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S.C. Arts Commission Press Releases

Folklorists to Survey S.C.'s Tradition Bearers


Oct. 6 , 2011

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 Survey of South Carolina’s Tradition Bearers. Five folklorists have been contracted to identify traditional artists and folklife practitioners throughout the state. Tradition bearers practice traditional arts handed down from generation to generation in an informal manner and not in a classroom.  A special aspect of the survey involves work with refugees who have been resettled in S.C. Individuals or organizations who know of tradition bearers or refugee communities are invited to contact program director Julianne Carroll, JCarroll@arts.sc.gov.

“The survey is necessary because many tradition bearers do not identify themselves as artists,” explained Carroll. “Someone such as a cast net maker wouldn’t necessarily think to come to the S.C. Arts Commission or other arts and culture agencies for support; they are simply doing what they know and love. In order to encourage the practice of their art forms and to assist them in sharing their knowledge and expertise, we must first identify them. In the case of refugees, assisting them in preserving and sharing their traditions may help them to maintain their identity while they adjust to their new home.”


The folklorists working on this project bring years of experience and expertise. Amy Skillman and Laura Marcus Green will work in Dillon, Greenville, Richland and Spartanburg counties, among others, to identify traditional arts important to refugees as well as assess what may be preventing some refugees from practicing their traditions. Maria Arroyo, Sarah Bryan and Tim Prizer will work in 12 counties to identify tradition bearers of various ethnic backgrounds who practice a variety of traditional art forms. The counties in which they will work are:


  • Maria Arroyo – Edgefield, Greenwood, Newberry, Saluda
  • Sarah Bryan – Chesterfield, Darlington, Lee, Marlboro
  • Tim Prizer – Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, York


Work will begin in late October 2011. The refugee project will conclude in December 2011, while the county project will be conducted through June 2012. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Humanities Council SC, and the S.C. Arts Commission’s Statewide Participation Initiative, it is expected that tradition bearer identification will have been conducted in all S.C. counties by 2014. Individuals or organizations wishing to bring a traditional artist or refugee community to the attention of the S.C. Arts Commission should contact Julianne 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.