Verner-Award-Statuecroppednarrow-154x400COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission announces the 2017 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts, the highest honor the state presents in the arts. Established in 1972, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina.


This year’s recipients:


  • Lifetime Achievement:
    • Laura Spong, Columbia
    • Leo Twiggs, Orangeburg
  • Artist: Quentin Baxter, Charleston
  • Individual: Betsy Teter, Spartanburg
  • Arts in Education: Brenda P. McCutchen, Columbia
  • Business/Foundation: The Stringer & Rainey Foundations, Anderson
  • Government: The City of Beaufort/USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, South Carolina
  • Organization: South Carolina Humanities, Columbia


“Each of these Verner Award recipients has contributed greatly to the arts community as an outstanding ambassador for our state,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “Their dedication to the arts benefits South


Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission marks its 50th anniversary, we are honored to recognize these organizations and individuals who embody the service, commitment and passion that helped build our state’s half century of leadership in the arts.”


Awards will be presented May 2 in Columbia (location and time to be announced), and the S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients at a luncheon at noon. A fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission, the luncheon includes an art sale and takes place at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased online at


The 2017 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life. For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon, call (803) 734-8696 or visit


document mageAbout the S.C. Arts Commission


The South Carolina Arts Commission is celebrating 50 years of public support for the arts. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. The Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts through staff assistance, programs, grants and partnerships 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, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit or call (803) 734-8696.


What is The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards


To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, the Arts Commission annually presents the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts. These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the Verner Awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”


The symbol of the awards is a hand-crafted bronze statue, designed by Columbia-based artist Jean McWhorter, and presented to each recipient.


A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and made up of members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the Board for final approval.


Elizabeth O’Neill Verner


Elizabeth O’Neill Verner achieved an international reputation for her etchings and pastels, many of which capture the spirit of the South Carolina Lowcountry. She was also a teacher, writer and historian. Throughout her 96 years, Mrs. Verner traveled abroad extensively. Drawings of South Carolina residences, churches and street-life portraits are Verner trademarks recognized throughout the world for the way they capture South Carolina’s unique people and architecture. Mrs. Verner’s studio is located on Tradd Street in Charleston.


More In The News Here


Brenda Pugh McCutchen
Dance Curriculum Designs
Columbia, SC  USA