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The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards



Deadline: Nominations for the 2017 awards must be emailed, postmarked or hand-delivered by Tuesday, November 1, 2016.


Category Descriptions


  • ARTS IN EDUCATION – open to SC individuals and institutions whose primary function is arts education. May include: arts educators (teachers, consultants, principals, administrators), schools, school districts, college/university arts departments, etc.
  • ORGANIZATION – open to SC organizations who contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts. May include: arts discipline organizations, arts councils, arts advocacy groups, guilds, arts departments of organizations, educational institutions, etc.
  • GOVERNMENT – open to agencies and institutions generally described as units of state, county or municipal governments that have served their communities in outstanding ways through the arts, OR elected or appointed officials who, in their official capacities, have demonstrated notable support for the arts through leadership and public policy.
  • BUSINESS/FOUNDATION – open to SC individuals, or companies and foundations whose participation, support, and/or contributions have benefited the maintenance and growth of the arts.
  • INDIVIDUAL – open to SC individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through their leadership, support, and advancement of the arts. May include: arts professionals such as managers, administrators; arts supporters such as patrons, promoters, donors, etc.
  • INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – open to SC artists of exceptional talent and creativity, in any discipline, whose contribution to the arts has helped guide and influence directions, trends and aesthetic practices across the state or to national or international levels.


The S.C. Arts Commission may choose not to present an award in a particular category in a given year. In addition to the above categories, the S.C. Arts Commission may choose to give Special Awards for achievements falling outside the defined categories.




  • Commissioners and staff of the SC Arts Commission and members of their immediate families are not eligible for nomination;
  • Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination;
  • Past recipients of Verner Awards are not eligible for nomination for 10 years following their award.


Required Materials


  1. Contact Information Form

    The contact information form is a PDF document. How to Use PDFs

  2. Please provide all requested information about the nominee and the person submitting the nomination. Please check the appropriate category for the nomination (see Category Descriptions).

  3. Letter of Nomination

    The nomination letter should describe the nominee's exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina. It should be no more than three (one-sided) typed pages, using 12-point type, and should address any characteristics included in the Category Descriptions. It should include specific examples and relevant data wherever possible. The letter should be structured to answer the following questions:

    • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
    • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
    • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
    • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state's highest award in the arts?


Nomination letters should be addressed to:


Verner Award Nomination Committee

South Carolina Arts Commission

1026 Sumter St., Suite 200

Columbia, SC 29201


The nomination letter may be in MS Word or PDF format.


How the Selection Process Works


The S.C. Arts Commission releases a call for Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts nominations. The nomination guidelines and forms are posted on the agency's website and are also available in print upon request.


The Board of Commissioners of the S.C. Arts Commission appoints a diverse selection committee to review the nominations and make recommendations to the board for final approval. Members of the selection committee may include artists, arts professionals, educators, members of the business community, state or local government, citizens at large and others. The composition of the selection committee changes each year.


Copies of the nomination forms and letters are sent to each member of the selection committee for their review in advance of the committee's meeting. After its initial review of all the nominations received, the selection committee will narrow the selections in each category and request additional information or materials in support of the nomination. Types of additional materials may include resumes, letters of support, work samples, media materials, publications or images. These materials should only be submitted if requested by the committee.


The committee will meet again to review support materials and make final selections to recommend to the Board of the Commissioners of the S.C. Arts Commission, which has final approval. Notification of award recipients and those not selected should take place by March.


The awards ceremony and related events are tentatively scheduled for early May in Columbia.


Where to Send a Nomination


The contact information form and nomination letter must be emailed, postmarked or hand-delivered by November 1, 2016.


Mail or deliver to:


Verner Award Nomination Committee

South Carolina Arts Commission

1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200

Columbia, SC 29201


Email to:


Victoria McCurry



About the Verner Awards


For more information about the Verner Awards, please contact Victoria McCurry, 803-734-8696.