Posts Tagged ‘Ken May’

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

Monday, July 30th, 2012

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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 (http://www.thestate.com/2012/07/17/2356789/arts-supporters-rally.html#storylink=cpy).

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.

How Much Do SC’s Public Workers Get Paid?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

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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 (http://www.thestate.com/statesalaries/) 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(http://www.thestate.com/2011/03/16/1738514/hospital-no-one-here-filled-out.html). 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?

A Trip to Columbia, SC’s First Thursday on Main – Feb. 3, 2011

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

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On a cold Thursday afternoon when the weather people were calling for 80% rain, Linda and I headed to Columbia, SC, to visit One Eared Cow Glass and the First Thursday on Main event.

One Eared Cow Glass was having one of their 20th Anniversary celebration events introducing a new line of glass jewelry – just in time for Valentines’ day. That’s when Linda signed on for the trip to Columbia. I can’t say too much more about the One Eared Cow Glass anniversary events – all I can say is you need to go there and sign up to be on their e-mail list.

I’ve been wanting to go to one of the First Thursday on Main events for some time as it seemed like it was becoming quite an art event. I also wanted to see the inside of the Tapp’s Center for the Arts project and hopefully meet up with Susan Lenz, who had another window display there.

Activities on Main Street in downtown Columbia started a few years ago when Mark Plessinger of Frame of Mind started displaying area artists’ work in his shop on Main Street across from the Columbia Museum of Art. Info about those events kind of came and then fizzled. During that time other art related groups moved to Main Street and then by last fall we began to receive info about the First Thursday on Main events which seemed to be organized by the City Center Partnership, Inc., but we’re not hearing from them on a regular basis either. The only person I’m hearing from on a regular basis is Brenda Schwarz Miller who is spearheading up the effort to turn the old Tapp’s on Main department store at 1644 Main Street, at the corner of Main and Blanding, into the Tapp’s Center for the Arts.

I guess the City Center Partnership is interested more in having all parties on Main participate in trying to get folks in the Columbia area to come back to Main Street during the evening hours with the First Thursday events, but I’m more interested in the visual art groups there which now include Frame of Mind, S&S Art Supply, FreeTimes, Anastasia & Friends, Columbia Museum of Art, the Arcade Artists, and Tapp’s Center for the Arts.

From our front door at the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing in Bonneau, SC, we can be in downtown Columbia in two hours. It takes an hour to drive to Charleston, SC, so it’s not much of an effort to go to Columbia, but the two hour return trip does determine how long you can stay.

We spent almost two hours at One Eared Cow Glass, and again, all I’ll say besides I love watching the cowboys work, is that Linda and I got our 20th Anniversary T-Shirts while there, which will pay off throughout the year’s celebrations. My lips are sealed.

Once we weaved our way over to Main Street during Columbia’s rush hour traffic, we arrived at the Tapp’s building just about 5pm. We looked at a few of the outside window displays, but it didn’t take long for the damp 40 degree temps to rush us inside. No real rain yet.

As we entered a side door on Blanding, right off we see a little window display of jewelry by Susan Shrader, which stops Linda in her tracks. We’ve dealt with Shrader throughout the years as she was helping to promote a Columbia gem show. She’s one of the hundreds of people we have talked to over the years but never met.

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Jewelry and fused glass works by Susan Shrader

We got to scratch her off our never met list once we set foot inside the massive Tapp’s building. Right away I was reminded of my recent visit to the Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC, which was another massive building in a city which is now used to show off art – helping to revise a once thriving downtown shopping district.

Linda said she used to come to Tapp’s when she was visiting her older sister who attended USC – a long time ago, back when her family would travel from small Myrtle Beach to SC’s capital city.

While Linda talked with Shrader and looked at jewelry, I looked around the building’s maze of rooms on two levels. Downstairs I saw John Sharpe giving a demonstration on a pottery wheel. The building has a lot of potential for many things.

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Once upstairs again, Linda and I enjoyed a bit of food and drink, I took a few photos and then we asked someone to point out Brenda Schwarz Miller. She is another person we have talked on the phone with and exchanged many e-mails with over activities and events of the Artist Round Table group in Columbia and now Tapp’s.

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Listening by Sandra Carr

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Inside Out by Sandra Carr

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Detail of Inside Out by Sandra Carr

It is my experience that projects like this are usually the dream of one dynamic individual with the help of a few others. Tapp’s is definitely Miller’s baby. Again, I was reminded of the Art Trail Gallery in Florence where Jane Madden has made the project happen by sheer will and persistence in dealing with red tape – in both cases, business and city leaders.

Columbia has already had some experience with similar projects like Vista Studios and 701 Center for the Arts, but it has also had experience with fellows like Jack Gerstner – who first had a strangle hold on the 701 building and used it for personal gain. Miller is 180 degrees on the opposite end of Gerstner. So, I hope city leaders in Columbia soon help her make her dream and that of many artists in Columbia – come true. It will be good for Main Street in the long run.

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Miller told us she has received lots of help from the building’s owner who also hopes for success of the Tapp’s project as he owns other buildings in downtown Columbia. There’s no problem in working in your own self interest while benefiting others. Too bad the SC Arts Commission doesn’t see that – unless they are dealing with folks shopping for Verner Awards through donations to the SC Arts Foundation. Otherwise we’re all greedy commercial enterprises – unworthy of a seat at the big arts table. They prefer creating a system of art welfare where arts groups become dependent on them for continued existence. How’s that working?

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Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

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Detail of Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

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A real close detail of Burnt Offerings by Kara M. Gunter

I was hoping to run into Susan Lenz at Tapp’s but she never showed while we were there so we decided to go explore some of the other locations.

Outside we got a look at the window displays at the front of the building – which are very interesting, but hard to photograph as there was still some daylight lingering causing reflections.

One complaint or suggestion I have for First Thursday on Main organizers – whoever they are or will be is – they need a map of participating locations on Main Street available at all locations. If you’re hoping to attract people back to a downtown area they haven’t been to in years – don’t expect them to know where everything is – especially if they’re coming from out of town. I know the area pretty well, but not everything.

We went up Main toward the Capital building looking for a parking space – apparently the event was working. We saw where a few of the participating places were (except the Arcade), but no parking spaces were opening up – so we did the Charleston shuffle – driving around and around hoping someone would leave their space. On one of the rounds I spotted Susan Lenz in the window talking with folks at FreeTimes. And as luck would have it after a few trips around the block a space opened up.

Once we squeezed into the building and got close to Lenz we had managed to scratch another person off our never-met list. The place was packed with the who’s who of Columbia’s art community, very noisy, but there wasn’t really that many people there compared to the folks at the Tapp’s building. The illusion of a small packed room can throw you off, but it was a case of who was there. And as in many situations like this I saw folks I would have liked to say hey to, but never got the chance. Toni Elkins was working the room like a humming bird, and Jeffrey Day was there – not sure what that conversation would have been like. But, I did have a few friendly words with Ken May – head of the SC Arts Commission.

May called me his nemesis – which I thought was a little over-blown. He might have meant it as a compliment, but I later thought it didn’t really fit. It would be like calling Cuba America’s nemesis. A nemesis is usually an unbeatable rival or a source of harm or destruction. I don’t think I’m having that effect and his label gives me too much credit. I fit the description of a gadfly – which I was called once by an Arts Commission supporter. As May asked – “what would I write about without the Arts Commission?” I flashed back to a scene from Richard Nixon stating that we (the media) wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore. But then there was George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Fox News. There’s always someone being unfair or doing and saying silly things. So I’m not worried about losing the Arts Commission – one way or another. It may be a case of the last man standing in both our cases.

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Ding on a Dong by Diane Gilbert – shot from the hip at FreeTimes

But, all in all, I was happy to talk with Susan Lenz, a human dynamo of the art world about a few of her current projects and past issues. But before long she needed to move on to Tapp’s  and said she still had work to do that night. We made a slow circle of the room – not able to see much of the art and headed for the door. It was now raining. (It hasn’t stopped raining since.)

Back at Tapp’s Linda had heard a few folks talking about sleet and not knowing what the temps were going down to we decided to get out of Columbia while the getting was good. Besides, this is an event which is taking place every month and is just picking up steam. We can always come back.

I highly recommend the trip, especially for folks from the Lowcountry. Columbia’s visual art community is much different from that of Charleston’s. I’ve always enjoyed going to Columbia to visit Artista Vista orVista Lights to get a different view of what artists are creating in South Carolina.

But, I think Columbia planners have a basic problem in attracting out of town visitors to come on Thursday evenings. It asks travelers to take a day off of work or make extended return travel plans. A four hour round trip is nothing for me, but others don’t see that as attractive. If these events were moved to a Friday or even a Saturday – they might attract more out of town visitors even though it would compete with other cities which present first Friday art walks, but what’s wrong with a little competition?

But, if the plan is to just attract locals to the downtown on a weekday – this just might work and before long it could include the Vista and Five Points area too. Why not have all of the city’s artists putting on a show. That’s what happened in Charleston.

As far as the Tapp’s Center for the Arts goes – here’s some of the plans. The space could supply 16 juried studios on the main level and 20 non-juried single and shared studios in the lower level. There are plans for three galleries, including a Cafe Gallery in the lower level. The facility would also include a frame shop, photography studio, print shop, wood workshop and clay studio. And, the good  part of the plan is that it is planned to be self-supporting. All they need is some start-up support to get the project going. If you would like more info about this project contact Brenda Schwarz Miller at 803/609-3479 or e-mail her at (brenda@realworldartisans.com).

After looking at the photos I took – at least those usable – I seemed to be interested in sculptural works at the First Thursday event.

SC Arts Commission May have Dodged a Bullet – But More Cuts Are Coming for SC’s Non-Profit Arts Groups

Monday, June 28th, 2010

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Yes, the SC State Legislature may have stopped Governor Mark Sanford’s veto of the SC Arts Commission’s budget cut, but more cuts will come to the SC Arts Commission’s budget as our state adjust to shortfalls in revenue that legislators just ignored (after Tue. June 29,2010, that is). It’s easy to override a veto, it makes you look like you’re a friend of the arts to some folks back home, but those legislators know the State will be doing their dirty work for them when adjustments have to be made throughout next year’s budget cycle as projected revenues fall short. It’s SC’s official dance – pass the buck and pass the responsibility.

So, what will we see from our saved Arts Commission under the leadership of Ken May – its newly named director?

Our old friend Jeffrey Day continues in his position as the unofficial press agent for the SC Arts Commission by offering heaps of praise on Ken May in an issue of Columbia, SC’s Freetimes.

According to Day, one of May’s positive attributes is that he can be seen at art events all around Columbia. I bet he can also be seen at Columbia grocery stores, movie theatres, and book stores, but what good does that do the rest of SC’s art community? Yes, the Charleston, SC, community might see him there during the Spoleto Festival, but that’s one of the things wrong with the Arts Commission – it is the poorest form of centralized government. The entire staff sits in Columbia most of the time. And, with more budget cuts – they won’t be going anywhere too soon.

As far as I know – until proven differently – May represents the same old, same old, from the Arts Commission – which is great for the sector of SC’s art community that has been living off the Arts Commission’s funding for decades. Not so good for those who have gotten nothing and not so good for new groups pulling up to the Arts Commission’s trough – only to find no room.

So what’s the future look like? Well with the prospects of a new governor on the way – one who looks like they could prove to be a Sanford style governor on steroids – not too secure.

Non-profit arts groups are going to have to deal with less public funding, the SC Arts Commission will have to deal with less funding and the list of groups who get it will get smaller and smaller. It actually could get very ugly – during the fight over who is more deserving or more connected to get that funding. In fact, I’d be concerned if I was an arts group outside of Columbia. It’s easier to cut funding of groups you don’t attend on a regular basis. Of course May doesn’t determine who gets funding and how much – the Arts Commission Board does that – at least they would if they were really leading the Arts Commission. But, we all know the staff really does.

Again, I haven’t noticed that this current crop of Board Members are less rubbery than former Board groups. It’s so easy to just go along with the staff recommendations – they know what’s best. They know the right people, the deserving – those who will praise them – they’re buddies.

The Who said we won’t get fooled again, but I think we just did.

News From the South Carolina Arts Commission

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Today we received two items of news at Carolina Arts from the SC Arts Commission – one right after the other.

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First, we learned that the SC Arts Commission Board meeting previously planned for May 26, 2010, has been canceled. The next regularly scheduled meeting is June 22 at the Arts Commission’s office in Columbia, SC.

Usually, this time of year the Arts Commission Board meeting was held in Charleston, SC – days before the opening of the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, but not last year and not this year. Actually, I don’t know why they were going to Charleston when they didn’t have meetings in any other cities around SC – except Columbia. Well, I know why, but it’s not fair to the rest of the art community in SC.

Next, we received a press release that Ken May, acting director of the Arts Commission, was named Executive Director of the SC Arts Commission. This was a little confusing to me in that if the Commission Board had not met recently – how they came to today’s announcement. An announcement which took a year to name the number 2 guy – number 1 – after conducting a three-month national search and reviewing 230 applications. I will have more on this subject after some deliberation.

Here’s the press release we got today:

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Arts Commission Board of Commissioners today announced that Ken May has been named executive director effective immediately.

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Ken May

May joined the Arts Commission in 1985 as a regional arts coordinator and served as director of planning, research and grants and assistant deputy director before being named deputy director in 1995. May has served as acting director of the agency since former Executive Director Susie Surkamer retired in May 2009.

“We look forward to working with Ken in his new role as executive director,” said Board Chairman Bud Ferillo. “Ken has proven his ability to lead the Arts Commission through the difficulties of the current budget cutbacks while positioning the agency for the future. His leadership in the agency’s core work — arts education, community development through the arts and artist development — will be crucial as we develop a new long-range plan for the state’s wide-ranging and diverse arts community.”

The executive director serves as the agency’s chief executive officer and is responsible for organization and administration, program development, fiscal accountability and staff supervision. The agency’s nine-member board is appointed by the governor and works with the executive director to make policy, advocate for the arts and ensure public accountability.

The board’s executive search committee, led by Commission Vice Chairman Dr. Sarah Lynn Hayes, conducted a three-month national search and reviewed 230 applications.

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission is celebrating 40 years of increasing public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

For more information, visit (www.SouthCarolinaArts.com) or call (803) 734-8696.

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.

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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 (http://www.beltonsc.com/arts.htm).

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.