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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

South Carolina Arts Commission Remembers Nick Zeigler


Oct. 10, 2012

Media Contact:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The arts and education communities in South Carolina have lost a visionary and champion with the passing of Eugene N. “Nick” Zeigler of Florence.


“We are grateful for the contributions of Nick Zeigler, who understood the long-range value of state support for the arts in South Carolina,” said Dr. Sarah Lynn Hayes, Commission chairman. “As a state Senator, he wrote the legislation and led the effort to create the S.C. Arts Commission in 1967. Today we honor his memory.”


Zeigler helped create the Florence Little Theatre in 1939 and the Florence Symphony in 1950 and founded the Florence Fine Arts Council in 1954. As president of the Florence Museum, he championed the organization's move to its present location in 1953. He was also a playwright, author, historian and civil rights advocate. Zeigler was one of the first four recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards presented by the S.C. Arts Commission in 1972.


An excerpt from "Marking 40 Years and Moving Forward" (a history of the S.C. Arts Commission):

"On Oct. 28, 1965, Gov. Robert E. McNair issued Executive Order No. 5, creating the South Carolina Inter-Agency Council on Arts and Humanities, chaired by E. N. "Nick" Zeigler of Florence.  The goal of the council was "to conduct a study of the arts in South Carolina" and to "...determine the potential of the arts within the state."  Upon his election to the South Carolina Senate, Zeigler resigned from the council. After the council presented its findings, Sen. Zeigler introduced legislation to create the South Carolina Arts Commission. On June 7, 1967, Gov. McNair signed the legislation, and the South Carolina Arts Commission was in business."


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.