Showcase of Excellence, TFAC’s annual exhibit featuring high school artists, was cancelled for 2021. We plan to bring the show back next year. In the meantime, we heard from Dorman High School Art Teacher Dr. Frances Vaughan about what the show has provided for her students.

Dr. Frances Vaughan, Art teacher, Dorman High School, Spartanburg, SC

The TFAC Showcase of Excellence has provided my students with an opportunity to display their work and share it with the Tryon community and beyond. Students who attended the show have gained a sense of pride and confidence in their artistic abilities… and the cash prizes made them smile too! They also enjoyed the aspect of getting to see so many other students’ works from the area.

I will miss the show this year because it is often the only show where we get to compete and have comradery with schools from both North and South Carolina. I live in the area (Campobello) and teach at Dorman High School, so it is always fun to have my students from Spartanburg get to visit my local community. The show is always impeccably organized, beautifully displayed, and in a great location.

  • Dr. Vaughn shared some photos of her students’ work this year that would have made it into the exhibit:
Samantha Weber: Grade 12 Dorman High School Teacher: Dr. Frances Draughn
Artist: Kriti Baral; Grade 12 Dorman High School Teacher Dr. Frances Draughn

Hi, I’m Alaina McCall, I’m a rising Junior at Landrum High School, and I’m the Arts Administration Intern at TFAC this Summer. I love drawing and just making things in general, so when I heard about this internship, I was ecstatic to find something that sounded so perfect for me. I love writing stories and animating videos, so a job where I get to use and hone my Photoshop skills, while getting to write at the same time, is a dream come true.

My dream college is the California Institute of The Arts, which is less than an hour’s drive away from Disney Studios, where I can hopefully intern when I go to school there. My dream career is to be an animated show’s storyboard artist, then work my way up to create my own show, on either Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, or Netflix. Something like Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Rick And Morty, or Bojack Horseman. My YouTube channel, LoquaciousLaners42, linked here, is where I like to post animations, sketchbook tours, speedpaints, and other art related things like that. When I’m not making stuff, I like to act, sing, attempt to play guitar, and watch cartoons.

I’m so glad that I’m getting to work at Tryon Fine Arts Center this summer! So far, I’ve gotten to make videos, edit pictures together, organize lots of stuff, and make lots of spreadsheets; it’s been so much fun! I can’t wait to learn even more as the summer progresses.

I’m very thankful that our local foundation the Polk County Community Foundation has made this internship possible, and I’m so happy to have been chosen for this amazing opportunity!

Thanks to funding from Polk County Community Foundation, TFAC has added an exciting new tool to ensure that performances and events are more accessible.

Technicians have installed a state-of-the-art Assistive Listening Device (ALD) in the Veh Auditorium. The ALD system works seamlessly to accommodate those with hearing loss or who have difficulty distinguishing sounds in large spaces like TFAC’s 315 seat theater. With 10% of the population experiencing hearing loss, this is a vital step that TFAC is pleased to take to improve accessibility for all our patrons.

Polk County Community Foundation’s support has also enabled TFAC to upgrade the speakers in the auditorium, ensuring the world-class visiting artists are heard in their richest form. Pictured are TFAC’s expert technical contractors installing the new system.

Tryon Fine Arts Center heartily congratulates the young artists who took home prizes at this year’s Showcase of Excellence.

Showcase of Excellence recognizes young artists and visual arts instructors from upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.

Over 150 works of art were selected for inclusion in the late winter exhibition by juror and arts educator Laura Mitchell.

Winners for the 2019 Showcase of Excellence include:

Best in Show: Ma Ma (Painting) by Maddie West, Dorman High School
People’s Choice Award (chosen by adult visitors to the Gallery I exhibition): Pretty Place (Painting) by Alexa Pass, Greer High School
Student’s Choice Award (chosen by student visitors to the Gallery I exhibition): Craigh na Dun (Painting) by Abby Billiu, Landrum High School
Facebook Award (chosen by “Likes” on Facebook during the exhibition): Zen Dog (Drawing) by Sara Bailey, Dorman Freshman Campus

1st Unnoticed by Leah Marr, East Henderson High
2nd Thomas by Leslie Sanchez-Mejia, Greer High
3rd Red Door by Jenna Scarboro, Greer High

1st An Ode to Prey by Leia Johnson, Chapman High
2nd Color or No Color by Itzel Avellaneda-Cruz, Polk County High
3rd March to the Sea by Abigail Doerr, Landrum High

1st Landscape by Caleb Grady, East Henderson High
2nd Three Generations by Abigail Campuzano, Landrum High
3rd The Street of Life by Sandy Blom, Landrum High

Photography/Digital Media
1st Soul of a Tiger by Faith Brookshire, East Henderson High
2nd Color Blind by Leah Marr, East Henderson High
3rd Self Portrait by Ashlyn Butler, Dorman Freshman Campus

Mixed Media
1st Sibling Universe by Ava Marino, Polk County High
2nd Ocean Haze by Reece Stanley, Boiling Springs High
3rd Untitled Landscape by Tapp Cameron Bennett, Landrum High

1st Geoffrey by Chloe Bezzak, Polk County High
2nd Fear is the Highest Fence by Maddy Matthews, Greer High
3rd A Lily Pad’s Roots by Skylar Moed, Greer High

Congratulations to these talented artists and their teachers!

Showcase of Excellence is made possible by the following Arts in Education sponsors and donors: Duke Energy, Gannett Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Tryon, North Carolina Arts Council, Rotary Club of Tryon Foundation, TD Bank, Tryon Daily Bulletin plus Showcase of Excellence Donors Lucy & Tim Brannon,  Tara & Drew Brannon, Sandy Halbkat, Amber Keeran & Jeff Jenkins, Margie & Ron Pankey, Stuart B. Evans, Linda Hudgins. Their commitment makes this program possible.

Earlier this spring the SC 1996 Team of the Kennedy Center Partners in Education met to discuss our goals and strategies for the next year.  Goals include coordination of an teaching artist registry for the upstate and western NC.  TFAC’s Execuitve Director Marianne Carruth joined the group in planning for the long-range goal of presenting a regional professional development opportunity for k-12 teachers. Exciting developments are happening!

TFAC board members Chris Bartol and Ron Pankey were recently inducted into the Second Wind Hall of Fame.

Pankey received his certificate at TFAC’s August 16 board meeting.

The Second Wind Hall of Fame is a 501 (c)(3) organization that seeks to identify outstanding volunteers over the age of 60 who contribute to the quality of life in the community.

After he graduated from Emery University, Ron spent four and a half years as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force. He then went on to return to his family’s jewelry business in Memphis work there for 20 years.

Ron has served with TFAC’s board for 4 years and has also worked with Lanier Library and the Always Tryon Group. Computers, photography, and gardening make up his hobbies. Ron would most like to be remembered for his community involvement.

Chris received his award in front of the opening night crowd of Tryon Summer Youth Theater’s production of James and the Giant Peach. Chris graduated from the McCallie School Chattanooga, TN in 1960 and returned to Tryon in 1986 after an illustrious career in High Point, NC.

Chris has been active with the Tryon Concert Association and the Pacolet Area Conservancy since 2007. He has served as a part of TFAC’s board since 2013. His hobbies include fixing things, home-brewing, and acting. When asked what he would like to be remembered for, he answered, “inspiring his kids to ‘figure it out’”

TFAC is fortunate to have these great guys on our team!

Thank you to everyone who made Great Courses a success in 2018. With support from an anonymous donor, Dr. Elizabeth Child led discussions of the greatest piano solos in the world on Tuesday mornings. The lectures, conversations, and music were all fabulous. Be sure to check back with us for 2019 Great Courses.

Congratulations to all the incredibly talented students that have participated in Showcase of Excellence this year! With 10 high schools submitted over 120 works, we were blown away by the skill and creativity of local students.

3 special awards were given after the competition.

James Deloach of Chapman High School won the special Facebook Award, getting the most votes online for “Self Portrait”.

Kaylie Thornton from Boiling Springs High School took the Students Choice Award for “Angry Bug”, as voted on by her peers.

Kevin Young of Chapman High School was awarded the People’s Choice, with visitors to the Gallery casting votes throughout the show for “3 1/2 Chickens”.

We wish these young artists and their teachers all the best as they continue to explore the visual arts.

Be sure to join us for next year’s Showcase of Excellence!

After 26 years with Tryon Fine Arts Center, we have the difficult job of saying goodbye to Technical Director Jimm Brink as he goes on to pursue new opportunities.

Jimm and this building have seen many faces come and go: boards, affiliates, renters, audiences, students, musicians, artists, staff, and the list goes on.

TFAC has gone through many changes in this time and Jimm’s been right there growing and refining with it.

I personally have enjoyed the time we worked together for the youth productions. I’ve always known that whatever crazy concepts I’d come up with, he would find a way to not just make it happen, but to make it shine.

Now it’s time for Jimm to move forward on a new path — one he can move on with confidence, with skills, knowledge and understanding that he’s gathered here.

These snapshots from the farewell reception are just a few of the people who wish Jimm and his family all the best.

Jimm Brink, please know that you’ve left TFAC with a reputation for excellent entertainment production made possible through your curiosity, willingness to learn and your intention to give the artists and the audiences what they want. The community thanks you for 26 years, and best of luck in this exciting new phase of your life!

~Marianne & TFAC’s Staff, Board & Volunteers

Check out this article on arts integration from the Washington Post, making the rounds on social media.
Teachers are using theater and dance to teach math — and it’s working

Arts integration is gaining national attention as an effective way of teaching a variety of disciplines. TFAC supports arts integration in local classrooms as a Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education team member, and through Be Inspired Grants (BIG).

Each year, teachers in Polk County and Spartanburg School District 1 are invited to apply for the BIG program, to fund arts-related projects. Often, the funding for these projects would come from teachers own pockets without BIG. The creativity unleashed is astounding!

Our most recent project comes from Polk Central Kindergarten teacher Sarah Bennett. Her young students participated in an artist’s study with author Jan Brett and potter Bennet Bean.

Check out photos of the proud artists below, and be sure to share with any local educators who want to see arts integration make a difference in their own classrooms.