Mission & History

We support Comprehensive arts in sc

Dance / Music / Theatre / Visual Arts / Creative Writing / Media Arts


The arts are valued as fundamental to every student’s development.



We strive to ensure students in South Carolina have access to arts-rich educational opportunities as a core component of curriculum.

Our Values


Every student has a right to the arts.

  • We believe every person and community has the right to quality arts education, regardless of identity, situation, or circumstance. 
  • We are committed to ensuring equitable access by intentionally addressing the unique needs of students, educators, schools, and districts.


Students deserve an educational experience that is engaging and empowering.

  • We prioritize creating and supporting environments where student ideas are central and have influence on professional practices. 
  • We believe student-centered environments empower students to engage authentically in their learning.


Expertise is held within a community.

  • We prioritize mutual partnerships as essential to every aspect of our work.
  • We recognize transparency and accountability as cornerstones of trusting relationships. 
  • Our collaboration within a community is guided by principles of sincerity, respect, and courage.

Inquiry & Innovation

Excellence is achieved through continual reflection and growth.

  • We challenge ourselves to continually reflect on our own practices as well as seek out and elevate differing perspectives and ideas. 
  • We measure our success through support for exemplary, arts-rich learning environments and practices. 
  • Our growth allows us to expand access to opportunities for learning in and through the arts that are responsive to and reflective of the many, diverse communities we serve. 

The ABC Institute is cooperatively directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission, the South Carolina Department of Education and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University.

Strategic Framework
ABC History



SCAC Recieves a $20,000 Planning Grant

The South Carolina Arts Commission receives a $20,000 Arts in Schools Basic Education planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project.


ABC Plan is Published

The Arts in Basic Curriculum Steering Committee publishes the ABC Plan, calling for comprehensive, substantive, and sequential arts education for all students.


First 30 Schools & Districts Apply for ABC Grants

The first round of ABC Model Site planning grants is offered by the S.C. Arts Commission. More than 30 schools and districts apply; 11 grants are awarded.


SCAC Awards First Round of Model Site Grants

The S.C. Arts Commission awards the first round of ABC Model Site implementation grants to nine schools and school districts.


First Leadership Curriculum is Presented at Lander University

The first Curriculum Leadership Institute for the Arts (CLIA), designed to cultivate leaders among arts teachers, is presented at Lander University.


SC Legislature Passes the Education Accountability Act

The S.C. Legislature passes the Education Accountability Act (EAA) with arts education language included, thanks to determined ABC Institute advocacy.


ABC Institute Reform Model Represents in Washington, D.C.

The ABC Institute was one of six arts education reform models from across the nation highlighted at the National Arts Education (AEP) Partnership meeting in Washington, D.C.


First Local Arts Education Advocacy Workshop

One hundred and six teachers, administrators from ABC Sites, community leaders and arts council members participate in the first Local Arts Education Advocacy workshop.


$1 Million Increase in Grant Funding

With support from arts education advocates, the S.C. Arts Commission secures a $1 million increase in grant funding from the S.C. General Assembly.


Task Force Responds to New Research & Climate for Education Reform

The ABC Institute and the S.C. Arts Commission convene the 2014 Arts Education Task Force to respond to new research and a new climate for education reform and to push arts education in S.C. to the next level.


Additional Increase in Grant Funding

With support from arts education advocates, the S.C. Arts Commission secures an additional $1 million increase in education funding from the S.C. General Assembly and the number of ABC Sites increases to 56.


Introducing ABC Network

ABC School Certification replaces ABC Sites and introduces the ABC Network for greater inclusivity and services as a state resource.


Arts Grow SC

ABC becomes an inaugural Arts Grow SC Partner.


AAE Grant

ABC is awarded a United State Department of Education Assistance in Art Education grant to support the Community Access to the Arts in Rural Education (CARE) Project.


ABC Institute Rebrand & 35th Anniversary

After 35 years, ABC is not merely a project but an institution of leadership for countless educators. A first-of-its kind national model in 1987, the South Carolina Arts Commission’s partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education and Winthrop University is no project. It is an established collaboration that has sustained numerous challenges and continues to serve as an innovative model to assist student recovery from the unprecedented crisis of a pandemic.