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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

S.C. Arts Commission Announces Poetry Out Loud State Champion

March 19, 2013

Media Contacts:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Arts Commission announces Katherine Murchison, a junior at Charleston County School of the Arts, as the state champion for the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Murchison advances to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place April 29-30 in Washington, D.C. The national champion receives a $20,000 scholarship.


As the state champion, Murchison receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national finals. The Charleston County School of the Arts library also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.


Murchison was one of nine regional finalists who competed at the Columbia Museum of Art during state finals March 16. Each recited two poems they had memorized and perfected during school-wide and regional competitions that took place throughout the state from October to January, when more than 4,000 students began the competition. Three students were named state finalists and recited a third poem to determine the winner.


Justin Fox, a senior at Spartanburg High School, was named state runner-up. He receives $100, and his school library receives a $200 poetry book stipend. Kynnedi McManus, a senior at Strom Thurmond High School in Edgefield County, was the third state finalist.


Other state finals participants were Ashley Kiley, Crescent High School, Anderson County; Ashley Tisdale, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County; Brandon Ellison, Ridge View High School, Richland County; Jada Daniels, Westwood High School, Richland County; Sarah Moody, Ashley Hall, Charleston County; and Whitaker Gannon, Hilton Head Preparatory, Beaufort County.


Competition judges were Darion McCloud, creative director of the NiA Theatre Company and a master storyteller; Otis Taylor, the arts, culture and entertainment reporter for The State newspaper; Susan Vanderborg, poetry and fiction instructor at the University of South Carolina; and Theresa (T.J.) Wallace, grants and program officer for the Humanities CouncilSC. Also in attendance was Michael Holtmann, the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Out Loud program director.


Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed.


The South Carolina Arts Commission works with several partners to produce Poetry Out Loud: the Columbia Museum of Art, the S.C. Department of Education, S.C. ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” with Doug Keel, Hub City Writers Project (Region 1), the Sumter County Cultural Commission and the University of South Carolina Sumter Division of Arts and Letters (Region 2), and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (Region 3).


For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or contact Frances Kablick Keel.


About the South Carolina Arts Commission:
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.