Leaders and supporters of the South Carolina arts community turned the north side of the Statehouse into an arts festival of sorts Monday evening, to show support for the South Carolina Arts Commission a state agency whose funding was vetoed by Gov. Nikki Haley.
Tuesday House lawmakers consider overriding that veto.
Gov. Haley’s rationale is that the private sector can support the arts. Monday, Senate Majority leader Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney) tweeted, “A state without the arts is like a football team without the band.”
Senate President Pro Tem John Courson (R-Richland) observed Tuesday evening’s events at the Statehouse. AUDIO: He says he will vote against the governor on this item.
Despite intermittent rain, hundreds gathered, but there were no speeches, only a motley show of artistic solidarity, as performers, dancers, musicians and artists all demonstrated their talents.
About the gathering, Courson said, “Welcome to the Statehouse. I’m glad that this is a way that they can get their message across to the public and through the public to the legislators. I’m delighted always to see a crowd come out.”
Among those in the crowd, Jim Thigpen, Artistic Director of Trustus Theatre in Columbia.
AUDIO: Thigpen on recurring threats to arts funding
An attorney, Rebecca Creel, came out to show support. She works with an organization against domestic violence that is also on the veto list.
AUDIO: Creel on rural arts funding
Actor and arts writer Arik Bjorn simply chose to read from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and explained:
AUDIO: Why Shakespeare?
The House votes on overriding budget vetoes today and the Senate on Wednesday.