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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

Charleston Scene takes on ‘sea change’ in CHS, S.C. arts leadership

Thought-provoking piece on future of S.C. arts

In a sweeping new story, Charleston Scene interviewed several arts leaders who recently—or will—depart their posts as change comes to South Carolina's arts scene.

Picture of an iconic church steeple in downtown CharlestonWriter Maura Hogan asks, "What will the next phase look like?" after several high profile departures dating back to 2019. Among them:
  • Kathleen (Kathi) P. Bateson (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina)
  • Stephen Bedard (Gaillard Management Co.)
  • Ken May (S.C. Arts Commission)
  • Valerie Morris (College of Charleston School of the Arts)
  • Nigel Redden (Spoleto Festival USA)
  • Mark Sloan (College of Charleston Halsey Institute)
  • Marjory Wentworth (former state poet laureate)
While reasons for the departures varied, nearly all involved foresee major change on the horizon in Charleston and the state, whether as a result of the pandemic, recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion, or other things. Click here to read the story from Charleston Scene (subscription possibly required).
Charleston photo by Jason Rapp/SCAC.

Jason Rapp

Coming next week: Arts Advocacy Week in S.C.!

Join the South Carolina Arts Alliance Feb. 15-19 for virtual Arts Advocacy Week!

All events/webinars are free (some require pre-registration) and will feature in-depth legislative briefings, arts education highlights from across the state, student performances, and some great fun extras. Highlights from our full schedule are below.
  • Monday, Feb. 15: Advocacy Trainings + Virtual Gallery Tour
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16: Arts Education + Performance from Governor’s School
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17: Legislative Briefings + Carolina Pints & Politics
  • Thursday, Feb. 18: Legislative Email Campaign + Town Hall
  • Friday, Feb. 19: Creative Impact Craft Beer Release
See the full schedule and register for events here.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: More on ‘Save Our Stages’ relief

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...

Happy New Year from the SCAC

South Carolina Arts Alliance does deep dive on SOS

The Hub is catching up from a nice holiday break and wants to ensure readers are armed with proper information. ICYMI last week, after a delay President Trump signed an omnibus spending slash COVID-19 relief bill negotiated among Congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The SCAA has more in a recent blog post that's worth your time. "Within the [bill] ... is $15 billion for shuttered live venues. Known first as the Save Our Stage (SOS) Act, filed this summer, this funding was folded in to the COVID relief bill after a large grassroots push across the country." Read their breakdown by clicking here.

Jason Rapp

Arts a priority in S.C.’s CARES Act Phase 2 funding

An alert from the S.C. Arts Alliance

Today (September 23), the Legislature adopted H.3210, the state’s CARES Act Phase 2 funding allocation.

If you’ve been following the SCAA blog, you know that while both the House and Senate versions had a “nonprofit grant program,” only the House version put the arts as a priority service area for those grants. A conference committee (3 House members and 3 Senators) was appointed to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill, and they adopted their compromise yesterday, on Sept. 22. That Conference Committee Report was then adopted by both the House and Senate today and is on the way to the governor for his signature. Where did the arts land in all of this? In the best position possible. Here's the shortlist:
  1. Arts INCLUDED as a priority nonprofit service area.
  2. Arts Commission given a seat on the grant panel.
  3. Grants of $2,500-50,000
Click here to get additional details from the S.C. Arts Alliance.

Jason Rapp

‘The show can’t go on’

P&C  reviews hard times in the arts

Hub readers know the devastation felt in South Carolina's arts community because of the pandemic's economic effects.

Know, though, the story is reaching broader audiences. Today, the Greenville outpost of the Post & Courier published a story that paints a bleak picture throughout the state. From the story:

“You know the old adage, ‘The show must go on.’ Well, this is one of those times when the show can’t go on,” said Graham Shaffer, technical director at the Greenville Theatre. “We just have to sit here until we can.”

Some hoped for salvation via a federal coronavirus relief package that hasn’t materialized. Now, the South Carolina Arts Commission has asked the state General Assembly to approve $3.8 million in nonrecurring funds to prop up the ailing industry until it can recover. Originally, the arts commission asked for that amount to help venues make repairs to aging buildings.

Now it just hopes to keep the buildings open.

Read Nate Cary's full story here. Subscription possibly required.

Jason Rapp

Arts Education Partnership report lauds ABC Project in S.C.

AEP report 'reflects back and projects forward'

Over 25 years ago, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts partnered with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Council of Chief State School Officers to create the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) to ensure that all students have equitable access to an excellent arts education.​ - AEP report

A new report from AEP takes a long look at the genesis of the partnership. While it's no surprise to those involved in the work, casual readers might be surprised to know that South Carolina and a few South Carolinians at the right place at the right time figured mightily in how everything came together on a national level. In a Part 2 of the report, former SCAC Executive Director Scott Shanklin-Peterson and Dr. Terry Peterson recount work with Dick Riley in Columbia as governor and Washington as President Clinton's education secretary to get the arts included in sweeping educational reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is extremely proud of the ongoing work of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, a national model for integrating the arts into K-12 curriculum discussed at length in the AEP report. Together with the South Carolina Dept. of Education and the Winthrop University College of Visual and Performing Arts, the ABC Project continues serving the Palmetto State 31 years after starting and 33 years after the SCAC received a $20,000 Arts in Schools Basic Education planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop the it. Read the full report here.

Jason Rapp

Arts classrooms included in AccelerateED draft guidelines

Public input sought until June 19

South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman convened the first meeting of AccelerateED, the Department of Education’s task force on school operations in April in the wake of COVID-19.

The task force was charged with developing guidelines on reopening schools across the state next school year. Today (June 15), the task force released its draft report and opened it up for public comment through June 19. The arts, including arts classrooms specifically, were included in these recommendations. SCAC partners the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the ABC Project, along with the S.C. Music Educators Association, were invited to provide input on how districts should continue providing access to a well-rounded education, especially in the arts, in the wake of COVID-19 next school year. AccelerateED is taking public comment on these recommendations until Friday, June 19. Click here to see how to send in your endorsement or your own recommendations.

Jason Rapp

Marketing arts orgs through, beyond COVID

Best practices webinars start next week

Along the lines of its concurrent webinar series on organizational fiscal sustainability, the South Carolina Arts Alliance has another lined up to benefit groups it serves.

In partnership with Greenville marketing and web firm Engenius, yesterday they announced another free webinar series for arts organizations focused on marketing best practices as arts organizations move through and beyond the pandemic. The webinars are useful for arts organizations of all sizes, but the SCAA says on its website that small to medium organizations might find the most benefit. Details and registration links are below for each webinar. Like the financial webinar series, the marketing series is free thanks to funding from S.C. Arts Alliance partners the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and S.C. Arts Commission.

Session topics and dates

  1. Marketing When Closed: How to Keep Attendees Engaged
    • Thursday, May 14
    • 2 p.m.
  2. Communicating Once You’re Open: How to Speak to Different Audience Groups
    • Thursday, May 21
    • 2 p.m.
Details on these topics and registration are available by clicking here.

David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET

This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.