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Statewide Arts Conference to feature two national keynote speakers

Special anniversary pricing of $50 is valid through July 21. The Statewide Arts Conference will feature two national leaders as keynote speakers: Dr. Jane Chu, (left) Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts, and Elizabeth Merritt, (right) Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums and Vice President for Strategic Foresight, American Alliance of Museums. Merritt will also lead a session during the conference. The conference kicks off at the S.C. State Museum in Columbia's Vista Cultural District Thursday, September 14 with an evening plenary and a reception for the exhibition Eclipsing 50: The State Art Collection 1967-2017. The conference continues Friday, September 15 with a full day of sessions and museum experiences. A sample of conference sessions:

  • South Carolina's Creative Cluster: A Look at New Data About the Arts and Economic Development
  • Making Your Life as an Artist: A Guide to Building a Balanced, Sustainable Artistic Life
  • Advocacy and NASCAR
  • Recycle & Renew: Hands on Art Making
  • Peering Into the Financial Future - Finding New Strategies for Sustainable Support
  • Moonshot! Exploring the State Art Collection in Eclipsing 50
  • Have Exhibition, Will Travel
The conference also includes customized tours and presentations by State Museum staff members. Take advantage of special anniversary pricing!  Registration is only $50 through July 21. After July 21, registration is $75 per person ($65 per person for two or more participants who register at the same time.) Area hotels are offering special rates  for conference attendees. Find out more and register today! Thank you to Wells Fargo, our Statewide Arts Conference sponsor.

Spoleto to live-stream and rebroadcast “Porgy and Bess”

From The Post and Courier Article by Adam Parker

[caption id="attachment_26340" align="alignright" width="300"]Porgy and Bess cast Soprano Alyson Cambridge, baritone Lester Lynch and stage director David Herskovits listen as festival and city officials announce Spoleto Festival USA’s production of “Porgy and Bess” will be live-streamed and rebroadcast. ADAM PARKER/STAFF[/caption] Tickets for every performance of Spoleto Festival USA’s production of “Porgy and Bess” sold out within about two weeks, leaving many to hope for a miracle. Would the festival schedule additional performances? Were there blocks of reserved seats that might become available? And there was something else, a gnawing issue that many arts organizations must cope with (or choose to avoid): What about all the people who want to see the show but can’t afford the ticket price in the first place? Spoleto Festival, in cooperation with the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and Piccolo Spoleto Festival, came up with a solution. It will live-stream the performance of “Porgy and Bess” on a Jumbotron screen in Marion Square at 7:30 p.m. May 30, then rebroadcast the opera at 7:30 p.m. the next night in the practice field of West Ashley High School. The Marion Square simulcast and West Ashley rebroadcast are made possible in part by the sponsorship of Wells Fargo and are open to the public and free. Festival officials are optimistic about the weather but will devise a contingency plan should the forecast include rain. Mayor John Tecklenburg emphasized the importance of “Porgy and Bess” to Charleston, noting that George Gershwin spent the summer of 1934 in the area soaking in Lowcountry culture. Tecklenburg remembered attending the 1970 production of the folk opera at the old Gaillard Municipal Auditorium. It was the first time “Porgy” had been performed in the city that inspired its story and characters. The show was finally presented here, 35 years after its New York premiere, because the Gershwins had prohibited the presentation of the opera in segregated theaters. “Last year, when I ran for mayor, I said that one of our goals should be to improve our citizens’ quality of life by making the arts more accessible to more residents in more areas of our city,” Tecklenburg said in a statement. “Today, thanks to the Spoleto Festival USA and its sponsors, that vision is now starting to become a reality.” The folk opera by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward currently is in rehearsals at the Gaillard Center. It stars soprano Alyson Cambridge and baritone Lester Lynch. The new production is directed by David Herskovits. “‘Porgy and Bess’ has become part of this city’s history in ways we want to embrace and celebrate,” Herskovits said. “This is a ‘Porgy and Bess’ for you, for the people of Charleston, for all the people of Charleston.” Spoleto Festival General Director Nigel Redden said the opera “evocatively represents the people of the Lowcountry” and it only made sense to make it accessible to local residents. Though she has been in several other productions of “Porgy,” Cambridge is singing the role of Bess for the first time, she said. “No pressure, right?” she joked, adding that members of the cast were familiar with one another and happy to have this chance to perform in the opera. “It’s been a through-line in my operatic career,” she said. Lynch said it is impossible to ignore the rich history of Charleston, in which the opera is steeped. “To be in the place it was created, it’s an amazing feeling, and an honor really,” he said.
 

S.C. Arts Commission announces 2015 Verner Award recipients

The Verner Awards statueCongratulations to the recipients of the 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts! The S.C. Arts Commission annually presents the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Columbia on Wednesday, May 13. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Gala. This year’s recipients:

"South Carolina's quality of life, education and economy are enhanced tremendously by those who dedicate their work and lives to the arts," said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. "The Verner Awards recognize that service of commitment and passion. We are honored again this year to present the awards to a most worthy group of organizations and individuals. We are grateful for their contributions to our state." For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Gala, call (803) 734-8696 or visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. About the South Carolina Arts Commission The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three 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 www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.