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S.C. Arts Commission Press Releases

Belton Heritage Days at the Depot First Certified S.C. Arts and AgriCulture Event


S.C. Department of Agriculture and S.C. Arts Commission Launch Partnership


Sept. 17 , 2012

Media Contacts:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

Kelly Coakley

(803) 734-2196

Stephen Hudson

(803) 734-0648


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Agricultural history and traditional arts join hands at the eighth annual Heritage Days at the Depot in Belton, South Carolina on Oct.5 and 6. Hosted by the Belton Area Museum Association on the grounds of the historic train depot, Heritage Days promotes the traditional arts and skills from South Carolina’s cultural past by showcasing the talents of folk artists, heritage artisans and historical interpreters.

Heritage Days is the first event to be held as part of the newly established Certified S.C. Arts and AgriCulture program. A partnership of the S.C. Department of Agriculture and the S.C. Arts Commission, Arts and Agriculture is designed to enhance the Certified S.C. brand and bring awareness to the importance of the arts and agriculture to South Carolina's economy and to the quality of life and cultural well-being of the people of the state. The program is a salute to those who not only cultivate ideas through their artistic ability but also to those who cultivate and nurture the land through their ability to grow food, fiber and fuel.


Visitors who attend Heritage Days at the Depot will see presentations of living traditions by heritage artisans. Artisans sharing their knowledge at this year’s festival include two recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award – Gullah doll maker Jeanette Gaillard-Lee and chair caner Willie Van Brailey. Other artisans include indigo dyer Renee Gillespie, turkey call maker Bob Harwell, carver Joda Snipes, gourd artist Millie Chaplin, and primitive skills/fire maker Bob Perry. Nearly 2,000 schoolchildren from Anderson County join in the fun and gain a better understanding of the agricultural and artistic traditions that enhanced the quality of rural life and make up their community’s history.

“Our artisans are committed to preserving and sharing their craft with the public,” said Alison Darby, event coordinator. “They are invited to the festival because their work represents the highest level of artistic excellence and their craft has cultural significance and authenticity.”

Heritage Days at the Depot attracts thousands of community members and tourists each year and has been recognized with the 2007 Achievement Award from the South Carolina Federation of Museums and the 2008 Heritage Tourism Award from Palmetto Trust.


Artists, nonprofit and for-profit arts-based businesses and arts-related events may apply for membership in the Arts and AgriCulture program. To qualify, the applicant must be either

  • a visual, craft, performing, literary or film/media artist; or
  • a nonprofit or for-profit organization or business that represents, sells, presents or promotes a majority of artworks; or
  • a time-limited performance, exhibition, festival, etc., that presents, sells or promotes a majority of artworks.


In addition, the materials for the artwork must be made of South Carolina agricultural products either cultivated or naturally occurring, or the subject matter for the artwork must depict or suggest South Carolina agriculture or forestry themes, or the creative form for the artwork must represent South Carolina agricultural heritage or traditions associated with agriculture and forestry.


For more information about the Arts and Agriculture program or to apply for membership, contact Ansley Turnblad, (803) 734-2210, arast@scda.sc.gov.


To learn more about Heritage Days at the Depot, call Allison Darby, (864) 958-5264 or visit http://www.beltonsc.com/bamaheritage1.htm



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.