Past Comments

January Issue 2009
by Tom Starland

A New Hope

George Lucas' first movie in the Star Wars saga was A New Hope. This month we continue our saga for survival with a new hope - that things will get better from here on in - if we all work together to rebuild the art community (the country) we once had.

The phrase - Yes We Can - is wearing a little thin right now, but we can. It won't be easy and we're going to be taking some steps backwards in time and history, but there is a new future out there that is better than what we have ever had. We just have to make it happen.

So in view of that positive statement - we need advertisers - for color ads if we hope to keep the color covers and black & white ads - so we don't have to make so many cuts in what gets into the paper and what doesn't.

This issue went under the editor's scalpel several times to get everything into one of the smallest issues we've had in years. Luckily, everything that was cut or didn't make the cut that we received by deadline will be on our website version of the paper. But call us now at 843/825-3408 to advertise in the Feb. issue.

The non-profits are not the only folks who suffer in an economic nightmare and although the philanthropic groups and government agencies are focused on saving the performing arts groups - the visual arts need help too.

The visual arts are the full-time part of the arts community - we have no season - we are here all year long. Yet, the part-time players seem to always get all the attention - when they are failing again and again.

So, if you're looking to help someone in the arts during these troubled times - don't forget the visual arts and don't forget us.

Artists Are Gathering Together

We've just witnessed artists in the Seagrove, NC, area - a small but creative community - pull together to save the NC Pottery Center from closing its doors and at the same time - create themselves a new "successful" pottery festival.

Now creative types - maybe type As - in the Charleston, SC, area have banded together to start the Charleston Arts Coalition. I'm talking about the original one - the real deal.

Here's a short blurb from them - "The Charleston Arts Coalition is a forum for all creative individuals and organizations to collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, host special events and promote Charleston's creative community. The Coalition is seeking feedback from musicians, artists, performers, dancers, architects, designers, filmmakers, writers, poets, publishers, chefs, patrons, and visual and performing arts organizations. Please take our survey so that we can learn how to best serve YOU. You are Charleston's creative class, a driving force for economic development in the greater Charleston area!"

They have a website ( and on this site is the survey - calling for input from all types of creative folks. You should put your 2 cents in. I did and it didn't even hurt. And something good just might happen - who knows.

It never hurts when artists get together on their own - without their handlers.

The Siamese Twins

Of course I'm talking about the SC Arts Commission and the SC Arts Foundation - one a SC State agency and the other - supposedly a totally independent non-profit. Yet we've recently gotten an indication that the two are connected at the - you fill in the body part - from announced budget cuts by the SC Arts Commission.

In an effort to trim their budget the SC Arts Commission announced that there would be no Elizabeth O'Neill Verner/Governor's Awards this year and no additions made to the SC State Art Collection - both items where the funding was stated to come from the SC Arts Foundation. I'm a little confused as to what impact this could have in trimming down the Arts Commission's budget.

Here's what it says on the Arts Foundation's web page (hosted on the Arts Commission's website). "The SCAF has forged a strategic partnership with the S.C. Arts Commission, the state's government arts agency, linking its mission to the Arts Commission's goals of : Artist development, Arts education, and Community development through the arts. While operating independently of one another, the partnership between these two key statewide organizations allows them to maximize resources and realize the greatest impact from programming and financial support statewide. Working with the S.C. Arts Commission, the SCAF has helped advance the arts in South Carolina in some significant ways: Funding artist training and development through Artist Fellowships; Designating proceeds from Driven by the Arts license plate sales to benefit in-school artist residencies and other arts education programs in schools and communities across the state; Purchasing new work for the State Art Collection - the state's growing collection of contemporary South Carolina visual art; Recognizing outstanding achievement in the arts through its support of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner/Governor's Awards for the Arts; Providing exhibition and sales opportunities for South Carolina's visual artists with the Verner Art Sale; and Giving the private and business communities an opportunity to support the statewide growth of the arts through tax-deductible contributions."

State records show that the Arts Foundation's fiscal year 7/1/2007-6/30/2008 revenue was $271,688. Where does all that money go - if not to these stated programs? Yet, we see the Arts Commission cut these items from "their" budget? What gives?

I guess the only person we can ask is Rusty Sox - a SC Arts Commission employee???


[ | What got printed | What didn't get printed | What no one would talk about | Past Commentaries | Home | ]


Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc. Copyright© 2009 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2009 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.