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Nominations Sought to Honor Stewards of S.C.’s Folklife and Traditional Arts



Press Release

The South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina want to honor exceptional practitioners and advocates working in the Palmetto State’s folklife and traditional arts. 

Eligible artists and advocates fitting those descriptions can now be nominated for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the traditional arts, the Folk Heritage Award is presented annually by the General Assembly to honor the work of stewarding and furthering the traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. The South Carolina Arts Commission and UofSC’s McKissick Museum jointly manage the awards.

Up to four artists and one advocate may receive awards each year. Nominations are accepted in two categories:

  • Artists: South Carolina artists who have dedicated their lives to the practice of art forms that have been passed down through their families and communities and who have demonstrated a commitment to keeping their tradition alive. Past awards have recognized art forms such as basket making, gospel singing, bluegrass and old-time fiddling, hammock making and boat building, among many others.
  • Advocates: South Carolina individuals and groups who have worked to further traditional culture in the state. Those who are not traditional artists, but who have provided service that helps to sustain and promote South Carolina traditions, are eligible for the advocacy award.

The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Before submitting a nomination, you are strongly advised to contact Program Specialist for Community Arts & Folklife Dr. Laura Marcus Green to determine whether your nominee is eligible: or 803.734.8764. For program guidelines and nomination instructions for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, visit

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, along with the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, will be presented at the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony in the spring. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the first virtual South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony, which occurred in July rather than May. A decision on how and when the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards will be presented is to be announced at a later date.

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