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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

Carolina First Bank

Carolina First has always been a great supporter of community programs and initiatives, and that will continue as TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank. Carolina First believes that exposure to the arts is a necessity for the educational experiences of our youth and the quality of life for all. Art is fundamental to the growth, prosperity and well-being of a community, and because of this core value, Carolina First supports the arts in the many areas it serves. In the past year, the corporation has supported numerous performing and visual arts organizations. In additional to monetary contributions, Carolina First has offered space in its locations for professional and amateur artists to display artwork. Supporting Carolina First’s commitment to the arts, many company employees donate their time serving on arts boards, fundraising committees and special projects.


Nina Liu and Friends

 For almost 25 years, Nina Liu has used her Charleston- based gallery, Nina Liu and Friends, as a platform for championing and promoting the visual arts, especially contemporary art by South Carolinians. Liu’s work in nurturing artists includes using an exciting and engaging process to teach arts patrons how to build a collection. Recognizing the need for members of the arts community to work cooperatively, she was a leader in the development of the French Quarter gallery association and the establishment of the French Quarter Art Walk, which exposes Charleston residents and visitors to artwork by more than 500 artists. Referred to as a “Queen of the Arts” by Charleston City Paper, Liu serves as both a friend and mentor to the artists whose work she represents. Her personal contributions to the greater arts community include major donations to the Gibbes Museum of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery. She regularly contributes her ceramics to charitable organizations for fundraising efforts, and has established a foundation to support organizations such as Spoleto USA and Crisis Ministries.