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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

C. Thomas "Tommy" Wyche and Mary Jackson

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards

C. Thomas "Tommy" Wyche

 A resident of Greenville, Tommy Wyche has been a key champion for the arts for nearly 50 years. An arts patron, fundraiser, advocate and volunteer, Wyche was the original chairman of the Greenville Arts Festival, which has evolved into the nationally renowned Artisphere event. He was also the principal leader in developing downtown Greenville’s Heritage Green campus, which has served as the center of Greenville’s arts and cultural scene for four decades. His efforts have been vital in transforming Greenville into a place of such vibrant attractiveness that its Main Street recently was named one of America’s “10 Great Streets” by the American Planning Association. Wyche’s efforts to reinvent this area reached far beyond urban renewal; at every turn, he labored to ensure that the arts would be at the heart of a re-created downtown. A key player in establishing the Governor’s School for the Arts in Greenville—and building it adjacent to Reedy River Falls Park—Wyche most recently helped plan the proposed Reedy Square visitor center, which will include both display and production space for local painters, sculptors and other artists.


Mary Jackson

 A native of Charleston, Mrs. Jackson is a master fiber artist whose intricately coiled vessels preserve the centuries-old craft of sweet grass basketry and push the tradition into the mainstream art world. Her work is exhibited widely in national juried shows and is represented in galleries, museums, public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Jackson is a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius award,” and has been recognized with many other awards such as the Lifetime Achievement in Craft Arts award from the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She is a founding member of the Mount Pleasant Sweet Grass Basket Makers Association, and she is a leader in efforts to protect threatened sweetgrass habitats, thus ensuring that there will be access to these resources for future generations of basket makers.