School Arts Program

Chuck Sullivan school arts performance at Bethune Elementary School. Back row (left to right) Conner Tootle and Hazia Bethea. Front Row (left to right) Kerrington White, Lacey Banks, Casey Collins, Mr. Chuck Sullivan. They are students in Ms. Julie Pigg’s Second Grade classroom.

FAC's School Arts Program Brings Poet Chuck Sullivan into the Schools

Celebrated Charlotte, NC poet Chuck Sullivan taught poetry to students in grades 2 through 5 at Bethune Elementary Schools in mid-February as part of the Fine Arts Center’s (FAC) School Arts Program. The program has facilitated 30 weeks of artist residencies this school year, and is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for the School Arts Program is provided by a grant from the Camden Junior Welfare League, the Frederick S. Upton Foundation, the School District of Kershaw County, Target Corporation, local civic and service clubs, school support groups, and contributions from individuals who value arts in the schools.

Chuck Sullivan has been conducting residencies in North and South Carolina schools since 1976. He has published seven books of poetry. His last book, “Zen Matchbox,” was published in 2008. His second book, “A Catechism of Hearts,” won the 1980 best book of the year in South Carolina and his fifth book, “Looking for the Harmonies,” was awarded the prize as Best Book of the Year in North Carolina in 1992.  For the past 32 summers, he has taught poetry and philosophy at NC Governor’s School East where he is currently the Poet-in-Residence and head of the English department. He has recently received the Sam Ragan Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Fine Arts in North Carolina and the Mary Frances Hobson Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Literature of the South presented by the Hobson Institute in San Francisco, CA.

Funding for the Bethune Elementary residency week was generously donated by The Bethune Lion’s Club, The Bethune Woman’s Club, Lynchwood Masonic Lodge, and The Bethune Garden Club. The teachers were very pleased with the success of the residency. “Mr. Sullivan helped my students expand their writing skills by stressing the importance of using descriptive words while writing and also helped teach my students about similes and metaphors,” said Ms. Julie Pigg, second grade teacher at Bethune. “Mr. Sullivan is such an exciting and interesting man. He did a wonderful job teaching about the elements of poetry with vivid images and descriptions. He made writing poetry fun and interesting.” said Mrs. Jana Vincent, third grade teacher at Bethune.

For over 30 years, the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) has collaborated with regional artists and the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) to bring professional artists into the district to perform, inspire, and teach. This history includes implementing Arts in Education grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission since 1983.