"We are thrilled to be recognized for our dance and educational programming and services as an arts organization for the state of South Carolina," Ballet Spartanburg, Executive Director Teresa Hough said in a statement. "The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award validates the importance of the arts in our state and we are proud to receive this award as ambassadors of exemplary arts for not only Spartanburg for the state of South Carolina. We are very appreciative of the South Carolina Arts Commission and their dedication and commitment to the value of the arts and programming in our state."
Carlos Agudelo, Artistic Director, stated, "This is truly unexpected and at the same time an extremely rewarding honor. In my 27 years with this organization, we have always given, our outreach, our Center for Dance Education and our performance programs the same importance and efforts in order to grow, improve and reach every segment of our population, from the very young to our seniors to those with physical and mental challenges. So this award recognizes our mission and our desire to enrich lives through the art of dance."
Ballet Spartanburg retains the only resident Professional Company in the Upstate, instructs over 350 students and adults at the Center for Dance Education and has an expansive outreach program in the community and beyond.
"We try very hard to accommodate new audience members in our outreach programs and our performances. We are constantly "thinking outside of the box" of new and relatable ways to offer ballet, whether it is classical or contemporary, on the stage or in our studio. We are preparing to tour a new contemporary repertoire for 2018/2019 and we are excited about all future possibilities for our organization to continue to grow. " said Teresa Hough.
"Each recipient of these Verner Awards is an outstanding ambassador for our state and contributes greatly not just to the arts community, but the overall quality of life," S.C. Arts Commission chairman Henry Horowitz said in a news release. "Such dedication to the arts benefits South Carolina's people and, as we've just learned, adds to the arts' $9.7 billion impact on our state's economic vitality.
"As the Arts Commission nears completion of its 50th anniversary celebration, we are honored to recognize organizations and individuals who live out the service, commitment and passion that helped the arts here thrive throughout the last half century."
A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and drawn from members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and, after a rigorous process, makes recommendations to the Board for the final approval after a series of panel meetings produces a recommendation for each category.
The 2018 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. Awards will be presented May 2 in a morning ceremony at the State House. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients afterward during a fundraising luncheon at the University of South Carolina Alumni Center in Columbia. South Carolina artists' work will be on sale to support the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission.
Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and will be available for purchase by mid-March.
Headquartered in Columbia, the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.