Mayoral Candidates Respond to ACCHH Questions on Arts, Culture & History


My name is Patti Maurer, and I am reaching out to you on behalf of the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head (ACCHH). Currently we have a collective membership of 43 performing and visual arts organizations, along with museum and cultural entities, individual artists and arts professionals. As an established 501 (c) 3 organization, the ACCHH coordinates, promotes, communicates and showcases the arts and cultural entities of the Hilton Head region, for the purpose of creating an arts destination, enriching the quality of life and speaking with one voice on cultural issues.


As a candidate running for Mayor of Hilton Head Island, the ACCHH respectfully requests your responses to three questions, which will be shared with our membership. Please note that our purpose for these questions is to keep the Arts, Culture, and History in the conversation, and not meant to endorse one candidate over another.  We believe that this would be the most productive format to have the collective voices of the arts community heard and recognized by any and all of the future elected officials.

Barry Ginn and Alan Perry did not respond to the questions.


1) What specific actions would you as our next Mayor, propose, support and implement  to promote Arts, Culture and Heritage on Hilton Head Island?

 Kim Likins: 

As Chairperson of the Community Services Committee I provided the leadership to form the Town’s first Arts & Cultural Strategic Planning Committee, and serving as the Town Council liaison and committee member. This dedicated citizens group collaborated with the local arts and cultural organizations and created a Strategic Plan for Arts and Culture on Hilton Head Island. This plans recommendations were implemented, including creation of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs, which is headed by Jenn McEwen and a citizen’s Culture & Arts Advisory Committee. Specific actions include:

·      Expanding the prominent marketing of the Island’s arts and culture both through the Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Town’s new website and other marketing initiatives.

·      Continuing work to create a unique Island Cultural District and pursue the distinguished Cultural District designation from the SC Arts Commission.

·      Working with the cultural community to identify and highlight the economic impact on the community to maximize the impact of public funds to support cultural and arts assets. This includes continued ATAX support for existing and new cultural ventures.

·      Insuring continued funding and support of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs

John McCann: 

The arts are an integral part of our culture on Hilton Head Island. We need to promote and support our home as a  vibrant cultural destination – a destination that inspires, that creates a sense of artistic excitement, and that enriches our diverse community.

We are blessed to have over 100 art related organizations on the island and we should support them in a number of ways:

A) The DMO needs more direction and needs to increase its focus on our artists and art offerings. 
B) We need to continue to support Jennifer McEwen and our Office of Cultural Affairs. 
C) We need more art related festivals and we need to better integrate art into our existing festivals and events. 
D) We need more family oriented arts and culture events.
E) We need to better integrate technology into our offerings, using mobile apps and streaming to more effectively share 
our arts and cultural activities with residents and visitors.
F) We need to find better ways to highlight the rich legacy of our historical arts and cultural heritage.
G) Local leaders need to attend and vocally support arts events in our community.
H) We should establish an annual Day for the Arts to celebrate the extraordinary artistic talent of our Island.
I) We should obtain South Carolina arts commission cultural district status.
J) Using the beauty of our Island and the rich legacy of our historical arts and cultural heritage, we should develop a 
variety of signature arts and cultural events to showcase our artistic talent to a broader audience.
K ) And, we should formalize our arts and cultural partnerships with community schools.

Through these steps, and with thoughtful and engaged leadership, we can add specific actions to the Comprehensive 

Plan and make these goals become reality in the next 4 years.

Michael Santomauro: 

As the only candidate that can be a full-time mayor for Hilton Head Island, I will devote my mayoral energy to make it my my mission for Hilton Head to become : “The Island of the Arts”.

I am the only candidate who wants to be your mayor on a full-time basis. None of my opponents are willing to do that— my opponents only want to be your mayor on a part-time basis — this is not enough mayoral work-time to oversee a two billion dollar island economy.

I will open a free public-art park, create teen arts internships and develop a series of classes and workshops featuring guests and local artists.

As a full time mayor I will have an open-door policy for the artist to contact me for help to facilitate his or her needs.

Rochelle Williams:

I would propose to speed up the Mitchellville [sic] project. I believe this area should be a market place to showcase the Gullah heritage. We should have Artists, Basket Weevers [sic], indigo dyers, farmers, shrimpers, fishermen and other activities that promote the Gullah Culture and it should all be marketed properly however I feel the heritage does not only consist of the Gullah culture but all of the settlers on the island and the rich history of this island that I love including the wars and military presence which made this island what it is


 2) Name ways in which the Town could use the Arts, Cultural, and Heritage organizations on the island as a tool to trigger the next wave of economic development in its pursuit to revitalize and modernize the economy?

 Kim Likins: 

Our Arts and Cultural assets already contribute significantly to our Island economy, both by employment (spend) and ticket sales (revenue). As opportunities for arts and culture on the Island, expand so will their contribution to the economy.

·      Developing Mitchelville Freedom Park will allow it to offer more frequent on-site programming permitting their contribution to our economy to expand exponentially. The same will be true with the renovation of the Zion Cemetery and Banyard Mausoleum.

·      Working harder to keep our Island’s wonderful art galleries from moving to the mainland. Identifying HHI as a place to make and buy art will help to encourage the business of arts on the island.  Attracting artists and artisans, musicians, etc.  and by promoting HHI as a great place for artists to live and work by showing them the variety of our arts assets.

·      Using art to revitalize some of our Island’s vacant commercial buildings by turning them into art enclaves. Creating spaces for artists’ studios, galleries and maker-space is a perfect opportunity for helping the arts community support the local economy as well as keeping them part of our vibrant Island art culture.

·      Implementing more projects like the bicycle path cultural trail map to involve families in art. 

·      Examining and implementing best practices used by other towns which have proven solutions to improving economic development as highlighted by organizations such as Art Place America or Americans for the Arts. 

John McCann: 

We must make it our mission to educate people about what a vibrant and distinctive arts and cultural destination Hilton 
Head Island is. We have so many unique arts and cultural assets to share, The DMO needs to do a better job highlighting 
this and the Office of Cultural Affairs can help coordinate efforts throughout the island to raise our profile. The Town of 
Hilton Head Island and the DMO need to provide our local artists with the necessary tools to support our marketing 
efforts and raise the visibility of our arts community. There is no doubt that the arts can bring people to our island and 

benefit our economy – we must embrace the efforts that support this goal.


Michael Santomauro:

 I strongly believe that the island economy is not a problem . Our island economy is overheated and over-developed. 

Unrestrained development will turn us into another Myrtle beach before imploding on us, unless we put a growth moratorium on new development, both commercial and residential. Let’s not lose our vision of why we came here — tranquility! Overdevelopment is a bad thing, once something is built it is irreversible. Remember in economics, overgrowth is not a good thing.

A growth moratorium is a win-win for all of us. It is good for the business community, since there is a shortage of labor. It is good for home values, because traffic problems will not worsen and the environmental beauty of our island will be preserved. Medical facilities and wellness centers will be exempt from the moratorium.

Hilton Head Island has 193 restaurants, fifteen supermarkets, and countless other stores — it is obvious we are overdeveloped.

Density: Hilton Head Island has 958 people per square mile, this is ten times the national average of 91. During the high season it swells to 3,600 people per square mile. Overwhelming? I think so.

Have you had enough? The developers sold us a vision, now they are getting overly greedy. Stop the unnecessary over-development of our beautiful island.

Instead, let’s put more into the arts it will STILL  be good for our economy and it will good for our soul.

Rochelle Williams:

I feel that plays, shows and movies would be a great start. People like entertainment. If we could market the Art and cultural center and the heritage organizations in a way where people would be intrigued to learn the history of the island and all that the heritage offers and where and how the culture has evolved then we should be able to benefit from this project.especially with the Arts, Cultural and Heritage organizations marketing events from Florida to North Carolina and out to Ohio about events.

3) How do you envision the Arts, Cultural and Heritage organizations playing an integral part in fostering a multi-dimensional community?

 Kim Likins: 

Arts and Culture play a vital role in fostering a multi-dimensional community. They speak to the heart and soul of a community and act as a catalyst to bring people together. Our Island’s unique Gullah Geechee culture combined with that of a generation of musicians who have grown-up creating Island style music, and an increasing Latino population who are settling in the area, make us a melting pot of rich diverse ethnic culture. With a citizenry young and old who deeply appreciates these assets, arts and culture should be a natural cornerstone upon which we work to build this vital vision.  Examples of ways to foster a multi-dimensional community include:

·      Developing Mitchelville and Gullah heritage sites and culture

·      Fostering festivals and concerts with our Latino community

·      Initiating more projects like painting murals at the rec center involving all age groups from school kids to seniors

More than 3000 of our citizens participated in an engaging visioning process to help guide the future of Hilton Head Island. This process helped us determine what we value, what are our greatest challenges, and most importantly what we aspire for our future. Now it is time to take this collective thinking and put it into action. We need to work hard to encourage community leadership, businesses and citizens to actively participate in implementing the vision strategies for our great future.  Ensuring that Arts and Culture are a prominent part of that vision is vital to our future success. 


John McCann: 

We should continue to promote greater collaboration between all interested parties and the Town. We are stronger 

together. The impressive and thoughtful plan that Jennifer McEwan developed will position us well going forward. It will 
enhance our collaborative objectives – and it will show that the arts, culture and history are alive and well on Hilton Head 
Island, and ensure that they play a significant role in our economy and in the quality of life here now – and for years to 


Michael Santomauro:

 I will like to work with the ACCHH to experiment with direct democracy and it will be a creative effort to bring art and politics together .
It will also increase our “Social Capital” that is lacking on Hilton Head Island . 

Rochelle Williams:

I believe that if people know more about this island and it’s heritage the island will be more respected. Once people realize that this island is rich in history and not just beautiful beaches and restaurants but history from stoney to seapines and the way we get along as a community the guests might want to follow suit. Not saying that they will but it is worth a try. I believe options and awareness will give our guests the best possible opportunity and experience while visiting our beautiful island. Thank You.

Candice Glover starring in Saturday Night Fever

The Arts Center is thrilled to feature Candice Glover, winner of the twelfth season of American Idol, in our summer disco hit and Southeastern premiere of Saturday Night Fever. Glover has clearly been bitten by the musical theater bug and her enthusiasm for her role in Saturday Night Fever is contagious.

Director Antoinette DePietropolo said Candice was a dream to work with and brings incredible energy and talent to her role as the club singer “Candy.” In platform shoes and sparkling disco wear, she belts out iconic Bee Gees songs and boogies alongside ‘DJ Monty’ played by dance captain Vincent Ortega.

After winning American Idol, Candice has had numerous opportunities to shape her career path – a 2 month stint in a Broadway review opened up a new world and she discovered how exciting it is to be part of a musical. Working at the Arts Center this summer has given Glover a chance to learn more about the craft from DePietropolo and the cast, as well as exploring how a character changes and grows over time. She loves the comraderie of being part of an ensemble, and the instant reaction live theater provides from the audience, allowing the cast to feed off the audience’s energy and take the show to a higher level.

Having creative control over her own career is gratifying for Glover. Her new video will be shot on location on Beaufort’s historic waterfront and will feature the permanent highway sign that reads “St. Helena Island Home of 2013 American Idol Winner Candice Glover.” The world is her oyster right now, but Candice is a Lowcountry girl at heart.  She’ll always be part of the Sea Islands Community, and she wouldn’t have it any other way!

Photo Credit Group Shot: Candice Glover and the cast of Saturday Night Fever, Jordan Sturm Photography

Photo Credit Candice/Vincent: Candice Glover, Vincent Ortega and the cast of Saturday Night Fever, Jordan Sturm Photography

Town of Hilton Head Island Office of Cultural Affairs Announces Municipal Gallery to Open at Town Hall

Town of Hilton Head Island Office of Cultural Affairs Announces Municipal Gallery to Open at Town Hall

Hilton Head Island, SC – The Town of Hilton Head Island Office of Cultural Affairs announces the launch of The Artist’s Gallery at Town Hall, an initiative to celebrate the contributions made by Hilton Head Island’s art community to the Town. The gallery is being presented in partnership with the Arts and Cultural Council of Hilton Head and the opening is slated for the end of September in time for “Crescendo” a month long celebration of the arts on Hilton Head Island in October.

“The Artist’s Gallery will be a public forum to highlight local artists, creating a space to showcase their work and an opportunity for our town to honor the important a role played by art in our community,” said Jennifer McEwen, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Town. “We are thrilled to create this platform to say thank you to island artists and share their talents with all who walk the halls of town hall, young and old.” With the gallery set directly outside Benjamin M. Racusin Council Chambers on the administration hallway, visiting officials, employees, and citizens will experience a welcoming and diverse display of art and culture from Hilton Head Island artists.

Artists will be selected through a review process and will need to demonstrate high quality of work and show a clear artistic voice. Submissions will be accepted through the Arts and Cultural Council of Hilton Head Island and must include residence information, artist bio, headshot, and a visual representation of the piece for submission. An online application is available at and any questions regarding the application process should be directed to Natalie Hefter at

Pieces for the gallery will be selected through a juried process. The Selection Committee will be comprised of ACCHH members and personnel from the Town of Hilton Head Island. Members of the selection committee are not permitted to apply for entry for inclusion in the gallery.

The Town of Hilton Head Office of Cultural Affairs works to promote and support Hilton Head Island as a vibrant cultural destination that enriches our diverse community. We strive for the island to be recognized as a vibrant & distinctive destination known for its unique arts & culture assets that serve a diverse community and create a richer quality of life.

Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head coordinates, promotes, communicates and showcases the arts and cultural entities of the Hilton Head region, for the purpose of creating an arts destination, enriching the quality of life and speaking with one voice on cultural issues. Currently, the ACCHH consists of over three dozen members representing organizations large and small, individuals, writers, theaters, artists and more working together to highlight our rich cultural, historical, and artistic heritage.

Crescendo is the annual Celebration of Arts, Culture and History on Hilton Head Island and in the Bluffton area. Sponsored by the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head (ACCHH), this regional event, is organized in October in collaboration with National Arts and Humanities month, and highlights and showcases the vast array of arts, culture and history organizations, individual artists, performers, and authors residing and working in the Hilton Head/ Bluffton area.

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Arts Center of Coastal Carolina partners with the Beaufort County Schools

Beaufort County School District highlighted its partnership with the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in a short video from the February 13 professional development workshop with teaching artist Hobey Ford. 

Teachers from 7 Beaufort County Arts integrated schools participated in the second of a 3-part series professional development curriculum the Arts Center and the Beaufort County School District have planned for these Beaufort County teachers, through the Arts Center’s Kennedy Center Partners-in-Education program. 

During this session, the teachers learned how to use puppetry to instruct, inspire, and illustrate the scientific process of metamorphosis and the mysteries of migration of the monarch butterfly.

CRESCENDO! Celebrating Arts, Culture and History: The Heart and Soul of the Lowcountry


CRESCENDO-"Celebrating Arts, Culture and History: The Heart and Soul of the Lowcountry.” Sponsored by the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head, October 2017.


CRESCENDO-THE Inaugural ANNUAL Arts, Culture and History Celebration, sponsored by the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head (ACCHH), will be held throughout October 2017. This regional event, organized in honor of National Arts and Humanities month, highlights and showcases the vast array of arts, culture and history organizations, individual artists, performers, and authors residing and working in the Hilton Head/ Bluffton area. Join the celebration and honor the importance of arts and culture in America and our local community.   

Arts and cultural patrons of all ages are invited to help celebrate this important month-long event in our community by attending or participating in any of the myriad of outstanding and engaging cultural programs offered, many free or reasonably priced, and highlighted on the ACCHH website’s calendar.  To see a listing of all arts and culture events happening in the month of October and beyond, please go to

The October 2017 CRESCENDO Celebration features more than 50 unique arts and cultural programs, concerts, theatrical productions, museum and gallery exhibits, lectures, poetry readings, dance performances, historical tours, hands-on arts experiences, and educational offerings which are estimated to attract more than 10,000 people from all over the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.

National Arts and Humanities Month, first launched 30 years ago by Americans for the Arts, includes these goals: Focus on the arts at local, state and national levels, Encouraging individuals and organizations to participate in the arts, Allowing Governments and businesses to show their support of the arts and Raising public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.

“This event is our first joint program venture as an organization since Bravo in 2006”, said ACCHH President Natalie Hefter. We hope that everyone in the community, residents as well as visitors, will come out and support the incredible arts, culture and history organizations, working artists and high-quality arts programs we have in Hilton Head and Bluffton. Just go to our website and explore our calendar to find out what you can see, learn, or experience during CRESCENDO. Our community is full of talented individuals sharing their expertise and passion with visitors and residents alike.”

The Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head coordinates, promotes, communicates, and showcases arts and cultural organizations and businesses in the Hilton Head area for the purpose of creating an arts destination, enriching the quality of life, and speaking with one voice on cultural issues. Membership is open to non-profits and for-profit entities in Southern Beaufort County that support the mission of the ACCHH. Currently, thirty-five arts, cultural and history organizations as well as individual artists in the Hilton Head/Bluffton area make up the diverse membership.

For event or membership information, please go to or contact Arts & Cultural Council President Natalie Hefter by email at or 843-689-6767 x 225. For media requests please contact Linda Bloom by email at


The Wizard of Oz is a musical commissioned by the St. Louis Municipal Opera (The Muny) based on the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz and using the film's songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. The book of the musical is by Frank Gabrielson, who would later write an adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz for Shirley Temple (1960).

Debuting as Director is Dan Brown who performed in many MSYT productions. Musical Director is Philip Paluszak who has a magnificent music background is coming to MSYT as a guest artist.  And rounding out our crew, Jodi Layman who has a long association with MSYT will choreograph this show.

A teenage girl, Dorothy (double cast played byEllie Lentz and Jacey Robinson), lives on a farm in dreary Kansas with her Uncle Henry ( played by Dakota Jimenez) and Aunt Em (played by Kerry Gudaitis) dreaming of faraway places ("Over The Rainbow"). One day the farmhouse, with Dorothy inside, is swept off by a tornado to Munchkin land in the Land of Oz. The falling house kills the cruel ruler of the Munchkins, the Wicked Witch of the East. The Munchkins and the Sorceress of the North greet Dorothy ("Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" and "Munchkinland"). The Sorceress tells Dorothy that she will have to go to the Emerald City to ask the great Wizard of Oz to help her return home. We follow Dorothy down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Dorothy meets along the way the Scarecrow (played by Grant Grace), the Tinman (played by John Rosenblum) and the Lion (played by Ethen Cornett).

The show runs June 21 - 24 and June 28-July 1 at 7:00 pm, June 25 and July 2 at 2:00 pm at the HH Prep School Main Street Theatre, 3000 Main Street, Hilton Head Island. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. June 22 is THRIFY THURSDAY, Adults $15 and Students $10. Group Rates available by calling the Box Office. There is a $1 ticket fee charged per ticket for a credit card transaction. Avoid the ticket fee by purchasing online at

Main Street Youth Theatre is a nonprofit 501( c) 3 celebrating 20 years of putting young actors in the spotlight. For more information about MSYT go to Follow us on FaceBook and Instagram for pictures and more about this fun, family friendly show.

15th Annual Art Market at Historic Honey Horn Wraps Up for 2017

The 15th annual Art Market at Historic Honey Horn was held on April 29th and 30th. This year, 95 artists from 9 different states participated in the juried show. Judges awarded $5,000 in prizes to 14 different artists representing a variety of mediums. Local photographer, Paul Shatz, won best in show. Paul recently moved to Hilton Head Island from Charleston and has participated in hundreds of fine art festivals annually around the country. The judges for this year’s show were impressed with his spectacular images as well as his method of continuing the historic tradition of silver-gelatin photography.  According to Shatz, “My silver-gelatin original photographs are created by me, using traditional materials and techniques. I use 8x10 and 5x7 large format film and make silver prints one at a time using my hands, my head and my heart. They are selenium toned to achieve an archival quality. This traditional method of photography creates a depth and magic in the print that is unmatched.”

2017 Art Market awards:

Best in Show – Paul Shatz, Hilton Head Island, SC – Photography

2nd Place – James Herndon, Walterboro, SC – Wood

3rd Place – Murray Sease, Bluffton, SC- Oil / Acrylic

Awards of Merit:

Michele Blank, Mt. Pleasant, SC - Glass

JoAnn Graham, St. Helena Island, SC - Jewelry

Lyn Hise, Inverness, Fl – Mixed Media 2-D

Amanda McLenon, Daniel Island, SC – Oil/Acrylic

Eric Moore, Pomaria, SC - Sculpture

Diane Ness, Acworth, GA – Fiber

Blake Olsen, Orange Park, FL – Clay

Jody Rankin, Awendaw, SC – Oil/Acrylic

David Russell, Camden, SC – Glass

Michael Smalls & Dino Badger, Fiber (Sweetgrass Baskets) – Round O, SC

Valerie Thomas & Dana Shirley, Jewelry – Naples, FL

Lean Ensemble Theater presents the comedy The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl


A whimsical comedy centering on an earthy young Brazilian housekeeper who’d rather be doing stand up comedy than cleaning bathrooms for her uptight employer. Off-beat humor impromptu arias, wacky poetry, and romance spice big themes of love and loss.

April 27-May 7  HHPS Main Street Theatre or 843.715.6676