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S.C. Arts Commission Press Releases

S.C. Arts Commission Continues Survey of Tradition Bearers


Aug. 15 , 2012

Media Contact:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698


COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Arts Commission’s Folklife and Traditional Arts Program, in collaboration with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, has launched the third phase of the Survey of South Carolina’s Tradition Bearers. Tradition bearers practice traditional arts handed down from generation to generation in an informal manner and not in a classroom.

Maria Arroyo has been contracted to identify tradition bearers in four South Carolina counties: Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell and Orangeburg.  Arroyo has a doctorate degree in school psychology (Quito-Ecuador, South America) and is a graduate of the S.C. Arts Commission’s Institute for Community Scholars. She has presented at conferences around the state and the U.S. about the advantages of biculturalism in an ever-changing society. In addition to her daily work as a parent educator with Lexington School District One, Maria compiles traditions in El Recado newsletter from the first generation of Spanish-speaking families that have settled in the Lexington County area.


“The survey is needed because many tradition bearers do not identify themselves as artists,” explained Julianne Carroll, program director. “Someone such as a cast net maker may not think to come to the S.C. Arts Commission or other cultural organizations for support; they are simply doing what they know and love. In order to encourage the practice of their art forms and to assist tradition bearers in sharing their knowledge and expertise, we must first identify them.”


More than 70 artists have been identified in 13 counties since the survey launched in October 2009. Traditions practiced by these artists include chair caning, instrument making, basket weaving and quilt making.


This phase of the survey begins in mid-August 2012 and will be completed by June 2013.  With support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities CouncilSC, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, it is expected that tradition bearer identification will have been conducted in all of S.C.’s counties by the end of 2014.


Individuals or organizations wishing to bring a tradition bearer to the attention of the S.C. Arts Commission should contact Carroll at JCarroll@arts.sc.gov or (803)734-8764.


About the Folklife and Traditional Arts program

The Folklife and Traditional Arts Program is designed to encourage, promote, conserve and honor the diverse community-based art forms that make South Carolina distinct. The major initiatives of the program serve both established and emerging cultural groups that call South Carolina home.


About the S.C. 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.