SC Arts Commission reps visit Blackville
Members of the S.C. Arts Commission recently visited Blackville to provide an update about a rural arts initiative.
“The Art of Community: Rural SC” was launched in 2016 by the S.C. Arts Commission as part of its mission to create a thriving arts and culture environment for the state. The pilot program helps advance the Commission’s commitment to rural communities, particularly the six counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone. It receives financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
“It’s really about communities, what you have and how we can make it better,” said Susan DuPlessis, the program director for “The Art of Community: Rural SC”.
DuPlessis was in town on Nov. 2 for the Blackville Community Development Corporation’s board meeting. She was joined by colleagues Sara June Goldstein and J. Robert ‘Bob’ Reeder. They came to update town leaders and interested residents about the initiative.
As part of the initiative, each county has a community member who serves as an art maven to engage the community and bring about change. Each maven created an art-related project to beautify their community using funding provided by the Commission.
Barnwell County’s project is creating a mural on the side of a building for people to view as they come to Blackville on Solomon Blatt Avenue/Highway 3. It will depict Healing Springs, agriculture, and the Best Friend Express train that used to be in Blackville. The mural is a work in progress.
“There’s a lot of history that people do not know,” said Evelyn Coker from the Blackville Community Development Corporation. She serves as Barnwell County’s art maven.
“The Art of Community: Rural SC” initiative earned the first Power of Rural award from the S.C. Office of Rural Health during the 21st annual Rural Health Conference on Oct. 11. The S.C. Arts Commission has also presented individual awards to the six mavens, including Coker on Nov. 2.