City of Beaufort in partnership with USCB Center for Arts Earn Top Honor

09 May City of Beaufort in partnership with USCB Center for Arts Earn Top Honor



The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards
Verner Award
To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, the Arts Commission annually presents the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts. These awards 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 took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”


The symbol of the awards is a hand-crafted bronze statue, designed by Columbia-based artist Jean McWhorter, and presented to each recipient.

A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and made up of members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the Board for final approval

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner achieved an international reputation for her etchings and pastels, many of which capture the spirit of the South Carolina Lowcountry. She was also a teacher, writer and historian. Throughout her 96 years, Mrs. Verner traveled abroad extensively. Drawings of South Carolina residences, churches and street-life portraits are Verner trademarks recognized throughout the world for the way they capture South Carolina’s unique people and architecture. Mrs. Verner’s studio is located on Tradd Street in Charleston.
Other recipients for 2017

Lifetime Achievement::
Laura Spong, Columbia
Dr. Leo Twiggs, Orangeburg
Artist: Quentin E. Baxter, Charleston
Individual: Betsy Teter, Spartanburg
Arts in Education: Brenda P. McCutchen, Columbia
Business/Foundation: The Callie and John Rainey Foundation and The Stringer Foundation, Anderson
Government: The City of Beaufort/USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, Beaufort
Organization: South Carolina Humanities, Columbia


“Each of these Verner Award recipients has contributed greatly to the arts community as an outstanding ambassador for our state,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “Their dedication to the arts benefits South Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission marks its 50th anniversary, we are honored to recognize these organizations and individuals who embody the service, commitment and passion that helped build our state’s half century of leadership in the arts.”

Awards will be presented May 2 (time and location to be announced), and the S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients at a luncheon at noon. A fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission, the luncheon includes an art sale and takes place at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased online at

The 2017 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life.