South Carolina Arts Commission in Columbia, SC, Present 2016 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards – May 11, 2016


McKissick Museum and the South Carolina Arts Commission announce the 2016 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients: Bill Harris, for Catawba pottery, and Harold Clayton, a posthumous award for bluegrass advocacy. The awards will be presented May 11, 2016, during a ceremony at the Statehouse. The 11am ceremony is free and open to the public.

Bill Harris

Currently the Chief of the Catawba Nation, Bill Harris of Rock Hill, SC, began learning traditional Catawba pottery at age 18 from his grandmother, Georgia Harris, a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since the 1970s, Harris has cultivated his knowledge by learning aspects of the art from other Catawba potters. His work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the region, and the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project has named him a Master Potter, an honor only given to those who have been recognized by their peers as outstanding practitioners of the tradition.

Harold Clayton was a native of the Warrior Creek community near Gray Court. He played the upright bass and guitar, but his true passion was in providing a venue for music to be presented, taught, and appreciated. In 2006, Clayton, with the help of friends, remodeled and opened the Owings Music Hall. Now musicians from across the region show up every Friday and Saturday night to play for crowds of young and old and offer lessons. Clayton also made a conscious effort to share his love of music with his family – both his son and grandson learned from him and are accomplished musicians today. Clayton passed away in April 2015, but his family and the music community continue to carry on his legacy.

Also on May 11, the award recipients will be honored by McKissick Museum during a ticketed luncheon at Michael’s Café, 1620 Main St.  Lunch begins at noon; tickets are $20 per person.

For more information about the luncheon and buying tickets, contact Jane Przybysz at McKissick Museum, 803/777-7251.

Recipients also will be honored by the SC Arts Foundation during the South Carolina Arts Gala, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the SC Arts Commission. The gala begins at 7:15pm in the Grand Hall, 701 Whaley St.; tickets are $75 per person. For more information about the gala, visit (


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