Greenville Journal | March 29, 2017 | Cindy Landrum

If Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council were a singer, reviewers would have noted that the nonprofit hit all the high notes in 2016.

Last year, MAC, which provides support for Greenville’s arts organizations and artists, set a record for grant funding. MAC distributed $435,663 for 78 projects, 17 schools, 16 artists, and 45 organizations — and they raised $1.76 million in cash toward its more than $2 million budget.

Furthermore, Open Studios featured 131 participating artists, combining for sales of more than $281,000 over the November event’s 18 hours, while MAC’s budget exceeded $2 million for the third consecutive years and its endowment exceeded $1 million for the first time.

“Greenville’s success is our success,” said Charles Ratterree, MAC board president. “We have a very generous community.”

When it comes to 2017 and beyond, MAC has set its sights even higher.

Charles Ratterree

“As a re-granting organization, continuing to expand re-granting opportunities speaks to our success,” said Ratterree. “We’re constantly looking for how we can increase those opportunities.”

This year, MAC is working on a plan to expand its SmartARTS program, a program for schools that are committed to having the arts as part of their curriculum. SmartARTS schools are eligible for funding from MAC for arts-related supplies, field trips, and artist residencies. Currently, 61 out of 101 Greenville County Schools have teachers certified in SmartARTS. Teachers are trained in integrating the arts into the curriculum for up to five years. So far, more than 400 teachers have been trained.

Since the federal government quit funding SmartARTS in 2007, MAC has raised $1.8 million to continue and expand the program. “[SmartARTS] has been incredibly successful,” says MAC Executive Director Alan Ethridge. “There’s a reason why we’ve been able to continue the program for 10 years after federal funding ended — it’s a program that works.”

In addition, MAC plans to start a facility enhancement grant program for its eight general operating support partners — Artisphere, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Little Theatre, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Peace Center, S.C. Children’s Theatre, and Warehouse Theatre.

The grants, which would be up to $15,000, would be used for capital projects. “A number of our operating support partners are engaged in different stages of improving their own capacity,” Ratterree said. “The grants would provide support as they are making significant and lasting improvements to the community.”

The Children’s Theatre is planning a new headquarters, while Centre Stage wants to convert a church into a facility with a second theater, rehearsal space, and classrooms. The Peace Center recently completed a capital campaign and renovation.

In addition, MAC will continue to advocate for arts funding and awareness. “Arts funding is always precarious,” Ethridge said, a point exemplified by the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and recent budget cuts from former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.

MAC’s Finest
Last week, the Metropolitan Arts Council announced the TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership Awards. The winners are:

MAC Lifelong Support of the Arts Award
Elizabeth Ramos and Erin Godbey, founders of the Indie Craft Parade

MAC Visionary Award
Hurdle Lea

Carl R. Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education
Elaine Donnan

Ann C. Sherard Young Supporter of the Arts Award
Jane Harrison Fisher

TD Bank Business and the Arts Partnership Awards
Companies with 100 or more employees, SunTrust Bank
Companies with fewer than 100 employees, Community Journals

Put Your Heart in the Arts Volunteer of the Year Award
David Ryder

MAC Board of Director Awards
Roger Ables and Chris Kavolus

Campaign for the Arts Awards
Allen Tate Realtors, Karen and William Brown, Canal Insurance Company Foundation, Rosa M. Eisenstadt, Lorraine Goldstein and Hal Weiss, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Edith and Bill Hardaway, Hollingsworth Funds, Chicken and Hurdle Lea, Nancy and Erwin Maddrey, Mary Peace Sterling Foundation, Resurgent Capital Services, Susan and Michael Riordan, and Holly and Ted Rollins

Programs and Services Awards
BMW Manufacturing LLC, Traute E. and Roland H. Engeler Family, Michelin North America Inc., SEW Eurodrive, South Carolina Arts Commission, and Don and Zelma Waggoner Foundation

SmartARTS Awards
Daniel-Mickel Foundation; F.W. Symmes Foundation; Graham Foundation; Jolley Foundation; Mice on Main, Linda Kelly; Mice on Main, Zan Wells; TD Bank, TD Charitable Foundation; and Kimberly Gibbs, SmartARTS 2016 Teaching Artist Award

Greenville Open Studios 2016 Awards
County of Greenville, First Citizens Bank, Janette W. Wesley and Renato Vicario, and Pelham Architects

Downtown Alive 2016 Award
The City of Greenville and the Clemson MBA program

Outstanding Support Award
The City of Greenville and the Greenville Health System

MAC Endowment for the Arts Award
Ann Barrett Batson, Michelin North America Inc., and Janet and Steve Sumner

See full Greenville Journal article here