Five to Receive 2020 Folk Heritage Awards in Recognition of Contributions to State Culture

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

The General Assembly is to honor five recipients with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, presented annually to recognize work that keeps the state’s traditional art forms alive.

Four artists and one advocate are to be recognized as practitioners and advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. The 2020 recipients are:

Kristin Scott Benson (Boiling Springs): Bluegrass Banjo

David Galloway (Seneca): Spiritual Gospel Singing

Voices of El Shaddai (Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area): Lowcountry Gospel Music

Judy Twitty (Gilbert): Quilting

Vennie Deas Moore (Georgetown): Folklore and Cultural Preservation

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the lieutenant governor and president of the Senate select the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state.

“In the face of nonstop change, these recipients are to be commended for keeping South Carolina’s traditional art forms alive and thriving,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “The value of these art forms is that they tell who we are as South Carolinians. They do exceptional work on our behalf, and we all are grateful for what these award recipients do.”

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award will be presented along with the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts at the South Carolina Arts Awards on Wednesday, May 6 at the Pastides Alumni Center at UofSC (900 Senate St., Columbia). A ticketed celebratory luncheon will begin the festivities at 11:30 a.m. before the free, public ceremony at 1 p.m. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and available for purchase through SouthCarolinaArts.com or by calling 803.734.8696.