More Good Words Towards the SC Arts Commission(ers)

No one should doubt my dislike for the actions of the SC Arts Commission – the SC State Arts Agency. As far as the folks who work there, I don’t harbor any dislike – except for a few individuals who have earned that distinction, but of late I find myself taking a new look at the Commissioners who are supposed to direct the agency – their current leader – Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo, Jr., especially.

If I’m not mistaken, and I’m not saying that’s not possible, it’s been some time since the leader of the Commissioners was someone who actually worked in the arts, was an active business person, and also had experience working in politics. So many of these Commissioners have had questionable ties to the SC art community to be thought of as true leaders or representatives of any part of the arts much less the whole state.

I’m talking about people whose claim to fame is having sat on the board(s) of arts organization or non-profits. People who are the spouse of an important business person, university president or politician. Or in one case, someone from Hollywood who just happened to be married to someone in SC for a period of time. Most of them are just rubber stamps to the staff’s directions.

But Ferillo could be the real deal.

I’ve been reading about Ferillo in local newspapers. He was just awarded the Harvey Gantt Triumph Award during Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities in Charleston, SC, for the documentary film Ferillo produced called, Corridor of Shame, which highlighted the poor conditions of SC’s public schools located along the I-95 corridor. By the way, Ferillo was the 25th recipient of the award and the first white person to receive this award since its inception in 1983. He’s now working on a second documentary film titled, State of Denial.

You all know who Harvey Gantt is – right? He’s a Charleston native who was the first black student at Clemson University, former Mayor of Charlotte, NC, and he’s the person the new Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture in Charlotte is named after.

Ferillo also runs a publicity business – which I hope will help the SC Arts Commission in dealing with publicity and the media as well as the general public, much less some parts of the art community they seem to not notice.

Ferillo also served as deputy lieutenant governor and chief of staff to the speaker of the SC House – so he knows politics.

And, in a previous posting I told you of the quick response I got from Ferillo (during the holidays) when I e-mailed him about not getting press releases from the SC Arts Commission. Getting a response from a Commissioner hasn’t happened since Carl R. Blair was head of the Commissioners – a long time ago – at least its seems like a long time ago. Since Ferillo looked into this matter I’ve received two press release from the Arts Commission.

I’m not saying I’m an instant fan of Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo, Jr., but he’s got my attention and respect. His leadership is still new and there are lots of things to improve at the SC Arts Commission, during these challenging times, but so far I’m glad he’s at the top – for all that’s worth.

My biggest concern is that he might be too busy to make the impact needed at the Arts Commission, but I can hope.

We can still do that can’t we?

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