It’s been a mission of mine to promote the education of the next generation of artists, no matter what medium they choose.

Humans are made to create new ideas, and the arts provides one of the tangible ways to illustrate feelings that can’t be expressed in words. And one of the quickest ways to hook a young person for life is to do something COOL.

That’s why I was happy to see some opportunities for young people to participate in several different art forms, in filmmaking and music.

First, there’s an important contest for young filmmakers throught the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Trident Technical College and the S.C. Film Commission.

The 2014 Young Filmmakers Competition is now accepting entries from all high school students in grades 9-12 who are residents of South Carolina for a short film contest. It’s designed to foster media arts skills and is focused on the theme “Go Wild With Your Imagination!”

To participate, students must create a short film ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes in length, telling a cinematic story (any plot or genre) and feature one of South Carolina’s state parks.

With more than 80,000 acres of protected lands from the mountains in the Upstate to the sand dunes on the Atlantic, South Carolina parks are some of the most unique in the United States, and we are blessed with a climate that allows us to access them year-round.

To enter, young filmmakers upload their short films to the competition’s SchoolTube channel (

The deadline is March 21 and entries may be submitted by individuals or groups of students. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges in combination with online public voting, which will take place from April 28-May 11. Entries will be judged on the basis of the creativity of the concept, overall production value, strength of story, and execution of the stated guidelines.

Competition winners will receive cash and prizes, including $500 for first place, $300 for second, and $200 for third. The Top Ten finalists will be screened at the Charleston International Film Festival, which takes place from April 9-14.

Complete guidelines and entry forms can be found here:

Share the Stage winners to perform

On Friday, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will share the stage with 15 young performers through the company’s third annual contest for high school students.

The CSO is performing Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme” and Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” at 7:30 pm at The Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul with world-renowned conductor, Imre Pallo.

It’s going to be a great concert and the students have been rehearsing so they are up on their parts. They auditioned via online video and will perform in “Fantasia.”

The following are the winners of the 2013-14 CSO Share the Stage contest:

Violin: Nanako Shirai, Rachael Dawson,Vivian Song, Rika Win, David Hall;

Viola: Savannah York, Jordan Stuckey, Calynn Dioses, Milan Nelson, Brooke Adams;

Cello: Carlo Garcia, Xavier Westergaard, Andrew Englehardt, Benjamin Kidder, Meredith Riggs.

The winners represent Charleston County School of the Arts, Wando High School, S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Cane Bay High School, Academic Magnet High School.

General admission tickets are $20 and students $10. Tickets can be purchased at

Yo Art continues to grow projects

Gene Furchgott has been on a mission for a number of years now to teach young people about the thrill of photography and pass down a love of the medium that his father taught him.

What started as a one-day project with a few kids and some disposable cameras has now grown into a great community resource.

Yo Art’s latest project is a complex one, but designed to teach on so many levels.

Yo Art is now instructing students at Sanders-Clyde Middle in a 12-week course that interviews important civil rights figures such as Bill Saunders, Dr. Millicent Brown and Leila Potts-Campbell of the Avery Center. The kids must research these figures and prepare for a film interview that they will conduct. Their film documentaries will be edited and presented as a 10-minute product on each person at the end of the course.

This is such a great idea. The students both learn important local connections and film documentary work, and it’s a lesson they will remember for the rest of their lives.

If you want to help out or see what Yo Art does, go to for more information.

Of course there are other things going on in the arts this week, but too many to mention. Why don’t you choose one, and take a budding young artist to see what others in his field of interest are up to in Charleston. I’m sure you can find a great event.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.