Florence County Museum wins a Verner Award

May 7, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence County Museum was one of nine recipients of the 2019 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts.

“It is an incredible honor for the Florence County Museum to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award,” museum director Andrew Stout said. “Community supporters, volunteers and staff have worked very hard to ensure the success of the museum. The recognition is proof that we are doing what is best for our community and state.”

Former Museum Board Chairman Ben Zeigler said there was a nice symmetry to the award. His father, Eugene “Nick”, a former state senator, won one of the first Verner awards for his work establishing the South Carolina Arts Commission. Ben Zeigler added the award was a fitting acknowledgement of the museum and that he wished his father could have seen it.

Other award winners included artist Tyrone Geter, Kathleen P. Bateson, Simeon A. Warren, the South Carolina African America Heritage Commission, Hampton III Gallery, The Gibbes Museum of Art, the [Columbia] Town Theatre and Cecil Williams.

The awards were announced Wednesday at a banquet held at the University of South Carolina Alumni Center in Columbia.

The Verner Awards which are given out by the South Carolina Arts Commission, 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 became the state’s official governor’s awards for the arts.

Verner, an artist who was from Charleston, has been called “the best-known woman artist of South Carolina of the 20th century.” She was also one of the leading figures in the Charleston Renaissance between the two world wars.

The Arts Commission, created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. The commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.