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A Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina,

Canvas of the People 2010


Thursday, March 25

Aiken Center for the Arts


Here's what we heard at the Aiken Canvas forum:


What is one thing that is working in the arts, either in your community, the state or elsewhere?


  • Arts are bringing the community together.
  • North Augusta has a successful artist guild that reaps great benefits. They get together to pursue artistic interests
  • Aiken Arts Center’s work helps the economy through various programs, rentals, etc. The Center provides opportunities for artists to earn income
  • Increased sharing among arts organizations during downturn
  • Collaboration between arts and adult learning program that features the arts
  • Collaboration among artists among disciplines, which results in increased and/or new audiences
  • North Augusta has ongoing events for kids and parents. The programs have grown 400% (e.g. annual art show)
  • North Augusta grants to arts teachers
  • E-mail calendar of arts events/coordination/communication
  • S.C. is open to the arts and writers
  • Augusta festival has spread across the state line. It is successful despite the economy.


What is one of the biggest challenges facing the arts?


  • Money
  • Education: testing vs. arts; funding cuts affects arts first
  • Competing with sports culture
  • Finding right place for audience (competing for venues)
  • Calendar is so busy - “too many” choices
  • Trying to elevate volunteer board members who come to the organization as practitioners of their art and who are then expected to suddenly think like board members. Arts groups would benefit from guidance from professionals in board development and training
  • Growing next level of talent; nonprofit management
  • Technology divide
  • Arts organizations should work together more; competing for money rather than pooling resources
  • Search for productive, appropriate, diverse board members
  • Need appropriate scale of resources/assistance for small organizations.
  • How many is too many arts organizations?
  • Technology is moving so quickly; it’s hard to keep up; Need funding and training


What is a great opportunity for the arts in our state?


  • Need more young people (30s – 40s) to be more involved and trained to be the next generation of volunteers and board members; bring along the next generation
  • Percent for art – government money used for art during construction
  • How can schools keep art alive with less funding; creative use of fewer dollars and teachers; an energetic, engaged teacher can do a lot with a little money
  • Technology is a bridge to youth and young audiences. (They understand the technology and could be resources to move the arts organization to use the technology)
  • Technology is likely to have a major impact on the performing arts beyond marketing. If theaters start offering "live" performances on the Web, will that cut the audiences for local productions? Producing organizations are often too involved in the day-to-day activities to think about these issues.  The Arts Commission could help arts groups navigate this new territory by funding a specialist in this area.
  • Arts should link to tourism
  • Change mindset of education system that arts are an “extra”
  • Churches programs that offer art and gospel singing
  • Opportunity to educate higher levels (government, etc.) on importance of arts advocacy
  • State can be a forerunner in the arts
  • S.C. Arts Commission is a resource – throw a wider net to remind arts organizations of SCAC services
  • Possible directory of arts organizations
  • Interaction/collaboration to get to know other groups (e.g. attend conferences, festivals)
  • Teach arts organizations to advocate/reach higher level