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SC Arts Commission Programs

The Art of Community: Rural SC


The Art of Community: Rural SC advances the South Carolina Arts Commission’s commitment to rural development through arts, culture and creative placemaking. The initial pilot project was launched in 2016 in six rural South Carolina counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper.


The Art of Community: Rural SC creates a way to support new leadership, generate energy and motivate action in a rural region of South Carolina.



New! The South Carolina Arts Commission and a team of creative professionals are launching CREATE: Rural S.C. with a networking and informational meeting June 12 in Hampton. Find out more >>>



  • What makes rural places unique?
  • What characteristics define each place?
  • How can those positive characteristics serve as the basis for new ideas and ways to celebrate six small communities in South Carolina’s Promise Zone?
  • Who leads change in each rural community, and how can “the table” be enlarged for more voices to be heard?

Primary objectives:

  1. To create pride of place
  2. To build new relationships with South Carolinians living in rural communities
  3. To inspire new community building using arts and culture
  4. To fuel local action with new resources
  5. To learn together 


Teams and leadership

Small local teams in each county began reimagining their communities through an arts and culture lens. Each team created demonstration projects to grapple with a current community development issue. These projects focused on how the arts can address local issues that may include economic, community or workforce development, healthcare, education, public safety, housing or capital. The Arts Commission provided small grants to assist with these projects.


The six teams are lead by mavens who work closely with the Arts Commission to drive and sustain the initiative. Mavens and the communities they represent are Lottie Lewis, Allendale; Dr. Yvette McDaniel, Denmark (Bamberg County); Evelyn Coker, Blackville (Barnwell County); Gary Brightwell, Walterboro (Colleton County); Audrey Hopkins-Williams, Estill (Hampton County); and Johnny Davis, Jasper County.


State and national leaders representing expansive thinking in the world of arts, culture and community development serve as an Advisory Council. The council is co-chaired by Dr. Ann Carmichael, dean of USC Salkehatchie, and J. Robert ‘Bob’ Reeder, program director for Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).



The Art of Community is supported in part by funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.


Videos highlighting the Art of Community:Rural SC

CHQ Productions

This film takes a look at the sixth of six meetings, held June 22, 2017, in Estill. Each maven presented a recap of their creative placemaking project that examined a community issue using arts and culture to address or amplify that issue.


Public Transformation  Ashley Hanson and Nik Nerburn
Filmmaker and theatre artist Ashley Hanson stops by Denmark on her trip across America visiting rural communities in January and February, 2017.  She interviews maven Dr. Yvette McDaniel and Ashley ‘Glyshae’ Jordan, a member of the Young Voices and of the local team.


Cook Productions Colleton kitchen  
A closer look at the Colleton County Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Walterboro, site of multiple meetings for The Art of Community: Rural SC. January 2018.


Cook Productions Walterboro project
A first look at the ingredients that form the basis of the arts and the cultural and historical landscape in Walterboro, South Carolina.


Cook Productions Young Voices
Hear the voices of young professionals who live and work in a rural region of South Carolina as they share their considerations of home and possibility.


Cook Productions Young Voices
Hear the voices of high school students and young professionals who live and work in a rural region of South Carolina as they share their considerations of home and possibility.


Cook Productions Advisors meeting
The Art of Community: Rural SC Advisory Council met in March 2017 to hear from  six community mavens, their team members and special guests as well as consider the early accomplishments of  this community arts development initiative in South Carolina.



Read more about the Art of Community (PDF) >>>


For more information, please contact Susan DuPlessis (803-734-8693).