practices and funding that create greater cultural equity, represent the diversity of our region, are inclusive of diverse voices and artistic expression, and are accessible to everyone. First, a group of nine state fellows will be selected through a two-tiered selection process by a national jury. Then, a second national jury will select the Southern Prize winner and finalist. Each state fellow automatically receives $5,000. The finalist receives $10,000 and winner receives $25,000, and both of those receive a two week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Jurors will make their selections based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of the region. All nine artists selected as 2022 state fellows will also be featured in a touring exhibition opening next year at the Bo Bartlett Center for the Arts in Columbus, Georgia, and touring for up to 18 months (exact details are TBD). This program is open only to visual artists and will expand to other disciplines in the future. The application deadline is January 10, 2022.  #SCartists who are recent state fellows include Fletcher Williams III (a finalist), Kristi Ryba, Kate Hooray Osmond, and Herb Parker from the Charleston area and Virginia Scotchie from Columbia.

Jason Rapp

South Arts announces $6 million for ‘Southern Cultural Treasures’

A new program with help from the Ford Foundation

Text graphic that reads "Southern Cultural Treasures: A program of South Arts"

South Arts is pleased to announce Southern Cultural Treasures: a $6,000,000, four-year initiative funding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led and -serving arts and cultural organizations throughout the Southeast.

The application process opens today, and cohort members will be announced in May 2022.The initiative is presented in partnership with the Ford Foundation, which is supporting this project with a $3,000,000 matching gift. To maximize the impact of Southern Cultural Treasures, South Arts is currently seeking additional funding partners. Designed to foster lasting stability and resiliency of arts communities throughout the region, Southern Cultural Treasures will support a cohort of 12-15 organizations between May 2022 and March 2025 by offering:
  • general operating grants of up to $300,000;
  • project grants of up to $7,500;
  • and a variety of networking and development opportunities designed to elevate and champion arts communities throughout South Arts’ nine-state region. By providing critical funding and a roadmap for future growth, Southern Cultural Treasures is an exciting new opportunity for the arts in the region.
“Southern Cultural Treasures is a turning point for the arts in the South,” South Arts’ President and CEO Susie Surkamer said“The initiative allows for a more equitable art community throughout the nine states in which South Arts operates, and furthers our mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts.” Southern Cultural Treasures is a complementary program to America’s Cultural Treasures, a Ford Foundation-led initiative to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in America and provide critical funding to organizations that have made a significant impact on America’s cultural landscape, despite historically limited resources. As Ford’s regional partner for the U.S. South, South Arts brings five decades of arts stewardship throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. “The Ford Foundation is proud to join South Arts to honor and celebrate the rich diversity of artistic excellence across the region and advance our shared vision for a just South,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “We’re grateful for South Arts’ expertise and intimate knowledge of the Southeast and look forward to working with them over the coming years.” Southern Cultural Treasures is designed to have far-reaching, lasting benefits. By providing BIPOC-led and -serving organizations with financial resources alongside a framework that establishes long-term sustainability and institution-building, the initiative will encourage growth throughout the South—not only in arts circles, but in the surrounding communities as well. “BIPOC arts organizations are integral to communities throughout the region, no matter their size, history, or area of focus. By funding them, not only are we working to correct historic disparities, we’re empowering the next generation of singers, dancers, media artists, painters, writers—and everyone else,” South Arts Vice President of Programming Joy Young, Ph.D. said. “Only by creating a more equitable landscape can we truly unlock the potential of the arts, and the South.” Organizations throughout South Arts’ nine-state region are strongly encouraged to apply. To apply, eligible organizations should submit a Letter of Intent to participate by December 10, 2021 through the South Arts website. South Arts will hold a webinar discussing the program on November 12, 2021. After review, those most closely aligned with the program goals will be invited to submit a full application. Eligibility information, webinar registration, and application guidelines can be accessed by visiting southarts.org/sct or calling 404.874.7244.
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

Jason Rapp

South Arts opens applications for Emerging Leaders of Color

New cycle for development program

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, December 1, 2021

South Arts announced that applications are open for its Emerging Leaders of Color program.

They anticipate finding 18 cultural leader from across their nine-state region to form a cohort and participate in professional development and networking opportunities. Emerging Leaders of Color (ELC) is a free multi-day professional development program for early- to mid-career arts administrators of color. This partnership program between South Arts and our colleague Regional Arts Organization WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) provides tools, continued learning opportunities, and a growing professional network to administrators of color who seek to move into leadership positions in the arts and culture sector. This second Southern cohort will build on the success of South Arts’ first cohort and WESTAF’s ELC program which has been attracting, training, networking, and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010. Here's a quick video: ELC promotes representative leadership and equity in the arts by:
  • Building a cohort of cultural leaders of color in the southern United States who are committed to the advancement of the arts.
  • Engaging diverse emerging leaders in coursework and activities designed to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions in the field.
  • Providing opportunities for promising arts professionals to establish networks that support their careers.
  • Advocating for the cultural interests of the communities participants represent and serve.
  • Deepening participants’ understanding of the arts in the United States and how public support sustains the vibrancy of the sector.
The second Southern cohort of this program will occur online in late January or early February 2022. At least one participant from each of South Arts’ nine-state region will be chosen to participate, with participation expenses paid. Selected participants will also be invited to join program alumni for continued leadership development. The faculty has distinct SCAC connections: Joy Young (star of the video above) served at the agency several years until leaving in 2019, and Margie Johnson Reese was a one-time grant panelist who also consulted on the One Columbia cultural plan for Columbia. Basically, The Hub is telling you that selected participants are in impeccable hands. Applications are due December 1, 2021.

Jason Rapp

New opportunity to join South Arts team

Help keep the program budget growing


In the past three years South Arts has tripled its budget ($3M - $9M).

We want to continue this momentum and anticipate significantly increasing the program budget within the next 3-5 years. South Arts is seeking a dynamic individual with a proven track record that can accomplish that goal. This position reports to the president & CEO, is part of the executive management team, and will be expected to be a major contributor of vision and leadership, helping to accomplish the strategic plan and fulfill South Arts’ mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts. Our major sources of funding have been government and foundations, to include:
  • The National Endowment for the Arts,
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation,
  • and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.
These will continue to be important sources and we want to increase our foundation footprint, but South Arts also wants to diversify its funding streams by moving into corporate and individual contributions. South Arts is not a membership organization and is not planning to become one. We serve nine southern states and anticipate that advancement will be an effort in each state. South Arts is one of six regional arts organizations in the U.S. and has been primarily serving the performing arts field. A recent example of the organization’s programming initiatives is a multimillion-dollar national grant program related to jazz artists touring across the U.S. In the past three years South Arts has expanded to serve a broader range of art forms and constituents. Diversity, equity and inclusion are key values of this organization. It is an exciting growth period for South Arts, and we are looking for someone who wants to be a valuable part of that growth.

Advancement responsibilities

  • Design development strategies and oversee ongoing development efforts for the organization working with the executive management team, board and staff to identify funding opportunities, targets and approaches that integrate with South Arts’ program plan and overall strategic plan
  • Work directly with the Vice President of Programs to identify revenue streams for programs
  • Work closely with the Communications Director to advance South Arts
  • Design and implement an annual individual giving campaign
  • Support and partner with the President & CEO and Board of Directors on all major fundraising initiatives and staff the Advancement Committee
  • Develop all fundraising proposals, including corporate sponsorship and local and national grants
  • Oversee grant compliance and reporting
  • Help the organization define performance measures for fund development and systematically monitor results
  • Devise and implement special fundraising projects as needed (e.g. programmatic campaigns, etc.)
  • Oversee all donor information using the Salesforce database system, provide statistical analysis to the board and the executive team as needed, and support staff responsible for daily Salesforce functions and donation tracking and processing
  • Hire, train, and mentor any additional staff, interns or contractors in the advancement office
  • Identify and steward prospective donors
  • Stay on top of fundraising trends and the nonprofit community
  • Respond to donor and prospect inquiries in a timely fashion
  • Use prospect research tools and your donor database to build donor relationships
For additional responsibilities, qualifications, and instructions on applying, please click here.

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South Arts announces the 2021/2022 Southern Circuit

S.C. adds a new screening partner venue

Today, South Arts announced the 24 screening partner venues and 10 films and filmmaking teams selected for the 2021/2022 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

This long-running South Arts program connects U.S.-based documentary filmmakers with communities throughout the South to share their work, discuss the art and process of filmmaking, and engage with audiences about issues impacting their communities. All films will be screened online for audiences of each screening partner venue, with each screening followed by a pre-recorded 30-minute conversation with the filmmakers discussing their film's subject matter and the filmmaking process. Each film will be available for attendees to view on demand during a four-day window allowing viewers to stop and resume at their leisure. As a precaution for health and safety in the COVID-19 pandemic, filmmakers will not tour in the Fall. Films will be presented online, though some screening partners may also host in-person screenings for their communities. In-person screenings and discussions with filmmakers in attendance will resume for Spring 2022. “This year’s selections broach a range of important, timely topics including border and immigration issues, confederate monuments, healthcare justice, and domestic violence,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, program director. "South Arts has a strong commitment to equity and inclusion in all of our programs. We are proud to affirm that commitment in our selection of feature-length documentaries and their creators, with many sharing a direct connection to the subject matter and communities represented.” Curious about where you can take in the films? South Carolina's screening partner venues are:
  • The Arts Center of Clemson; Clemson, SC
  • Presbyterian College; Clinton, SC
Here are the films and filmmakers for the new season:
  • And So I Stayed – Daniel A. Nelson and Natalie Pattillo, Directors
  • At the Ready – Maisie Crow, Director
  • Duty Free – Sian-Pierre Regis, Director
  • Lily Topples the World – Jeremy Workman, Director
  • Los Hermanos/The Brothers – Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, Directors
  • My Name is Pauli Murray – Betsy West and Julie Cohen, Directors
  • Not Going Quietly – Nicholas Bruckman, Director
  • The Neutral Ground – CJ Hunt, Director
  • Proper Pronouns - Megan Daniels, Director
  • Stateless – Michèle Stephenson, Director
Since its inception in 1975, Southern Circuit has brought some of best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is made possible through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jason Rapp

South Arts opens arts org grant programs

South Arts is committed to providing resources so that arts and cultural organization have the tools and capacity to thoughtfully plan and present Southern artists for communities.

It recently posted new guidelines for two grantmaking programs: Express Grants and Professional Development & Artist Planning Grants. Applications are being accepted now from arts organizations in South Arts’ nine-state primary service area, which includes South Carolina.
  • Express Grants are a quick turnaround funding opportunity for organizations in rural communities (defined for this program as having 50,000 people or less). Organizations may apply for up to $2,000 to support the fees to present Southern film directors, visual and performing artists, or writers from within or outside the presenter's state. Eligible artforms for support include film (documentary, fiction, experimental and animation), performing arts (theater, music, opera, musical theater and dance), literary arts (fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry), and visual arts (crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media). Projects must include both a public presentation (film screening, performance, reading or exhibition) and an educational component.
    • COVID-19 update for Express Grants: South Arts recognizes that in-person projects might not be possible. Applications will be accepted for virtual presentations and educational activities. Applications to engage local and in-state artists are being accepted
  • Professional Development & Artistic Planning Grants ensure that arts organizations have access to the tools and resources to best serve their communities. Organizations may apply for up to $1,000 to support either staff’s expenses to attend conferences, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and other professional development opportunities, or arrange for an artist's travel expenses for onsite planning meetings with the organization. South Arts strongly believes professional development for presenters/programmers/curators is integral to success, including traveling to see new works and attending convenings. This grant program is open to film, visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, and multidisciplinary presenting organizations.
    • COVID-19 update for Professional Development & Artistic Planning Grants: South Arts recognizes that travel for professional development might not be possible. Applications will be accepted for virtual professional development opportunities, as well as staff training.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Federal ARP funding webinar + Dreskin, Flowers news

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...

Who's tuning up on a Friday? We are!

Don't miss...

The NEA and South Arts are joining forces to present a webinar on two NEA programs to distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (more info on those here). Join the webinar TUESDAY, JULY 13 FROM 3-4:30 P.M. to explore these new programs, learn how to register your organization to be eligible for federal funding, gain other resources, and participate in a Q&A session. First-time applicants are encouraged to apply, and this workshop will provide content for first-timers as well as previous NEA applicants.

News from State Art Collection artists!

  • Head to Hampton III Gallery for a new exhibition: Jeanet S Dreskin: 100 Years. Four of Dreskin's works are included in the State Art Collection. The exhibition began yesterday and runs through Aug. 21. Preview online here, or visit in person Tuesday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery received the S.C. Governor's Award for the Arts in 2019 in the organization category. 3110 Wade Hampton Blvd., Suite 10 in Taylors. Free.
  • Speaking of Governor's Award recipients, Tom Flowers, a recent, posthumous lifetime achievement recipient, left behind a vast collection of artwork. Beginning tomorrow, some of it could be yours. His family is auctioning off much of it to, in part, fund the scholarship fund in his name at Furman University. Flowers taught there for three decades and was head of the art department as well, and the State Art Collection includes two of his works. The auction runs Saturday, July 10 at noon to Saturday, July 24 at noon.

Jason Rapp

Fletcher Williams III named Southern Prize finalist

Big award, residency await

[caption id="attachment_46889" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Fletcher Williams III stands in his art studio among works in progress. Fletcher Williams III (Photo by Andrew Cebulka)[/caption]

At the fifth annual Southern Prize and State Fellowships Award Ceremony last evening, a South Carolina artist figured prominently.

While Florida artist Marielle Plaisir was named 2021 Southern Prize winner and received an award of $25,000, Charleston artist Fletcher Williams III was named Southern Prize Finalist and received a $10,000 award! Both Southern Prize recipients also receive a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Both were chosen from among nine 2021 state fellows announced by South Arts in April. The Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. Each state fellow will be included in an exhibition at the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia from Aug. 20 to Dec. 20, 2021, and touring to additional locations in the region (dates/locations TBD) in 2022.

More about Fletcher Williams III


Fletcher Williams III (b. 1987) is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and painting. Williams received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement in Science and Art (2010). He maintained a studio practice in Long Island City, Queens, and later Crowns Heights, Brooklyn before returning to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, in 2013. Upon his return to Charleston, Williams remained an independent artist and began producing solo exhibitions throughout the City of Charleston and North Charleston, the latest being a site-wide solo exhibition, Promiseland (2020), at the Historic Aiken-Rhett House Museum.

Artist statement

My work engages the rituals and traditions of the American South. My interest in the way we seek to establish place and identity has prompted a working methodology that utilizes found and natural materials and an exhibition practice that incorporates public and historic sites. I often paint with Spanish moss, builds house-like structures with salvaged wood and tin roof, and fashion delicate sculptures out of handwoven palmetto roses. My approach is architectural and figural, tactile, and multi-sensory and unveils my curiosity for both people and place, material, and process. To view selected artworks, visit his page on SouthArts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

Jason Rapp

South Arts launches $40,000 jazz residencies

Second phase of national jazz initiative

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, July 1, 2021

South Arts is now accepting applications for the second phase of its national jazz initiative: Jazz Road Creative Residencies.

Through Jazz Road Creative Residencies, artists can apply for grants of $5,000-$40,000 to develop their own personalized residency and further explore their artform. Applications are open through July 1, 2021. “We are so excited to expand our programs for jazz musicians across the United States,” explained Sara Donnelly, program director with South Arts. “With a Jazz Road Creative Residencies grant, artists will have the flexibility to design and propose their own project, which can be anything from dedicated time writing new work to immersive engagement in a community or completing a new recording. We are putting the direction and power directly in the hands of the artists.” Although the concept for Jazz Road Creative Residencies was planned a few years ago, South Arts reframed the plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The shelter-in-place mentality has forced jazz artists into periods of incubation and renewal,” continued Donnelly, “while building up the hunger for new and deeper connections across communities and in collaborations.” Jazz Road Creative Residencies will give artists the financial bridge necessary to close this growing gap between their plans for creativity and securing the resources to make it happen. The concept and definition of “residency” is left broad, so artists can make a proposal suiting their needs for artistic creation and connecting with audiences. An artist’s proposed project may be conducted on their own, in collaboration with other artists, and/or in partnership with organizations. Applicable projects must be one to three weeks in duration and occur between October 2021 and June 2022. Artists may request up to $40,000 and no matching funds are required. Applications are due July 1, 2021. Jazz Road, a national program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF). Jazz Road Creative Residencies is the second ongoing grant opportunity in this project, adding to the Jazz Road Tours opportunity. Through Jazz Road Tours, artists may request up to $15,000 to support multi-city tours connecting with new audiences across the country. To learn more about Jazz Road or begin an application, visit www.southarts.org or call 404.874.7244.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.

Jason Rapp