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A Long Range Plan for the Arts in
South Carolina, 2001-2010

The Canvas of the People

Indefinite Concern (detail) by Jane Allen Nodine

Canvas: noun.

1. a piece of cloth backed or framed as a surface for a painting; also, the painting on such a surface.

2. the background, setting, or scope of an historical or fictional account or narrative.

Canvass: verb.

1. to examine carefully or discuss thoroughly; scrutinize.

2. to go through (a region) or to go to (persons) to solicit votes, orders, support, or to determine opinions or sentiments.

Canvass: noun.

the act or instance of canvassing; especially a personal solicitation of votes or survey of public opinion.

The process for including a diverse range of South Carolinians in the creation of this plan is called the Canvas of the People. It is a unique, comprehensive statewide planning process designed to help the Arts Commission assess the state's artistic and cultural needs, share ideas, set priorities for future programming, develop arts networks throughout the state and build support for the arts in South Carolina.


The 2001 Canvas is the fifth to be conducted by the SCAC. Similar Canvases were conducted in 1980, 1984, 1987 and 1992. Numerous priorities identified in those earlier public surveys are now realities, including:

  • Expanded commitment to Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC)

  • Improved ABC evaluation and outreach

  • Curriculum Leadership Institute in the Arts

  • Salary Assistance and Facility Planning grants for organizations

  • More professionals working in the arts

  • Design Arts Partnership

  • Mayors Institute for Community Design

  • Cultural Visions for Rural Communities

  • Folklife & Traditional Arts Program

  • Institute for Community Scholars

  • Views from the Edge of the Century series of exhibitions

  • ArtsNet grants for internet access

  • SCAC's web site

  • Arts Calendar (now Arts Daily) radio listings of arts events

  • Email discussion groups

  • Funding increases


Many of the new initiatives and programs could not have been created without the involvement of partners in other state agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals who responded to the challenges included in the 1992 plan. Many arts providers in the state fashioned their own long range or strategic plans after the state's ten-year plan for the arts, adopting goals from the plan as their own. For the first time many organizations were intentionally working in the same direction and moving toward the same objectives.


The 1992 ten-year plan and its resulting coalitions created an environment of collaboration upon which the 2001 Canvas of the People was developed. Clearly, while the Arts Commission fully accepts its leadership role, we cannot do all that is encompassed in this plan. With collaboration, partnership and shared purpose, much can be accomplished and South Carolina's arts and artists can flourish.


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A Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina, 2001-2010


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The better the caliber
of arts we have
in our communities
the better the caliber
of businesses
we'll attract.

Claudia Smith Brinson, columnist
The State Newspaper