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Supporting, Strengthening and Connecting Lowcountry Arts Organizations

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Kerri Forrest

Two years ago, I started at the Foundation knowing that one of my first major jobs would be to develop a new Artistic Vitality strategy that would support the aspirations of the professional arts organizations in the Lowcountry. In the weeks and months that have followed, my colleagues and I have logged thousands of miles (more than 3,200 in two years) and met with dozens of groups across Horry, Georgetown, Dorchester, Berkeley, Charleston, Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton counties. In those meetings, we have learned a great deal about what makes the arts in the Lowcountry unique, and what you, the arts community, have identified as most needed to support your organizations individually and collectively.   

After months of listening, and researching best practices of our funder colleagues around the country, the Foundation has a new Artistic Vitality Strategy, approved by the board in November. We believe the new strategy will fulfill the Foundation’s vision of supporting a stronger, more diverse arts ecosystem that serves our citizens in communities throughout the Lowcountry.

The strategy has five interrelated parts:

General Operating Support for Arts Organizations

The Foundation will continue to support  general operations based on organizational size  and will expand its reach to a more diverse range of organizations across the nine counties.

Technical Assistance

Organizations which are  strong are able to thrive long term. The Foundation will develop a program to fund technical assistance to help organizations improve those skills that make their back office stronger, critical to supporting their creative efforts..

Connecting County Arts Councils

The half dozen or so arts councils throughout the Lowcountry service large, less urban, counties with limited resources. The Foundation will continue to provide general operating support to the councils and help develop a network for information sharing and partnerships.

Bolstering Gullah Arts and Culture

Gullah arts is an iconic, and endangered, expression of the traditions and experiences of the African American culture in the Lowcountry. Over the next year, in addition to providing general operating support to Gullah organizations, we will continue conversations across the Lowcountry to become better informed on how best to support  this art form.

Arts Advocacy

The Foundation will work to build relationships with government, business and the community at large to be a voice for the needs of the arts community.  

Over the course of the last two years, it has been inspiring to learn about the dozens of arts organizations across the Lowcountry which offer their communities a breadth of experiences in a diversity of disciplines. The Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the arts and we are committed to new efforts both to strengthen individual groups and help create stronger networks.  

Join Kerri for a webinar about the new Lowcountry Artistic Vitality Strategy on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11am. Click here to register

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