South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Folk Heritage Awards

Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is a one-time, annual award presented by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year.

  • The award for traditional artists and arts organizations recognizes those who practice art forms that have been transmitted through their families and communities. These artists have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive and have, in turn, used their art to benefit those around them.
  • The award for traditional arts advocates recognizes individuals and groups that have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is managed jointly by the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program of the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.


Jean Laney Harris (1933-1997)

A state representative for District No. 53 (Chesterfield-Marlboro County) until her death on January 26, 1997, Jean Laney Harris was known and respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. During her 18 years in the House of Representative, she was Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Cultural Affairs and a member of House Ways and Means Committee.  She played a major role in the recognition of South Carolinians in their contributions to the arts with the Folk Heritage Awards and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards.  She was also a supporter of the expanded role of the Governor’s School for the Arts.  Jean Laney Harris was always a strong advocate for the areas of education, and arts and cultural affairs.

About the Folk Heritage Award

Nominations are not currently being accepted, but are expected to open in late summer 2019 for the 2020 awards.

Folk Heritage Award nominations are submitted online through Submittable. If you anticipate having difficulty submitting an online nomination, please contact Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director Laura Green, (email | 803.734.8764). Before submitting a nomination, you are strongly advised to contact the Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director to determine whether your nominee is eligible. We also recommend submitting a draft of your nomination for advance review and feedback, up to two weeks in advance of the deadline.

Please consider the following before submitting a nomination:

  • This award honors those who have spent a significant portion of their lives advocating for and/or creating traditional art forms significant to South Carolina
  • Artists must have learned the art informally and not through schools, classes, workshops, etc.
  • Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination.
  • Nominees must be practicing their art or advocating for a traditional art in the state of South Carolina.
  • Past Folk Heritage Award recipients are not eligible.
  • Nominees practicing remnants of the past that are no longer practiced in contemporary life will not be considered for this award.

These are the required materials for any nomination.

Nomination Form

This online form gathers basic information about your nomination, including contact information for the nominee and nominator, as well as the nomination category (Traditional Artist, Traditional Arts Organization or Advocate).


Narrative

The narrative should make the case for the nominee’s outstanding contributions to the traditional arts in South Carolina and how their work has enriched the lives of those in their community and across the state. The narrative must be no more than two pages, with at least 12-point type and one-inch margins, and should include the following:

If nominating a traditional artist:

  • Explain how the artist learned the traditional art form. For example, did the nominee learn this tradition through apprenticeships or an informal learning process, rather than through formal education? Provide details.
  • How long has the nominee practiced this tradition?
  • Does the art form practiced by the nominee have a history in their community?
  • Describe the significance of the traditional artist or organization in maintaining the traditional art or moving it to higher levels of artistic achievement.
  • Do others who practice this art form recognize the nominee as a master of this tradition? Please explain.
  • In addition to these questions, answer the questions in the section below, For all nominees.

If nominating a traditional arts advocate:

  • Has the nominee raised the level of awareness about a particular tradition? Explain how.
  • Describe the advocate’s signifcance in supporting this South Carolina tradition and presenting it to a wide audience.
  • Is the nominee recognized for their support by members of the community in which the art is tradtionally practiced? Please share information about this community and the nominee’s relationship to it.
  • In addition to these questions, please answer the questions from the section below, For all nominees.

For all nominees:

  • Does the art form practiced or supported by the nominee have an historic connection to a South Carolina community? What is the significance of this tradition to the state’s cultural heritage?
  • What is the importance of the tradition to the community in which it is practiced?
  • Have others benefited in any way from the nominee’s skills or knowledge? Please provide details.

Letters of Support

You may provide up to 10 current letters supporting the nomination. Letters should reinforce points in the narrative regarding the nominee’s knowledge, contributions, achievements, influence and community involvement, and should provide specific examples whenever possible. Use the Letter of Support Contact List to provide contact information for each person who has written a letter of support. Each uploaded letter must have a file name containing the letter writer’s name. For example, the files names might be Jones_letter, Smith_letter, etc.


Support Materials

Support materials should reinforce and expand on the information provided in the narrative and letters of support.  A nominee cannot be evaluated without support materials. If you have questions concerning this requirement, please contact Laura Marcus Green, (email | 803.734.8764) well in advance of the deadline. Support materials may include, but are not limited to:

  • Audio recordings – may be uploaded as files or included as a web link
  • Video recordings – may be uploaded as files or included as a web link
  • Publications such as newspaper or magazine articles
  • Photographs
  • Websites – you may copy and paste web links into a single document for submission; please include the required information for each item of support material, according to the instuctions in the online form.

Please note: Do not submit Facebook links, as not all panelists who will review this material may have access to Facebook. Please provide no more than 10 pieces of support material. For example, one audio file, one video, one photogragh, one article or one website would each be considered different pieces of support material. “Audio file” refers to one track or song, not an entire CD. You are encouraged to submit audio and/or video clips no longer than three minutes in length. If submitting longer work samples, please identify a brief excerpt that represents the nominee’s best, most relevant work and indicate the excerpt location in the recording (i.e. 3:02 to 5:20, etc.) Each uploaded item of support material must have a file name containing the nominee’s name and a number corresponding with the Support Materials List in the nomination form. For example, the file names might be Smith_1, Jones_2, etc Please refer to the Support Materials portion in the online nomination form for details about the types of formats and the information required with your application.

For information on the selection process, please see the award legislation document.

JOHN ANDREW (ANDY) BROOKS Artist, Old-Time Music

DOROTHY BROWN GLOVER Artist, Quilting

JULIAN A. PROSSER Artist, Bluegrass Music

VOICES OF GULLAH SINGERS Artist, Gullah Singing

DALE ROSENGARTEN, PH.D. Advocacy, African-American Lowcountry Basketry & Southern Jewish Heritage

Read bios on the Folk Heritage Award recipients here.

View additional past recipients here.

2018

  • J. Michael King, Greenville – Piedmont Blues
  • Deacon James Garfield Smalls, St. Helena Island – Traditional Spirituals
  • Henrietta Snype, Mount Pleasant – Sweetgrass Basketry
  • The Blackville Community Choir, Blackville – A Capella Spiritual and Gospel Singing
  • Dr. Stephen Criswell, Lancaster – Advocacy

2017

  • Peggie Hartwell, Summerville – Narrative Quiltmaking
  • Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association, Mount Pleasant – Traditional Arts Organization
  • Dan and Norma Hendricks, Pickens – Advocacy, Bluegrass and Gospel Music

2016

  • Bill Harris, Chief of the Catawba Nation, Rock Hill – Catawba Pottery
  • Harold Clayton (posthumous), Gray Court – Advocacy, Bluegrass and Gospel Music