Archive for the ‘SC Arts’ Category

SC Arts Commission Saved Again, But Just Barely – the 2012 Version

Monday, July 30th, 2012


I think the first paragraph of the article written by Otis R. Taylor, Jr. in The State newspaper after the big rally says it all.

“The State House was under an umbrella of creativity Monday evening as hundreds of arts supporters met on the grounds to oppose Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of the South Carolina Arts Commission budget.”

You can read the whole article at this link (

Even Columbia’s Free Times newspaper reported that only “hundreds flocked to the State House for a colorful pro-arts rally”.

A Facebook event page was created, Rally for the Arts – Support the SC Arts Commission, which invited 13,327 Facebook members (people involved with the arts in SC) to join in, yet only 1,688 “claimed” they would show up at the rally, while 578 others said – maybe. Yet only hundreds showed up.

Some will say the weather kept people away, but if I was the Arts Commission I wouldn’t want to count on my fair-weather friends to save me again and again, as this battle over the Arts Commission’s future isn’t over.

The main point here is – the SC Arts Commission was never in real danger of being eliminated – it was all a bunch of political show.

Our Tea-Bagger Governor wants to eliminate the Arts Commission altogether, which is wrong, but the Legislature has other plans. The House lawmakers approved a bill that would have moved the Arts Commission into the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, much like the way North Carolina handles its arts agency, but the Senate did not vote on the bill. Hopefully that will happen this next session and the Arts Commission will be reorganized with a different mission, some different staff members, and hopefully not many of the Commission’s “rubber stamp” board members – if any.

The Governor claims that the Arts Commission’s overhead is too high and I hate to have to agree with her on that point. I couldn’t begin to explain what 20 staff members do on a daily basis at the Arts Commission. And, their expenses do seem to be out of whack for an agency with such a small budget – under $4 million this year. They even had to move the agency into cheaper digs this year to stay under the 30 percent overhead mandated last year by the Legislature. And, the Governor is not happy about the executive director, Ken May’s salary – $91,664 a year. Which does seem high for an agency with such a small budget.

I looked at some other SC State agency’s budgets and pay their executives get and I was a little surprised. Take the Sea Grant Consortium, which was also on the Gov’s chopping block. They have a $6 million budget, but their executive director is only making $83,408. This agency has the same number of employees, a bigger budget, but the top person makes less money.

The head of the Budget and Control Board makes $173,380, but that agency deals with almost $1/2 billion and the head of the Department of Transportation which deals in billions only makes $146,000. Wouldn’t you think an executive’s salary would have some relationship to their budget?

I’d say Ken May’s salary is a big part of the Arts Commission’s overhead – in relation to it’s budget. Is it too much? I know a smaller salary would mean more funding for arts projects.

I’ve heard some talk that the Legislature is thinking about an audit of the Arts Commission which may revel more about where the money is going. That might clear the air some, but I would prefer they get on with the business of re-organizing state government before our Governor comes up with some new ideas about pleasing her Tea Bag supporters. She might start giving the Arts Commission’s board the Darla Moore treatment.

So who showed up at the big rally? Mostly people from Columbia. And, I’m not surprised about that. They are close to the Arts Commission – a centralized agency based in Columbia with no branches in other areas of the state. These were the people who see the Arts Commission staff at their performances, their exhibits, and in the grocery stores and restaurants of Columbia.

Here’s an example of how Columbia oriented the control of the arts are in South Carolina. Take a look at the SC Arts Foundation who the Arts Commission is in “partnership” with – sharing address, staff and phone numbers, but are totally separate – so they say.

The South Carolina Arts Foundation Board of Directors 2011-2012

Michel G. Moore, Columbia, President
Debra Timmerman, Charlotte, Vice President
Childs Cantey Thrasher, Columbia, Vice President
Jeffry C. Caswell, Columbia, Treasurer
Victoria Hollins, Columbia, Secretary
Patrick R. Van Huss, Columbia, Immediate Past President
Miller G. Bannister, Columbia
Gloria M. Bell, Charleston
Maryanne Belser, Columbia
Jerelyn “Jeri” Boysia, Columbia
Eric Brown, Greenville
J. Ashley Cooper, Charleston
Fannie I. “Judy” Cromwell, Greenville
Beryl Dakers, Columbia
James M. Dedman, IV, Greenville
Chandra Foster, Fort Mill
Shani Gilchrist, Columbia
Sarah Lynn Hayes, Rock Hill – Ex Officio
Robert Hoak, Greenville
Pamela L. Jenkins, Columbia
Robin Leverton, Beaufort
Ken May, Columbia – Ex Officio (Non-Voting)
J. Michael McCabe, Columbia
Rhett Outten, Mt. Pleasant
Donna Pullen, West Columbia
Ruth Rast, Columbia
Peggy Reynolds, Beaufort
Elizabeth Sowards, Chapin – Ex Officio
Linda C. Stern, Columbia
Leo F. Twiggs, Orangeburg
Bhavna Vasudeva, Columbia
John Whitehead, Columbia

All but one officer is from Columbia. Out of 32 members, 18 are from Columbia (more than half the board), 4 are from Greenville, 3 from the Charleston area, 2 from the Rock Hill area, 2 from Beaufort, 1 from Orangeburg, 1 from Chapin, and 1 from Charlotte, NC (?). I’d like to hear the story of why one of the members lives in Charlotte, NC.

There are no members from North Charleston (3rd largest city in SC), Spartanburg, Aiken, Florence, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Sumter or any of the smaller communities in the state – other than Chapin, which is just outside of Columbia. Why are so many from Columbia?

Of course many of these same folks jump back and forth from the board of the Arts Commission to the board of the SC Arts Foundation – and back again. I can’t remember when a few of these folks haven’t been on one or the other of the boards.

It’s no wonder there weren’t rallies all over the state to save the Arts Commission or people traveling from far ends of the state to the rally in Columbia. The representation isn’t there for the whole state. And, for many around the state like me – we didn’t notice a thing different when the Arts Commission was shut down and won’t notice a thing now that their doors are open again. The Arts Commission isn’t there for us – they’re only there for non-profits and a few individuals.

South Carolina needs to continue to support the arts with our tax dollars, but we also need to shake things up and re-organize the arts structure in the state and change some of the faces in control. We are way behind our neighbor to the North in making the arts a productive part of our state’s economy (at the bank – not just on paper) – and not just thought of as a burden.

Let’s hope the Legislature does something soon.

A Senior at a York County, SC, High School Wins an Art School Scholarship and Says – No Thanks

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Shelby Williams, a 17-year old senior at Northwestern High School in York County, SC, isn’t letting awards and scholarship money go to her head.

Williams’ artwork, Going Places, was the top winner of the 2012 Congressional Art Competition (5th Congressional District) in South Carolina. She won a $100 from the York County Art Council and a $3,000 scholarship to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD. But Williams has no intention of using that scholarship as she has plans to open a custom auto paint shop in the future.

Williams didn’t even know her work was entered into the competition until after she learned she had won.

Read more here: (

Williams is one smart gal. A full tuition to SCAD is about $20,000 a year. The odds of her ever making a return on that kind of investment in being an artist is slim to none. She’ll have a better chance at success in the auto paint shop business.

The point is – not everyone who likes art or even those who are good at creating art should become artists. And, the way things are today, the art community doesn’t need more artists – it needs more art patrons and supporters. In fact Williams has a better shot at contributing to the art community by being successful in the auto paint shop industry and then buying art and supporting the arts with her profits.

We need lots of people who appreciate the arts, are willing to support the arts, are willing to have their tax dollars go towards supporting the arts, and who are willing to participate in the arts. We have no shortage of artists.

Good lucky Shelby – we’re all counting on you!

An Art Show in My Own Back Yard – Berkeley Artist’s Guild’s Annual Juried Exhibition at the Berkeley County Library in Moncks Corner, SC

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I was doing another post office/bank run into Moncks Corner, SC, and I also had to return some materials to the Berkeley County Library, which is now my main library since I’m not delivering papers anymore. It’s not the Charleston County Library, but it’s pretty good.

On the way out, I noticed that there was an exhibit up in the entrance way of the library. On close inspection I found that it was the Berkeley Artist’s Guild’s Annual Juried Exhibition, which started on June 1 and will be up until June 24, 2012, when a meet and greet the artists reception will be held from 4-5:30pm. The public is invited.

The Berkeley County Library is located at 1003 Hwy. 52, just as you enter Moncks Corner, in the Berkeley County Administration Complex. Hours are Mon.-Thur., 9am-7pm and Fri. and Sat., 9am-7pm. For further info call the library at 843/719-4223.

After scanning the works in the show for a few minutes I left the library to get in my car and head home. I didn’t come to town to review any art exhibits, but I decided to go back in and write some notes on some mail I picked up earlier and try to take a few pics with my phone (not my best camera). It’s not often that visual art events take place in my back yard and the last time I saw one of this group’s show was in 2009.

Why not give them a better look and a little exposure.

I don’t know how many members the Berkeley Artist’s Guild has, but it can’t be many. I can understand why any group wants to show off their work, but in cases like this – of which there are many in the Carolinas – I wonder why such a small group wants to have their show judged? I can only imagine that it might lead to a little friction throughout the year is such a small group, but in this case almost every one walks away with a ribbon and a few artists – an arm load of ribbons.

There were only eleven different artists participating in this exhibit – only one artist on display did not win an award (ribbon), and I can only imagine how they feel, unless they are a beginner and feel lucky to be in any show. But when it comes to juried shows – artists need to develope a thick skin. Sometimes you win – sometimes you don’t even make the cut.

In the past, I have tried to convince people who host these small shows that they should tell the judge they don’t have to award all the ribbons or award slots planned for. But, it seems if they buy 12 ribbons – they want the judge to award 12 ribbons – which is hard if there are only 11 entries. But, that seems to be the pattern I’ve seen thoughout my 25 years of covering such shows. To me, it kind of devalues a 3rd Place award out of 3 entries. It doesn’t mean it’s not deserving, but it makes me wonder.

Also of note, there was a sign up listing the names of 8 members who had died. I don’t know if that was since the last exhibit, but that could be almost half of the group’s membership.

There were six categories: mixed media, drawing, pastel, watercolor, oil, and acrylic. One category had just two entries by two different artists. The judge, which I later learned was James Christopher Hill from Charleston, SC, then had to determine who got 1st place and the rest is history. The hardest task he had was the oil category which had 11 entries by 8 different artists.

This was the “oil” category

Now the fact that this was such a small group of artists competing for awards, it didn’t mean there wasn’t quality works on display. With a few exceptions, these works could have been in just about any juried or judged exhibit I’ve seen this year. They may not have been so lucky with awards, but they could have been winners. You never know.

For anyone looking for a bargain, the prices of some of these works were very low compared to what you would find just 50 miles down Hwy. 52 in Charleston.

As usual, I try to pick a personal favorite, and although there were no true abstract works on display I liked the works by Trish Emery – which had a loose feel to them. Not quite abstract, but not far off. It seems Moncks Corner’s Mayor, Bill Peagler liked her work too as he selected one of her works for the award in his name.

Back seat driver remark: I wondered if the judge wasn’t looking too much at the frame when he selected his Best of Show award. But, then when you have to pick a best out of 30 works – it can’t be easy.

Here’s the results (category, number of different artists entered and number of entries).

Mixed Media – 2 artist, 4 entries
1st Place – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Trish Emery
3rd Place – Ruth Griebe
HM – Ruth Griebe

Drawing – 2 artists, 2 entries
1st Place & Mayor’s Award – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Elliott West

Pastel – 3 artists, 3 entries
1st Place – Trish Emery
2nd Place – Elliott West
3rd Place – Marcia Litschewski

Watercolor – 4 artists, 5 entries
1st Place – Louise James
2nd Place – Marcia Litschewski
3rd Place – Elliott West
HM – Ruth Griebe
HM – Louise James

This was 1st Place in oil by Ginger Martin

Oil – 8 artists, 11 entries
Best of Show – Ginger Martin
1st Place – Ginger Martin
2nd Place – Jan Roach
3rd Place – Gayle Jourdain
HM – Elliott West
HM – Ruth Griebe
HM – Jan Roach

This was 1st Place in acrylic by Elliott West

Acrylic – 4 artists, 5 entries
1st Place – Elliott West
2nd Place – Horace Nobles
3rd Place – Stephanie Reed
HM – Ruth Griebe

I didn’t find any contact info for this group at the exhibit or in a Google search.

American College of Building Arts Graduates Seven in Charleston, SC

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Here’s a headline I didn’t find on the Post and Courier website today. I had to see it in The State – 7 graduate from American College of Building Arts.

Read more here: (

I have two questions: How much money did it cost the City of Charleston and the local community to have these seven people graduate? Money that could have gone to other things. And, how many of the seven will end up staying in Charleston – six months to a year from now?

I wish this was a joke, but it’s just another of Mayor Joe Riley’s follies.

Oh – let me throw in a third question: I wonder how many students will graduate from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC, this year? Another of Mayor Joe Riley’s follies.

Why Did the SC Legislature Pass a Law Making the SC Arts Commission Spend 70% of Its Funding on Grants to SC’s Art Community?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011


So, why exactly did the SC Legislature have to pass a law demanding that the SC Arts Commission spend 70% of its state funding on grants? Why did they have to write that stipulation into law? Could it be that the Arts Commission was spending more on themselves than they were giving out in grants to other arts organizations?

Over the years I have pointed out that the SC Arts Commission, the cat with nine lives, was one of the largest state arts agencies in the country – much bigger than state art agencies in our region. Yes, they may be a lot leaner today than they used to be, but the Arts Commission is still a bloated agency which carries an expensive overhead. I’m led to understand that this 70% restriction will mean some folks at the Arts Commission will lose their jobs, which I feel sorry for, especially in these times, but this agency has brought all their current problems down on themselves.

Over my 25 + years in following the arts in this state I have always wondered what all these people are doing when I can see so little results in the general art community that they contribute – other than handing out money to their friends. They can go on and on in reports they write themselves, about all they are doing and what they have accomplished each year, and their fans – mostly people who receive funding and awards from them, will back up those self-preformed pats on their back.

Look, I’m for government funded art. You don’t see me railing against the NC Arts Council or the NEA. My problem is with the SC Arts Commission and their version of what serving the arts community means – serve yourself first – then the art community.

The truth is in the numbers. And, these are the latest numbers available from the SC Comptroller General’s office. These are some of the expenses of the SC Arts Commission – mostly their overhead in distributing funding to the people who do the real arts in our state. These numbers are from FY 2009-2010, not that long ago. Current numbers are not available – I wonder why.

Equipment – $5,076

Membership fees, rentals and rent – $347,565
(of which $268,507 is for rent of their building) I would have thought they could have purchased a building in the Vista years ago with that kind of rent.

Utilities – $42,869

Personal Services – $1,115,415
(On this item I know fewer people are there now working at the Arts Commission since 2009-2010, but here are some of the latest figures on salaries of just six employees who make over $50,000 – the limit where the State has to tell you what they’re being paid. This does not include State benefits.)

Figures as of May 13, 2011

Ken May – $91,664.00
Harriett Green – $55,284.00
Charles “Rusty” Cox – $54,596.00
Susan Duplessis – $51,854.00
Clay Burnett – $51,560.00
Joy Young – $50,609.00
(These six salaries total $355,567 and there could be 20 more people who make around $40,000.00 each if not more.)

Supplies & Materials – $23,997
($3,020 of that was postage, but I can’t imagine what they are mailing with the invention of e-mail.)

Transportation – $68

Travel – $27,568
(Now here’s a category that should be totally gone after last year’s cut-backs where the agency said it would do no more travel, but let’s see where some of this was going: $1,995 for in-state lodging; $10,441 for non-state employee travel; $903 for out of state lodging; $8,982 for leasing of state-owned cars; etc.)

The total of these expenses I’ve listed is $1,562,558.00. And, I didn’t list all the categories offered as I didn’t totally understand them, but that’s $1.5 million in overhead already – just to say we have an arts agency.

Salaries, rents and utilities don’t go away – so depending on what their budget allocation is from year to year (FY 2012 – the state budget for them is $1.9 million) it makes a big difference what’s left over each year, even when you throw in Federal monies, when so much has to come off the top on July 1 – every year. And, what do we get – an agency who decides who gets the rest of the money in the arts community or more like who won’t.

I think the SC Arts Commission has been consuming close to 50% of its budget by just existing.

The Arts Commission was also telling the public that it will also lose $250,000 the state appropriated last year in one-time stimulus funds, for a total year-to-year reduction of 16% in state appropriations. Again – they don’t seem to understand what a one-time thing is. You only get it once – you don’t get to then say the next year that  money is being cut from your budget this year. It was a one-time deal, get over it.

So in summation, I think the 70% clause was written into the law to force the SC Arts Commission to get lean like the rest of us have had to and make them spend the bulk of their budget on money for artists and arts groups – not themselves.

Don’t feel sorry for them yet, the alternative was no agency at all and they will still get their hands on $1.3 million from the Feds, which I’m sure has less restrictions on it. We all know how well the Federal government keeps track of our money.

So, the real question of the day is: Does the law mean that the SC Arts Commission has to make sure 70% of its total budget (including Federal money) has to go to grants or does it just mean 70% of what the State of SC has given them? And, what restrictions does the Federal money have on it? Where was it intended to go and to whom?

Because 30% of $1.9 million is $570,000 and the top six employees are paid $355,567 – that doesn’t leave enough to pay the rent on the building ($268,507) those six people would be rattling around in. So unless there is some slight of hand at work here or they can use that Federal money for whatever – there is either going to be a caretaker staff at the Arts Commission outnumbered by the Commissioners or the real arts providers in SC are going to get screwed again by the Arts Commission skimming off that Federal money.

And as long as the State of SC allows the Arts Commission to report on themselves without any audits – who’s to know where that money really goes.

I’m glad I’m not part of a non-profit that is hoping for a decent piece of the pie. If the next time you see someone from the Arts Commission and they have cherry pie all over their face – well, oh my.

The link to the SC Comptroller General’s office for the SC Arts Commission’s 2009 – 2010 expenses – their overhead before grants are given are at ( Then just click Annual Summary and then select the year and the SC Arts Commission. You may even want to look back over time to see where all its money has been going.

No pie for you!

Truth Be Told About Spoleto Festival USA – Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011


I found these two quotes from Nigel Redden in an interview from the Reuters News Service about funding cuts to the arts on the internet. They are the first quotes I’ve seen with some truth told about the festival mixed in with a little wishful thinking.

The first quote is the wishful thinking on the financial impact of the festival: “Those cuts have come despite the fact that the Spoleto Festival brings between $55 million and $70 million to South Carolina each year,” Redden said.

$55 to $70 million – that’s quite a spread there. But, if this was true, the hotels, restaurants, and airlines should put up most of the $7.5 million budget for the festival – they’re the ones that would benefit the most. But those numbers come from economic formulas – not hard numbers. It’s economic guessing.

The second quote was the truth part: “The festival draws 25,000 to 35,000 people to the coastal city, and they buy 73,000 performance tickets and spend money on hotels, food, merchandise and tourist attractions,” he said.

Finally, we get the truth about how many people the festival attracts each year. They used to repeat this phrase until every reporter had it ingrained in their vocabulary when talking about Spoleto. “The Spoleto Festival attracts 100,000 people each year to Charleston and generates $70 million in economic impact”.

One year I called the box office after the festival was over and asked how many tickets they sold. The answer was around 70,000. Very interesting.

Unless 30,000 people were getting free admission, that was a long way from 100,000. There are a lot of folks who get given free tickets, but you have to be someone of fame, power, or at least have influence over funding. I knew there were very few people who come to Charleston to just attend one event. I also knew that a lot of locals go to Spoleto events. So, it wasn’t hard to figure that the real number was closer to 25,000 people coming to Charleston for the festival and it could even be less than that. It could be as little as 10,000 people coming from out of town to attend Spoleto events and if you start thinking about how many people come from towns and cities not too far from Charleston, but are in-State residents – the number could even get smaller.

There is a good reason Spoleto starts its festival every year during the Memorial Day Weekend. Charleston will be full of people that weekend and it makes it look like they’re all here for Spoleto, but if you ask people on the streets if they are here for Spoleto, 9 out of 10 won’t be and 7 of those won’t even know what Spoleto is. The festival has contracted the College of Charleston to do surveys, but what that means is positioning students in front of Spoleto venues before performances and asking folks going in the doors if they’re here for Spoleto – it’s very scientific.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re lucky to have the Spoleto Festival, but it has been over-sold for years as far as its impact on the economy and the city of Charleston. And, 10,000 well-off folks spending money in Charleston is nothing to throw away. But the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, a visual art event, says they attract the same number of people, if not more, and have the same economic impact, if not more – and it’s an extended weekend compared to the three weeks of Spoleto. Of course its audience might be considered a little less refined. But they spend big bucks all the same.

Frankly, all events like this embellish the numbers on attendance and economic impact – they have to in order to attract donations and sponsorships. It’s the American way. We can’t be happy with reality – we have to be BIGGER than life.

It was refreshing to see the truth said for once – even if it was in an interview not seen in any local or regional papers. They’re all still repeating the original phrase of 100,000 visitors/$70 million impact.

Of course Spoleto could improve those numbers – if they actually put a visual art component back into the festival. But because they have no place they can present such visual arts and charge admission – they’re not interested. But it would attract more donations, more press coverage, and more people interested in visual art events.

Of course without the Spoleto Festival USA there would be no Piccolo Spoleto Festival – the “little” festival with its overkill of 700 plus events. And, without Piccolo there would be no cover for the City of Charleston to inject more funding into local performing art groups – who are paid to participate – here, there, and everywhere.

Talk about affirmative action and art welfare – Piccolo Spoleto is the poster child for propping up art groups who operate in the red constantly. And after June 11 – they will disappear until September when and if they can afford to present a “season” once more. I think of them as the part-time arts community, but with benefits. Except for the underpaid musicians of the Charleston Symphony who have to be the cheapest professionals on the planet – I’m not sure you should be able to call yourself a professional when your income is way below the poverty level.

So what’s my point in all this? It’s very simple.

The visual art community in Charleston is the real economic engine in this area and they get very little support or respect from the local, state, and national government sectors. They’re offering the arts all year long – in most cases for free. There is no “season” for the visual arts community. Sure, some times of the year are busier than others, but the show goes on no matter what.

So, maybe it’s time to concentrate on giving the visual art community some support, which will deliver a bigger economic payoff for the community, instead of pouring money down a black hole in trying to support arts groups who will always be a drain on the resources of the community.

But, then again, when I think that we have the same leadership in the arts community that we’ve had for the last 20-30 years – I know nothing is going to change.

How Much Do SC’s Public Workers Get Paid?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011


I was surfing through The State newspaper (online version) in Columbia, SC, as I do many Carolina newspapers keeping up with what’s going on and I noticed a headline which has probably been there for months, but for some reason caught my eye today. The headline was, “How much do SC’s public workers get paid?”.

The State offers a date base ( of what some State employees make each year. This database contains names, positions and salaries of state government employees making $50,000 or more a year in base salary, as furnished by the agencies in response to SC Freedom of Information Act requests. I just had to look and then I wished I didn’t. And as far as I know, these salaries do not include the value of State benefits and other perks (use of cars, travel expenses, etc.) given to these employees.

Here’s the question. Should Ken May, head of the SC Arts Commission make $91,664.009 a year?

That’s almost as much money as our new Governor was paid to raise funds for a Columbia hospital – another headline story in The State( According to The State, the not yet Governor was hired as a fundraiser by Lexington Medical Center in August 2008, a position created for her at a $110,000-a-year salary, which she held until April 2010 – although the not yet Governor had no experience as a fundraiser – other than being a politician. But that’s no big deal – lots of people in SC government are given important jobs with no experience.

Now, I’m going on record here. Ken May thinks of me as his nemesis. So I guess wondering if the job he is doing is worth $91,664.009 – it could be considered another poke at him and the SC Arts Commission.

But, I’m also wondering if Harriett Green, visual arts coordinator, should make $55,284.009 a year? I’m not sure that’s the kind of money anyone should be paid for moving a few exhibits (the same exhibits) around the state from year to year. So, it’s not just about Ken May.

Of course I guess these salaries are based on the old SC Arts Commission – the one that had twice the budget a few years ago – compared to the new Commission which will get smaller and smaller over the next few years – it not disappearing all together. And, I wonder how they figure in the .9 cents?

And, folks don’t forget – a smaller budget at the SC Arts Commission means smaller grant funds to groups and artists and smaller services rendered – but it seems the salaries… Well, maybe they’re less than what they used to be? Isn’t that how it works – the less money you have (I can’t say make) the less money you get?

Well, anyway – I wish I hadn’t clicked that link at The State. I was much happier not knowing. How about you?

South Carolina Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Forms to Help SC’s Artists

Monday, October 25th, 2010

It’s good to see that the SC Arts Commission is finally getting around to providing SC’s artists a service that has been in NC for over 20 years. North Carolina Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is a network of lawyers in North Carolina with experience in art law issues. Find info at this link.

Although I had to get the info from a third party involved – not the SC Arts Commission, I don’t mind saying this is a good thing.

Better late than never, but pretty late compared to our neighbors – who they always say they try to work in conjunction with.

Here’s the info:

The University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, SC, has partnered with area arts organizations to give them and the low-income artists they represent a new resource for legal assistance.

The South Carolina Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts will offer an online service that provides pro-bono assistance to the arts community.

This new resource is available at (

The SCVLA is a project of the school’s Pro Bono Program and Nonprofit Organizations Clinic, as well as the SC Arts Commission and the SC Bar Pro Bono Program. It refers those needing legal assistance to lawyers who have agreed to donate their time.

“This collaboration has been in the works for many years,” said Ken May, executive director at the SC Arts Commission. “We’re proud to see that it has come to fruition and is now providing the South Carolina arts community with this valuable service.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the law school to expand its relationship with the communities surrounding it,” said Walter F. Pratt Jr., dean of the School of Law. “Building on our nationally known Pro Bono Program, this new venture will allow even more students to learn the value of service to their community while, at the same time, acquiring skills that will make them better lawyers in the future.”

The service uses an online application system to gather facts from artists and arts organizations to match them with appropriate legal representation. SCVLA, cannot assign an attorney to a specific client, nor can it assist all clients. Some clients may be referred to an attorney outside the program.

Artists and arts organizations seeking legal advice or lawyers interested in volunteering their service can visit ( to complete an online application.

Charleston County Public Library is Presenting a Summer Book Sale in Charleston, SC – June 18-20, 2010

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I received this press release at Carolina Arts. I think public libraries are one of the great resources we have in this country and will be willing to pay higher taxes any day – as long as that extra money goes to support our libraries. Go buy some books.


Cheap books abound at the upcoming summer book sale held by the Charleston Friends of the Library. That SUMMER Book Sale will be at the Main Library in downtown Charleston, SC, on June 18-20, 2010. It’s a great way to do some guilt-free, green shopping!

WHO: The Charleston Friends of the Library is a 501c3 membership organization that supports and advocates for the Charleston County Public Library. The Friends raise money for over 4,000 library programs like Summer Reading for kids and teens, computer classes, Opera at the Library, concerts, film screenings, author events, new technology and more.

WHAT: Join the Friends of the Library at That SUMMER Book Sale. The books are cheap, the cause is worthy, and it’s a great way to do some guilt-free, green shopping! All books were donated to the Friends by the community.

WHERE: Main Library Auditorium, Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401.

WHEN: Friday, June 18th & Saturday, June 19th, 9am-5:30pm and Sunday, June 20th, 2-4pm.

A special Friends of the Library Member Sale will be held prior to the public sale Thursday, June 17th, 5:30-7:30pm. People are welcome to join the Friends of the Library at the door.

For more information or questions, please visit ( or call 843/805-6930.

6th Annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Takes Place at Memorial Waterfront Park in Mt. Pleasant, SC – June 5, 2010

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Talk about your best kept secrets or events that don’t get much publicity in the shadow of the Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals – this event takes the cake. I picked up a flyer at one of the local library branches – otherwise we haven’t been sent a lick of info about this event at Carolina Arts.

Here’s some info:


6th Annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Takes Place at Memorial Waterfront Park in Mt. Pleasant, SC – June 5, 2010, from 10am to 8pm.

Memorial Waterfront Park is located at 99 Harry Hallman Jr. Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant, SC, under the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.

The highly anticipated 6th Annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival will celebrate the rich Gullah Geechee cultural heritage and provides the most extensive showcase of sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry area.

This year’s event features an assortment of unique handmade arts & crafts, paintings, live performances, and documentary films. Festival-goers will enjoy a day filled with entertainment that includes gospel songs and praise dance, storytelling and Gullah Geechee skits, basket-making demonstrations and the Adande African Drummers and Dancers. Visitors will be treated to a variety of authentic Gullah cuisine, classic barbeque, fish, chicken and beverages offered for sale by more than 15 Lowcountry restaurants and food vendors. Children and adults will enjoy family friendly activities including a waterslide. Publications on Lowcountry Gullah Geechee history, fiction, and cookbooks will be available for sale as well.

Admission and parking are free. The festival is a family event and no alcohol is sold.

For further info visit (