Posts Tagged ‘Harriett Green’

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?

Going Deep Down the Mine Shaft to Extract Info About SC Arts Commission Activities

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I guess in South Carolina you can’t be critical of a State Agency like the SC Arts Commission without being cut off from the flow of information as to what they are doing on a regular basis.


Yes, I’ve been critical and yes, they have taken Carolina Arts off the list of media they send press releases to, but unless they decide to stop sending press release to anyone – I’ll still find them or someone will copy me – eventually. It’s a sad case, but normal operating procedure for the Arts Commission. You’re right with them or left out. That goes for the media, other art organizations and individual artists.

Information is critical in the arts and if you’re not playing ball the way some folks like – the flow of information is cut off or diverted to put you one step behind those who are informed first – even before the public knows what’s available. It’s nice to be on someone’s speed dial at the Arts Commission. I’m not.

When it comes to the visual arts, I don’t know if it’s Harriett Green, Visual Arts Director; Milly Hough, Communications Director; Ken May, Acting Executive Director; or Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo, Jr., the new Chair of the Commission Board – but someone doesn’t want me to know what’s going on in fear that I will criticize it – under the theory that – what you don’t know – you can’t criticize.

But I can tell you this – that policy isn’t working.

Sure, it’s been awhile since my last critical posting on the Arts Commission, but that’s not because of their – “don’t tell policy”, it’s because they haven’t been doing much – at least much to talk about. They, like the rest of us, are spending more time than they would like budget cutting, but in their case it’s usually funding to others that gets cut instead of their own overhead.

But who is this hurting – me? or the folks they partner with?

We received no press release about the exhibitions being presented at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC, offering works from the Commission’s State Art Collection. We had to go mining for that info from third party sources – not 701 Center for Contemporary Art. No one there seems to know how to distribute info either. Funny thing – we seem to be able to be sent info about their paid events.

So here again, I find a press release about an exhibit involving the State Art Collection that was not sent to us.

The above rant is what I prepared after finding this press release, but I had also sent an e-mail to Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo, Jr asking him if this is the way the Arts Commission was going to be acting under his new leadership. As usual I expected no reply, but you know what? I got a surprise.

Ferillo answered my e-mail within hours asking for time to check this situation out with the Arts Commission and within the day he responded that I would be sent the press release when it goes out the first week in Jan. (That’s a whole other problem altogether, but we’ll deal with that at another time.) I thanked him for his quick response and told him I hoped this was a sign of change between our muddied relationship. (Second positive thing I’ve said about the Arts Commission in a month.) Not that we have a relationship with the Arts Commission, but I’ll look forward to the information tap to be flowing my way again and to you readers from us – if that’s what is taking place.

Here’s the press release I found on the Arts Commission’s website, apparently not planned for distribution to the public until the first week in Jan. Why so late before the event starts? Don’t know, but I know it’s going to miss a lot of deadlines for monthly and quarterly publications. Maybe not the daily and weekly publications, but many others.

Belton Center for the Arts in Belton, SC, Features Works by African-American Artists from State Art Collection

The Belton Center for the Arts in Belton, SC, will present the exhibit, The African-American Voice, featuring works by African-American artists who are among the state’s best-known and widely celebrated practitioners, on view from Jan. 16 through Feb. 26, 2010.

Coordinated by Harriett Green, visual arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, the exhibition includes 32 pieces of artwork in all media from the State Art Collection. The pieces are by 21 African-American artists who range from self-taught, outsider artists like Sam Doyle, Leroy Marshall and Dan Robert Miller, to academically trained artists with established careers such as Leo Twiggs, Arthur Rose and Tarleton Blackwell.

“A number of these artists are legendary as arts educators as well as artists. Their influences and contributions extend beyond image and object making,” said Green, who sees the show as an opportunity for area residents to learn more about the contribution of African-American artists in South Carolina.

The Belton Center for the Arts is hosting the exhibition in conjunction with the Anderson International Festival taking place in Anderson County, SC, from Jan. 15 – 31, 2010. “The African-American Voice traveling exhibition is a great addition to the activities we have planned for Anderson County,” said Betsy Chapman, executive director of the Belton Center for the Arts.

The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 448 works in a variety of media and styles by 277 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call Betsy Chapman at 864/338-8556 or visit (

Here’s some extra info.

The Anderson International Festival (AIF) is an organization of art, cultural, and civic groups dedicated to presenting an educational and entertaining biennial festival which celebrates the cultural traditions from around the world that have helped shape our local community. Each festival highlights a different area of the world.

The AIF is pleased to present West African Journeys, a celebration of West African culture and its contribution to life here in South Carolina, from Jan. 15 – 31, 2010.

Blogger’s Note: Good luck in mining for information about this festival – the website is one of the least informative I have come across – of course it’s still early – more info could be added later. The calendar of events they offer involves clicking every date from the 15 – 31 to see if anything is going on and then you may have to click again to go to another website for further info. It’s not very user friendly or inviting to people who might find out about this festival.

Post Script to: A Major Arts Program That Seems Kind of Minor

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Well, it seems that things just get more revealing every step of the way. I received an e-mail from someone at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, MS (it seems our blog is far reaching) and I was informed that their facility, damaged during Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 2005), has still not re-opened and isn’t scheduled to be open by Nov. 2010. That is their main facility – they have a transitional facility set up in Biloxi. But they won’t be hosting this exhibit, Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art – as stated in the press release we received from the Sumter County Gallery of Art. You would think that someone at the Southern Arts Federation would have been keeping up with the folks in MS on their rebuilding schedule or maybe this is another PR problem.

This is no fault of the Sumter folks – they’re using the info they were provided – by either the SC Arts Commission or the Southern Arts Federation. After searching the SAF’s website I found that the location in Mississippi was changed to the Hattiesburg Historic Train Depot in Hattiesburg, MS (Nov. 1 – Dec. 23, 2010) – another prime location, I’m sure. I would have offered a link to the Depot, but I couldn’t find any direct link to it – even on the Hattiesburg, MS, site.

I would think that the Southern Arts Federation would have more pull, but the Hattiesburg Historic Train Depot? Hattiesburg is also home to the University of Southern Mississippi – which has an art museum. Come on, this time slot is more than a year away – is that the best place they could find to show this exhibition? Is this the best the National Endowment for the Arts can do for its American Masterpieces program? It’s a good thing the Sumter County Gallery of Art could be so flexible with their schedule – who knows where the SC Arts Commission would have ended up putting this exhibit – after three years of planning.

And, remember, Harriett Green is the Director of Visual Arts at the SC Arts Commission.

A Major Arts Program That Seems Kind of Minor

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

We recently – after deadline – received a press release about a major exhibition taking place in South Carolina. The exhibit, Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art, organized by the Southern Arts Federation is coming to the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC. It will be on view from Sept. 10 through Nov. 12, 2009.

First off I’ll state that I have not seen this exhibit, but I expect that is an excellent exhibition based on the artists involved and past exhibits organized by the Southern Arts Federation. The problem comes in execution and the concept of this basic “major” initiative.

The press release included this statement: “The Sumter County Gallery of Art will be honored as the only South Carolina venue for the Southern Arts Federation (SAF) touring exhibition, Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art, an ambitious exhibition that is part of the American Masterpieces program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a major initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy, featuring more than 100 artworks created by 58 traditional artists and contemporary craftspeople, living and working in the South today.”

Well, at least that is from the nine southern states the Southern Arts Federation represents.

The Southern Arts Federation (SAF), headquartered in Atlanta, GA, is a consortium of nine Southern states (NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, KY, LA, MS AL) and their respective Arts Commissions. Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art is the largest, most ambitious touring exhibition ever coordinated by SAF. These efforts began over three years ago. Each member state has selected one venue in the state to present the exhibition. For South Carolina, the Sumter County Gallery of Art (SCGA) is the venue (recommended by the SC Arts Commission).

You would think with three years in the planning, someone could have gotten the press release to us by our deadline. But I’m not sure this exhibit was planned that well in South Carolina, North Carolina, or most of the other states for that matter. For one thing, I know the Sumter County Gallery of Art had a different exhibit planned during this time-frame – just six months ago. I won’t tell you which artists got screwed due to this three years of planning, but I’m sure they will be compensated for this disruption. They took one for the team.

Here’s the schedule for this exhibit: March – May 2008, Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, GA; June – August 2008, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY; October – January 2009, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN; February – April 2009, Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL; May – July 2009, Asheville Museum of Art, Asheville, NC; September – November 2009, Sumter County Gallery of Art, Sumter, SC; January-April 2010, Jule Collins Smith Museum Fine Art, Auburn Univ, Auburn, AL; July – October 2010, Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LA; and November – December 2010, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MS.

If you look at this list and know anything about these states or at least a few of them – some of the host sites for this exhibition were in big major cities, capital cities, centrally located cities, and some are in some unusual locations – at least as far as a lot of people getting to see the “major initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy.”

Sumter, SC, may be centrally located but it is not a place where many people go to see art exhibits. The Sumter County Gallery of Art is a great facility and they put on some really great exhibits, but people – art gallery and art museum visitors don’t travel there that much to see art. Granted, these same people in SC don’t travel far from home to go anywhere in SC to go see art. In North Carolina, this exhibit was shown in Asheville. I doubt many people traveled from Wilmington or Raleigh to see this exhibit – perhaps if the show was shown in Oct. and Nov., but it was shown in May – July. In Florida, the exhibit was shown in Pensacola – about as far away from most of the population in that state.

The point is – there is no way hosting this exhibit in just one location in each state, no matter how centrally located would provide people an opportunity to see an exhibit that is meant to “acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy”. If this is such a major initiative, why not take the time to schedule this so it could have been seen in several locations and in each state’s biggest art venues? What’s the hurry? After all, they say they took three years to plan the exhibit.

And, don’t forget, this exhibit is “an ambitious exhibition that is part of the American Masterpieces program of the National Endowment for the Arts”. A regional part of a national program by our country’s top arts organization.

The artists included in the exhibit from South Carolina are: Alice Ballard, Clay Burnette, Philip Simmons (1912-2009), and Henrietta Snype. The artists included in the exhibit from North Carolina are: Elizabeth Brim, Cynthia Bringle, Vernon Owens, Mark Peiser, Richard Ritter, Kristy Higby, Billie Ruth Sudduth, Enrique Vega, Carol Welch, and Virgil Ledford.

There are a couple artists listed who will make some reader’s eyes open wide, but overall – they are excellent artists who would make any exhibit worth seeing. Those couple of artists are not my problem with this exhibit – I accept the selection of artists for these kinds of shows for what it is and who does it. The problem is execution and followthrough.

Like I said we didn’t receive this press release about this exhibit that starts on Sept. 10, 2009, until after the deadline for our Sept. ’09 issue of Carolina Arts – which was Aug. 12, 2009. But due to the importance of the exhibit I managed to make the change in our gallery listings in the back of the paper.

As of the posting of this blog entry – there is not one word about the exhibit on the SC Arts Commission’s website. I checked all places it might be hidden: Visual Arts Exhibit (just old news of exhibits over in Jan. 09), Works by SC Artists, Dates & Events, Press Room, and E-Publications. I even took the time to search the Arts Commission’s own events calendar – Art Daily – all 239 entries and not word about this exhibit and there were a lot of things listed taking place up to the end of this year and beyond.

But this is not new, the last show the Arts Commission did with the SAF didn’t get any publicity on the Arts Commission’s website until I pointed it out. And this is the group who presumes to instruct other arts organizations on how to do things.

Neither the Sumter County Gallery of Art or the Arts Commission placed this exhibit on Arts Daily. Remember – three years of planning and a major initiative. But I bet you it appears there very soon.

After searches on Google and Google News, the only item I found mentioning this exhibit in SC was posted on Nov. 6, 2007, on the State of SC’s Official Website for news, and it was an announcement of the selection of SC’s artists for this exhibit.

So with this kind of publicity – how are people even supposed to know about this exhibit – much less make an effort to go see it.

I’m giving it more publicity than they are and I didn’t receive any funding from the NEA or SAF to host this exhibit – but I can guarantee you that the Southern Arts Federation, SC Arts Commission and the Sumter County Gallery of Art did.

Now you can bet they will start beating the bushes for all the publicity they can muster after this hits the Internet and you can thank me for that – I’ve been down this road before. But we are less than three weeks away from the opening of this exhibit and I can tell you they are already too late for a lot of the publicity they should have had. And, we’re going into a very competitive time for publicity for the arts.

One last point – Harriett Green is the Director of Visual Arts at the SC Arts Commission.