Announcing an Arts Day of Giving

The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce an Arts Day of Giving to giving to support arts nonprofits in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. The Arts Alliance will be providing incentive funds to help make every participating organization’s day even more successful.

The day is scheduled for Sept. 12 and will be an opportunity for arts lovers in the Lowcountry to show their support for the arts and their favorite art organizations, with the opportunity to leverage their contributions into something bigger because of incentive funds.

More details will be coming out in the very near future. The day of giving will be open to any arts organization in the tri-county area that is either a registered 501(c)3 or operates under the umbrella of a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)3.

It’s not time to panic over NEA news

A mural restoration at a historic downtown church.

An after-school strings education program to benefit inner-city elementary students.

Saving jobs that were at risk during the Great Recession.

That – and dozens more art-related initiatives – is what the National Endowment for the Arts has funded in the Charleston area over the last decade. It has been impactful and empowering. Recent news suggests that the NEA may be on the chopping block.

Anyone with a vested interest in the arts should be keeping close tabs on this. And thus, everyone should, because the arts affect us all. The federal budget is a large, slow moving beast of a creature, so undoubtedly any action will take time. We encourage you to study this issue. Now is not the time for panic, but for education and observation.

Additionally, now is the time to mark your calendars for Feb. 7, where you can join us in Columbia for SC Arts Advocacy Day. Every year, we head to Columbia and join artists and arts supporters across the Palmetto State to let our legislators know how much we appreciate their support of the arts. We hope you will be there with us this year.

Thank you for your support of the arts, and for sharing the message far and wide that #artsmatter.

Charleston Jazz Festival Opens Soon

On January 20, the Charleston Jazz Festival will begin, much to the delight of Lowcountry jazz enthusiasts. Running through January 22, this will be the third annual year for the festival and this year it boasts local groups, grammy-award wining artists, and of course the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. Here’s the Charleston Jazz Festival’s promotional video to give you a taste!

For more information and a comprehensive schedule of events, click here.

Calling all visual artists!

Art Pop Logo Final Outlines TM 10-5-16 (2)The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce a partnership with ArtPop Street Gallery to launch an outdoor advertising initiative that will promote five visual artists in the area on billboards across the tri-county.

Thanks to billboard space generously given by Adams Outdoor Advertising, five select artists will have an image of their work on a billboard for a year.

The contest will open for submissions on Jan. 12 and is open to any visual artist in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester County. For submission guidelines, visit The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2017. Four winners will be chosen by a panel of art experts. The fifth selection will be a People’s Choice Award, chosen by online vote at

Wendy Hickey, founder of ArtPop, launched the initiative in 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. Charleston will be the 13th ArtPop.

“Adams has incredible billboard locations that cannot be missed. The five local Charleston area artists who are chosen for the program will get such tremendous exposure to an ever changing audience. With the tourism in the market an artist simply never knows who is going to see their art on a billboard, fall in love and want to commission them! Thank you to our partners at Charleston Regional Alliance for the arts and Adams Outdoor Advertising for making this possible!  #enjoyyourcommute”

Mike Gibbons, Executive Director for the Arts Alliance, said he is thrilled to be able to team with ArtPop and Adams Outdoor Advertising to feature area visual artists.

“ArtPop has created a fantastic opportunity for artists in so many locations, and it’s really exciting to be able to bring that to the tri-county area,” he said.

UPDATE: Reprieve for strings program

UPDATE: It appears the strings program we wrote about below may have had a stay of execution. Read all about it here in the Post and Courier.

The school district released this statement:

“We thank the community for the outpouring of interest and support we have received regarding the ‘elementary strings’ programs in our schools. In response to a communication that many parents received yesterday (January 3, 2017) related to discontinuing the programs in some of our elementary schools. We want you to know that this communication was released prematurely, before the matter had been discussed with senior district staff, the superintendent, and the Board of Trustees. CCSD is fully committed to continuing and even expanding the strings program and is resolutely determined to locate highly capable strings instructors for our students.”

While it may not be a permanent fix, at least it buys the program some time. And clearly, the voices of the arts supporters in the community were heard, loud and clear.


Our previous post regarding the program:

Once again, in the face of looming budget shortfalls, the arts are on the chopping block.

This time, it’s the elementary strings programs, which teaches violins and violas to children in Charleston County. The eliminations begin in just weeks, starting with several schools in West Ashley and James Island, and will shutter all by the end of the school year.

According to the Post and Courier, “The district hopes to use its limited resources to bolster the middle and high school strings programs, which meet during regular periods for class credit.”

While bolstering the middle and high school programs sounds nice, if there is no elementary feeder program, it certainly seems those will dry up in a few years.

The $18 million shortfall is very real budget crisis. And certainly there are other areas taking a hit beyond the arts. More than 100 teacher positions and and 80 office positions have been eliminated. But any time you see the arts cut, it begs the questions: Was this necessary? Or are the arts viewed as expendable, a luxury?

They are neither. Those children learning the strings are having a valuable building block of the complete student taken away. We hope the school district will reconsider this move, and hope you will consider attending a school board committee meeting on Monday and a full meeting on Jan. 23.

Because arts matter.