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A Long-Range Plan for the Arts in
South Carolina, 2011- 2020

The Long-Range Plan for the Arts


This new 10-year plan includes outcomes identified by the public and objectives that will mark progress toward these priorities. The outcomes and objectives in this new plan are deliberately broadoutlining general areas where the arts have real opportunities to make progress and generate value in the next decade. As circumstances, technologies and economies change, the broad nature of the outcomes provides a common reference point as those working in the arts set their own strategies for achieving progress.


Clearly, while the Arts Commission fully accepts its leadership role in creating the plan and monitoring progress, it cannot accomplish all that is outlined. Indeed, for this to truly be a long-range plan for the arts in South Carolina and an instrument of real progress, arts organizations and arts providers must adopt the plan's objectives as their own. This long-range plan was created based on input from the public and the arts community as a guide for the arts community as it serves the public. With collaboration, partnerships and shared purpose, much in this plan can be accomplished to ensure that the arts flourish and benefit all South Carolinians.


Outcome 1

South Carolina citizens and visitors benefit from diverse opportunities for relevant, rewarding arts experiences in communities throughout the state.


Public value:

  • The arts contribute to individual quality of life and strengthen bonds among community members through shared artistic experiences. The availability of such experiences is a key selling point in recruiting and retaining talent and industry and attracting visitors.
  • Competitive businesses need to hire creative people, and creative people want to live in communities where they can have a variety of satisfying arts experiences.
  • Cultural tourists, who spend more and stay longer than average tourists, seek out destinations where they can have great arts experiences.
  • Thirty percent of South Carolinians consider themselves to be artists (S.C. Survey 2007), and their creative activity is a major part of their arts experience, underlying their identities as creative people. Individual creative activity is a growing part of overall arts participation.
  • Broad and diverse participation in the arts is a positive indicator of vibrant communities, cultural diversity, creativity and educational achievement.



  1. Arts availability. A diverse base of supporters, including state and local leaders, government agencies, civic organizations, businesses, arts organizations and artists work together to ensure that arts opportunities are available in all S.C. communities.
  2. Relevant experiences. Arts providers engage with their communities to develop relevant arts programming, to make people aware of these opportunities and to ensure that participants benefit from and enjoy their arts experiences.
  3. Equitable access. Recognize and remove physical, social and economic barriers that limit arts participation, especially among people in rural communities, people with disabilities and people of color.
  4. Creative expression. Celebrate and support the many ways individual South Carolinians engage in artistic expression and creativity, from traditional crafts to computer music.


Outcome 2

South Carolina's professional artists are able to produce exceptional art and build satisfying, sustainable careers in our state.


Public value:

  • The arts, and all the benefits they bring, depend on the presence of capable artists in all disciplines. They are the “supply side” of the arts economy, participating fully as producers and consumers.
  • Higher quality of life follows artists. They often lead the way in rehabilitating depressed neighborhoods, and where artists congregate, so do other creative professionals. Commerce and economic development inevitably follow.
  • Architects and designers have a profound influence on the built environment in our communities and add an aesthetic dimension to much of our everyday experience.
  • Artists play key roles in arts education, which is a fundamental element of the 21st-century curriculum.
  • Artists contribute to a positive image of South Carolina. When one considers the many nationally and internationally renowned people from South Carolina, a great number of them are artists.



  1. Partnerships and networks. Artists develop creative partnerships and peer networks within and among arts disciplines to create professional opportunities and to make the most efficient use of resources.
  2. Artists as citizens. Artists play active, public roles in their communities—as creative resources, small business leaders, developers, teachers, mentors, advocates and elected officials—to increase opportunities, raise visibility and to help develop communities that support artists as fully contributing citizens.
  3. Lifelong learning. Artists participate in a learning continuum from pre-professional to ongoing career training that strengthens business practices as well as artistic skills.


Outcome 3

Students receive a comprehensive education in the arts that develops their creativity, problem solving and collaborative skills, and prepares them for a lifetime of engagement with the arts and productive citizenship.


Public value:

  • Quality arts education contributes to K-12 educational achievement, which is a critical issue for our state. Research shows that students involved in arts education perform better, have better attendance records, and have parents who are more engaged in the education process.
  • South Carolina is recognized as a national leader and innovator in the arts education field thanks to its long-term efforts to improve curriculum and instruction in this important area.
  • Creativity is fundamental to innovation in all fields, not just the arts, and South Carolina’s success in the global economy demands citizens who are creative, adept at problem solving and collaboration, and culturally literate. Arts education is an important means by which these skills and the creative process are developed.
  • In a business environment where routine processes are either being automated or outsourced overseas, innovation, fueled by creativity, is the source and substance of good jobs that stay in South Carolina.
  • Arts education prepares citizens to participate in the arts in a range of roles—from creator to supporter to consumer—and people who participate in the arts are more likely to take part in other aspects of civic life.



  1. Partnerships. Organizations and government agencies, businesses, parents and educators employ local, state and national partnerships to advance education in and through the arts for South Carolina’s students.
  2. Public policy. Organizations, decision-makers and grass roots advocates work together to create local, state and national public policies that ensure a quality, sequential, standards-based arts education for all students.
  3. Innovative teaching. Organizations and advocates promote the value of arts education and arts-integrated learning as innovative models for effective teaching of South Carolina’s students.
  4. Capacity. Organizations and government agencies help schools and school districts increase their capacities to provide a quality, comprehensive arts education and to integrate the arts with other core subjects.


Outcome 4

South Carolina arts organizations and other arts providers have the capacity and necessary resources to deliver relevant, high quality arts experiences to citizens and visitors.


Public value:

  • Healthy arts organizations and other arts providers (civic organizations, recreation departments, commercial galleries, live music venues, etc.) are important parts of the arts delivery system.
  • Arts facilities and the organizations behind them often serve as “anchors” in thriving communities and act as catalysts for revitalization. They contribute to a quality of life that attracts creatives and the companies that rely on them.
  • Healthy arts organizations and providers are able to offer better compensation and attract more capable and accomplished professionals to serve in staff positions.
  • Many arts providers deliver programs that support quality education.
  • High quality programs and events presented by arts organizations attract national and international attention and contribute to a positive image for our state, attracting tourists and other visitors and building pride of place in our communities.



  1. Funding and support. Public and private organizations provide funding and other support for arts organizations and arts providers. Individuals participate as board members, volunteers, donors and audiences.
  2. Accountability. Arts organizations and arts providers (both nonprofit and for-profit) follow best practices in strategic planning; board, staff and volunteer development; financial management; programming; and communications and technology to ensure sustainability, quality and relevance to their communities.
  3. Partnerships and networks. Arts organizations and arts providers develop networks and pursue a “seat at the table” with other sectors responsible for community planning, economic development, tourism, education, etc., on local, state and regional levels.


Outcome 5

There is broad recognition within the state and beyond its borders of the value of and unique contribution made by the arts in South Carolina.


Public value:

  • There is no question that the arts contribute substantially to South Carolina’s economy, education and quality of life.
  • The creative industries in South Carolina directly and indirectly support nearly $2.8 billion in wages, more than 78,000 jobs and $9.2 billion in economic output.
  • If the arts are to continue to thrive, there must be broader recognition of the arts’ contributions both within and outside of the state. Public officials, business leaders, educators and individual citizens must understand that the arts depend upon the right mix of public- and private-sector support.
  • Wider recognition of the Palmetto State as a home for world-class arts opportunities and a creative, well-educated workforce will do much to strengthen the state’s positive image in the minds of residents and as a destination and a welcoming location for new commerce and industry.



  1. Unified messages. Artists, arts leaders and arts advocates work together to develop and communicate consistent messages about the arts in South Carolina—for “branding,” promotion and advocacy.
  2. Communicating value. Arts leaders and artists effectively communicate the value of their work in ways that are meaningful to a variety of audiences.
  3. Research and documentation. Arts organizations and government agencies perform or commission credible research that documents the value of the arts.
  4. Partnering for promotion. Artists, arts leaders and arts advocates partner with other entities promoting our state or region (e.g., S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; chambers of commerce; state and local economic development agencies; regional organizations) to ensure that the state's artistic resources and accomplishments are included as an important part of the story—part of our “claim to fame.”
  5. Relationships and advocacy. Artists, arts leaders and arts advocates cultivate relationships with elected officials and policymakers at all governmental levels.  These relationships should be based on listening and learning as well as direct advocacy.
  6. Monitoring effectiveness. Periodically monitor public participation in and perception of the arts as a means of gauging effectiveness of all of the efforts outlined in this plan.