South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Artists’ Ventures Initiative

Support for successful, sustainable arts-based business ventures

The SCAC’s Artists’ Ventures Initiative (AVI) is a grant and a program dedicated to helping #SCartists develop the knowledge and skills to build satisfying, sustainable careers.

Responding to input from artists across the state about their key concerns, the AVI offers:

  • Financial support for arts-based businesses
    • Use as start-up support to launch an arts-based business venture (or significantly alter an existing venture) that will operate in an ongoing manner.
    • Or, use it to execute a temporary venture (a one-time project or single purchase) that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability.
    • A one-time project/single purchase may be awarded up to $3,500. An ongoing business venture may be awarded up to $5,000.
  • Business training
    • AVI connects artists to affordable training options that support their development as entrepreneurs and profitable business people.

See how current and recent grantees are using AVI below.

Current grantees (FY22)

Artist statement

Camela Guevara is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Charleston. She creates handmade monuments to unsung labor. Her practice explores the intersection of art, craft, and fashion, and her work embodies a sense of pleasure and reverence for the labor of sewing. She offers a joyful alternative path of homemade fashion that honors the many skilled hands that clothe us.

Recent projects include designing fabric inspired by natural elements and experimentations in color and repetition, as well as rethinking workwear staples like the jumpsuit. Guevara’s work invites the audience to reconsider their relationship to cloth and sustainability while envisioning a new thread savvy and labor appreciative world.

How will you use your AVI grant?

I will use the AVI grant to purchase a new computer and filming equipment. I will then use these to create info-packed instructional videos on embroidery and sewing with tips and tricks from over 10 years of sewing and teaching experience.

Website

www.camelaguevara.com

Social media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

 

Artist statement

Sonny Sisan is a ceramic artist and designer based in Charleston. He creates multifunctional ceramic ware for all moments in life and challenges the idea that everyday objects are more than just strictly functional. His work explores the beauty in creating everyday objects in a very artful manner to evoke expression and spark a sense of joy. Having worked as an interior designer in the past, he is able to take his knowledge of creating intimate spaces that evoke a sense of calm to creating objects that serve as reminders of self-care and serenity in the home.

Sonny has a love for modern product design, illustration, and graphic design, which is reflected in his body of work. His work uses colors and patterns that go back and forth between his love for classic neutrals and vibrant graphic elements for his more playful works. His recent work has focused on tailoring and creating a body of heirloom objects that work cohesively as a collection and can be collected over time.

With his passion and love for ceramics, he also teaches ceramic production to the local community in Charleston out of the shared studio space he works out of called Studio Union. Sonny’s current goal with his work is to expand the use of clay beyond intimate functional objects into other parts of the home such as small-scale furniture and lighting.

How will you use your AVI grant?

The AVI Grant will help me grow my studio space even more with new equipment I need to increase production efficiently. My goal with this grant is to continue growing my business and take it to a place where I can work in my studio full time.

Website

www.studiosontosis.com

Social media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

FY21 Grantees

How did you use your AVI grant?

We requested the AVI grant to purchase a Bailey pugmill to assist with the recycling of clay.  This pugmill not only speeds up the recycling process, but it has also helped us reduce our payroll expenses and allowed us to allocate that time for other studio duties. All our wheel classes at Hollowed Earth can use recycled clay.

Websites
Social media
Representative works

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Artist statement

I have always been fascinated by the art of designing and creating garments. From the moment of selecting the fabric and having the vision. Followed by the process of designing and creating, to the moment of seeing the finished garment on a happy customer, it’s like magic.

Growing up, my father, who is a bespoke tailor, inspired me to become a fashion designer. I always admired his talent and loved the custom-made garments he made for me. They made me feel special and this was a feeling I wanted to share with others.

When I design a new collection for my handmade label Anton & Maxine, my aspiration is that each design will evoke a feeling of confidence and beauty.

What makes my designs interesting is that they are inspired by European and Asian street styles, with the combination of American comfort. My purpose is to design for Women who love to live their own style and look.

How did you use your AVI grant?

I used the AVI grant to take online marketing courses, which helped me understand and use marketing for my business. As a longtime goal it will help to grow my business and keep it competitive.

Website

www.antonandmaxineclothing.com

Social media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

Artist statement

Olivia Ruxton creates contemporary jewelry that is inspired by pairing down, focusing on traditional metalsmithing techniques, kinetic movement, and repetition of form. Her pieces highlight the juxtaposition between the natural elements of the unique semi-precious stones and the sleek modern shapes created with the sterling silver. Inspiration is drawn heavily from the arts and crafts movement in jewelry and other high craft arts such as quilting, weaving, and iron working.

Olivia’s jewelry comes to life when it is placed on the body: pivoting and swinging when the wearer moves. The intent is for the act of choosing jewelry, the sensory experience of adorning the body, and the movement of the pieces to be an engaging experience for the wearer. Jewelry has a way of becoming charged with energy and sentimental value which starts in the process of creation, is specific to the materials, and continues infinitely with the wearer.

How did you use your AVI grant?

The generous funds from the AVI grant were used to purchase casting equipment for my studio which will allow me to incorporate a new process in my work, recycle metal in house, and create multiples so I can streamline production. I was also able to build and outfit four jewelers’ benches filled with tools so I can expand my offerings to include classes and workshops to others interested in metalsmithing.

Website

oliviaruxtonjewelry.com

Social media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

Artist statement

Knowing where you came from does not help you know where you are going. Although I work in many mediums, my work with clay, namely mid-range earthenware clays fired in an electric kiln, is path I feel that leads me to my highest good. Using historical forms to channel emotion to the material and contextualize narrative, I find myself expressing that for which words fall short. The story my work tells is personal and universal; to be translated and felt by the individual observer.

Repetition is important to the work. To repeat steps in such a way that they are not only reliable, but able to build to the next idea. I use the repetition of the production of functional wares to fuel ideas for sculptural, abstracted ideas. In an unpredictable world, the solace of knowing that repeating the same steps with the same materials will yield the same results is miraculous.

How did you use your AVI grant?

The Artist Ventures Initiative Grant through the South Carolina Arts Commission has motivated me to step out on a limb and build my first pottery studio. I now have a safe, comfortable and inspiring space to accommodate my growth as an artist.

Website

www.renwickarts.com

Social media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

Questions?

If you are seeking more program information or advisement before submitting a grant application, please contact Ce Scott-Fitts (803.734.8203 | cscottfitts@arts.sc.gov), Program Director for Artist Services.