South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Current FHA Recipients

Recipients for 2020

Kristin Scott Benson

Artist Category | Bluegrass Banjo

Kristin Scott Benson was first nourished in her music tradition by her musician father and her grandfather, Orval Hogan, who played mandolin with the WBT Briarhoppers. Growing up in South Carolina’s Upstate region, where bluegrass was part of the local culture, she started on the mandolin at five years old, and by age ten was drawn to the banjo. Her mentor, Al Osteen, a revered banjo picker and teacher, taught Benson to not only play, but how to “think and listen.” She passes this solid foundation, along with her extensive experience, on to her own students. Benson first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry at age 19 and has since played there over 100 times. She has been recognized as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year four times, and in 2018 received the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. She has played with the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band, The Grascals, since 2008.

  • Full-length bio on The Hub coming soon.

David Galloway

Artist Category | Spiritual Gospel Singing

David Galloway has spent his life in the Pendleton and Sandy Springs communities. His musical influence rests largely with his mother, who was a pastor, and her siblings, who used to sing “shape notes.” Galloway’s elders also instilled a passion for the negro spiritual. As teenagers, he and his brothers sang gospel at revivals and church services throughout the Upstate. Galloway served as Superintendent of the Sunday School at the King’s Chapel AME Church in Pendleton, where he was also an inspiration for the Junior Choir, the Young Adult Choir, the Senior Choir, the Gospel Choir, and the Male Chorus. Galloway and the KCs—a group upholding the roots of traditional spirituals, shape-note music and contemporary gospel—have sung at local churches, revivals, AME Conventions, and hosted gospel programs. Galloway remains a member of the Kings Chapel AME church choirs and as a soloist, participates in special programs, revivals, and anniversaries.

  • Full-length bio on The Hub coming soon.

Voices of El Shaddai

Artist Organization Category | Lowcountry Gospel Music

For over 27 years, Voices of El Shaddai choir have come together to sing. Most Voices members are native South Carolina Sea Islanders from a variety of local church choirs. Transcending geographic and musical boundaries, their music stems from oral traditions within the Lowcountry African-American religious experience. Repetition, a call-and-response pattern, and strong vocals are musical elements historically based in 19th century African American spirituals, with melodic connections to West Africa. The Voices’ unique repertoire includes both traditional spirituals and contemporary gospel. The group’s knowledge of indigenous Gullah-Geechee musical traditions is passed down through generations of family and community members. Committed to raising the visibility of and appreciation for Lowcountry Gospel and Gullah music and culture, the Voices perform regularly at programs presented by such organizations as the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the Gullah Museum, and the Coastal Discovery Museum, as well as at community celebrations and various churches and congregations.

  • Full-length bio on The Hub coming soon.

Judy Twitty

Artist Category | Quilting

Judy Twitty has spent a lifetime immersed in the art of patchwork quilting. As a girl in New Brunswick, Canada, she spent time with her grandmother, enjoying the camaraderie of quilting circles. After marrying and moving to South Carolina, Twitty took a patchwork quilting class in 1972 at the Columbia YWCA, where she soon began teaching. Over the years, Twitty has made quilts for friends, family, and as donations to community members. She has taught classes and workshops throughout the state, written articles for diverse publications, and helped found the statewide guild, Quilters of South Carolina (QSC). Twitty’s love of innovation has inspired her and others to explore the limits of their imagination, from a revival of the 19th-century Victorian crazy quilt technique, to creating embroidered, eco-dyed fabric books. Twitty’s quilting has garnered awards at local quilt shows, the South Carolina State Fair, the QSC Quilters’ Expo, and the prestigious American Quilters Society annual show.

  • Full-length bio on The Hub coming soon.

Vennie Deas Moore

Advocacy Category | Folklore & Cultural Preservation

Vennie Deas Moore is a folklorist and cultural preservationist. Born and raised in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, she has witnessed firsthand the community’s ever-changing cultural landscape. Her thirty-year career is informed and inspired by her ancestors, particularly her mother, Eugenia Deas, a 2005 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipient. Deas Moore’s extensive freelance career encompasses oral history, folklore research, documentary photography, and medical history. Through her research, writing, documentary photography, and public lectures, she has created a body of impactful and powerful stories as a vehicle for education and cultural preservation. Her work focuses on Lowcountry people, places, work, traditions, and foodways, with an enduring specialty in the heritage of coastal fisherman. Her research has led to collaborations with diverse state and national historical sites and institutions, including the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, Historic Columbia, and Richland County Library, among many others. Deas Moore is currently a cultural historian and curator at the Rice Museum in Georgetown.

  • Full-length bio on The Hub coming soon.