The South Carolina Statehouse lobby was full of flashing cameras Wednesday as avid onlookers congratulated the 2016 recipients of the South Carolina Arts Awards.
The South Carolina Arts Commission has taken pride in recognizing and rewarding outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina since 1972. The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor's Awards and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Awards were both given at the ceremony. The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards are the highest honor the state gives in the arts, while the Folk Heritage Awards recognizes lifetime achievement in the traditional arts.
This year’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards recipients included members of the nationally famous band Hootie and the Blowfish, poet and author Nikky Finney, and the City of Greenville government for its revitalization of local arts. Recipients of the Folk Heritage Awards were artists Bill Harris, potter and chief of the Catawba Nation, and Harold Clayton for his advocacy of Bluegrass and Gospel music.