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Jason Rapp

Five-year case study to seek improvements in rural arts ed

The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project announced it will conduct an intensive five-year case study with the Allendale County School District to discover solutions in how to improve rural communities’ arts education offerings.

The Community Access to the Arts in Rural Education (CARE) Project, its study and resulting guidebook will be accomplished with a $2.58 million Assistance in Arts Education grant funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Set to begin in 2021, the CARE Project will include multiple strategic state and local partnerships with the goal to develop sustainable approaches that will continue beyond the 2026 grant completion date. “Rural communities require a rural network of partnerships because of their lack of resources, and the CARE Project will align, strengthen and expand community partnerships among the Allendale schools with state and local partners,” ABC Project Director Kim Wilson said. Initial commitments to the CARE Project were received from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), South Carolina Department of Education, Arts Access SC and South Carolina Educational Television. Additional state and national partners will develop based on the needs and areas of growth identified throughout the CARE Project. Margaret Gilmore, superintendent of Allendale County School District, said her district is truly excited and grateful to have been awarded the arts grant for the amazing scholars of Allendale County School District. “This funding opportunity will certainly provide access to a sustainable arts-rich learning environment for the entire school community,” she said.
Arts advocates also are pleased with this opportunity. “After many years of working in Allendale County, it’s clear that there are many people who love and care about their community and the next generation,” said Susan DuPlessis, SCAC director of community arts development.  “We are excited about ways to engage the community as this study and new practices are developed.” DuPlessis runs the SCAC's "The Art of Community: Rural SC" initiative, which works in partnership with Allendale Rural Arts Team, which is led by Lottie Lewis. “There is momentum in Allendale for building community, addressing issues and identifying assets like never before,” she said. “This new emphasis on learning through the arts within the school system will have a reciprocal effect, I believe, on the whole community—and that’s exciting for young and old.” In communities with high rates of poverty, access to the arts can be difficult, Wilson added. It takes money for art, music or dance lessons, and all too often, rural schools don’t prioritize arts education due to financial constraints. Access to the arts, however, has been found to influence student engagement and there is hope in South Carolina that the arts can be nurtured in every community.
The CARE Project’s goal is to create and share a resource guidebook based on Allendale’s experiences to empower other rural communities of persistent poverty to increase access to arts education for its students. “One of the most important outcomes will be to explore how to develop and maintain arts-rich learning environments as a pathway to equitable education,” Wilson said. “There is an urgent need to research and serve these communities, which have been continually absent from research and policy discussions, yet represent the most extreme gaps in equitable education,” she added. To communicate the grant’s significance, Wilson noted that the Palmetto state has a higher percentage of schools in rural communities than the national average and 12 of the state's 46 counties suffer from persistent poverty, meaning poverty rates have exceeded 20 percent of the population for more than 30 years. The CARE Project will provide direct arts education programs and professional development for arts educators, teachers and principals in practices that support arts-rich learning. “An arts-rich learning environment includes a combination of direct arts instruction, arts integration with other non-arts curriculum and arts experiences provided by visiting artists or cultural and community organizations,” said Wilson. The guidebook will contain instructional materials, arts-based lesson plans and other resources to engage stakeholder groups in other rural communities to replicate the promising aspects of the process developed during the CARE Project in Allendale. Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said that, growing up and teaching in a rural community, she has seen firsthand the disparities that still exist in South Carolina. “Students in rural schools deserve the same opportunities afforded to their peers in more affluent areas,” Spearman said. “I commend the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project for its pursuit and receipt of this funding that will help us establish innovative solutions for bringing access to arts-based education to all students in South Carolina. I look forward to seeing this work in Allendale and learning how we may replicate their successes across our state.”

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: ArtFields makes 2022 call + S.C. creative placemaking

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...  

It's almost hard to believe it's time, but... 

ArtFields is making a call for submissions starting tomorrow. Adult artists working in all mediums from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are eligible to submit to ArtFields. The deadline to submit is Nov. 1, 2021. Don't delay!

SCAC's Susan DuPlessis featured by Grantmakers in the Arts

If you follow the SCAC's direct program The Art of Community: Rural SC, you know that it's led locally by a collection of mavens. Who leads the mavens? Well, the maven of mavens, of course... our own Susan DuPlessis. Grantmakers in the Arts is running a series Future of the Field: Cross-Sector Creative Placemaking Series, and hers is the latest submission. Give it a read here!

Jason Rapp

Stay updated on rural arts in S.C.

Curious about what's been going on in South Carolina's rural arts scene? The Art of Community: Rural SC can help.

Starting with today's, the five-year-old S.C. Arts Commission program is rolling out a newsletter series highlighting successes from recently completed FY2021. It ss planned to run well into October. Want to hear the news first? Use this link to subscribe to The Art of Community: Rural SC's newsletter. You can also visit the program's comprehensive page on SouthCarolinaArts.com.  

Jason Rapp

South Carolinian to lead Gullah Geechee commission

Victoria Smalls named ED of multi-state heritage group


The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission announced recently that Victoria Smalls of St. Helena Island will be its next executive director.

Smalls (right) is a National Park Ranger with the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort, a public historian, educator, arts advocate, and cultural preservationist. She also serves as a maven for the S.C. Arts Commission program "The Art of Community: Rural SC," helping her community reimagine itself through an arts lens. Beginning July 26, she will lead the four-state National Heritage Area under the National Park Service that extends from North Carolina to Florida. A "rigorous national search process" was used to identify its new leadership. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to advance the great work of the commission, where I can serve the corridor in a focused capacity—as an advocate and connector—promoting the magnificent richness of the culture, sharing the beauty of the people, and helping to support and uplift our communities," Smalls said. Smalls served on the 13-member federal commission as a South Carolina commissioner from 2016-2020. She will return to lead the corridor with her extensive knowledge as a primary resource in the Gullah Geechee community, working in cultural education and development, across the corridor and internationally. The corridor’s mission is to create and build strategic alliances to strengthen the preservation and stimulation of Gullah Geechee people and communities within the global corridor. The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established in 2006 by Congress to recognize and preserve the cultural treasures of Gullah Geechee people. Gullah Geechee people are direct descendants of enslaved people brought from primarily Africa’s rice-producing regions who were forced to work for almost two centuries on coastal plantations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida. In 2013, the Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service approved the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Management Plan in an effort to support the recognition of important contributions made by Gullah Geechee people, their history, traditions and origins. Guiding the Corridor through its reauthorization process this year is an important first responsibility for the new executive director. Dr. Dionne Hoskins-Brown of Savannah chairs the Commission and leaves the role of acting director as Smalls assumes leadership. “I am absolutely ecstatic that we are able to place someone as capable as Ms. Smalls at the helm of our organization. She is eminently qualified, uniquely prepared, and profoundly representative of the community,” Hoskins-Brown said.
A lifelong member and descendent of the Gullah Geechee community, Smalls has emerged as one of the thriving voices in cultural preservation education. Her professional work in Beaufort County in 2012 at the Historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island, one of the country’s first schools for formerly enslaved people. She then served for five years as the director of history, art, and culture and director of the York W. Bailey Museum. In 2019, Smalls returned to Penn Center to serve in various roles, including as a cultural, historical, and creative diplomat and providing leadership and strategic direction while articulating positive impacts of the Penn Center’s 159-year history to the public. She is as a commissioner with the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, through which she assisted in identifying and promoting the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience. Smalls is also a Riley Fellow with Furman University’s Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, which helps leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Smalls has additional experience serving with partnering organizations and commissioned boards that align with the mission of the commission, including:
  • the International African American Museum (IAAM) as program manager,
  • as a cultural consultant for the Joyner Institute for Gullah and African Diaspora Studies at Coastal Carolina University,
  • and most recently with the National Park Service (NPS) as a park ranger at the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in Beaufort that educates the public on the Reconstruction Era (1861-1900), the historic period in which the U.S. grappled with how to integrate millions of newly freed African Americans into social, political, economic, and labor systems.
In the latter role, she provided education and interpretation at historic sites to diverse visitors, conducted presentations for secondary and higher education audiences, conducted relevant research, and served as the liaison between affiliated networks.

Jason Rapp

Tell your rural innovation story

South Carolina's rural and small communities have countless stories of innovation.

As it creates a new exhibit called "Spark! Places of Innovation," the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street program is gathering technology, culture and heritage, social, economic and business innovation stories (and more).

The SCAC's Community Arts Development team partners with Museum on Main Street, and is encouraging YOU to submit South Carolina stories, particularly if they involve:
  • creativity,
  • makers,
  • the arts,
  • folklife,
  • or a community/placemaking aspect!
If you have one (and we know you do!), visit this link to pitch in.

Jason Rapp

Communal Pen series explores ‘Musical Pathways’

Virtual summer learning with EboniRamm


Avid and savvy Hub readers like you know all about Communal Pen.

The creative writing workshop you know is presented by the S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) and South Carolina Humanities in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute's Museum on Main Street traveling exhibits in rural parts of South Carolina. However, you might also know that Museum on Main Street is on hiatus until 2022. It turns out the Communal Pen is full of ink and ready to roll. So... the SCAC is offering a series of one-session workshops to fill demand as we wait 'til next year!

Communal Pen: Musical Pathways

Music opens up pathways to creative thinking, sharpens our ability to listen, and helps us weave together ideas. In the Communal Pen: Musical Pathways workshop, facilitator EBONIRAMM will lead the virtual workshop through writing to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. This is a one-part writing workshop offered two separate times:
  • OPTION 1: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22
  • OPTION 2: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 26
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen: Musical Pathways No previous experience is necessary to participate. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator EboniRamm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. Workshop coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through The Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.

Jason Rapp

New poster series promotes vaccine effort

Creativity + Public Health from the SCAC


Plan your vaccine—that’s the latest message on a series of public health posters created over the last 12 months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the cross-sector initiative of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) called The Art of Community: Rural SC, a community of artists, makers, organizations and local voices have helped support and advance what it means to be healthy and safe through quarantine, closing and opening schools, restaurants, offices and more.
  • BONUS CONTENT: Lea esta historia en español a continuación.
Working with artist Amiri Farris of Bluffton, the SCAC team has used artful and timely messaging to remind people to social distance, wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs, make self-care a priority, uplift and thank essential workers, and love community. “These posters use the full spectrum of ‘rainbow colors’ that get people’s attention,” Farris said. Having empathy for one another is something Farris stresses. “I really want to hug people but we can’t do that, so these posters are a way to reach out to people; to thank workers who are all keeping us all safe and healthy; and to remind us to maintain healthy protocols during times of crisis.” With the expansion of the vaccine eligibility to include a wider array of individuals, this latest poster is just in time. “Special thanks to our internal team who has worked behind the scenes to get these posters created and out—Laura Marcus Green, Abigail Rawl and Jason Rapp,” said Community Arts Program Director Susan DuPlessis. “And to our public health partners who value the role of arts and culture in our state—including the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, UofSC schools of public health and medicine.” “And an extra thanks to Maribel Acosta of Art Pot in Berkeley County who helped us create Spanish-language versions of these posters so they have an impact with even more people in our state,” Green said. “We know there is an intersection with the arts and everything in our lives, but it’s especially gratifying in times like these to see how arts and creativity can help our public health experts promote important messages so many people need to hear,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said. “Partnerships like these further the public value of arts and creativity to all South Carolinians.” The Art of Community: Rural SC is a place-based initiative working in 14 rural communities and the Catawba Indian Nation. “Using arts and culture strategically to advance local places is the essence of our approach. These posters are a great example of what it means to lift local voices and amplify creative spirits for the good of everyone,” DuPlessis said. “We are truly in this moment together.”

The latest statistics on COVID-19 in South Carolina

  • 455,495 total cases
  • 7,851 confirmed deaths
  • as of March 16, 2021
Source: South Carolina Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

Creatividad + Salud Pública del SCAC

Planifique su vacuna- Este es el mensaje más reciente de una serie de carteles de salud pública creados durante los últimos 12 meses en respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19.

Como parte de la iniciativa intersectorial de la Comisión de Artes de Carolina del Sur llamada The Art of Community: Rural SC (El arte de la comunidad: Rural SC), una comunidad de artistas, creadores, organizaciones y voces locales han ayudado a apoyar y promover lo que significa estar sano y seguro a través de la cuarentena, con el cierre y apertura de escuelas, restaurantes, oficinas y más. En colaboración con la artista Amiri Farris de Bluffton, Carolina del Sur, el equipo de la Comisión de las Artes ha utilizado mensajes ingeniosos y oportunos para recordar a las personas la distancia social, lavarse las manos, cubrirse los estornudos y la tos, hacer del cuidado personal una prioridad, animar y agradecer a los trabajadores esenciales y el amor a la comunidad. “Estos carteles utilizan el espectro completo de los colores del arco iris que llaman la atención de la gente,” dijo Farris. Tener empatía el uno por el otro es algo que Farris enfatiza. “Tengo muchas ganas de abrazar a la gente, pero no podemos hacer eso, así que estos carteles son una forma de llegar a las personas; agradecer a los trabajadores que nos mantienen a todos seguros y saludables; y recordarnos que debemos mantener protocolos saludables en tiempos de crisis.” Con la expansión de la elegibilidad de la vacuna para incluir una gama más amplia de personas, este último cartel llega justo a tiempo. “Un agradecimiento especial a nuestro equipo interno que ha trabajado entre bastidores para crear y publicar estos carteles: Laura Marcus Green, Abigail Rawl y Jason Rapp,” dijo la directora del programa de artes comunitarias, Susan DuPlessis. “Y a nuestros socios de salud pública que valoran el papel de las artes y la cultura en nuestro estado, incluido el Departamento de Salud y Control Ambiental, la Oficina de Salud Rural de Carolina del Sur, la Escuela de Salud Pública de la Universidad de Carolina del Sur y la Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Carolina del Sur.” “Y un agradecimiento adicional a Maribel Acosta de Art Pot, en el condado de Berkeley, que nos ayudó a crear una versión en español de estos carteles para que tengan un impacto a más personas en nuestro estado,” dijo Green. "Sabemos que hay una intersección con las artes y todo en nuestras vidas, pero es especialmente gratificante en tiempos como estos ver cómo las artes y la creatividad pueden ayudar a nuestros expertos en salud pública a promover mensajes importantes que muchas personas necesitan escuchar", dijo el Director Ejecutivo de SCAC, David Platts. "Asociaciones como estas mejoran aún más el valor público de las artes y la creatividad para todos los carolinos del sur." El arte de la comunidad: Rural SC es una iniciativa de educación basada en la región, que trabaja en 14 comunidades rurales y la nación indígena Catawba. “Usar el arte y la cultura de manera estratégica para promover los lugares locales es la esencia de nuestro enfoque.  Estos carteles son un gran ejemplo de lo que significa levantar las voces locales y amplificar las mentes creativas por el bien de todos,” dijo DuPlessis. "Realmente estamos juntos en este momento."
  • 455,495 casos totales
  • 7,851 muertes
  • 16 de marzo de 2021
Fuente: South Carolina Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

Jason Rapp

Take a creative journey to the foothills with ‘Communal Pen’ series

Two-part writing workshop 'visits' Westminster

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption]
Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is back for starting Saturday, March 20 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit Water/Ways, the city of Westminster is co-host of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, March 27
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! Although Communal Pen is a virtual program, the Water/Ways exhibit will be on display in Westminster Train Depot (129 E. Main St.) from March 6 through April 17.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. "Communal Pen: Water/Ways" coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.

Jason Rapp

SCAC commitments to DEI, rural aided by grant from Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.

$14,339 grant expands agency work in Lowcountry


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A grant awarded to the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) by Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (CCF) supported commitments to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion and reaching rural communities.

Visit the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina's website at https://coastalcommunityfoundation.org/That perfectly complements the SCAC’s new strategic plan, released in late 2020, which calls for it to “promote equitable access to the arts” through a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the agency has a commitment to expanding arts opportunities in rural communities through such initiatives as its nationally recognized program The Art of Community: Rural SC. Extenuating circumstances in FY19 led to $500 from that year’s Expansion Arts Fund award being held over to FY20, bringing that year’s funding to $14,839. This is how the funds were distributed by the SCAC:
  • Aldwyth, an individual artist in Beaufort County, was granted $2,500 to support the creation of works for Pictures of Nothing or Mr. Varnedoe, Why Abstraction?, a multi-disciplinary exhibition focused on Kirk Varnedoe’s book, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock. Pandemic restrictions continue to postpone the public display of the works created by Aldwyth and an assistant.
  • Fletcher Williams, an individual artist in Charleston County, was granted $2,500. He worked with a local fabricator and a team of assistants to create the mobile walls for his Picket Fence – Promiseland Consisting of sculpture and large-scale paper art, the installation encouraged visitors to imagine and observe the Aiken-Rhett House as possibly seen through different eyes, times, and sets of experiences. Though delayed, the project opened and was used as a tool to address current events, serving both artistic and social-awareness goals while engaging new patrons who may have previously been unaware of or disinterested in the arts.
  • Marlanda Dekine, an individual artist in Georgetown County, received $2,500 for research related to the experiences of the artist as a Gullah-Geechee descendant living in South Carolina “with a rootedness in Africana & Caribbean being and creolization.” Written and recorded interviews, community engagement, and tours of local museums and plantations assisted in the completion of written-word poetry. The culmination of this work is to be a serial poem offered through spoken word as a site-specific soundscape, or aural architecture, as well as in live performances for the community, with discourse and audience interaction as part of the final product. In this context, Dekine acts as a conduit and witness of present, past, and future.
  • Community arts organization Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Colleton County received $7,339 from the Expansion Arts Fund to support the development of WHAM!, Walterboro History, Art, & Music, a new public festival. They’ve used an indefinite delay to reexamine how they implement content for the rural community they serve. By reconceptualizing the initial project, they’ve seen increased interest from artists representing a broader segment of the community and now have a more flexible framework that can be used and reused at any time.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC 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 SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ returns to Lowcountry in February

Two-part writing workshop 'visits' McClellanville

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption]
Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is back for starting Saturday, Feb. 20 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit Water/Ways, McClellanville Arts Council is co-host of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! Although Communal Pen is a virtual program, the Water/Ways exhibit will be on display at the McClellanville Arts Council from Jan. 18 through March 1.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. "Communal Pen: Water/Ways" coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.