dance awardsOn Tuesday, May 2, 2017 the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts were presented in the SC State House by South Carolina governor, The Honorable Henry McMaster. The South Carolina Arts Commission and the governor’s office have presented the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, since 1972.


Among the 2017 Verner Award recipients was Brenda Pugh McCutchen who received the “arts education award” for contributions to South Carolina arts education over her 40+ year career in dance, dance education and arts education. Ms. McCutchen was recognized for her work in arts administration, dance education, curriculum writing in higher education, and for her creative vision which brought forth the foundations textbook for teacher preparation in dance, Teaching Dance as Art in Education, as well as for creating the conceptual-based teacher resources that help to realize a holistic educational dance program in K-12. She was also recognized for her ongoing presence with the “Arts in Basic Curriculum” Project (ABC) since its inception, having served on the initial planning committee (1987), the ABC Leadership Team (1989-93), and as an ongoing member of the ABC Steering Committee from 1988 until today.


Education, Dance Education, Vernor Award,

Elizabeth O’Neill Vernor Award for Arts in Education

The Verner award comes with a bronze cast statue handcrafted by noted South Carolina artist Jean McWhorter (1932-2011). McCutchen received the engraved statue for Arts Education from Governor McMaster and the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the SC Arts Commission.


Following the State House presentation was a formal luncheon to honor the Verner award recipients.  Each awardee was recognized for significant contributions in a specific area of the arts. Proceeds from this celebratory event go to benefit the South Carolina Arts Commission’s arts projects through its non-profit support arm, the South Carolina Arts Foundation.


The luncheon was co-sponsored by Colonial Life Insurance Company, an ardent supporter of the arts whose corporate headquarters are located in Columbia, South Carolina.  In 2016, Colonial Life and its employees donated $2.4M in corporate donations and gave more than 11,000 hours of volunteer time to support dozens of community and arts organizations throughout the state of South Carolina.


This festive occasion also marks the 50th anniversary of the SC Arts Commission’s inception during the governorship of Robert E. McNair in 1967.

Part of the award is captured at this link:

Brenda McCutchen wishes to thank those who nominated her and supported her selection for this much coveted award. She also expresses appreciation for those who also supported the award by attending the Verner luncheon on her behalf to add to the signficance of this event. Among the arts education guests were Jim and Jane Bonbright (founding executive director of the National Dance Education Organization), Michael Levine and Sybil Huskey (professors of art and dance respectively), Libby Patenaude (former Dean of VPA, Winthrop University), and Susan Anderson (Dance Program Director, University of SC).

Contact Dance Curriculum Designs for more information about this special event or the educational resources it produces.

Brenda Pugh McCutchen
Dance Curriculum Designs
Columbia, SC  USA