News Releases

Art means the world to them: young South Carolina artists recognized at annual awards ceremony

February 06, 2009
Scholastic Arts
Pictured, from left, are: Scot Hockman, education associate for visual and performing arts at the S.C. Department of Education; Angela Dennis, a Lander mass communication and theatre student from Greenville; and Crystal Chambers, a candidate for Lander's Master of Arts in Teaching degree. From Trenton, Chambers is currently student teaching at Ware Shoals Middle School and Ware Shoals High School. 
"Art means the world to me" was a phrase that could be heard rolling off many tongues when young artists and their parents and teachers congregated on the Lander University campus for the 2009 South Carolina Scholastic Art Awards ceremony Jan. 31. This year 123 middle and high school students from across the state were honored for their submissions to the competition.

Winning artwork will be on display in Lander's Monsanto Gallery through Feb. 13.

While participation in the Scholastic Art Awards ceremony expressed a high level of commitment to the arts by all in attendance, many of the young artists and their teachers had the opportunity to express their love of the arts on video. Before and after the awards ceremony, a representative from the S.C. Department of Education asked students and teachers about art making and art education. "Art means the world to me" was the tagline uttered by participants at the end of each interview.

Scot Hockman, education associate for visual and performing arts at the S.C. department of education, and Angela Dennis, a Lander mass communication and theatre student from Greenville, could be seen filming interviews with students and teachers as the crowds perused this year's exhibit.

The purpose of the interviews was to get comments from artists and teachers regarding the importance of the arts in South Carolina.

Speaking at the awards ceremony Hockman said, "I've been with the state department for three-and-a-half years and it's great to go around South Carolina and see how students are expressing themselves in many forms of art, including dance, music, theatre and visual arts."

Scholastic Arts
Linda Dolny, Dylan Agardy and Alicia Houck. Agardy, a Wando High School student, received a Gold Key award for her art portfolio, a Gold Key award for her mixed media piece titled "Organ Harvesting," pictured, and honorable mention for her computer art titled "Rabbit." A 1969 Lander graduate, Dolny is the founder and proprietor of PML Associates, which sponsors the South Carolina Scholastic Art Awards. Houck, a Greenwood High School art teacher and '05 Lander graduate, taught Agardy when she was a student at Greenwood High School. 
Hockman went on to explain that the interviews were inspired by a video produced by Rhode Island's Department of Education. "The video was simply students expressing why art was important to them, why it was important for them to express themselves through the arts and why it's important to have art in our schools," he said.

In the case of the Scholastic Art Awards, Hockman had the opportunity to film students as they stood in front of their artwork.

"We are hoping to put together a video," said Hockman, "that can be sent to school arts coordinators, administrators, guidance counselors and anyone who believes art is important in schools, and maybe those who don't think art is important in schools."

Hockman said that the video could provide insight into what creating art means to South Carolina students and what art means to those who teach these students.

In his presentation, Hockman also explained the monetary value of the arts in South Carolina. He cited a study regarding the economic impact of the arts in South Carolina, which was conducted by the Moore School of Business's Division of Research at the University of South Carolina. The initial study was released in 2002.

"In 2006 there was an update to the report which showed that 31,000 South Carolinians are involved in the arts and arts-related jobs," said Hockman. "The capital output for the arts in South Carolina is valued at 2.4 billion dollars. That's a big piece of the economic pie, and when legislators see the impact ... that means something to them. We need to support the arts, we need to support the arts in schools."

Scholastic Arts
Pictured, from left, are: Alexandria May, a Greenwood High School student; Zachary Greenway, a S.C. Governor's School for the Arts student from Greenwood; and Rep. Gene Pinson, district 13 representative for the South Carolina House of Representatives. May received a Silver Key award for an untitled drawing. Greenway received a Gold Key award for his sculpture titled "As Above, So Below." 
As part of the 2009 South Carolina Scholastic Art competition, five entries are awarded the status of "American Visions," or best in show. These pieces will be submitted in the National Scholastic Art Awards competition, one of which is assured to be in the national exhibit.

Gold and Silver Key awards, equivalent to first and second place, respectively, are granted to artists in the various categories of art making. Works receiving the "Gold Key" award will also be submitted to the national competition. Many students also receive honorable mention for their work. For the 2009 competition, 499 students, from 31 schools, submitted 790 pieces of artwork for award consideration.

Judges for the 2009 S.C Scholastic Arts competition were Dr. Linda Neely, Lander associate professor of art; Jim Slagle, Lander assistant professor of art; and Roger Wohlford, Lander associate professor of art.

The South Carolina Scholastic Art Awards and exhibit are sponsored by PML Associates and Lander University.

The university is home to undergraduate programs in visual art and art education and a master's program in art education. Lander is in the process of forming its new cohort for the 14-month Master of Arts in Teaching program, leading to initial teacher certification in art at the master's level. For more information please contact Lander's Admissions Office at or 1-888-4LANDER.

For Monsanto Gallery hours call 864-388-8810.