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Conference committee agrees to big increase in arts funding

House plan adopted for FY23, faces vote this week

Low angle view of determined male athlete jumping over a hurdles.

In attempting to reconcile differences between the two bodies in the state's FY23 budget, a six-member conference committee of House and Senate members approved the House's plan late last week.

The House plan was more generous and longer lasting, doubling the Senate's plan of $1 million in recurring funding. Now, the conference committee's budget plan faces has two more hurdles to clear. This year's legislative session was to came to a close exactly one month ago, but a Senate sine die resolution specifies the General Assembly will reconvene at noon, June 15 to take up unresolved items like the budget. If passed, and it is expected to, the budget will then move to the executive branch for Gov. Henry McMaster's signature or (line-item) vetoes. The Hub will keep you updated. Here's how the SCAC's portion of the budget will shake out:
  • $2 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $3 million of one-time funding for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
As noted previously, the SCAC budget request did include a $5.5 million increase. However, there was a difference as far as recurring/non-recurring funding.
    • $5 million increase in recurring funds for grants
    • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
Look for the next update later this week and, as always, check out more from the South Carolina Arts Alliance.

Past updates

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: S.C. Arts Alliance job extension + cross-sector grants + jazz collab

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...
A big arts job posting gets an application extension and South Arts opening a grant opportunity for cross-sector work are the Friday morning headlines. Let's go!
  • It wasn't terribly long ago that The Hub shared news of the South Carolina Arts Alliance's executive director search. The turnaround was tight, but we can share that it loosened up a touch. The new deadline to apply is Friday, June 17 at 5 p.m.
  • South Arts announced recently announced the opening of a new cycle for artist or arts org cross-sector impact grants that harness the power of collaboration with a non-arts partner. Grants of up to $15,000 are available. Here's a snippet: "Cross-Sector Impact Grants are open to all art forms, for partnership projects taking place in South Arts’ nine-state region. For FY23, eligible projects will continue to feature 'Arts & …' collaborations, for example, arts and the military, arts and equity, arts and aging, arts and community revitalization. The projects must take place between Jan. 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024. The deadline to submit a Letter of Interest is Aug. 1, 2022."
Speaking of collaborations, we thought this was cool: SCAC operating support grantees Charleston Jazz and the Gibbes Museum of Art are teaming up to present a three-concert "Art of Jazz" summer concert series at the Gibbes. Concert dates are June 22, July 20, and Aug. 24 and the concerts begin at 6 p.m. which gets you out in time to enjoy one of America's great dining scenes in one of its great cities. Poor you!  

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Alliance begins search for new leader

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, June 6, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET Advocacy Day 2016

Founded in 1979, the S.C. Arts Alliance is the only statewide arts service organization in South Carolina and focuses on advocacy (above), leadership development, and public awareness for the arts industry.

The leading advocacy organization in the state for the arts, the SCAA has a long history of successful efforts to increase public support for the arts and arts education at the state and federal level. Additionally, the organization convenes the industry throughout the year with trainings, workshops, and networking events. It also communicates the public value of the arts to the general public through various means such as online content, public forums, and more. In April, GP McLeer announced that he would step down after six years as executive director this month. The search for a new leader officially began today. Keep reading for important information.

About the position

The executive director will become the third individual to fulfill this full-time role in the organization’s 40+ year history. Working with a board of 35+ individuals across the state, the ED is critical to the operations and successful implementation of programs for the organization. Acting as the organization’s only employee, the ED is responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s operations, programs, and planning. The ED should be able to efficiently and effectively manage several projects and priorities at any given time with professionalism and accuracy. Being the public face for the organization, and at times, the entire South Carolina arts industry - including in front of elected officials at the local, state, and federal level - the ED should be affable and approachable. An ability to navigate political environments with ease and surety is a must, as well as an interest in perfecting their ability to do so. Above all, the ED should show keen interest in the health, success, and future of the creative industry in South Carolina and demonstrate a passion for serving creative professionals in communities of all sizes.

General responsibilities

The executive director of the SCAA will develop and administer the overall operations of the SCAA in fulfillment of the organization's mission to advance the arts for all South Carolinians through advocacy, leadership development, and public awareness—in accordance with the plans and policies set forth by the SCAA board of directors. The ED is employed by and reports to the resident of the SCAA; the executive committee, as deemed appropriate; and is accountable to the full board for overall management and coordination of the SCAA’s activities, services, grant contracts, and any office facilities.


  • Oversee and coordinate with the president, the various activities of the board of directors and their committees.
  • Assist the president in coordinating board meetings, planning agendas—including logistics and communications—and the planning and implementation of an annual work plan and long-term strategic plans.


  • Provide central administration for all projects, activities and day-to-day operations of the SCAA organization and office.
  • Manage all budgeting, reporting, and compliance requirements.
  • Initiate accounting procedures in compliance with accepted standards and accountability measures, along with the Treasurer and bookkeeper.
  • Manage all grant writing, reporting, and funder relationships.
  • Negotiate and execute all legal documents, such as insurance needs, renewal of annual registration with the Secretary of State, and audit and tax filing services.
  • Manage all correspondence and communications including the SCAA website, newsletters, social media, and other outlets.


  • Coordinate all leadership development efforts, providing services and information to the artists, organizations, statewide associations, and arts educators.
  • Monitor and provide updates on legislative activity as it relates to the arts industry and provide materials that inform the organization’s members of the impacts of public policy on the field.
  • Coordinate all advocacy initiatives and communications with constituents and in collaboration with various partners including state agencies and build and maintain an arts advocacy network of interested citizens. This includes the Arts Advocacy Week, the SC Arts Summit and Legislative Action Day as well as attendance and/or leadership in national advocacy events.
  • Set meetings and maintain relationships with elected officials, SC Arts Commission leadership, and industry leaders to keep them informed about the state of the arts in South Carolina
  • Represent the Alliance, providing visibility statewide and nationally by collaborating with and serving as a resource for such organizations as local arts agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, national organizations and coalitions, and local arts groups.
  • Maintain a professional awareness and interest in the field through attendance at seminars, conferences, and workshops; advising Board members of developments and trends in the field and of changes in the agency's operations and/or membership needs; providing advocacy workshops, speeches, etc.

Key qualifications and knowledge

  • Proven leadership abilities, particularly in the areas of board management and network or coalition building.
  • Excellent written communication and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal daily supervision.
  • Flexibility in work environments.
  • Experience in grant management and financial reporting.
  • Comfortable and confident with online and computer-based software. The ideal candidate will have experience or familiarity with Google Workspace, Squarespace, Quickbooks, Adobe Creative Cloud, social media, and Apple product environments.
  • Reliable transportation within the state, and ability to travel.
  • Deep understanding of the arts industry (for-profit and nonprofit), and arts education.
  • Working knowledge of governmental, legislative, and political processes.
  • Skilled in nonprofit management best practices and industry trends.

Application process details

Interested candidates should submit their resume and a one-page cover letter, in PDF format, via email to SCAAdvocacy@gmail.com. Deadline for submission is by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, June 6, 2022.
  • Candidates selected for an interview will be notified via email no later than June 17.
  • The interview and selection process will take place at the end of June.
  • Target start date: Immediate upon successful hire.

Jason Rapp

Conference committee to take up state budget

Legislative session ends without FY23 budget

Decorative image of a hand stopping dominoes from falling

South Carolina's FY23 budget will be taken up by a six-member conference committee after the House and Senate failed to reconcile differing versions of a spending plan yesterday.

Six representatives and six senators will convene to hammer out differences, which The Hub has outlined previously. This year's legislative session was to came to a close at 5 p.m. yesterday, but a Senate sine die resolution specifies the General Assembly will reconvene at noon, June 15 to take up unresolved items like the budget. So, who's on the committee? Glad you asked! From the House:
  • New Speaker Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter)
  • New Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York)
  • Minority Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Richland)
From the Senate:
  • President Sen. Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee/Spartanburg counties)
  • Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee/Pickens counties)
  • Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington County)

Here's how each chamber sized up the SCAC's portion of the budget:

House plan

  • $2 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $3 million of one-time funding for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs

Senate plan

  • $1 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $1 (yes, one dollar) in one-time funding for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
It is a quirk of the system that the one-dollar figure added by the Senate is a placeholder signifying the body's willingness to add more via conference committee. As noted previously, the SCAC budget request includes a $5.5 million increase.
    • $5 million increase in recurring funds for grants
    • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
The difference in the House and Senate versions is that between House approval and that of the Senate Finance Committee, lawmakers signaled broad support of an income tax reduction for S.C. citizens that would lower the amount of money available for recurring funding. The House had a chance to work with the Senate's pot of money in a budget bill dubbed "H2" during the past two weeks, but an agreement couldn't be reached. Look for the next update in June and, as always, let the South Carolina Arts Alliance keep you updated.

Past updates

Jason Rapp

McLeer to depart S.C. Arts Alliance in May

Next steps TBA

South Carolina's arts and creativity sector was greeted with disappointing news this morning via email.

S.C. Arts Alliance Executive Director GP McLeer announced his resignation from the advocacy nonprofit.

LINK: McLeer bids a fond farewell.

Here's an excerpt:

Eleven years ago, while attending my first-ever National Arts Advocacy Day in [Washington] as the executive director of the Mauldin Cultural Center, I sat down to dinner with members of the board of the S.C. Arts Alliance. I met Betty Plumb at that dinner, the [Alliance’s] long-serving executive director. I found their work interesting, exciting, and something I wanted to be a part of.

Two months later, in May of 2011, I was asked to join the board. Five years later, I became executive director.

After six years of service as executive director, and five years before then as a member of the Board, today I announce my departure from the S.C. Arts Alliance. My last official day will be May 15, 2022.

The S.C. Arts Alliance board of directors is to approve a full transition plan in the coming weeks, to include the hiring of an interim director ahead of a formal search for a new executive director later this summer. All announcements will be posted online at scartsalliance.net.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Senate votes for increased arts funding

But... the amount is at odds with the House plan

There is more good news to report for arts and creativity funding in South Carolina.

The upshot is that the Senate Finance Committee approved increases in funding via the SCAC's portion of the state's FY23 budget. However, their $1 million increase in recurring funding is lower than the S.C. House's $2 million. While they approved the previously allotted $500,000 for rural pilot programs in the realm of creative placemaking, the committee declined to approve $3 million in one-time funding included by the House. (Keep reading for an explanation of why!)
Nearly a month ago, the House of Representatives passed the FY23 state budget as approved by its Ways & Means Committee. (The SCAC's budget passed overwhelmingly, 100-11, in agency-by-agency voting.) As noted previously, the SCAC budget request includes a $5.5 million increase. Here's a breakdown of the progress:

SCAC request

  • $5 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
  • which became

House plan

  • $2 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $3 million of one-time funding for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
  • which became

Senate plan

  • $1 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs
The difference in the House and Senate version is that between House approval and that of the Senate Finance Committee, lawmakers signaled broad support of an income tax reduction for S.C. citizens. That would lower the amount of money available for recurring funding. The next step in the budget process is for the Senate version to be debated on the floor by the full body next week. Depending on what happens then, a conference committee of lawmakers from both chambers will negotiate the differences and create one budget for approval by both bodies before being sent to Gov. McMaster. As always, let the South Carolina Arts Alliance keep you updated.
CORRECTION 29 April 2022, 11:53 ET: The previous version of this story erroneously reported that the SCAC budget request included $5.5 in recurring funding. The total request was $5.5 million; only $5 million was requested in recurring funding. The Hub apologizes for the error.

Jason Rapp

S.C. House passes increased arts funding

FY23 budget moves to the Senate

Closed up shot of green traffic light as ready to go concept

Good news continues coming for arts and creativity in South Carolina.

This morning, the House of Representatives passed the FY23 state budget as approved last month by its Ways & Means Committee. Votes are taken agency-by-agency, and The Hub is happy to report that the SCAC budget passed overwhelmingly, 100-11. That agency budget includes a $5.5 million increase requested by the SCAC. As noted previously, rather than designating $5 million in recurring funding and $500,000 from one-time money, the budget writers opted for:
  • $2 million increase in recurring funds for grants
  • $3 million of one-time funding for grants
  • $500,000 in one-time funding for rural pilot programs.
The budget next goes to the Senate to be taken up by the various subcommittees of the Finance Committee. The Senate's version of the bill, H.5150, will work its way through by the end of April. As always, let the South Carolina Arts Alliance keep you updated.

Jason Rapp

SCAC seeking $5 million increase in FY23 state budget

Plus $500,000 in non-recurring funds for pilot

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is the only state organization charged with supporting and providing leadership for the arts statewide.

It works to ensure that all South Carolina citizens and visitors benefit from diverse opportunities for rewarding arts experiences, with emphasis on rural, high poverty and minority communities. In FY21, the most recently completed fiscal year, the SCAC awarded $4.65 million through 538 grants to support community arts activities, artists and school-based arts programs, and emergency relief around the state.
  • Arts Emergency Relief Grants: $215,200 through 153 grants
  • Annual Grants: $4.42 million through 385 grants
[caption id="attachment_49203" align="aligncenter" width="851"]SC Arts Commission FY21 impact map, showing with colorful dots what grants and associated programs were active in each South Carolina county in FY21 Click to view full map.[/caption] While some SCAC funding comes from the federal government by way of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the bulk of it comes from state appropriations in the annual state budget. As briefly as we can, let's take a look at that process...
  • Each January when the General Assembly returns to the State House, subcommittees of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees take up the budget proposal made by the governor the previous fall.
  • At this writing, the proposed FY23 (July 1-June 30) budget is currently under review by various subcommittees of the House Ways & Means Committee. In public hearings, state agencies go before the subcommittees to make budget requests and the subcommittees will then vote on how much they recommend each agency should be appropriated.
  • Upon the completion of that process, the full committee takes up its subcommittees' recommendations.
  • Upon the completion of that process, it compiles the full budget—likely to be different from the governor's proposal—before voting on it and sending it to the House floor in March for consideration by the full body.
  • Upon the completion of that process, the state Senate receives the bill and refers it to the various subcommittees of the Senate Finance Committee and the process repeats itself.
  • Upon the completion of that process, a conference committee made up of members of both bodies is frequently appointed to meet and reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions before approval by both bodies.
  • Upon the completion of that process, if needed, the governor then gets the budget back to sign. Or veto. (Let's stop here today.)
  • Upon the completion of that process, each agency gets its funding to serve its constituents.

How the SCAC wants to serve you in FY23

RECURRING REQUEST The SCAC is requesting $5,000,000 in new recurring funds to increase investment in local arts organizations through operating support grants and additional staff support. Why? Well...
  • Operating support grants provide flexible, unrestricted funding to support operations and programming.
    • FY2021: Unable to fund additional new 19 applicants.
    • FY2022: New recurring funds of $1.5 million enabled SCAC to increase operating support grants for current grantees.
    • FY2023: New recurring funds of $5 million would enable us to open the operating support pool much wider and fund additional applicants.
  • Full funding of this request will allow SCAC to keep operating support funding at current levels, add new applicants, and increase capacity to support the arts industry throughout the state.
  • Full funding of our FY2023 request will also enable SCAC to expand existing programs to support the arts industry throughout the state by hiring additional coordinators.
ONE-TIME (NON-RECURRING) REQUEST Further, the SCAC requests $500,000 in nonrecurring funds to develop an Arts Industry program to help communities connect to resources and capitalize on economic development opportunities. Here's the justification:
  • Community arts providers are key components of the statewide arts industry that contributes $9.7 billion to South Carolina’s economy. Small or rural communities have fewer resources to take advantage of the economic benefits of the arts.
  • SCAC staff, including a new arts industry director, can connect local communities to statewide, regional, and national resources to help them strengthen economic vitality through the arts.
  • These nonrecurring funds will enable SCAC to work with an existing network of rural mayors to pilot creative placemaking experiences.

This information is provided for public information purposes only. The Hub will keep you updated on the progress of the SCAC's request. If you'd like to know more, the South Carolina Arts Alliance is a fantastic resource! They focus on awareness of public policy matters as they relate to the arts—among other things.
South Carolina Arts Commission News Release, Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Advocacy Week 2022 scheduled

Get it on your calendar now

The annual South Carolina Arts Advocacy Week is scheduled to run Feb. 7-11, 2022.

Organized by the South Carolina Arts Alliance, the annual event is to feature virtual engagements, trainings, celebrations, and the return of the in-person SC Arts Summit in Columbia. SC Arts Advocacy Week is full of opportunities for all creative professionals to raise their voice for the arts. Here is a summary of the week’s agenda: Monday, February 7 Advocacy Basics (on-demand) Tuesday, February 8 > SC Arts Summit (Day One, Columbia Museum of Art) - Creative Gathering (Columbia) - Scottie Award Presentation to Superintendent Molly Spearman (Columbia) Wednesday, February 9 > SC Arts Summit (Day Two, S.C. Statehouse) - Legislative Breakfast & Meetings Thursday, February 10 > Arts Education In Focus (livestream) Friday, February 11 > Creative Impact Beer Release (podcast) > Carolina Pints & Politics (livestream) Read a full breakdown of the at this link, and know that more details are expected to be added as the week gets closer!

Jason Rapp

State-level arts funding update + fellowship opportunity

News from the S.C. Arts Alliance

The South Carolina House just adjourned yesterday from a special session to debate their second version of the state budget.  

The budget, as adopted, includes an additional $500,000 more than the Senate version included in recurring dollars for arts grants across the state. Heading into a conference committee, the arts could see either a $3.5 million increase, or a $4 million increase in the state’s budget (one-time + recurring funding).


After the House passed their budget in March, the state’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) released new revenue projections for the state, adding $1.7 billion to the state’s budget, with $385 million of that in recurring revenue. The Senate was able to use these funds to craft their budget. The House then took another swing at their version to account for the increase in available revenue.

Senate Version

The full Senate adopted their version of the budget at the end of April. That budget included the following arts funding:
  • $2 million (one-time funding) for COVID Relief grants.
  • Increase of $1.5 million (recurring funding) for general operating support grants.

House Version 2

The House just yesterday adopted their second version of the budget (H2 as it is commonly referred) which includes:
  • $2 million (one-time funding) for COVID Relief grants. Matches Senate version.
  • Increase of $2 million (recurring funding) for general operating support grants. $500,000 more than the Senate version.

What’s Next

The budget now heads to conference committee (3 senators and 3 House representatives) to work out the differences. The Senate and House will return June 21 to take up the committee's report and then send the final budget to Gov. McMaster for his signature and/or vetoes. The legislature will return June 29 and 30 to vote on any vetoes. The conference committee cannot rewrite the budget, but rather can only adopt either the House or Senate versions of various line items.

Bottom Line

The Conference Committee will have to choose between $3.5 million total arts funds (Senate version), or $4 million total arts funds (H2 version). Either way, the arts will see an increase in grant funding, and will see $2 million in COVID Relief grants—unless any of it is vetoed by the governor which triggers another process.

One more thing...

The S.C. Arts Alliance has been the primary advocate for the arts and arts education in South Carolina since 1979. Over the 40 years, the number of paid staff has continued to be zero or one. Additionally, the SCAA has always worked closely with its university partners on helping inform college students about the role of advocacy in the arts industry and providing opportunities and resources to those collegiate courses. Beginning in FY2022, the SCAA will expand this further and offer two (2) year-long graduate fellowships. Placement priority will be for one fellowship for students enrolled in Winthrop University’s Arts Management Graduate Program, and one fellowship for students in College of Charleston’s Arts Management Certificate Program. At this time, these are the only South Carolina universities that offer a graduate program in arts management. For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, click here.

Jason Rapp