South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities

South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities

infobox University
name = South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

established = 1999
type = Public
president = Dr. Bruce Halverson
faculty = 67
students = 236
city = flagicon|USA Greenville
state = South Carolina
country = U.S.
campus = Urban, convert|8.5|acre|m2
athletics =SCHSL Division 1-A
website = []

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.


In 1980, South Carolina's Governor Richard W. Riley issued an executive order establishing the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. It was held each summer as an intensive, state-funded arts enrichment program on the campus of Furman University.

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 sits on eight and a half acres above the Reedy River Falls Park in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. It includes an academic building and residential hall. The school has two performance halls, The Smith Recital Hall, and the Sakas Theatre. Smith is the site of most music performances, while Sakas is used for Drama productions. There is also an outdoor amphitheater on campus.

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.


The residential program accepts juniors and seniors. Exceptions are made for the art area of dance, which accepts any high school-aged student, and the music department, which periodically accepts sophomores.

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.


The aim of the music department is to provide students with the resources and personal attention necessary for growth as individual performers. The curriculum centers around weekly one hour lessons with the student's private teacher, biweekly chamber music coaching, and large ensemble participation (Concertato string orchestra, wind ensemble, or Cantus chamber choir). Juniors, sophomores, and first year seniors take one hour of music theory four times a week while students in their senior year take a music history survey course. Music Theory students have the option of enrolling in AP Music Theory during the spring semester. In addition, all music students are required to participate in the Governor's School Choir to aid in the development of aural skills. Students can sign up for weekly Friday morning recitals that are open to the outside community to perform solo or ensemble pieces on which they have been working.

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.

Creative Writing

Creative writers are instructed by celebrated authors Scott Gould and George Singleton and visiting writers Ashley Warlick, author of "Seek the Living," and Mamie Morgan. Over the years the department has drawn the attention of Pulitzer prize winners John Patrick Shanley, Toni Morrison and Jorie Graham, in addition to other authors, such as Curtis Sittenfeld, Sharon Olds, Thomas Lux, Charles Baxter, and Alan Lightman.
*Creative Nonfiction
*Forms in Fiction
*Contemporary Publishing/Editing


The Drama program is an intensive acting program. Students are taught by professional actors who have experience both on the stage and the screen.

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).

*Stage Combat
*Suzuki Method
*Stanislavski Method
*International Phonetic Alphabet
*Voice and Speech
*Scene Study
*Play Analysis
*Theatre History
*Physical Fitness


The dance department is chaired by award winning Russian ballet dancer Stanislav Issaev. Main focus is given to a strict interpretation of the Vaganova classical ballet technique.

Visual Arts

Emerging visual artists attend this intensive two-year program to build on and develop artistic, conceptual and creative skills, as well as attain the discipline and confidence necessary to investigate their own imagery and self-expression. Students learn to relate and recognize art from diverse cultures and periods, and have exposure to studio practices in architecture, drawing, graphic design, metals, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Critical thinking and aesthetic valuing are strengthened with group and individual critiques, problem solving assignments and jury reviews at the end of each semester.

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.


The mean SAT score is approximately 200 points higher than the national average. Students have had great success in the postgraduate application process in the school's short history. Alumni are notable for having attended a wide array of prestigious colleges, conservatories, and universities.


[ The school's official website]

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