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A Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina,

Canvas of the People 2010


Monday, Feb. 22

Columbia Museum of Art


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


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


  • Illinois Art in Architecture program is a good example of a “percent for art” program that should be mandatory when buildings are constructed or renovated. A percentage of the construction budget is designated to purchase art from the state’s artists. In Illinois, one-half of one percent of the construction appropriation is spent on the acquisition of artwork for new and renovated buildings that are open to the general public.
  • How many projects have been carried out through S.C.’s Percent for Art program?
  • Individual support of the arts remains strong. Individuals are buying tickets and donating. The need is evident. Corporate support is off.
  • As an artist in residence, I have had opportunities to use the arts to teach other subjects - social studies, for example, and would like the chance to do more of that.
  • The Arts in Basic Curriculum project (ABC) is working.
  • Healing arts program in Kershaw County.
  • Several arts organizations have done some amazing things. The Columbia Museum of Art has doubled its attendance and membership in the last few years. The S.C. Philharmonic’s new music director. The 701 Center for Contemporary Art, which opened just as the economy tanked, but yet it hasn’t pulled back. Another example, the Marionette Theater. Some organizations with small budgets are getting things right.
  • Columbia City Ballet has been invited to perform “Off the Wall” in Chicago.
  • Artists want to perform, show work and be visible. There are great artists doing great things.
  • I wouldn’t be an artist without the Internet. I reach people from all over the world and next door. Using Internet, Facebook and Twitter are great ways to communicate and reach a subset of the population.  Need a way to consolidate and reach a broader audience.
  • Southern Exposure new music series.
  • Lots of people interested in the arts, multiple and diverse opportunities.
  • Arts ARE part of a basic education.
  • Arts in education is working with Columbia City Ballet, helping with the bottom line through field trips, etc.
  • Collaborations and partnerships are working.
  • Arts as economic development works in Rock Hill and helps with tourism.
  • There’s a growing interest in civic engagement and politics.
  • New, exciting, fresh innovative things in S.C.


What is one of the biggest challenges facing the arts where you live?


  • There is an interest in using Native American artists, but a challenge is finding funds to support the work. There’s an opportunity for partnerships, working with the Humanities Council for example. There is eagerness among many potential levels of partnerships, but there are limited resources.
  • Work with Native populations – their expressions touch on all other cultures. Invest funds and focus on Native Old World/New World collaborations. Example: how Canada is showcasing its Native culture during the Winter Olympics.
  • Gullah Heritage Corridor – find funds to train people to preserve culture; start with Native people. Acknowledge, celebrate, preserve, promote and collaborate. Funds would trickle down.
  • Education about taking care of cultural property and knowing the difference between restoration and conservation of art work. Partnering, understanding and advice on conservation and restoration. Need better understanding on how to preserve objects.
  • Educating children about the arts - competing with technology.
  • How do we find out what is art for everyone?
  • Is there a right way to teach art – are we losing the teenagers through early-20s adults?
  • A fund or initiative that helps local artists take their work outside the state.
  • There’s an image issue. There’s not always a clear definition of “S.C. artist.” S.C. is not on the map arts-wise (internally yes, but not outside.)
  • Arts organizations tend to focus on “their little thing.”
  • Encouraging young people to pursue the arts as a career. Teens may not pursue art as a viable career for fear of not making a living.  Have career days to introduce teens to field of arts. Reach out to local school districts and offer career instruction. Some districts are looking for this resource and will be interested.
  • Hands-on arts education for seniors (older adults).
  • Funding.
  • Political climate – challenge to communicate that arts are an economic driver. Raise priority level and value of the arts.
  • Cooperation and communication between arts presenters involving calendars, for both coordination and competition.
  • Creating compelling argument for money from funders.
  • The way this question is worded is part of the problem. We need to stop thinking locally and export what we’re doing outside the state.
  • Consolidate modes of communications to determine which markets use which communications tools.
  • Importance of art varies by age. Art enriches life – not just theatre, but food you are served. We’re losing part of teenage demographic due to technology – games, computers, etc. How do we find out what art is to different age levels?
  • Money will follow good art. Example – “art prize.”
  • Money is an issue. Question is how do you spend it? Lack of interest and leadership. Leaders only concentrate on pet projects. Look who’s not here – city council, county council, cultural council.


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


  • Provide students with mentors to include more people we normally do not include.
  • More public places to see art, more exposure.
  • Diversity in education and culture.
  • The arts are critical in retaining grace and civility in society.
  • Need to reach those who are “walled-in” – get the arts into the DNA of young people, make available more pragmatic opportunities.
  • Churches are clueless about the arts. Need to educate churches on what has been in the past a rich source of funding. As a “pastor of the arts” it's difficult to find church staff who think of art as anything other than music performed in church. Need to educate them about other art forms for mutual benefit and collaboration.
  • Mobilize those who support the arts to talk to funders.
  • We are too focused on insular thinking – tunnel vision. Need to think harder about exporting art outside of the state, drop local thinking and become part of the larger national conversation.
  • Art is in everything, everything is in art. Get out of the “head box.” We limit ourselves by how we think about art – don’t limit perceptions of art.
  • Attracting new audiences.
  • Provide local outlets for professional musicians, who sometimes have difficulty attracting interest
  • Tourism is no. 1 industry in our state. There are opportunities for the arts to partner with Parks, Recreation and Tourism.  Incorporate arts in cultural tourism. Tell new audiences these arts opportunities are going on while they are visiting. They need to know what else is going on.
  • More pride in great art. As a state we don’t realize what we have. Embrace and build on our strengths, be positive.
  • New audiences – diversify to include youth and disabled individuals. Use mentors. For example, have disabled artists work with disabled youth.
  • Community collaboration opportunities.