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S.C. Arts Commission Responds to Governor Haley's State of the State Address
Jan. 21, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In her Jan. 19 State of the State address, Governor Nikki Haley proposed eliminating state funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, the state agency responsible for ensuring that all citizens have equal access to and benefit from the arts.
“There are philosophical differences on this point, but the reason to have a state arts agency is so there’s someone working to make sure every citizen has the arts in their lives, not just the people who are wealthy, not just the people living in the cities,” said Ken May, executive director of the S. C. Arts Commission.
“Losing state funding would close the Arts Commission’s doors,” continued May. “Choosing to eliminate the state’s public investment in the arts, an industry that generates more than $9.2 billion dollars in economic activity annually and supports 78,000 jobs, seems like short-sighted policy at a time when we need every available advantage to grow our economy.”
Last year, the Arts Commission awarded more than 340 grants equaling $2.2 million to schools and organizations in 41 counties. The schools and organizations supported by these grants served more than 100,000 students in 338 schools, and delivered millions of individual arts experiences to their local communities.
In addition to providing grants, May says the Arts Commission provides staff assistance, guidance and leadership to arts councils, arts organizations, schools and others working to build a thriving arts environment in their communities.
“State funding through the Arts Commission is not simply aiding arts programs,” May added. “It’s an investment in building strong and healthy communities that attract tourists, new industry and an educated workforce to the state, and it’s ensuring that arts education, which contributes to academic achievement, is available to students from Pickens to Beaufort County.”
The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.