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 sustaining their traditional art forms and have, in turn, used their art to benefit those around them.
  • The award for traditional arts advocates recognizes individuals and groups who 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.

About Jean Laney Harris (1933-1997)

A state representative for District No. 53 (Chesterfield-Marlboro County) until her death on Jan. 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 Representatives, she was chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Cultural Affairs and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. She played a major role in the recognition of South Carolinians for their contributions to the arts with the Folk Heritage Awards and the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts. 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, arts, and cultural affairs.



Folk Heritage Award Recipients

    Artist, Gullah Geechee Chef | Edisto Island

    Artist, Gospel Singing| Bishopville

    Watch them be honored during the South Carolina Arts Awards: Sunday, May 4, 2023 at 8 p.m. on SCETV and streaming online!

About the Folk Heritage Award

  • The 2024 nomination cycle is expected to open Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023.

For additional information and advisement, please contact McKissick Museum at UofSC Executive Director Jane Przybysz (PRIZ-bee) ( | 803.777.7251).