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Tibetan monks to share artistic tradition of mandala sand painting in Spartanburg

The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg invites you to have a transformative experience with the Tibetan monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery. From Monday, Sept. 30 to Friday, Oct. 4, the monks will create a unique mandala sand painting in the Chapman Cultural Center Theatre lobby. The opening ceremony takes place at noon on Sept. 30. Mandala sand paintingThe mandala will be constructed in the Tantric Buddhist tradition, using a metal funnel called a chakpur to create large circular designs with colored sand. Each day, the Tibetan monks will painstakingly add sand—grain by grain—to a circular design that symbolically represents universal consciousness. The experience is meditative yet intense, aiming toward cultural, artistic, and spiritual enlightenment. The demonstration is free for public viewing daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (until 3 p.m. on Thursday). A concert of sacred music and dance will be performed Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. Concert tickets are $10 per student and $20 for the general public. Deconstruction of the mandala begins at noon Friday, Oct. 4 and includes a walk to a nearby source of natural running water. Some sand will be distributed among the audience, while the rest will be ceremoniously poured into the flowing water. This symbolizes the impermanence of life and the return to cosmic awareness. This weeklong program is presented by Wofford College, Converse College and Chapman Cultural Center and is supported by a grant from The Humanities CouncilSC. In recent years, the Mystical Arts of Tibet performance Sacred Music Sacred Dance, featuring the famed singers of Drepung Loseling Monastery, has taken the world by storm. Their two-hour stage performance combines multiphonic chanting, music and dance into an unforgettable experience. The pieces are drawn from authentic temple dances, performed for thousands of years in Tibet. The ancient rhythms and colorful, intricate costumes delight audiences of all ages. On previous tours the monks have shared the stage with Philip Glass, Kitaro, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Natalie Merchant, the Beastie Boys and many others. For more information about the demonstration and related activities, visit the Chapman Cultural Center's website or call (864) 542-ARTS. Via: Chapman Cultural Center  

Free grants writing workshop!

The Humanities CouncilSC, in partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the South Carolina State Library, is hosting a FREE grants writing workshop and invites staff and volunteers of all South Carolina cultural organizations and nonprofit agencies to attend. Admission to the workshop is free, however pre-registration is REQUIRED. The workshop will be held on Thursday, October 10, 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. at the S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, S.C. Workshop leaders will provide a general grants writing overview, highlight funding opportunities for cultural projects, and offer feedback on project ideas and application drafts, time permitting. This workshop offers a unique learning opportunity for cultural organizations of all sizes and provides the opportunity for partnership building between local organizations with similar missions. View the complete schedule and register on the Humanities CouncilSC's website. For more information, contact T.J. Wallace, (803) 771-2477.  

The First Novel Competition is back!

Submissions due by March 3, 2014. The 2014 South Carolina First Novel Prize is now open for submissions! The competition recognizes one of South Carolina's exceptional writers by providing a book contract with Hub City Press. Eligible applicants are writers who have not published a novel. A submitted manuscript must be an original work, and self-published books are ineligible, including e-books. Ben FountainApplicants' works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make selections based on artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by nationally recognized novelist Ben Fountain (pictured right). Fountain won the National Book Critics Circle book prize in 2012 for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. His other honors include the PEN/Hemmingway Award, a Pushcart Prize, two O. Henry Awards, two Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Awards and a Whiting Writers Award. Hub City Press will publish at least 1,500 copies of the winning book, which will be nationally distributed. The First Novel Prize provides significant promotion, including an invitation from The Humanities CouncilSC to appear and sign books at the 2015 South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. Susan Tekulve of Spartanburg was winner of the 2012 competition. Her book, In the Garden of Stone, was published in May 2013 and was nationally reviewed by such publications as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal. The South Carolina First Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and the Phifer-Johnson Foundation of Spartanburg, S.C. The Humanities CouncilSC is a founding partner. Submission deadline is March 3, 2014. Find more information and complete guidelines online.

Small museums, libraries and cultural venues — apply to host a Smithsonian exhibition

Applications are due by October 1, 2013. The Humanities CouncilSC is pleased to announce a special South Carolina tour of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. Developed as part of the Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program, this exhibit is designed especially for small museums and rural audiences that lack regular access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations. The exhibit will tour six South Carolina communities from February - December 2015. Eligible host sites include small museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural centers and other community venues in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents. Applications are due by October 1, 2013. Host sites receive free exhibit rental, a grant to support local community programming, opportunities for professional development and more. Hometown Teams provides a look at something that has become an indelible part of our culture and community. For well over 100 years, sports have reflected the trials and triumphs of the American experience and helped shape our national character. Whether it’s professional sports, or those played on the collegiate or scholastic level, amateur sports or sports played by kids on the local playground, the plain fact is sports are everywhere in America. Our love of sports begins in our hometowns--on the sandlot, at the local ball field, even in the street. Americans play sports everywhere. We play pick-up games and organized league games. Each weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans participate in some sport, on some level. We win and we lose, and we yearn to play another day. Dr. Randy Akers, executive director of The Humanities CouncilSC, feels that sports will be a very popular theme in our state: "Sports have truly captured the hearts of Americans, including South Carolinians. We seem to live or die each Friday night or Saturday afternoon as a favorite high school or college football team swings into action. It is hard to go anywhere in South Carolina and not find a fabulous golf course that challenges the local player or tourist. Baseball has been important to our communities from the former textile leagues to American Legion summer ball. Sports legends like Althea Gibson (pictured above) and Joe Frazier hailed from South Carolina. Sports are an indelible part of South Carolina history—we look forward to telling that story.” Hometown Teams has been made possible in South Carolina by The Humanities CouncilSC. Hometown Teams is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. For more information or to apply, visit the website of The Humanities CouncilSC or contact T.J. Wallace at (803) 771-2477. Photos: Banner - Wick Narrow Fabric Company ad, ca. 1910. Althea Gibson - the Library of Congress Via: The Humanities CouncilSC

South Carolina Book Festival is May 17-19

The SCBook Festival organized by the The Humanities CouncilSC is one of the largest literary events in South Carolina. Featuring presentations by renowned national and local authors; book signings; an Antiquarian Book Fair; exhibitors; book sales and appraisals; children's events; Summer Reading Station; and more, the SCBook Festival is one of the most exciting events on the calendar. The festival takes place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. And even better: it is free and open to the public! On Saturday and Sunday, more than 80 regional and national authors, poets, and presenters will appear and more than 90 exhibitors will participate. Exhibitors include local, regional and national book dealers, antiquarians, publishers, independent presses, writer's collectives, individual writers and nonprofit organizations. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sunday hours are noon until 4 p.m. Five Writing Workshop classes are being offered on Friday, May 17, and three are being offered on Sunday, May 19. The Friday Writing Workshop classes are ticketed and require registration. Registration is $30 per person. The Sunday workshops are free and open to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for the Friday classes, and to view the complete schedule and the list of authors and exhibitors, visit the SCBook Festival website. Via: SCBook Festival