The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) was established in 1967 as a state agency to create and operate a statewide program to advance the arts in South Carolina. SCAC directs its resources toward making the arts a part of the life experience of every citizen. Funding comes from the General Assembly, federal grants, private foundations, and community sponsors. The SCAC Board of Commissioners is comprised of nine volunteer citizens appointed at large for three-year terms by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
Since its inception, SCAC has offered a range of support to artists, arts organizations, educators, and local communities through programs, grants and fellowships, and technical assistance. By the mid-1970s SCAC programs had reached forty-five of the state’s forty-six counties. In 1980 SCAC conducted its first “Canvas of the People,” a long-range public planning process that was repeated in 1984, 1987, 1992, and 2001. The late 1980s brought the creation of South Carolina’s Arts in the Basic Curriculum (ABC) Plan, which focused on the incorporation of the arts as basic elements in the curricula of South Carolina schools. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Cultural Visions for Rural Communities program promoted links between the arts and economic development. Other collaborations led to the development of the South Carolina Design Arts Partnership and the SCAC Folklife program. In 1999 a comprehensive ten-year evaluation of the Arts in the Basic Curriculum project was published, calling for expansion throughout the state. A legislative Arts Caucus was formed the following year to inform legislators about issues affecting the arts and to advocate for arts funding.