Arts advocates gearing up to fight again

Based on the emails I get, one of the best-organized lobbies in South Carolina is the one that promotes the arts. Of course, they need to be if their favored programs are to survive, since it appears that each year that Nikki Haley is governor is going to be a battle for existence for the state Arts Commission and related recipients of state funding.

Following up on the governor’s State of the State address last night (which I missed — anyone have anything to share about that?), they’ve sent out the following release. There will be many more, of last year is any guide:


Governor Nikki Haley has now given her State of the State Address and presented her Executive Budget. She has once again recommended NO state appropriations for the South Carolina Arts Commission. However, the agency will continue to move through the budget process which is now in the S.C. House.

Sub-committees of the House Ways & Means (HWM) Committee – the budget writing committee – are holding budget hearings from the various agencies and will later make recommendations for state agency funding in their own version of the state budget. The Arts Commission is scheduled for a budget hearing on Thursday afternoon, January 26th. Their HWM sub-committee consists of:

Rep. Chip Limehouse (Charleston, Berkeley) 803-7342977

Rep. Joe Neal (Richland, Sumter) 803-734-2804

Rep. B.R. Skelton (Pickens) 803-734-3036

Rep. Garry Smith (Greenville) 803-734-3141

Arts supporters should continue to thank their legislators for their past support and request that they continue to support state funding for the Arts Commission – especially if your Representative serves on the above Subcommittee. Don’t forget that many legislators have their own web site, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. The state’s web site has been redesigned making it easier to locate and contact your legislator, follow the House and Senate meeting calendars and legislation at:


There is some GOOD news regarding arts education funding within the Governor’s Executive Budget. Governor Haley has reinstated approximately $1.2 million for the Arts Curricula Innovation Grants Program within the Department of Education’s budget, which Superintendent Mick Zais recommended for elimination.

Arts advocates should thank the Governor for her support of these critical funds that are not only used for initiatives that support innovative arts education programs that improve student achievement, but provide quality professional development for arts and classroom teachers.

Governor Nikki Haley

Office of the Governor 1205 Pendleton Street

Columbia, SC 29201

Ph: 803-734-2100

Fx: 803-734-5167

Email at:

SCAA’s ARTS ADVOCACY DAY is Tuesday, February 7th!

Join us at the Statehouse in support of continued state funding for the arts and arts education. Attend the Legislative Appreciation Luncheon in honor of the Legislative Arts Caucus. Join your legislators over lunch and be informed about the latest issues affecting the arts in our schools and in our communities. Reservations are a must and please consider being an “underwriter” of the event! Registration information can be found below. A form is also attached for your convenience.

10 thoughts on “Arts advocates gearing up to fight again

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    What gives me comfort in all this is that Nikki Haley has a lower approval rating in SC than Barack Obama. You can’t fool all the people all the time.

  2. Doug Ross

    And by “arts” you mean the arts that are acceptable to a select few members of the community, right? Or does it include hip hop concerts, comic books, and mimes as well? How does one apply to get a piece of the pie?

    This is why arts funding has no business being part of our government spending. It rewards people with political connections with tax dollars that the general public would never spend themselves on whichever particular form of art the connected person likes.

    You want arts, get donations and charge admission to cover the costs.

  3. Brad

    Doug, I hope you notice that I presented this in a neutral tone. I’m highly ambivalent about public funding of the arts.

    I like it in theory — but only for art preservation, to make sure it’s available for future generations. I don’t think avant-garde stuff should ever get funding. In other words, if its about a repository of culture — like a library — I like it. In theory.

    But in practice — so many critical needs in this state are underfunded, from schools to roads to environmental protection to prisons. I’m more worried about those things than I am about this.

    I almost listed economic development as among the underfunded things. But that reminds me that one reason we fund such amenities as the arts is that they encourage people to move here and invest in our communities.

    Which is why I’m ambivalent, instead of just saying, “Hey, we’ve got more critical stuff to fund.” I’m aware that the answer to having the growth to fund the essentials is dependent on economic development…

    So I don’t know where I stand on this…

  4. `Kathryn Fenner

    Morihiko presented an awesome case to Cola. Rotary that SC Phil has an amazing multiplier effect on the local economy. Few people can afford the true cost of symphony tickets, but the value is exceptional.

  5. Steven Davis

    I can think of about 87 other things money should be spent on before the Arts Commission.

    #87 – Snowmobiles for the Highway Patrol.

  6. Mark Stewart

    “Avant-garde stuff”… oh boy! That’s how life progresses, by pushing forward.

    Count me as a supporter; but I do hear Doug’s complaint about the process of selecting art. Still, it’s not as though the sums ever are so large as to be worrisome from a budgeting perspective.

  7. `Kathryn Fenner

    How about we fund more than just the barest of bones–*surge* ahead of minimally adequate, and into “attracts the knowledge economy”–really make it a great day in South Carolina?

    These days, though, I’d be happy with “not the butt of the joke” or “not the state of racist jeers”…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *