South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Artist Development Programs

Supporting #SCartists

The focused initiatives below were developed to encourage, nurture and support artistic and creative growth and the  economic well-being of South Carolina artists.

The South Carolina Arts Commission and CommunityWorks, a community development finance institution based in Greenville, began this work collaborating on a pilot program designed to increase opportunities for artisans to develop and grow arts-based business ventures that contribute to the $9.7 billion generated by the state’s core creative industries.

Now joined by partners Central Carolina Community Foundation and Coastal Community Foundation, the ArtsGrowSC program combines the strengths of all four organizations to offer resources for qualifying artists, including a savings program, micro-loans, business venture loans, matching grants, personalized coaching and workshops.

ArtsGrowSC is comprised of three components targeted to artists based upon their locale and business readiness:

  • Individual Development Account (IDA) for Artisans
    This matched savings program is open to all S.C. artists. Those who qualify will commit to saving an agreed-upon amount of money over six months. The SCAC’s partners will then match the savings at a 2:1 rate; an artisan who saves $1,000 will receive a match of $2,000. Funds may be used to purchase long-term assets such as equipment or to open a small business.

    • Statewide funding support provided by CommunityWorks
    • Lowcountry/coastal county funding support provided by the Expansion Arts Fund of Coastal Community Foundation
    • Midlands funding support provided by Central Carolina Community Foundation
  • IDA to Artists Ventures Initiative (AVI)
    Artisans who take part in the initial IDA program may then qualify for the IDA to AVI program. Artisans receive personalized coaching from the Arts Commission and may apply for an Arts Commission matching Arts Project Support grant to receive business training from a recognized business development source. Additionally, the Arts Commission will help in preparing the Artists Ventures Initiative grant application.
  • Artists Ventures Initiative Business Builder Loan Program
    Artists are invited to expand their ventures with a business loan of up to $15,000 from CommunityWorks. The micro-loan could be leveraged with an IDA account. Previous Artists Ventures Initiative grantees receive priority; however, any artist may apply. (Previous AVI grantees may apply for an Arts Commission AVI-Expansion matching grant of up to $1,500 to help with application and closing costs.)

The South Carolina Arts Commission and Artists U are partners to offer ongoing training for S.C. artists. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Artists U is a grassroots planning and professional development program run by and for artists. Artists U training is designed to push artists to build lives that are balanced, productive, and sustainable.

The Artists U Weekend Intensive is offered around the state at various locations. Participants learn how to build a balanced, sustainable life by reconnecting with values, building community and slaying the two demons of the artist’s life: time and money. Workshop leaders are South Carolina artists who have completed Artists U training.

Examples of additional training offered by AU:

  • Introduction to Artists U
  • Artists U Alumni Gatherings
  • Artist Mission Statement Workshop
  • Social Media as Community

Visit Artists U/South Carolina to learn more about current training opportunities.

Artists U/South Carolina is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission as part of the S.C. Artists’ Ventures Initiative.

Serwah Armah-Koranteng, Shauna Cooper, and Darin Gehrke, current recipients of AVI grants.

S.C. Artists’ Ventures Initiative (AVI), a broad-reaching project at the Arts Commission, is dedicated to improving conditions for S.C. artists by helping them develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers. Responding to input from artists across the state about their key concerns, the Arts Commission offers the following activities:

  • Business training
    The Artists’ Ventures Initiative connects artists to affordable training from Artists U that supports their development as entrepreneurs and profitable business people.
  • Start-up support for new arts-based businesses
    Through a competitive grant program and virtual business incubator, the Artists’ Ventures Initiative supports artists with sound plans for starting new arts-based businesses.

The South Carolina Arts Commission facilitated an extensive survey of artists, teaching artists, arts organizations, and schools who utilize the Roster of Approved Artists. The results were as follows:

  • Roster artists overwhelmingly stated the two primary benefits of the current roster are marketing
    and the prestige of a juried process.
  • Arts organizations stated the biggest benefits are marketing and networking.
  • Schools stated the importance of a juried process that speaks to the quality of work and teaching ability of teaching artists.

With that in mind, learn more about the new Arts Directory and Teaching Artist Certification and how it will address all these things!

Scott Sharpe, 2018 recipient of the S.C. Novel Prize.

The South Carolina Novel Prize recognizes one of South Carolina’s exceptional writers by providing a book contract with Hub City Press.

The highly competitive contest is presented by:

  • the S.C. Arts Commission,
  • Hub City Press,
  • College of Charleston,
  • and the S.C. State Library.

All submissions will be read anonymously by our readers and judge. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community.

Scott Sharpe of Eastover (right) received the prize in 2018 for Whispering in the Wind, to be released by Hub City Press in 2019.

Applications for the next cycle of this biennial award will be accepted beginning Jan. 1, 2020.