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Read about your top three finalists in each category below.
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During the period of September 2012- September 2013, Wayland Anderson has worked hard to share his passion for dance with Columbia and to give the city the great art that it both wants and deserves through performance, choreography and education. He has also sought to show the nation the huge amount of dance talent and creativity happening in our city. Recently promoted Soloist with the Columbia City Ballet, Anderson performed throughout the season originating roles in the spring 2013 productions of “Snow White” and “The Little Prince.” Guest performances include Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet’s production of Cinderella, Dance USC’s production “Ballet Stars of New York,” Griffin Ballet’s presentation of William Starret’s “Lion King” and the South Carolina Philharmonic’s performance of “Carmen.” Anderson’s choreographic efforts include “Nina Simone Suite” for the Columbia Summer Repertory Company, six works commissioned for Workshop Theatre’s production of “Songs for a New World” set on members of the Columbia Summer Repertory Company, “The River” performed in the Artists for Africa Gala, “Survivors” performed as part of “Body and Movement Explored” with the Columbia City Ballet, and a pas de deux created for Ballet Spartanburg’s DanSynergy. Anderson teaches regularly at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. - BB
Erin Jaffe Bolshakov spent the period of September 2012 – September 2013 growing the reach of VISTA Ballroom and continuing to enrich the Latin dance community in Columbia, South Carolina through classes, workshops and performances. She also worked to cement Columbia’s place in the national Latin dance community with performances at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina and in the La Milonga Rosa in New York City, New York. Her work with business and dance partner, internationally renowned Maestro Orlando Farias in her words,”brings us authentic Argentine Tango and Argentinean culture” as well as the respect of the Argentine Tango community. Some of her work this year includes performance and instruction during PASOS “Steps for Pasos” gala, choreography of an Argentine Tango for Palmetto & Luna Theatre group “La Tropa,” performances at the DNC in Charlotte and the La Milonga Rosa in NYC, hosting of a monthly Milonga or Tango dance club, and the Executive Direction of the fourth year of Mad Hot Tango Marathon and producer of the associated professional Tango show. - BB
Terrance Henderson is a teacher, dancer and choreographer. He serves on the dance faculty at Columbia Ballet School and Southeastern School of Ballet. He is the director of the dance after school program for AC Moore Elementary and has been the long term artist in residence teaching dance and theater at Logan Elementary. This past season, Henderson’s choreography was seen in the Trustrus Mainstage productions of “Next to Normal,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and “Ragtime,” and in Henderson Brothers Burlesque Show as part of What’s Love 2013. With his new personal brand TO DANCE Inc., Henderson premiered an evening of original choreography titled “Hole in My Bucket: A perspective,” at the 2013 Rogue Festival in Fresno, California. Henderson worked with the Fuzion Dance Artist of Sarasota this August setting one of his solo works “That's Life,” and choreographed Dreher High School’s production of “Legally Blonde the Musical.”
While Phillip Bush may have only recently begun teaching at USC, he is no stranger to Columbia’s concert music world nor to South Carolina. During the 2012-2013 season, Bush has performed with chamber musicians and as a soloist at the Columbia Museum of Art, at the Kershaw County Fine Arts Center, with the Southeastern Piano Festival, and, of course, innumerably at USC. Bush has also performed across the state, and served as the Music Director for the Bennington Chamber Music Conference in Vermont, performed at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and beyond, including a residency and numerous performances at the Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival in Texas. Still, more than half of his year’s performances took place in the Midlands, and his level of local engagement has spanned from directing student performances of Steve Reich’s Music for Eighteen Musicians to co-directing February, 2013’s concerts at Arts at Shandon. Bush’s presence in Columbia is perhaps understated, but certainly felt here – and definitely known beyond our borders. - TD
FatRat da Czar
Fat Rat da Czar (aka Darius Johnson) has long been one of the most prominent names in Columbia (and South Carolina’s) hip-hop scene, with nearly 20 years under his belt as a local MC. Still, he’s had an exceptionally busy year even for Mr. Johnson, who had a couple of important milestones over the October 2012-September 2013 period. November saw the release of Da Cold War 3, the completion of a trilogy of proper solo albums that defined him as a rapper lyrically going against the grain and forging his own artistic identity. Perhaps even more importantly, his unofficial status as a mentor for upcoming talent became a career, as he became a full-time engineer at the Boom Room, the Studio B at Columbia’s Jam Room Recording Studios that saw him working with everyone from hip-hop crew Grand Royal to the Americana folk trio Prairie Willows.
In between, Johnson not only landed prestigious opening slots for the likes of Killer Mike and GZA, he also traveled to Atlanta to perform at AC3, one of the nation’s biggest hip-hop festivals. He also played a pivotal role in The Gamecock Mixtape put together by Dinobrite Productions, and drops a powerful closing verse on the lead single “Ride With My Team,” a song whose music video when semi-viral upon its release and has over 112,000 views to date.
Perhaps more than anything though, Fat Rat is a hip-hop ambassador in a city and state still largely segregated musically as much as racially. Along with his musical partner Shekeese the Beast, he organizes and headlines hip-hop shows, but also fearlessly jumps on to rock and roll bills and fearlessly takes the stage at such unlikely events as the City Roots-hosted Mardi Gras festival.
In short, Fat Rat da Czar kept the fire burning in more ways than one for hip-hop in the Midlands last year. - KP
For The Restoration, the past year has been an exciting one. The November release of Honor the Father followed up the widely celebrated Constance LP, demonstrating the band’s continued commitment to writing narrative concept albums that grapple with the history of the South both musically and lyrically. Honor the Father is “a narrative exploration of religious fundamentalism dressed with Dixieland and early rock 'n' roll,” according to leader Daniel Machado, and also functions as a murder mystery story with a revealing—and disturbing--conclusion. It’s worth noting the extensive use of musical forms here, as well as the complex structure of the climactic track “The Trial,” which features Biblical footnotes in the liner notes and sees Machado and others donning multiple characters’ hats over the course of the song’s six minutes of exposition.
The record’s favorable reception cemented the band’s position as one of Columbia’s best active bands, which led to prominent appearances at the River Rocks festival this spring and the Bel Chere Festival this summer. The band’s work has also received some unusual academic attention, as their work has been featured in English classes taught at Spartanburg Methodist College. - KP
Using his own backyard as centerpiece and testing ground for thinking about urban wildlife, Jim Barilla put Columbia on the map for environmental writing this year. His nonfiction book, My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard Into Habitant and Learned to Live With It, was published by Yale University Press this spring. Barilla set out to turn his yard into a certified wildlife habitat, and the book documents that project. Combining his reflections on his backyard with a rich understanding of environmental issues, the book also includes stories about bears, monkeys, and honeybees in cities around the world, yet Barilla always returns to his own backyard in Columbia as a critical place for thinking about our coexistence with animals. The book was widely reviewed—Publisher’s Weekly, Nature, BBC Wildlife, and elsewhere—with portions of the book published in The Atlantic, Places, and National Geographic online. The reviewer for BBC Wildlife said that Barilla “reminds us to ask what it will be like to engage with nature in a future in which most of us will live in cities.” Or as a nomination put it, “His work asks us to think about our place in the world around us.” - EM
In January, Janna McMahan published Anonymity (Koehler Books), a novel about homeless youth. Gritty and based on extensive research, the novel tells the tale of a difficult friendship between a photographer and a homeless teenage girl in Austin. Novelist Ron Rash called the novel McMahan’s best yet, and Real South magazine praised its gritty realism and its exploration of a situation in which “there are no easy answers for anyone.” She also contributed “A Name You Can Yell” (yes, she’s talking about how you name a dog—or a kid?) in Literary Dogs and their South Carolina Writers, published by Hub City in Spartanburg just before Christmas 2012, and “Pat Conroy: Or How I Stalked My Prince of Tides,” in The Limelight: A Compendium of Contemporary Artists, published by Muddy Ford Press earlier this year. Anonymity has led to speaking engagements in schools and community organizations about homeless youth. Some Richland Library book clubs are reading the novel this fall, and in November, the Main Street library will host a community panel discussion on youth homeless in Columbia (Nov. 17, 3 p.m., Bostick Auditorium). McMahan says, “This has been a story with social impact, and I’m most grateful for how people are interested in the topic and actually taking action.” - EM
This summer, Aida Rogers published what USC Press called a love letter to the state of South Carolina, her book State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love. The book includes 36 nationally and regionally recognized writers on the places they cherish—including novelists Pat Conroy and Dori Sanders and SC poet laureate Marjory Wentworth. In the forward to the book, Conroy writes, "State of the Heart reminds us of what is best about South Carolina and her many gifted writers, the monumental power of this place to shape our memories into stories and then our stories into art.” According to Jonathan Haupt, director of USC Press, the book “quickly became a media sensation and one of our best-selling regional books.” Rogers herself said of the collection, “I think State of the Heart proved there's plenty of literary talent in South Carolina…. If the anthology does nothing but introduce them to readers, it will have accomplished something valuable.” Rogers wrote about late Columbia artist Gil Petroff for The Limelight: A Compendium of Contemporary Artists. That essay, she says, “allowed me to point out what's marvelous but invisible because we see it every day. There is extraordinary talent all around us, and I think it's important for a community to appreciate its own.” - EM
Bobby Bloom hasn't stopped to catch his breath very much this year as his list of accomplishments demonstrates. Bloom acted and or directed (specified) in the following: Red - Trustus Off-Lady Series at The Columbia Art Museum; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), directed and acted, SC Shakespeare Company at Rosewood Arts Festival; Next Fall, Trustus Theater- Thigpen Main Stage; The Christmas Doll - Columbia Children’s Theater; A Year with Frog and Toad - Columbia Children’s Theater; The Whipping Man - Trustus Off-Lady Series/ NiA Company at CMFA; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark - Trustus Theater- Thigpen Main Stage; The Commedia Rapunzel - Columbia Children’s Theater; The Commedia Pinocchio - Columbia Children’s Theater; Ragtime - Trustus Theater- Thigpen Main Stage; Mother F***** with a Hat - Fight Choreographer - Trustus Theater - Thigpen Main Stage; The Three Musketeers - Fight Choreographer - Dreher High School; Ragtime - Fight Choreographer – Trustus Theater- Thigpen Main Stage; Bobby also serves as Co-director of the Trustus Apprentice Company and director of the Trustus Stage Door Apprentice Company. - CB
Terrance Henderson’s hand is in just about every aspect of theatre one could imagine from teaching to directing to acting. Henderson is the director of the theater after school program for AC Moore Elementary and has been the long term theatre artist in residence at Logan Elementary. In the past year, Henderson has portrayed the roles of Dr. Madden in Trustus Theatre’s “Next to Normal” and most recently in the leading role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in “Ragtime” also at Trustus . Terrance was also the co-creator and official emcee (Nauti Boogie) for the Henderson Brothers Burlesque Show as part of What's Love 2013. Henderson’s direction was seen in Trustus Theatre’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” this summer.
Vicky Saye Henderson
“My identity as a theatre artist is rooted in my work as both an actor and teaching artist,” says Vicky Saye Henderson. The past year has seen her perform in the following productions: Next to Normal at Trustus Theatre; 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at Trustus Theatre; Songs for a New World at Workshop Theatre; Ragtime: The Musical at Trustus Theatre; Late Night Cabaret at Town Theatre; Kevin Bush's Off the Top of My Head Cabaret at Trustus Theatre; Women at Heart (Palmetto Health's 2012 Heart Health Forum & Exhibition at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for which she co-wrote and performed a dramatic presentation which educated women about the signs & symptoms of heart attack and showed them how to act quickly if faced with them. She also became Trustus Theatre's DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION (December 2012); started Trustus Summer Camp Series; renovated the Trustus Apprentice Company program to include 4 new Master Tracks in Acting, Musical Theatre, Improv & Sketch Comedy and Technical Theatre plus civic engagement projects, and created Night Owl Improv Series & the Actor Wellness Wheel Series. - CB
Michaela Pilar Brown
"September 2012 – September 2013 marked a period of significant growth and building," says Michaela Pilar Brown. Following a critically received solo exhibition Whither Goes My Heart, at Columbia College’s Goodall in Fall of 2012, Michaela spent a great deal of time investing in Columbia’s art community. She sits on the board of the Friends of African American Art and Culture, as the Programming Committee Chair, and recently joined the One Columbia public arts selection committee. Whither Goes my Heart was a mulit-object/image installation that told the story of family and home. The work was well received and secured invitations to show at The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, Plecto Gallery, Medellin, Colombia, the Stanback Museum, South Carolina State University. Here is a list of exhibitions covering the year: June 2013 - Juried into in 2013 South Carolina Biennial, 701 Center for Contemporary Art; June 2013, ONEx1, Columbia Museum of Art Group Exhibition; May 2013, The South Carolina Arts Gala, South Carolina Arts Commission Invitational group exhibition; April 2013, Install It III, Vista Artist Guild Outdoor City Wide Installation Group exhibition; October 2012, Whither Goes My Heart Solo Exhibition, Goodall Gallery, Columbia College. (photo by Forrest Clonts) - CB
Thomas Crouch’s work was exhibited at Artfields, in Lake City SC as well as in Columbia at Art Bar Agora IV, Rosewood Crawfish Festival, Wine Down, Best Mattress, Devine Street Art Walk, and Carolina Hair Salon. He was a finalist last year for Jasper 2012 Visual Arts Artist of Year, writer's pick best artist in Best of Columbia in the Free Times. He showed at Tapps Art Center and spoke at High Noon at City Art Gallery, andhe also was honored at Lexington and Richland County Cultural Council Sponsor's Dinner Featured Artist. In Charleston he showed at the ArtMag Rose Ball Gala, gave a solo show at Michael Parks Gallery, The Gadsden, 807, and Pretty Girls group art show.
The grass hasn't grown under Philip Mullen either. Take a look: SOLO EXHIBITIONS - 1/2013 MULLEN 2009–2012: Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC; 5/2/2013 MULLEN 2009–2013: 701 Center for Contemporary Art. GROUP EXHIBITIONS -9//2012 - Arts Council of York County, Rock Hill, SC; 10/7/2012 - An Artist’s Eye: Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC. PUBLICATIONS - 1/2013 MULLEN 2009–2012; 2/2013 - The Limelight-A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, COVER ARTIST & Article on Philip Mullen by Cassie Premo Steele, Muddy Ford Press; 2013 - Retrospective Michael Tice: Introduction by Philip Mullen - New Lit Salon Press; 5/2013 - Bernard Kruseman Aretz: Cover story by Chris Robinson, Sara Schneckloth & Philip Mullen - Jasper Magazine May/June 2013; 2013 - Inside Acrylics by Phil Garrett: One of nine artists included, North Light Books. MISCELANEOUS - 9/2012 - WIS film lecture; 10/18/2012 - 2012 Founders’ Exhibit: Curator,Cultural Council of Richland & Lexington Counties; 11/8/2012 - Tapp’s Arts Center: Lecture; 1/13/2013 - Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum: Lecture; 4/2013 - Arranged private donation: “Jane’s Wall” - Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum; 5/2013 - Arranged private donation: “Floral with Easel” - Sumter County Gallery of Art; 5/26/2013 - 701 Center for Contemporary Art: Lecture; 9/2013 - Arranged long term installation of “Seasons & Koi” - Riverbanks Zoo and Garden; 6/2013 - 2013 AHA Exhibit: Curator, Cultural Council of Richland & Lexington Counties and The Humanities Council SC. - CB