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Artisans Center funding safe

The S.C. Artisans Center has received its largest-ever financial donation, with the money slated to go toward capital improvement projects.
Under the direction of Rep. Harry B. “Chip” Limehouse, the S.C. Legislature has voted the override a governor’s veto and award the artisans center with $500,000 in state funding.
The project money was originally one of Gov. Nikki Haley’s 51 items that were slated for veto from the upcoming fiscal year budget. The 51 items totaled $41.1 million that would have been removed from the state’s proposed $7.5 billion spending summary.
Last week, however, Limehouse led the fight to disregard Haley’s veto and hand the money to the artisans center. Also in that fight for the local art-based center were Walterboro-based attorney Sen. Margie Bright-Matthews (D-Walterboro) and Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bonneau), who has long represented portions of the Lowcountry in the S.C. Senate.
“Rep. Limehouse really came through for us,” said Gale Doggette, executive director of the artisans center. The S.C. Artisans Center is the official folk art center for the entire state. It is located in Walterboro, and offers a plethora of handmade artisan items for sale that come from select juried artists. The retail center is a large part of the city, and county’s, tourism economy.
Specifics on the artisan center’s spending plan for the $500,000 are not yet determined.
According to Doggette, the S.C. Artisans Center Board of Directors will soon convene and discuss ways to spend the cash. “Curb appeal and signage will likely be at the top of that list,” she said. “This is the largest donation we have ever received, and is only the second time that the state has awarded us funding,” she said.
According to Doggette, the conversation about the artisans’ center’s need for state funding began between Limehouse and Doggette several weeks ago, at a polo match held at the Limehouse field.
“He kept his word, and he fought for us,” she said. “Though he has no ties to us, Sen. Wes Hayes from Rock Hill also fought for us,” she said. “He is a lover of the arts.”
Among other items set for Haley’s veto were $200,000 to the Colleton County Bookmobile; $500,000 to the Department of Social Services’ after-school and summer reading programs; $300,000 earmarked for air quality improvements through the state Department of Health and Environmental Control; $100,000 in unspecified requests for the Department of Commerce; $1.6 million for an “outreach education” program hosted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources; $25,000 in fire suppression funds for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; $2.3 million for architectural heritage preservation; and $1 million for the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena at Clemson University.
Millions more in anticipated budgetary vetoes are expected from Haley, with two of the largest listed as $7 million earmarked for airport infrastructure for the State Aviation Fund and and $6.4 million for unspecified revitilizations to parks and recreational tourism.

Heather Walters (832 Posts)