Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards

S.C. Poetry Initiative Director Kwame Dawes, S.C. Traditional Arts Network President Will Moreau Goins, and author and scholar John Jakes will be recognized during a special awards ceremony at 9:15 a.m. April 16 at the Statehouse. Both will also be honored at an awards luncheon at the Columbia Marriott Hotel following the ceremony.

Dr. Dawes, a resident of Elgin, is one of seven recipients of the 2008 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner /Governor’s Awards for the Arts, an awards program coordinated the S.C. Arts Commission. He is receiving the award in the individual category for demonstrating exceptional achievement and statewide impact through his leadership, support and advancement of the arts. Dr. Dawes is a former Board Member of SC Humanities. Dr. Goins of Columbia is one of two recipients of the 2008 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for Native American Traditions. Dr. Goins is a current member of Speakers Bureau: Humanities Out Loud, one of SC Humanities's longest-running programs. John Jakes will receive the 2008 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner /Governor's Awards for the Arts for Lifetime Achievement and will speak at the awards luncheon. John Jakes is a former recipient of the Governor's Awards in the Humanities, presented by SC Humanities.

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the S.C. Arts Commission, previous Elizabeth O’Neill Verner /Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Folk Heritage Award recipients are being recognized during the ceremony and Carolina First-sponsored benefit luncheon. McKissick Museum, which partners with the Arts Commission to administer the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award program, is also holding a special reception at 7 p.m. April 15 at the museum to honor all recipients.

The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner/Governor’s Awards for the Arts are the highest honor the state gives in the arts and recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The state legislature created the Folk Heritage Award in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in traditional arts. To learn more about the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards or Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, or to view all 2008 recipients visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com.

About S.C. Arts Commission:
The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission is celebrating 40 years of increasing public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina and by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.