South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Individual Artist Fellowships

Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists.

The $8,500 awards are made through a highly competitive process.

Some key changes to the program have come as of FY22. The increasing of the award to $8,500 from $5,000 is the first. The second is the addition of more modern, inclusive disciplines to its established rotation over the course of four years: spoken word and slam poetry; time-based art, which includes installation, sound, experimental film, video art, computer-based technology or performance); choreography and directing in film, theatre, and opera; and the design arts, which include architecture, fashion, graphic, industrial, or interior.

“The fellowship program is one of the arts commission’s signature programs. It directly impacts artist development, one of the agency’s three core functions,” Artist Services Director Ce Scott-Fitts said.

“Increasing the award makes the program more prestigious, but better serves the recipients. They receive financial resources so that they may focus on developing and creating art. Adding disciplines allows for more inclusion while demonstrating how many aspects of the creative economy are touched by the arts.”

A diverse group of panelists from each discipline is selected to judge applicants. The application process is no longer anonymous, and awards are no longer made solely on artistic merit. Consideration is given to achievements and commitment to the discipline in which artists apply.

Fellowships lend prestige to an artist’s reputation and can open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. A list of accomplished fellowship recipients is below.

The disciplines in the FY23 rotation are:

  • Prose
  • Spoken Word/Slam Poetry
  • Performance: Dance, Music, or Acting (theatre/film)
  • Playwriting/Screenwriting

Each category will have one recipient if enough applications are received.

This page serves to showcase the current grantees and some of their representative work samples.

Current Fellows (FY22)

When soliciting artist statements, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) provides artists complete latitude for those statements they craft to take any form. Publication of said statements does not—and should not be understood to—indicate endorsement by the state of South Carolina, SCAC, or agents thereof.

Charleston County

Winner of the 2020 South Arts State Fellowship for South Carolina and a 2018 ArtFields second place award, Ryba’s work has been touring the Southeast in painting and printmaking exhibitions since 1990.  A Magna cum laude graduate of the College of Charleston, Ryba also studied at Vermont Studio School and Studio Camnitzer in Valdotavvo, Lucca, Italy, and has her Master of Fine Arts from Union Institute and University, Vermont College. She has won various awards and scholarships. A founding organizer of Print Studio South, Inc., she served as its president and on its board and has taught locally in both adult and children’s programs. Ryba was one of 10 artists featured in a 2002 Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and was invited to exhibit in Contemporary Charleston 2004 and in Helping Hands: an artist’s debut among friends in 2005. Her work was featured in the 2018 Biennial in Columbia. Ryba also exhibited at Silo in New York City and her work was in the 2007 SOHO20 Chelsea show honoring The Feminist ART Project.

Artist Statement

Over the last several years, my interest in the study of Medieval and Renaissance art has informed my work. This series of paintings is based on images from centuries ago that serve as a vehicle to simplify an urgent message by providing symbolic and instructional imagery to illustrate and illuminate the leadership crisis of 2016-2021. All the elaborate gold surroundings, displays of wealth, messages of morality and ethics corresponded with what was happening in our government. Among those are the gutting of our social safety net and health care; eliminating environmental protections; the lack of restraint in spending money on personal enrichment and pleasure; and the build-up of military spending and deficit in international diplomacy.


Social Media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

Richland County

Clay Burnette is a self-taught pine needle basketmaker who has been coiling longleaf pine needles with waxed linen thread since 1977. Burnette’s work is included in numerous public and private collections—including the State Art Collection—and has been included in more than 250 exhibition venues throughout the U.S. and abroad for 40-plus years. He has also been published in numerous international, national, and regional magazines, catalogs, and fine craft publications. Burnette has taught at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee since 2015. Images of his work are available at

Artist Statement

When writing an artist statement, I try to adhere to these wise words: Keep it simple, stupid! So… I make baskets by coiling pine needles with thread.

I begin the process by trekking into the South Carolina sandhills, where I gather fresh pine needles from young longleaf pine trees. After returning to my studio, the needles are colored with fabric dyes, acrylic paints and inks, and then sewn into coils using waxed linen thread. When completed, each piece is preserved using a light coating of beeswax. My tools are simple: a large steel upholstery needle and a pair of sharp pointed scissors.

I utilize the most basic basketmaking technique of coiling to create contemporary shapes and sizes that incorporate lots of patience, persistence, reflection and a vivid imagination. Time is irrelevant whenever I am stitching. The exploration of color, pattern, texture and form keeps me focused on the moment, but always planning for what is yet to come.

Social Media
Representative works

Click images to enlarge.

Richland County

Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall is a film and messaging professional from Columbia, S.C. He specializes in visual storytelling, film education, media strategy, diversity consulting and is an advocate of Hip-Hop culture. He’s produced commercial and documentary projects for VH1, Oxygen, and more. A 2021 Liberty Fellow, a 2016 Riley Fellow, a Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholar and one of the founders of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Family Day: Love Peace & Hip-Hop. A 2001 University of South Carolina grad, Sherard is a product of Richland District One schools. Sherard is the Founder and Executive Producer at OTR Media Group, and the proud dad of his son, Cairo.

Artist Statement

As a southern filmmaker, the challenges all revolve around resources and access. In South Carolina, the film industry is small and contained. There are very few resources, outlets, opportunities, and communities for filmmakers to tell stories that have a chance to make it outside of the borders of South Carolina. That is why, for me, success as a filmmaker looks like making the kind of work that lifts humanity, that looks beautiful, tells untold stories of people that look like me that resonate across humanity, and that gives young aspiring South Carolina film industry hopefuls and workers access to the resources that can help them tell their own stories.


Social Media
Representative works

“From Job To Career” SC Center for Fathers and Families short from OTR Media Group on Vimeo. (Director/Producer, 2019)

(Director/Producer, 2017)

Coming attraction (Director/Producer, 2023)

Florence County

Triza Cox is a playwright, screenwriter, and theatre artist. She is currently the South Carolina Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Her research and creative work center on playmaking using Jungian archetypes, motifs, and symbols of the collective unconscious. Triza holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Louisville and has trained with Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the Mandala Center for Change as a Theatre of the Oppressed Facilitator. Her original plays include A Last SupperThe Willing, which recently received a staged reading with Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina; God in the Midst of it All; and Lil’ Bard which was a semi-finalist in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience 2018 and premiered at Charlotte’s Children Theatre in a staged reading. Triza has received a Kentucky New Voices grant for her playwriting.

Artist Statement

Joseph Campbell once wrote that the difference between a littérateur and an artist is compassion: the artist has compassion for the human experience. Curt Tofteland, the founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, expanded on this idea of the necessity of compassion in art when he stated that “empathy is not a part of human nature. It’s not just there by natural occurrence. It’s there by example through what you see… We do that through art and literature. “These ideas of these great men proved true to my development as an artist and as a human being.

My research and artistic projects concentrate on using Jungian archetypes, myths, motifs and monomyths for theatre making. I have a mission to democratize the consumption of art while raising the aesthetic; this mission manifests in my creation of plays and productions that often have social justice themes but are well crafted and utilize classical and innovative techniques. I focus on creating works that resonate with the collective unconscious and thus are transcendent.

My projects include and move beyond many of the elements of Commedia dell’Arte, Butoh, and traditional Eastern storytelling in writing original scripts and theatre devising. I realized these techniques in my 2012 thesis production for the University of Louisville: Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Self Defense, a devised play created from essays from Pearl Cleage about domestic violence. The work on this production led me to research Carl Jung’s theories on the collective unconscious and archetypes. I used these theories to create characters from Pearl Cleage’s essays. This work was a turning point in my artistic career, because it helped me pinpoint what truly makes theatre transcendent: the images and motifs of archetypes and the collective unconscious. The process also allowed for me to gain understanding in playwriting and screenwriting. My original works include “Paris County”, a television pilot; A Last Supper; Meritocracy; The Willing, which recently received a staged reading with Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina; God in the Midst of it All and Lil’ Bard which was a semi-finalist in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience 2018 and premiered at Charlotte’s Children Theatre in a staged reading.

I often think of my artistic approach as purposeful expressionism. From the days when I was 15 years old and watching my first Broadway play, I knew that theatre was a powerful communication between performer and audience. As I have grown as a playwright, performer, and director, I understand it is a communication among the audience and ALL the artists who serve to make a show happen. Therefore, in all my artistic endeavors I aim to move beyond an indulgence of displaying moods, neuroses, and fears on screen and stage. Instead, I hope to touch on what is true about the human psyche. In my writing and in my dramaturgical approach, I utilize many theories including the writings of Carl Jung, Marion Woodman, Stella Adler, Hegel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joseph Campbell, and other titans of mythology and aesthetics. I also research how various themes or ideas fit within the collective unconscious and what they mean in the course of the individual and collective human development. The results of these efforts are nuanced works created through strong technique and grounded in various aesthetics and the verisimilitude of the human condition.


Representative work

Cassidy’s Mourning with actress Kinga Nowak.


Past Fellows

Kristi Ryba – Visual Art
Clay Burnette – Craft
Sherard Duvall – Media: Production
Triza Cox – Media: Screenwriting

Sarah Blackman – Prose
John Pursley III – Poetry
Erin Bailey – Dance: Choreography
Tanya Wideman-Davis – Dance: Performance

Adrian Rhodes – Visual Art
Valerie Zimany – Craft
Fang Man – Music: Composition
Craig Butterfield – Music: Performance

F. Rutledge Hammes – Prose
Stephen Tulloh – Poetry
Paul Kaufmann – Theatre: Acting
Kevin Ferguson – Theatre: Playwriting

Linda Fantuzzo – Visual Arts
Elizabeth Keller – Craft
Jason Gourdine – Media: Production
Leasharn Hopkins – Media: Screenwriting

Jeremy Griffin- Prose
Walt Hunter – Poetry
Jonathan Tabbert – Dance: Choreography
Journy Wilkes-Davis – Dance: Performance

Jarod Charzewski- Visual Arts
Alice Ross Ballard – Craft
Jon Jeffrey Grier – Music: Composition
Marina Lomazov – Music: Performance

Scott Gould – Prose
Hastings Hensel – Poetry
Vicky Saye Henderson – Theatre: Acting
Beth Lincks – Theatre: Playwriting

James Arendt – Visual Arts
Robert F. Lyon – Craft
Jeff Sumerel – Media: Production
Herbert “Robbie” Robertson – Media: Screenwriting

Kathryn Etters Lovatt – Prose
Nancy Ancrom – Poetry
Marcy Jo Yonkey-Clayton – Dance: Choreography

Jonathan Brilliant – Visual Arts
Russell Biles – Craft
Lee-Chin Siow – Music: Performance
Mark Kilstofte – Music: Composition

Barbara G.S. Hagerty – Poetry
Ed Madden – Prose
Rodney Lee Rogers – Theatre: Playwriting
Sharon Graci – Theatre: Acting

Damond Howard – Visual Arts
Kim Lee Keats – Craft
Jill Eathorne Bahr – Dance: Choreography
Terrance Orlando Henderson – Dance: Performance

Julia E. Elliott – Prose
Mindy Friddle – Prose
Dan Albergotti – Poetry
Sally Arango Renata – Poetry
Phillip Bush – Music: Performance
John Fitz Rogers – Music: Composition

Jamie Davis – Craft
John Benjamin Gilliam – Craft
Elizabeth Melton – Visual Arts
Herb Parker – Visual Arts
Laura Kissel – Media: Production
Howard Kingkade – Media: Screenwriting

Sheila Joan Tombe – Poetry
Scott Yarbrough – Prose
Monica Wyche – Theatre: Acting
Kathryn Smoak – Dance
Peter Lenzo – Craft
Patricia Lee Brady – Visual Arts

Debra A. Daniel – Poetry
Kimberly K. McGuire – Prose
Maxine Miller Warshauer – Music Composition
David Ross Puls – Crafts
Mana D.C. Hewitt – Visual Arts

Linda Annas Ferguson – Poetry
Brenda Dale McClain – Prose
Kathleen Vandekieft – Music Performance
Darryl Lorenzo Wellington – Playwriting
Jocelyn Chateauvert – Crafts
Jack Steve Gerstner, Jr. – Visual Arts

Carol Ann Davis – Poetry
Kathleen (Kate) Bullard Adams – Prose
Eric Bultman – Performing Arts (Acting)
John David Solomon – Media (Screenwriting)
Paula Smith – Crafts
Philip L. Moody – Visual Arts

Warren Slesinger – Poetry
Gilbert Allen – Prose
Varsha Parikh – Dance Performance
Seth Howell Riddle – Media Production
Jennifer T. Vincent – Crafts
Diane Hopkins-Hughs – Visual Arts

Alice Ballard Munn – Crafts
Rebecca S. Nagel – Music Performance
Terri L. McCord – Poetry
Susan Millar Williams – Prose
Martha Brim – Dance Choreography
Linda Williams McCune – Visual Arts

Mark Kilstofte – Music Composition
Keith Knight – Music Performance
Jessica Bundschuh – Poetry
Russell Biles – Visual

Jon W. Tuttle – Playwriting
Keith Lee Morris – Prose
Sandi Shackelford – Theatre: Acting
Cliffton Peacock – Visual Arts

Anne Boudreau – Crafts
Steve Zimmerman – Media
Hazel Ketchum – Music Performance
Angela R. Kelly – Poetry
Mary Edna Fraser – Visual Arts

Jill Bahr – Dance Choreography
Mariclaire Miranda – Dance Performance
David Yandell Todd – Prose
Michelle Van Parys – Visual Arts
Barbara Duval – Visual Arts

Mike Lavine – Crafts
Paul Rucker – Music Performance
Paul Allen – Poetry
Anne Creed – Prose
Joseph Scott Goldsmith – Visual Arts
Tarleton Blackwell – Visual Arts

Lee A. Malerich – Crafts
Eunjoo Yun – Music Performance
Paul Rice – Poetry
Deborah Cumming – Prose
Vinh T. Dang – Visual Arts
Phyllis Hebert Constransitch – Visual Arts

Michael V. Vatalaro – Crafts
Christopher Berg – Music Performance
Kathleen Whitten – Poetry
Rosa Shand – Prose
Joe Walters – Visual Arts
Rebecca Freeman – Visual Arts

Ellen Kochansky – Crafts
Maxine Warshauer – Music Composition
Debra A. Daniel – Poetry
Sue Monk Kidd – Prose
Herb Parker – Visual Arts
Jorge A. Otero – Visual Arts

Megan Wolfe – Crafts
Douglas A. Weeks – Music Performance
Jan R. Bailey – Poetry
Deno Trakas – Prose
Frankie Jean Mixon – Visual Arts
Jean R. Grosser – Visual Arts

Jamie Davis – Crafts
Enrique Graf – Music Performance
Curtis Derrick – Poetry
Merry Speece – Prose
Richard Rose – Visual Arts
Dexter Buell – Visual Arts
Michael Thunder – Visual Arts

James Barnard Lawton – Crafts
Kathleen Vandekieft – Music Performance
Ron Rash – Poetry
Scott Gould – Prose
Manning Bethea Williams – Visual Arts
Jane Allen Nodine – Visual Arts

Jenifer A. Borg – Crafts
Cathy Smith-Bowers – Literature
Sarah Gilbert – Literature
Robert Jesselson – Music Performance
Rebecca Des Marais – Visual Arts
Christina Chase – Visual Arts

Lee A. Malerich – Crafts
Paul Allen – Literature
Steve Rosenburg – Music Performance
Edward Rice – Visual Arts
Scott Belville – Visual Arts

Clay Burnette – Crafts
Bret Lott – Literature
Robert Pruzin – Music Performance
Judy V. Jones – Visual Arts
Dennis Croteau – Visual Arts

Terry Jarrard-Dimond – Crafts
Libby Bernardin – Literature
Anthony & Mary Ann Lenti – Music Performance
Christine Kierstead – Visual Arts
Zoey Brookshire – Visual Arts

Jeri Burdick – Crafts
Starkey Flythe – Literature
Douglas A. Weeks – Music Performance
Michael Phillips – Visual Arts
Barbara Duval – Visual Arts

Clark Ellefson – Crafts
John Lane – Literature
Bob Landau – Media
Wilfred Delphin & Edwin Romain – Music Performance
Gunars Strazdins – Visual Arts
Larry Lebby – Visual Arts

Michael Vincent Vatalaro – Crafts
Andrew Kuharsky – Dance Performance
Blanche Boyd – Literature
David W. Maves – Music Composition
Robin Zemp – Music Performance
Barbara Layne – Visual
Edward Wimberly – Visual Arts

Lee A. Malerich – Crafts
Susan G. Ludvigson – Literature
Jan L. Millsapps – Media
Christopher B. Berg – Music Performance
Karen E. Davies – Visual
Donna G. Ciacciarelli (née Bolton) – Visual Arts

Heidi Darr Hope – Crafts
Robert Cumming – Literature – Prose
Stephen Corey – Literature – Prose
Nancy Yasecko – Media
Cleveland Edwards – Music Composition
Sarah Johnson – Music Performance
Jane Allen Nodine – Visual Arts
Judy V. Jones – Visual Arts
Eugene Horne – Visual Arts
Alice D. Boyle – Visual Arts

Kristy Higby – Crafts
Louis J. Gallo – Literature – Prose
Frank Eastes – Media
David Maves – Music Composition
Mark E. Flowers – Visual Arts
James Edwards – Visual Arts
Alice D. Boyle – Visual Arts

Pamela Tarchinski – Crafts
Edward Minus – Literature – Prose
Gretchen Robinson – Media
Samuel Douglas – Music Composition
Michael Tice – Visual Arts
Thomas N. Mills – Visual Arts
Lee Brumbaugh – Visual Arts

Ellen Kochansky – Crafts
Susan G. Ludvigson – Literature
Timothy Crenshaw – Music Composition
Susan B. Wooten – Visual Arts
Bob M. Jolly – Visual Arts
Margaret Chalmers – Visual Arts

Jamie Davis – Crafts
Sylvia-Elaine Foard – Literature
Edwin Freeman – Music Composition
Howard Woody – Visual Arts
Michael Seward – Visual Arts
Steven Gately – Visual Arts

John Ower – Literary Arts
Philip Mullen – Visual Arts
Leo Manske – Visual Arts
Stephen Dell – Visual Arts


If you are seeking more program information or advisement before submitting a grant application, please contact Artist Development Director Ce Scott-Fitts (803.734.8203 |