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

The Long-Range Plan Summary

"Lifted Dreams" Sherri Moore

This is a summary of the nine-year guide to arts development in our state from 2001-2010.  Because the South Carolina Arts Commission was  determined to include as many citizens as possible, this plan is developed from hundreds of points of view and shared ideas from South Carolinians all over the state. Download a PDF copy of the complete long range plan

The Canvas of the People — Process and Purpose

The name of the process for including a diverse range of South Carolinians in the creation of this plan is “The Canvas of the People”. The Canvas of the People is a 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 information collected from the Canvas of the People was used to do three things:

  • Assess needs identified by citizens

  • Identify common themes

  • Develop target objectives

The Long-Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina is to be used as a guide by federal, state, and local government agencies, artists, arts organizations, businesses, schools, and individuals in helping to advance the arts in the Palmetto State.

The Plan’s theme areas and objectives are deliberately broad. They outline general areas where the arts have real opportunities to make progress and improvements in the next decade. Naturally as circumstances, technologies and economies change so will the broad nature of the themes.

The objectives are ordered into the following seven themes:

I. 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.


  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.

II. 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.


  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.

III. Collaboration

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.


  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.

IV. 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.


  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.

V. 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.


  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.
  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.

VI. Participation

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.


  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. 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.

VII. Resource Development


  1. Develop training and technical assistance to increase leadership potential and organizational capacity for arts groups statewide.
  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.

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.

Download a PDF copy of the complete long-range plan.