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Citizen input to help form new long-range S.C. arts plan

In public meetings and survey, SCAC queries arts’ direction

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is fanning out across the state this fall and winter, gathering public input to help it form the next long-range plan for arts and culture in South Carolina. Every 10 years, dating back to 1980, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) conducts the Canvass of the People in public and private forums and through an anonymous online survey to gather South Carolinians’ impressions of the successes and challenges for the arts and culture scene in the state. They are also asked to look ahead and weigh in on what the next steps should be. Results culled from the Canvass of the People help the SCAC form its Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina. “Public input is the cornerstone of this process. As we ask, ‘Where do we go from here?’ we need for our reach to be as far and wide as possible. There are several Canvass forums scheduled and more being planned, each chosen strategically for geographic diversity and, we hope, diversity of opinion and experience. The goal is to generate discussion about the arts to understand what South Carolinians envision for their communities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. At present, seven public forums are on the calendar at locations throughout South Carolina. One occurred in mid-October, but the rest take place from November through February and more are in the planning stages. Two private forums have occurred, and more of those are expected as well, taking place during meetings of affinity groups in the state who work in or support the arts. The public forums on the calendar at this moment will take place in:
  • Rock Hill (Nov. 13, 2019)
  • Greenwood (Nov. 21, 2019)
  • Myrtle Beach (Dec. 9, 2019)
  • Pickens (Dec. 10, 2019)
  • Orangeburg (Dec. 12, 2019)
  • Sumter (Jan. 9, 2020)
  • Beaufort (Jan. 23, 2020)
  • Columbia (Feb. 12, 2020)
Updated listings and the link to take the anonymous survey can be found at SouthCarolinaArts.com/Canvass/. The SCAC is planning for the Canvass of the People to finish in March so work on the Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina may begin. An estimated release of the plan is fall 2020.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission 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 Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Pro bono strategic planning for rural arts organizations

Application deadline: Friday, Dec. 14, 2018

The S.C. Arts Commission received word today of a new resource for rural arts organizations. The timing dovetails nicely as the advisory committee for the S.C. Arts Commission program Art of Community: Rural SC gathers for its annual meeting this week. That program has of course been documented here from time to time. Despite only being a pilot program at this stage, rural revitalization through arts, culture, and cultivation of pride of place is an important part of the S.C. Arts Commission's work. The DeVos Institute of Arts Management is pleased to offer pro bono strategic planning services for up to five arts or cultural organizations based in rural, semi-rural, micropolitan, or similar communities across the U.S. The Institute seeks five partners with whom it will work to develop a long-term strategic plan that celebrates the unique assets of their organization, community, cultural history, and environment. The planning process will be fully underwritten by University of Maryland. Interested organizations are invited to apply through Dec. 14, 2018. A brochure describing the opportunity is available here. Full information and the application can be found here: http://devosinstitute.umd.edu/ruralcommunities Interested organizations are invited to address questions directly to segunning@devosinstitute.net or 301-314-0958.

Chapman Cultural Center launches count of cultural assets

From the Spartanburg Herald Journal:

Culture Counts CowpensA half dozen Cowpens residents clustered around a map at the Timken Community Center on Tuesday morning pointing out cultural landmarks just as fast as The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg President Jennifer Evins could note their location and description.
In a matter of minutes, the small group added 10 cultural items to the map including the historic marker for a jail demolished long ago, a farmers market and a community mural. None of the landmarks were previously noted by Arts Partnership staff or the Spartanburg County planning department staff that helped compile the map. “This is why we're doing this,” Evins exclaimed as she added another point to the map. Despite the small turn out, Evins said the first public meeting of the Culture Counts project was a success, and the community will have 10 more opportunities to point out cultural assets at public input sessions across the county through the remainder of the summer. Culture Counts is an initiative led by the Chapman Cultural Center, a subset of the Arts Partnership, to identify and inventory all cultural needs, opportunities and resources in Spartanburg County. Resources are defined as places with historic or creative significance, and people who participate in creative endeavors as professionals or hobbyists. Culture Counts is the spawn of Evin's personal inventory of downtown cultural resources. When she identified and mapped more than 75 public sculptures, 34 live performance venues and 158 studios and workshops, Evins said she felt compelled to show her findings to others. “Everyone was blown away,” she said.
Now, the Chapman Cultural Center has teamed up with the county planning department to take the survey countywide. The goal of Culture Counts is to connect creative people, spark civic pride, attract new businesses and enhancing tourism and hospitality revenue throughout the county, Evins said. “We want to get the word out so people know we have a vibrant community, and they can come visit and live here,” she said. Attendees of Tuesday's meeting were excited about the project and came to learn more about available resources. Dan Ford was roaming through the Timken Community Center when he stumbled upon the meeting, but quickly became engaged in the discussion. A longtime resident of Spartanburg County, Ford said it's the diverse atmosphere that's kept him local. “One of the things that I'm excited about is how rich this area is in music,” he said. The presence of many cultures is part of what makes Spartanburg a dynamic hometown, but Ford said he would like to see them more fully represented in the county's public arts space. The Hispanic culture is especially underrepresented, he said. Avis Dawkins, a speech pathologist at the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind, said she would like to see access to the existing resources expanded. For example, she said she would be interested in community art and craft classes. “We have so many in this town, I don't understand why I have to struggle to find them,” she said. “I'm just trying to find a way to make the community better. There should be ways for everyone, no matter what their level is, to improve themselves.” Once the information is gathered, Evins said Culture Counts will report back to the community, receive more feedback and develop a strategic plan for the future. The county's last cultural plan was done in 1991. Evins said it is time for a new one, and she is optimistic about the project's success.
“I think the 1991 cultural plan was one of the most successful planning processes our community has participated in because we saw it through to fruition,” she said. Future Culture Counts meetings:
  • July 17 at Woodruff City Hall
  • July 31 at Campobello Gramiling Elementary
  • Aug. 7 at District 5 Fine Arts Center
  • Aug. 12 at Upstate Family Resource Center
  • Sept. 4 at Chapman Cultural Center.
Meetings start at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on each day.