Supporting Arts Education in South Carolina

The SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities is committed to the growth of our state’s vibrant arts education community. As part of the school’s mission to serve as a resource to teachers and students in South Carolina, we offer a comprehensive and ever-growing series of Outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations, and students. These opportunities seek to match our available resources with the needs and interests of schools and partners statewide.  Our 2020-2021 resource offerings are now closed for the year, but to stay up-to-date and be notified for opportunities, sign up to receive our Outreach Newsletter.

Academic Year Programs

New Resources! Responding to a New Arts Education Climate 

Due to the health and safety concerns of COVID-19, all in-person outreach experiences have been temporarily suspended. This year, arts teachers from across South Carolina can instead participate in standards-driven virtual and backpack activities designed to easily fold into any type of arts education setting, whether virtual, hybrid or in-person. Our 2020-2021 resource offerings are now closed for the year, but to learn more and be notified when they become available, check out our Teacher Resource page here

Service Learning

Governor's School students are invited and encouraged to cultivate their own service interests through the Connecting Arts Through Service (C.A.T.S.) club. Learn more about our service-learning program. 

Lowcountry Youth Dance Academy

The Lowcountry Youth Dance Academy (LYDA), a regional outreach initiative, offers male and female dancers in 5th - 9th grades an opportunity to explore the rigors and demands associated with pre-professional ballet training under the supervision of the Dance Department of Governor's School. Learn more about LYDA.

SC Afterschool Alliance Partnership

The Governor’s School recognizes the valuable role that afterschool agencies play in the overall safety, wellbeing, and educational growth of students statewide. In order to connect with this community, SCGSAH is pleased to partner with the SC Afterschool Alliance to share resources and ensure that the arts are an integral part of this important student experience.  

Summer Programs


Ignite is a summer arts residency designed to “fire up a passion for the arts,” encouraging students to “think like artists” by exploring capacities, processes, questions, and themes through multiple art forms. Students are provided access to teachers and curriculum specially crafted to encourage participants to identify and explore their own artistic voices, interests, and skills.  No prior arts experience is required, and rather than focus on perfecting a skill, students are encouraged to be creative, take risks, and explore new art forms.

Ignite does not accept individual student applications; rather, it is a partnership based program that encourages strong relationships with school summer camps and community agencies like the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Spark! Inspiring Tomorrow’s Readers Through Drama

Spark! is a curricular extension program that integrates drama principles into the summer reading camp programs required by the state’s Read to Succeed legislation.

Currently offered in Williamsburg County School District, rising 3rd-grade students who attend Kenneth Gardner Elementary's summer Scholastic Lit Camp participate in an additional drama program that connects elementary theatre standards with elementary reading standards. Participants explore how actors use their bodies, voices, and imaginations to tell their own stories, and the stories of others, all while using the age-appropriate, approved foundation texts offered through the district.

Spark! is specifically designed to support reading motivation, along with the divergent thinking skills necessary to mitigate summer reading learning loss.

The project is directed by the Office of Outreach in partnership with the SC Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina, and it has developed into a five-year research project exploring the relationship between drama and reading in young, at-risk readers.        

Spark! is funded by an Education Pilot Project Grant from the SC Arts Commission. 

Professional Learning Opportunities 

Teacher Retreats

2021 Teacher Retreats: Making Connections! is full. To stay up to date and be notified for future professional learning events, sign up for our Outreach newsletter. 

We are excited to announce our 2021 Teacher Retreats: Making Connections

Creative Writing Across the Curricula

Design Thinking 101

All retreats are free of charge for South Carolina public school teachers and are held online via Zoom. 

The Governor's School Teacher Retreat Series is one of the school’s most sought-after professional development opportunities. Hosted collaboratively between the Office of Outreach and the Office of Arts and Academics, these two-day intensives provide high-quality, hands-on experiences designed to support educators in the arts in an environment of artistic excellence.

After interviewing and surveying numerous teachers over the past few years, we determined three things:

  • Teachers in the arts need opportunities to network within their field.
  • Teachers in the arts are not always provided the appropriate funding to attend the opportunities that do exist.
  • Teachers in the arts are, at the core, artists, and need opportunities to perfect their craft in order to maintain a level of high competency in the classroom.

The Governor's School's professional development retreat model was created to directly impact these findings. Thanks to grants from the Arts and Basic Curriculum Project through the SC Arts Commission, teachers are provided a cost-free, high-quality opportunity to cultivate their craft as well as their pedagogical skills in an environment of peer-based growth and support.

Wellness for Arts Teachers and Students

As teachers and students navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our education system, we recognize that emotional and mental health/wellness will be critical to a successful year. With the understanding that the arts classroom is a place of creativity and emotional safety, the Governor's School looks to support arts teachers by developing mindfulness, self care, and student care strategies in the arts classroom. Check back throughout the year for professional learning opportunities designed to support this important need.