VIDEO: Woodward and May on economic impact study

Thursday afternoon, released their coverage of the new economic impact study. It included publisher Alan Cooper's interviews with Dr. Doug Woodward, the researcher and economist who completed the new economic impact study, and Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. Take a look!  

Area artists want to see Conway designated as a state Cultural District

From WBTW News 13 CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Area art enthusiasts want the state to recognize Conway’s art and cultural spots as an official South Carolina cultural district. This would hopefully help promote local artists and bring more tourists to the area. The first Indie Market (was) held on Laurel Street on Saturday, and showcase(d) more than 20 local artists along with musicians. Organizers say it’s an example of how the arts are growing into an unofficial identity for the city, one that they’re working to make an official designation. Barbara Streeter is the director of Create Conway, the group behind the Indie Market. Streeter says Conway’s art scene was always vibrant, but was hit hard by the recession in 2008 and is only now coming back. She says art events like Indie Market will help the merchants develop more business and it’s a new part of a bigger trend for the city. “We have developed art and culture as a brand for Conway,” said Dennis Stevens, the president of Conway Cultural Development Corporation. “That’s not officially sanctioned by the city but something bubbling up naturally,” said Stevens, who wants Conway to build its brand on the arts. “There are very tangible ways in which arts and culture can improve the economic viability of a community,” said Stevens. Stevens went to city council to urge them to apply to be designated as a South Carolina Arts Commission Cultural District. “It’s this idea of really putting our collective head around the branding, marketing and branding as a cultural entity,” said Stevens. Six cities have been designated as cultural districts, it’s a way to highlight unique aspects of an area to spur economic development. Steven says it’s a way to stand out from a crowded destination area, “differentiating our selves as a city we can really shine in Horry County.” Businesses downtown say it’s an initiative they can support, as it would bring the possibility of new visitors. Jennifer Hucks is the owner of Jenn’s Southern Threadz, she’s been open for three years and welcomes the exposure arts can bring the city. “I think its going to bring new and different people who have never seen downtown Conway, so it’s an opportunity for all small businesses,” said Hucks. News13 reached out to the city of Conway to see where council stands on applying to create a cultural district, but have yet to hear back.

Arts Council of Chester County assisting schools with grant funds

The Arts Council of Chester County received a South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Education Project Grant to expand art classes, exhibits and performances, with some of the funds dedicated to buying arts materials for teachers. In this video, Chester Middle School teacher Lane Wallace talks about the importance of arts education and how she'll use the Arts Council's donation. Video from CN2 News

South Carolina through the eyes of its artisans

Kudos to our colleagues at the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for this art-inspired promotional video produced for the state’s tourism marketing program. Artisans featured are claysmith Rob Gentry of Pendleton, basket artists Angela and Darryl Stoneworth of Mt. Pleasant, and painter Mary Gilkerson of Columbia.

South Carolina is home to an array of artistic talent. Whether you’re touring an art gallery or admiring a sweet grass basket stand on Highway 17, you’ll discover every piece of art captures the local pride of the Palmetto State. Check out this short video highlighting a few of the artisans behind these works, and get inspired for your next trip to South Carolina.
Via: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Lights, camera, action in Marion County as filmmakers work on two movies

From WBTW News 13:

MARION, S.C. - Marion is getting the red carpet treatment, as Hollywood opens its door to a bit of southern hospitality. "In California people are not grateful that you are here to film. They’re like oh, are you going to clean-up? It’s such an inconvenience. Around here they appreciate it,” said actor Vincent Giovagnoli. Which is why for filmmakers, Marion was the obvious choice. "Our executive producer is actually from South Carolina and we had been talking about making movies here for a little while. There are some great locations here. It’s a really beautiful old town, very lush, very green,” mentioned Jake Helgren, producer and screenwriter for two of the movies filmed in the area. G It's Entertainment has used Marion as its backdrop for two of its films, “Wishing Out Loud”, which wrapped this past weekend and their current project “The 12 Dog Days of Christmas.” While the movies showcases some household names. Some of the area’s very own are stepping in front of the camera. "It’s a little crazy actually because I’m from here, I grew up here. So it's kind of funny posting things on Facebook about this production...and having people saying oh I’ve heard about that. It’s so cool that you're doing that,” said actor Lexi Giovagnoli, who is from Murrells Inlets and in both movies. "We’re so grateful just being on the set and what not. It’s a great turnout and we appreciate it like big time,” added her brother Vincent. It’s been sort of an adjustment for Marion, but for the most part it's been easy sailing. "Anytime you have a movie shooting in small town. Some people are going to be inconvenienced and I think some people are not used to that. But for the most part everyone has been real welcoming and we're happy to be here,” explained Helgren. Filming for the "12 Dog Days of Christmas" wraps in two weeks and it has a projected release date of around Thanksgiving. "Wishing Out Loud" should hit the screens in January.
Via: WBTW News 13

Musical event celebrates little known story of Jewish rescue

A largely unknown and uplifting event in the dark history of the Holocaust will be told through a concert that combines the musical forces of a full orchestra, a choir from Bulgaria, choirs from around the U.S. and soloists. Songs of Life Festival: A Melancholy Beauty, being performed for the first time in South Carolina after successful performances in New York, Washington D.C. and Boston, recounts how Bulgaria’s 49,000 Jews were saved from the Nazis by ordinary citizens, government and church officials. 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the rescue. The performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2 at the Charleston Music Hall and 7 p.m., Nov. 3, at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia.

Songs of Life will be performed by the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, augmented by Bulgarian folk instruments, the Philip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble of Bulgaria, University of Florida Chamber Choir, the Bach Festival Youth Choir, Young Sandlapper Singers, the Limestone College and Community Chorus and several professional soloists. The centerpiece is A Melancholy Beauty, a new oratorio that had its world premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and has been performed at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York and the Wang Center in Boston. A Melancholy Beauty is a creation of Varna International, a South Carolina-based organization that for 15 years has presented music festivals throughout Europe. The organization is headed by husband and wife team Kalin Tchonev, a native of Bulgaria, and Sharon Tchoneva, a native of Israel. Sharon Tchoneva's Bulgarian grandparents were saved during the rescue. This is the first time the work has been presented in South Carolina. “We felt it was important to stage the production this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the rescue, and it seemed appropriate to bring it ‘home,’” Sharon Tchonev said. The idea for A Melancholy Beauty came to Kalin Tchonev while he was attending a performance of the musical Mama Mia in Berlin. Seated nearby was a group of people with mental disabilities, and he began reflecting on the fate of such people in Nazi Germany and how Bulgarians Jews had been saved from the death camps – including his wife’s family. “I realized that if it were not for the miraculous rescue, I would not have my wife and son today,” Kalin Tchonev said. “We wanted to pay tribute to the brave people who stood up – ordinary people who arose to defy evil.” They did so by commissioning composer Georgi Andreev and librettists Scot Cairns and Aryeh Finklestein to create A Melancholy Beauty. Andreev, chief conductor of the State Folklore Ensemble, has written many works for chamber orchestra and piano and arranged 400 Bulgarian traditional songs. Cairns’ poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review and The New Republic, and he is the author of six poetry collections. Finklestein, cantor at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Massachusetts, has written the libretti for three oratorios. A Melancholy Beauty combines classical choral-orchestral music with Bulgarian musical influences and traditional instruments such as the gadulka (a type of lute) and kaval (flute). The soloists will perform the roles of several key players in the drama including King Boris, the head of the Orthodox Church; a pro-Nazi commissar; his private secretary, who warned the Jews; and a political leader who opposed the deportation. The performance will be conducted by Donald Portnoy, music director of the USC Symphony Orchestra. “Approaching Maestro Portnoy was a natural decision for us, as we always seek to work with a good local orchestra, and Kalin holds master’s degrees from the USC School of Music and was acquainted with Maestro Portnoy,” explained Sharon Tchonev. “He immediately embraced the idea.” The South Carolina productions will open with a performance by the National Folklore Ensemble. The Optimists, a film about the rescue, will be shown as well. The movie won First Prize at the Jerusalem International Film Festival for Documenting the Jewish Experience and won an honorable mention award at the Berlin International Film Festival. “Because the story isn’t widely known, we wanted to provide the audience with an understanding of the history that inspired A Melancholy Beauty,” said Sharon Tchonev. “We can’t think of a better way than screening the 20-minute version of this beautiful and deeply moving film told from a personal perspective of what happened to the filmmaker’s family.” For more information, visit the Songs of Life website. Via: Songs of Life Festival

Florence Regional Arts Alliance announces 2013 Arts Awards recipients

The Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) recently announced its 2013 Arts Awards recipients. Among the winners were two local arts leaders, one arts organization and a global corporation. “We’re very fortunate in Florence County to have more worthy candidates than awards to give away,” said Quincy Kennedy, president of FRAA. “We feel like our board did a great job in narrowing down the nominations we received from the community; it’s not an easy task." Jane Madden, the engine behind the Art Trail Gallery’s quick and continued success, received the John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award. Madden’s efforts over the last five years have been a major factor in the “people side” of Florence’s downtown revitalization. “As improvements are continuously being made downtown, Jane is one of the main people promoting what's going on and what progress is being made,” said Kennedy. The Florence Little Theatre received the Outstanding Arts Organization Award. “Most people are aware of the great shows FLT produces. Not everyone is aware of the outstanding programming they put on for young people and for lifelong learners through their Senior Readers Group. The impact FLT has on Florence County is truly amazing,” said Bruce Douglas, executive director of FRAA. The 2013 Business & Arts Partnership Award recipient is Honda of South Carolina. Honda, which operates out of Timmonsville, supports several community-based programs, projects and events, both arts and non-arts-related. “Honda’s continuous support of the arts, and the Arts Alliance, is why they are receiving this award,” said Kennedy. Honda partners with FRAA to present the Excellence in Arts Education Awards to Florence County’s public high schools. Honda also funds FRAA’s quarterly grants program, which disburses money to organizations, artists and teachers throughout Florence County. The inaugural Frank Crow Service Award winner is Bill Kress. Kress, a long-time Florence Regional Arts Alliance board member, staff member and volunteer, worked with Crow and was honored to receive the award. “This award means a lot to me because it has Frank’s name on it,” said Kress. Crow served as FRAA’s director from 2003-2012 before medical issues forced him into retirement. The Crow Award will be presented annually to an FRAA board member, staff member or volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization. The winners were presented with handmade clay trophies made by Pee Dee artist Patz Fowle. In 2014, FRAA will add a fifth award to its lineup. The Greg Fry Arts Educator of the Year Award will be presented in May of next year. More information about the award will be announced soon. Click the screen below to view a short video produced by FRAA to honor the winners.. 2013 Florence Regional Arts Alliance Awards from Harrison Waters on Vimeo. For more information about these awards or any other Florence Regional Arts Alliance program, contact Bruce Douglas at Via: Florence Regional Arts Alliance

Artist Talk: The art of asking

Don't make people pay for music, says alt-rock singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate TED talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan. She believes that we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable -- and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Via: TED Ideas Worth Spreading

Grants for S.C. filmmakers: the Indie Grants program

Application deadline May 31 The South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College invite South Carolina filmmakers to apply for Indie Grants. The program provides funding up to $12,500 for short films to create training opportunities for South Carolina media professionals and students. The program is accepting applications until May 31 at Part of the South Carolina Film Production Fund, the program awards grants for small production projects based on training potential, story, merit and prospective contributions to the cultural and historical fabric of South Carolina. All funded filmmakers are required to use Trident Technical College film students in their crews. Other resources provided to Indie Grant filmmakers include equipment, mentoring, professional script consulting, professional crew calls, collaborative critiques and film festival consulting. The public can find out more about the program at any of three meetings scheduled for April 2 (Columbia), April 3 (Greenville) and April 17 (Charleston). Read about the meeting details. Visit the Indie Grants website to find out more about the grant application process and to see film clips from past grant projects. In this brief video, previous Indie Grants participants talk about the benefits of filming in S.C. and having students on the crew:

  Via: South Carolina Film Commission