Top reasons Beaufort County gets recognized for the arts nation-wide The Arts Council of Beaufort County's mission is to promote and nurture the arts, which sometimes means getting out the online vote: just this month, the Town of Port Royal was chosen by Budget Travel magazine as one of America's Coolest Small Towns, ranking #10 in a list that rates towns under 10,000 people on quality of life, upswing, nature, and the arts scene. Sounds about right, doesn't it? In AmericanStyle magazine's annual Top 25 Art Destinations review, Beaufort has moved up from #14 to #12 in the small cities section, ahead of Aspen and Chapel Hill. Bravo! Here are 12 upcoming ways that the arts council will help Beaufort County raise its arts profile— and the quality of life here & now:

Beaufort County has art classes that make materials and technique accessible: Whether you're belly dancing with Kay Owens or trying out photography with Paul Nurnberg, workshop space and elbow room are available at ARTworks, the arts council's 12,000 square foot community arts place in Beaufort Town Center. That's practically a whole artist colony worthy of an escapist Gauguin, and the paint is flowing, as well as the ideas and collaborations.

Beaufort County has gallery shows: as if you hadn't noticed. Next up at ARTworks: Do You See What I See, May 8 through May 30th. Hank D. Herring has selected twenty never-shown artists to reveal their art on the walls of ARTworks.  

Beaufort County has Innovative ways to connect with art collections: The President's Circle series is an incredible chance to see art in the Lowcountry home environment, hosted Dr. Arthur & Mrs. Ellen Segal on June 27, 6-8pm, and benefiting the Arts Council of Beaufort County. The Segals will share their international collection of art. Only 20 tickets are available, at $20 each, for an evening of food, drink and socializing with collectors and artists in unique and inspired settings. Advanced ticket purchases required: 843-379-2787.

Beaufort County kids have ARTblast: July 6-August 7, to help them establish a creative outlook on life and art while having fun with: Acrylic Painting & all its Wonder; Pop Art Using Mixed Media & Collage; Drawing Pushed to the Limit; Sculpture is for Everyone; Craft. $110 per one-week session includes instruction, studio use, materials and small snack everyday. For more info: 843-379-2787 or email ARTblast director CJ Norwood at

Beaufort County artists have Get Your Art Out: a series of free and $5 workshops at ARTworks for artists who are working on (or thinking about working on) their careers. Get Your Art Out is a significant part of ACBC's goal to weave the arts into the fabric of everyday life in Beaufort County:  artisans getting their work into busy galleries; actors on stage in the black box theater; artists in the classrooms imparting their creative process to teachers and students; painters sharing their vision with visitors; the voices of writers creating good reads for everybody. Get Your Art Out is designed to heighten ambitions and entrepreneurship, and diversity and accessibility (modeled daily at ARTworks, by the way.)

Get Your Art Out begins Monday, May 11th, from 1 to 3pm on the topic of Creating Videos & Networking with YouTube. In this $5 workshop, producers Jeff Evans (the publisher of The Lowcountry) and Julian Gooding explain how videos and networking via social media are marketing tools for artists. Jeff Evans is also the producer of Sea Coast Productions, and Julian Gooding is the founder of Outside the Box Media and has worked as a producer, director, writer and media artist for television and independent film for over twenty years. "YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, all of them are usable. I follow the energy of the youth," explained Gooding. "They don't do things professionally, but they get seen by the masses. I use their approach but as a professional, with all my skills and experience as a maker of documentaries, to move away from the film festival game, and instead I've created a central, online station for my work, making it easily accessible to K-12 education and a world-wide audience."

 On Wednesday, June 17th, from 1 to 3pm, ARTworks Resident Artist Hank D. Herring offers a $5 Matting & Framing workshop, demonstrating how artists  should properly measure, matt, back, and frame their work for a professional presentation.  On Wednesday, June 10th at 1:30pm, ACBC is partnering with D'Jarris Moore, director of the Technical College of the Lowcountry's Business Hub program, to tailor information about business resources in Beaufort County just for artists. "Learn about the planning, marketing, and development resources for growing your art-based business and expanding your skills as an entrepreneur," explained Moore about her free session at ARTworks.

On Monday, July 6th, from 1 to 3, folklore scholar Paddy Bowman will be at ARTworks to present Awakening the Artist Through Cultural Explorations: "Quality of life is tied to the vitality of our grassroots folk cultures — the neighborhoods and communities in which we live our daily lives. In an era when mass culture and commercial media increasingly press upon our lives and threaten us with sameness, traditional culture is a resource we can turn to for renewed inspiration and a better quality of life." Bowman is the coordinator of the National Network for Folk Arts in Education, specializing in Folklore in K-12 education, race relations and place-based education.

These four Get Your Art workshops are followed by the summer deadline for ACBC's Quarterly Community Arts Grants on August 15th. These small grants are awarded for cultural activities occurring in or benefiting the greater Beaufort area. Artists should speak directly with ACBC staff about the application process: 843-379-2787. Another year-round component of Get Your Art is the Get Your Art Out visual art critique session, $5 every second Monday, 6 to 8pm, facilitated by artist and gallery owner, Deanna Bowdish. Artists should bring their own work for critical evaluation. Finally, for now, Get Your Art  then continues this fall with The Substance and Semantics of Crafts, Folk Art, & Fine Arts; Writing While Southern; and Speaking Out about Arts-in-Education

Beaufort County always wants more: details (and directions) at .