The South Carolina Governor's School For the Arts & Humanities is a public residential high school for the emerging artists of South Carolina Greenville, South Carolina. Students apply and audition to attend the residential high school or summer programs to concentrate in either creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual arts.
The school began with summer programs in the early nineteen eighties, spearheaded by founder Dr. Virginia Uldrick. The campus was built in 1998 after funds had been acquired from both the public and private sectors; the state legislature stipulated that funds raised by the school's Foundation equal those allocated by the state.
Residential high school students live on campus and finish high school with half of each school day dedicated to academic studies and half dedicated to their pre-professional training in their art area.
The arts faculty are active in the fields they instruct. Students are selected for the program based on their displayed artistic promise. No tuition is charged, but each enrolled student is required to purchase a $3000 meal plan. Financial assistance is available for those unable to afford this meal plan. The school's Foundation affords curricular expenses not covered by state funding.
Among American public high schools, the school has been ranked as high as 136 by Newsweek Magazine. It consistently ranks in the top 500 high schools nation-wide.
Dr. Virginia Uldrich acted as the long time director of the Furman-based summer program. She lobbied for the formation of a high school where a nine month, residential program could be held, along with additional summer programs and teacher institutes. The state legislature agreed to directing $14,000,000 towards the building of the school if additional funds were raised from private donors.
In 1999, campus only partially completed, the school opened for its first academic year. The campus was named in Virginia Uldrich's honor. She acted as the school's first president.
The campus is designed to emulate a Tuscan village.
The campus is credited with inspiring the revitalization of Downtown Greenville's West End. After the building of the school, the Reedy River Falls Park was revitalized and the west end of Greenville has since been dubbed the city's Arts District.
Two-week summer programs in acting, creative writing, music and visual arts are available for rising ninth and tenth grade South Carolinians. Summer Dance is a five-week programs for students ranging from seventh through eleventh grades. Summer Dance is the only program currently available to out-of-state residents.
All students apply, audition and interview to gain acceptance. Applications include both academic and artistic teacher recommendations.
The mission of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities is to serve the artistically talented high school students of South Carolina through programs of pre-professional instruction in an environment of artistic and academic excellence. The school is a resource for all teachers and students in South Carolina.
Music students participate in many extracurricular events and competitions, including the Music Teachers National Association competition, National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, local concerto competitions, and All-State Orchestra, Band, and Chorus.
Guest artists include Eastman School of Music viola faculty member George Taylor, the American Brass Quintet, the contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird, Singing group Anonymous 4, and lecturist Robert Blocker.
Graduates of the music department have gone on to attend such prestigious conservatories and universities as the Eastman School of Music, the Colburn School, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, New York University, Florida State University, Illinois State University, Duke University, Syracuse University, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, University of South Carolina, Furman University, Appalachian State University and Northwestern University.
The program has had many guest artists including, playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), actor Michael York (Austin Powers and The Three Musketeers), and actor Danny Hoch (HBO). More recent guest artists include Kathleen Turner, David Strathairn, and André DeShields. Daniel Murray, Jayce Tromsness, and Dan Day make up the faculty for the drama department teaching Acting, Stage Combat, and Voice and Speech. Guest teachers include Mrs. Rhonda Allen-Murray (Dance), Greg Walters (Singing), Monica Bell (Suzuki Method) and Allison Moore (Playwriting).
Students work side-by-side with established artists and academics on Advanced Placement portfolios, AP Art History and intensive studio classes in preparation for higher education and ultimately careers in the arts. They also have the opportunity to exhibit their work in student curated shows and in the school's Lipscomb Gallery. Students from this program are heavily recruited by top art schools from throughout the country as well as excellent college programs within the state.