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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

The City of Lancaster, South Carolina

2015 Government Award


City of LancasterIn recent years, the City of Lancaster has shown a remarkable commitment to serving the community through outstanding support of the arts. The vital nature of the municipal government’s efforts stands out given the severe social, cultural and economic challenges facing the city. High rates of adult illiteracy, unemployment and poverty have been barriers for the city and its citizens. The arts have been a central means through which the city has sought to address these challenges and positively shape the destiny of a rural community.


The city provides substantial in-kind and direct financial support to the Lancaster County Council of the Arts and the Lancaster County School District and partners with the arts council and the district as a Kennedy Center Partner in Education. This partnership and the city's collaboration with artists and businesses have resulted in an impressive and rapidly growing portfolio of community-wide art projects and programs, including Night of the Living Arts, Ladies Night Out, the Spring Arts Crawl, community concerts, the Nutcracker Ballet, the Student Art Banner and Art Cubes Public Arts Project, public sculpture and mural projects, and storefront art exhibits. The city also partners with USC Lancaster to support the Native American Studies Center, bringing Native American Arts and educational opportunities to the region.


Recently the City of Lancaster has achieved a high profile across the state through the success of the Ag+Art Tour initiative – providing leadership to other S.C. counties in developing tourism around the convergence of agriculture and the arts. Lancaster stands out as a model of civic commitment to draw upon the power of the arts to enrich communities in myriad ways.