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

The Long-Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina

Guadalcanal (detail), by Manning B. Williams

The 2001 Canvas of the People identified the needs and issues reflected in the objectives that follow. These objectives have been ordered into seven themes:

  1. Artist Opportunities

  2. Arts Education reK-12

  3. Collaboration

  4. Knowledge and Communication

  5. Marketing and Advocacy

  6. Participation

  7. Resource Development

While the South Carolina Arts Commission's annual plans and programs from 2001-2010 will be directed toward accomplishing these objectives, this is not a plan for the Arts Commission alone. Just as the participation of wide ranging and diverse arts communities was necessary for a successful planning process, the success of the plan depends on the combined efforts of all South Carolina arts communities, with support from their communities at large.

Artist Opportunities

Every aspect of the arts "ecosystem", and therefore this plan, hinges on the work of artists, without whom there would be no art or arts community. Artists want their work to be experienced and valued by a larger community and they want to earn a living wage from their creative work. Current pressing needs include better marketing, within South Carolina and expanding into national and international markets, and more low-cost spaces for both the creation and presentation of art. Within the broader arts community, artists face special challenges in gaining access to resources, markets, and audiences.


  1. Support artists' efforts to earn fair compensation for their work.
  2. Increase the number of opportunities for artists to create, publish, exhibit, distribute, and perform their work, so that it can be experienced by a larger community, including state, national and international audiences.
  3. Support organizations and facilities where artists can create and present their work.
  4. Assist artists in connecting with agents, galleries, publishers, distributors and others who can expand their markets and provide access to more commissions, sales and bookings.
  5. Support artistic training for artists and provide critical response to their work that will set high standards of quality for art produced in South Carolina.

Arts Education, PreK-12

Learning in the arts is an essential element of a complete education. We must work to ensure that every child in South Carolina, from pre-school through 12th grade, has access to a quality, comprehensive education in the arts, provided as a core component of the basic curriculum of every school. This basic arts curriculum should address all art forms, including dance, drama, literature, music, and visual art, and explore the broad range of artistic expression, from the arts of traditional cultures to contemporary media.


  1. Maintain statewide momentum toward excellent arts education through strategic partnerships at all levels-from single schools to the national education reform arena.
  2. Increase understanding of and support for arts education among decision-makers at all levels.
  3. Work to establish and maintain public policies and systems of accountability that promote quality, comprehensive arts education for all students.
  4. Increase individual schools' and school districts' capacities to implement comprehensive arts education.
  5. Increase knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity in the arts among educators and students.
  6. Make quality arts experiences available to all school-age children and young people both during and after the regular school day, through artist residencies, partnerships with local arts resources, and after-school arts programs.


Artists and arts administrators must reach out to others outside their current "spheres of influence" and purposefully pursue relationships and opportunities for partnership with other arts, business and community leaders. We must recognize that we have common interests with others operating within the arts arena and in other sectors of our society and seek to build relationships that advance these common interests.


  1. Promote mutually beneficial business and arts partnerships.
  2. Stimulate creative collaborations within individual arts disciplines and between disciplines in the arts community that will increase cooperation, enhance impact and make most efficient use of limited resources.
  3. Pursue arts partnerships with community, state, regional, national, and international agencies and organizations, especially those involved in tourism, economic development, community health, preservation, recreation, and others with whom the arts find productive intersections.
  4. Develop new models of patronage that engage artists and arts organizations with non-profit and private sector organizations and individuals in on-going relationships as well as specific projects.

Knowledge and Communication

Artists, arts educators and arts organizations are eager for accurate and up to date information about the arts and issues that affect the arts. There is a desire for a central source for authoritative research data and practical knowledge. Information sharing multiplies opportunities. Better communication stimulates innovation. Creative networking and information exchange will encourage collaboration within and across disciplines and stimulate collaboration between organizations and artists.


  1. Develop effective networks and regular opportunities for exchange of information within the South Carolina arts community and with others outside that community.
  2. Perform accurate, relevant research on the arts and issues that impact the arts, and disseminate the findings for the greatest strategic benefit.
  3. Build capacity within state agencies, organizations and institutions to help South Carolina arts providers gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Marketing and Advocacy

In order to build an environment in which the arts can thrive, we must deliberately raise the profile of arts providers and supporters in South Carolina. We must increase the public's understanding and appreciation of the artistic process and gain more and better coverage and criticism of the arts through all media outlets. We must build understanding of the relationship between community development and the arts until the arts are regarded as a vital resource for prosperity and health by the businesses, citizens, and government leaders of South Carolina. We must keep the arts on the public agenda at the local, state and national levels and influence public policy in favor of the arts.


  1. Develop marketing and information systems that help citizens easily identify and connect with arts resources that fit their needs and interests.
  2. Train artists and arts organizations in professional marketing techniques, and build skills throughout the arts community in obtaining press and media coverage.
  3. Build public understanding and appreciation of the "behind-the-scenes" creative process through which works of art are produced.
  4. Monitor and communicate the public's opinions and values regarding the importance of arts in the schools and communities and their desire for public funding to support the arts.
  5. Understand and document the economic impact of the arts themselves and the influence of the arts on general economic development. Share this information with all potential partners, and publicize it broadly.
  6. Develop ongoing relationships with local, state and federal legislators and legislative staff, and cultivate two-way communication that increases their understanding of the arts and the legitimate role of government in their support, while providing arts advocates with greater access to and better understanding of the legislative process.
  7. Engage business leaders and other influential allies to advocate for arts and arts education.
  8. Influence public policy at all levels including city, county, state, and federal, in support of the arts and public funding of the arts.


Recent research shows a decline in arts participation across all population groups in South Carolina. Recognizing this, we must learn more about the nature of cultural participation in order to broaden, deepen and diversify public involvement with the arts at every level. In this state, where cultural and ethnic diversity is increasing, there are multiple arts communities that reflect this diversity. As a state, we must ensure access to a wide range of high quality arts experiences for South Carolinians of all cultures and ages, honoring and supporting expressive traditions wherever they flourish.


  1. Understand and seek to meet the arts needs of the full diversity of people in our state. Provide access to the arts for all citizens and support for the arts of all citizens.
  2. Build greater understanding among arts providers of arts participation as individual and social behavior, so that they can develop more successful approaches to engaging a variety of participants in a variety of ways.
  3. Understand, anticipate and keep pace with the changing demographics of South Carolina communities. Reflect the diversity of the community served in all domains of arts organizations, including board composition, staffing, programming, and marketing.
  4. Remove physical and social barriers to arts participation. Make specific efforts to eliminate practical and perceptual obstacles that limit participation especially among rural, disabled, and diverse populations.
  5. Establish arts programs and services that offer participants opportunities for broader and deeper experiences over time.

Resource Development

People are the fundamental arts resource. We must invest in people, focusing on leadership development and capacity building, in order to move forward. Developing good leaders who can stretch limited resources, open doors to new resources, and build broad, vigorous participation will ensure healthy arts organizations that provide high quality artistic experiences. Arts organizations must keep pace with a rapidly changing and increasingly demanding culture. We must seek new sources of funding, new skills, and new relationships in order to support new and diverse forms of expression and engagement. But to do these things, we must constantly renew our fundamental resource. We must foster the development of those currently in the field and begin to grow and mentor the next generation of artists, arts leaders, participants and patrons now.


  1. Develop training and technical assistance to increase leadership potential and organizational capacity for arts groups statewide. Increase the number of arts organizations with boards, volunteers and staffs who have the knowledge and skills they need to achieve high levels of artistic quality, organizational health and community participation.
  2. Strengthen cooperative relationships among arts funders across sectors (private, corporate, government) and between these funders and the artists and arts organizations they may support.
  3. Increase funding from state government and other sources for support of South Carolina artists and arts organizations.
  4. Develop and deploy resources (people, information, facilities, etc.) that meet needs effectively and efficiently. Encourage the sharing of resources among individuals and organizations.
  5. Increase the number of individual collectors, donors, volunteers and patrons active in the arts in South Carolina and recognize their contributions.
  6. Develop convenient, accessible ways for people in the arts to connect with the full range of resources available to support their work.
  7. Understand the changing needs of career artists and arts organizations as they mature over time and develop resources appropriate to different stages of careers and life-cycles.