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Jason Rapp

Arts Council of York County announces new leader

New executive director starts next month


Lori Robishaw was named the new executive director of the Arts Council of York County (ACYC) Thursday, and the organization expects her tenure to begin Monday, Nov. 15.

[caption id="attachment_48064" align="alignright" width="175"] Lori Robishaw[/caption] Robishaw will come to Rock Hill after five years as executive director of La Grua Center in Stonington, Connecticut, a small cultural venue that presents concerts, art exhibitions, and speakers on a wide range of topics. She was responsible for increasing both earned and contributed revenues there, as well as leading the organization through a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training that then informed the organization’s new strategic plan. Prior to that position she was the executive director of the Ashtabula Arts Center in her Ohio hometown and an arts management consultant who helped launch the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition in 2013. ACYC Board of Director President Priscilla Nealy said Robishaw's "wide breadth of experience and connections to the greater arts community makes her perfectly suited to propel the ACYC into our next chapter.” Her career has also included a five-year stint in Washington, where she headed the communications office for Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading organization for advancing the arts and arts education. She continued with the organization as a consultant for 15 years, which included writing the book commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary and the program journal and event script for its annual National Arts Awards in New York City. “I am delighted to be joining the Arts Council of York County and excited to move to this growing region,” Robishaw said. “It is a tough time for the arts and culture world as we continue to move through this pandemic, but surely the last year and a half has shown us how critical the arts are to our health and well-being, not to mention the economy of our communities.” “I feel like I am returning to my roots, working with what I call the arts infrastructure of our country. I started out with a state arts agency in Ohio, worked at the national level in Washington, and now have the chance to run an arts council at the local level. These umbrella organizations are so important for communities to be able to look at the big picture as they foster partnerships among cultural assets to strengthen a sense of place, while at the same time, play a role in attracting and retaining businesses, residents, and visitors,” said Robishaw. “The board and staff have done a stellar job this past year following Debra Heintz’s long and distinguished tenure, and I am eager to contribute what I can to moving the organization forward.”

More about Lori Robishaw

Lori Robishaw has held positions with some of America’s leading regional theatres, including managing the National Playwrights Conference for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in New York City and Waterford, CT. She also was a founder of CATCO, now Columbus’s major resident professional theatre, The Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. In addition, she has worked in higher education in a senior staff communications position at Ohio State, as well as in the broader nonprofit arts sector for the Ohio Arts Council—which included a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts—and The Music Center of Los Angeles County. She has also forayed briefly into the commercial sector by managing a producer’s office for a season on Broadway and working for two film production companies and as a script analyst in Hollywood. Robishaw holds a BA in theatre from Ohio State and an MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama.

About the Arts Council of York County

The Arts Council is headquartered in downtown Rock Hill, a state-recognized cultural district. For more information on Arts Council events, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803.328.2787, by email at arts@yorkcountyarts.org, or visit yorkcountyarts.org.

Jason Rapp

Rock Hill teen named youth poet laureate

It's a South Carolina first


Rock Hill was recently the host city for the “One Word Poetry Festival,” a creation of Rock Hill Poet Laureate Angelo Geter.

This three-day festival attracted a large crowd for a first-time event. Many of the events were free, open to the public and well attended. One of the major events was the selection of a youth poet laureate. Thirteen young poets submitted their work and 17-year-old Alexandra Aradas was named the winner. Not only is this distinction an honor for her personally, but also for Rock Hill and South Carolina; she is the city's and state's first youth poet laureate. Aradas is a rising senior at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. While her concentration is creative writing, she hopes to have a career in politics. The Rock Hill Youth Poet Laureate Program celebrates and honors teen poets who exhibit a commitment to not just artistic excellence, but also civic engagement, youth leadership and social justice. The position has a one-year term. Aradas will be celebrated Thursday, July 29 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts/Arts Council of York County (121 East Main St., Rock Hill).

Submitted material

Position announcement for ACYC executive director

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, July 9, 2021


The Arts Council of York County (ACYC) Board of Directors is seeking an energetic and transformative leader for its next full-time executive director.

Key responsibilities include leading and overseeing the administration, operation, programs, and strategic plan of ACYC, along with implementing robust fundraising, marketing, and outreach efforts. The executive director will lead a staff of four dedicated professionals and will work closely with members of the arts community, business and government leaders, academic institutions, and nonprofit sectors at the local, state, and regional, and national levels to accelerate the growing reputation and success of ACYC.

About Arts Council of York County

Established in 1977, ACYC is a 501c3 organization that strives to create and support a thriving, diverse, and vibrant arts community in York County, South Carolina. Its mission is to create arts programming that encourages education, economic development and arts advocacy through unique art experiences that engage the community to make York County a regional arts destination. ​Centrally located in historic Old Town Rock Hill, South Carolina, ACYC has established an arts anchor on three blocks of Main Street. The Center for the Arts, housed in two 100-year-old buildings, is currently home to the Arts Council offices, classroom space, artist studios and three gallery spaces. The Gettys Art Center, also one of Rock Hill’s historic buildings, is home to Downtown Artistry, the Rock Hill Pottery Center, Social Design House, and more artist studios, including Friday Arts Project. In 2018, results from the National Endowment of the Arts Arts & Economic Impact Study helped to change the perception of The Arts – leaders now recognize the arts as an economic engine, generating a $27 Million economic impact in York County and contributing to York County being the fastest growing county in South Carolina.

About the Position

​The executive director must be a visionary catalyst for advancing and achieving the mission of ACYC. Key responsibilities include, but not limited to:
  • Organizational mission and strategy – spearhead strategic planning to ensure multi-year opportunities and growth for the organization to fulfill its mission into the future. Establish, implement, and evaluate programming and events that align with and support the organization’s mission.
  • Board management – lead the ACYC in a manner that supports and guides the organization’s mission as defined by the Board of Directors; communicate effectively, timely, and accurately with the Board all information necessary to function properly, engage, and make informed decisions; convene monthly meetings of the Board (and committees, as appropriate) and maintain an accurate record of meeting minutes, agendas, and other critical information; regularly review the bylaws to ensure all activities of ACYC are in accordance.
  • Day-to-day operations – provide organizational leadership in all aspects of ACYC operations to include recruitment, hiring, training, development, supervision and management of staff; oversee operation, facility rentals, and maintenance of ACYC owned and managed facilities; ensure the recruitment, retention, and recognition of volunteers; develop and implement appropriate procedures and guidelines to complement ACYC policies and ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
  • Financial management, performance and viability – ensure the fiscal integrity of ACYC; prepare, present, and administer an annual budget to ensure fiscal solvency; work in partnership with the Board Finance Committee to monitor financial and investment activities and make adjustments as needed and approved; develop necessary resources to support ACYC’s mission to include growing business and individual memberships and sponsorships; implement a robust fundraising program to include grants, donor solicitations, special events, and other appropriate funding opportunities; manage compliance of grants from federal, state, local government and other entities; ensure effective stewardship of all ACYC resources and supporters.
  • Community liaison and advocate – expand and enhance ACYC’s reputation and image by being an active and visible community partner and working closely with other organizations; develop strong arts alliances with the community and actively evaluate potential opportunities to develop or expand partnerships; serve as a representative, liaison, or member on a variety of state, regional, and local boards and committees; serve as an advocate for the arts at state and local levels; strengthen and maintain relationships with ACYCs partner organizations; promote York County and Rock Hill as an arts and cultural destination to attract emerging talent; lead all community outreach efforts for the organization.

​Qualifications/Requirements

  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to motivate and effectively build strong relationships and partnerships, both internally and externally
  • Exceptional verbal and written communications skills
  • Proficiency with grant writing, fundraising, and donor development
  • Strong organizational and project management skills
  • Demonstrated passion and understanding of the arts

Education, Training, and Experience

Candidates for this position will need to possess the following:
  • Bachelor’s degree in arts administration, arts education, non-profit management or related field; master’s degree preferred
  • A minimum of five years in management
  • Supervisory and leadership experience
  • Programs and operations management
  • Experience with strategic planning and implementation
  • Proven success and track record in fundraising
  • Involvement in and appreciation of the arts community

Compensation

The salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits are competitive and include paid time off (PTO) for personal and sick leave, 401(k), health insurance and more.

​Application

Interested persons should apply by submitting the following information:
  • Cover letter, expressing interest in the position and highlighting experiences that make them a qualified applicant
  • Résumé
  • Professional references (a minimum of five, including email addresses and telephone numbers)
  • Salary expectations
​Application materials should be emailed to edsearch2021@yorkcountyarts.org. Applications will be received and considered through July 9, 2021.

Submitted material

Rock Hill resident selected for Alabama juried exhibition

Patrick Faile's painting "Spring Break" was selected for the Watercolor Society of Alabama's 2020 National Juried Exhibition. This is his third acceptance to this national exhibition and qualifies him for Signature Membership within the Watercolor Society of Alabama. He is also member of numerous watercolor societies across America and this will be his fourth signature membership. He is a native and resident of Rock Hill and a working watercolor artist known for his national park paintings. More of his work may be seen on his website at https://www.patrickfaile.com/.

Rock Hill Symphony expands hometown as ‘cultural asset’

A new story from WFAE 90.7 FM gave a great look yesterday at the role "South Carolina's newest orchestra" is playing in expanding the cultural offerings of Rock Hill (which boasts one of the charter South Carolina Cultural Districts).  According to the story: "as the city carves a more distinct identity – i.e., as something other than a suburb of Charlotte – the push to expand Rock Hill’s musical culture scene is a major component." The orchestra started in 2018 after its founders realized Rock Hill was the largest South Carolina city without an orchestra. The story goes on to detail the orchestra's quick growth to a larger concert space and its hopes for a home of its own. Click here to read more on the station's website.

20 years of family nights: Clover School District Auditorium

Clover School District Auditorium announced that Doug Berky will join them for the 20th Annual Family Night, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 at 7 p.m.  Doug Berky has been creating and evolving his own brand of physical theater for over 30 years. His original performances are an intricately woven fabric of Commedia dell'arte, physical comedy, mime, mask theatre, clowning, circus arts, and storytelling. Weaving together masks, puppets, mime, drama, comedy, music, and storytelling, Doug Berky presents stories from around the world. "GEMS: The World’s Wisdom Stories" is a visual feast filled with fanciful characters, dramatic and comic twists and turns, and “Gems” of wisdom passed down to us from many people around the world. From Aesop’s "Fables," Jataka Tales, and stories of Hans Christian Anderson to stories from lesser known collections of folklore and mythology from Asian, African, the Middle Eastern, and Native American peoples, these stories have inspired and educated the world’s young and young at heart for years. CSDA’s 20th Annual Family Night is an opportunity for the entire community to come together for an outstanding evening of quality family entertainment.


$5 for individuals and $10 for families of two or more: 803.222.8018.

Applications sought for $30k public art design commission in Rock Hill

Application deadline: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018


The Women’s Art Initiative (WAI) of Rock Hill is a public art advocacy group whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for the community by reflecting its cultural values and artistic vitality through public art.  [caption id="attachment_34666" align="alignright" width="260"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption] In collaboration with the city of Rock Hill, WAI is seeking proposals from artists/designers to create a contemporary, outdoor design feature, sculpture, or artwork at the entry of Comporium’s Telephone Museum on Elk Avenue. It will serve to celebrate communication and technology; specifically its multi-level history in the city of Rock Hill and its vast, endless possibilities for innovation. Thus, it will provide opportunities for dialogue emphasizing the increasing impact of technology and communication on our future. The piece shall exemplify the communication concept as one in constant evolution and act as an engaging and educating entrance area into the space directly adjacent to the Telephone Museum. The piece must be child/family friendly and ideally have an interactive or kinetic feature. WAI will select one artist’s/ designer’s proposal whose vision for this project incorporates these themes. The artist/designer will be responsible for the design, creation, transportation, and installation of the project and will work with the WAI Selection Committee and city of Rock Hill staff. Artists/designers of 18 and up are invited to apply by Oct 31, 2018. Go here to read more about it!

About WAI

A group of women… artists, professionals, civic leaders and enthusiasts formed a group to bring public art to our community.
Our vision is to grow into a public art institution with annual funding; providing acquisition, preservation, education and community dialogue.

Submitted material

Recording preserves famed organ’s signature sound

Earlier this year, internationally renowned musician Parker Ramsay visited Winthrop University to record an album of George Whitefield Chadwick’s organ music on the university's famed D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ. It is the last recording on the organ before renovations to Byrnes Auditorium that will temporarily prevent its use began. Enthusiasts of the historic organ can still revel in its signature sound captured in the Raven Label recording until the organ is once again available for performances. Winthrop commissioned the organ’s construction in 1952 by the Aeolian-Skinner company. It is named for the Winthrop founder and first president. The large four-manual instrument with 3,788 pipes, the last instrument of famed tonal designer G. Donald Harrison, makes the organ to this day one of the largest in the Carolinas. During its 50th anniversary in 2005, the treasured instrument underwent extensive restoration efforts thanks to generous supporters and Winthrop alumni. Given the Byrnes makeover, admirers said now it is even more critical to preserve both the sound of the instrument and the building, equally highlighted on Ramsay’s recording of Chadwick’s music. “It’s a uniquely American artifact, and this recoding preserves that signature sound … it’s a national treasure in so many ways,” said Murray Somerville, who helped establish the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund along with his wife, Hazel, a Winthrop alumna from the class of 1969. Hazel served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as artistic director of the children's choruses at the Blair School of Music. Somerville, artistic director emeritus of Nashville's Music City Baroque period instrument ensemble, and former Harvard University organist and choirmaster, performed a recital on the classic organ in 2016 and was instrumental in coordinating the production of Ramsay’s CD. Music lovers can purchase the CD in the Winthrop Bookstore during the Nov. 16-17 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend or buy directly from Raven. The recording – featured recently on Michael Barone’s "Pipedreams" radio program – is a debut for Ramsay, a young musician already regarded for his accomplishments and blossoming career on three instruments: organ, harp and harpsichord. The CD features Ramsay on organ playing compositions of George Whitefield Chadwick, who was president of the New England Conservatory in the early 1900's and a noted composer of symphonies and orchestral tone poems. Some of the pieces on this CD are first recordings, enhanced by Byrnes’ acclaimed acoustics. “We have this wonderful memento of [the organ] … and its acoustic setting, in all its tonal splendor,” Somerville said. Other world-famous musicians have visited Byrnes solely to perform on the famous organ, including:

  • Princeton University Organist Eric Plutz, who spent the summer of 2012 recording his “French Trilogy” CD,
  • Juilliard-trained organist Christopher Houlihan,
  • Westminster Abbey organist James O'Donnell,
  • German musicians Christoph Wolff and Stefan Engels,
  • and Canadian organ virtuoso Maxine Thevenot.
For more information about how to give to the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund, contact University Advancement at 803.323.2275.

Time to make hay

The first weekend in June is just days away, and that means it’s time for another arts festival in South Carolina. More low-key than its larger brethren, the Ag + Art Tour (Ag and Art Tour) continues to grow and in 2018 is spread throughout 12 counties. Ag + Art Tour is a free, self-guided tour of designated farms in South Carolina featuring local artisans and farmer's markets.  During this tour you will have the opportunity to see first-hand where your food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, dance to the melodies of bluegrass and folksongs, and learn more about rural life. It’s the largest free farm and art tour in the nation with more 30,000 visitors participating since it began in 2012. And it’s ready to, ahem, make hay for the next four weekends in the counties of:

  1. Chesterfield County (June 2-3)
  2. Darlington County
  3. Florence County
  4. Horry County
  5. Kershaw County
  6. Chester County (June 9-10)
  7. Lancaster County
  8. York County
  9. Fairfield County (June 16-17)
  10. Newberry County (June 23-24)
  11. Union County
  12. Spartanburg County
2018 Tour Times
  • Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays 1-5 p.m.
Once again, yes, admission is free, but there will likely be a charge to purchase food, beverages and a farmer’s and/or artisan’s products. Some activities may also have a cost. Head to the Ag + Art Tour website to begin plotting the course that works for you. (And do them a solid: don’t forget to use the hashtag #agandarttour in your social media posts.)

Fast-growing S.C. region adds professional orchestra

It is the hub of a region that has three of the top 20 fastest-growing communities in South Carolina (and two of the top three). It boasts the state's first officially-recognized cultural district. And now Rock Hill has a professional orchestra, joining several others across the state in Aiken, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg. Read more about the genesis of the new cultural offering from the Herald. The three-concert inaugural season begins in September and runs through next May, but a "sneak peek" offering is coming June 10. Congratulations to York County and everyone at the Rock Hill Symphony!

Image courtesy of the Rock Hill Herald.