Pickens group gets $25,000 arts grant

PICKENS — The Pickens community is one of 66 recipients from around the country of Our Town grant money totaling $5.073 million and reaching 38 states, according to National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) chairman Jane Chu.

Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM) will receive $25,000 to help plan and design a remodeled auditorium at the Hagood Community Center, also known as the Senior Center of Pickens. Programming in traditional arts and music will also be funded.

This year’s Our Town projects demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community’s success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities

that are diverse in geography and character. Our Town funds arts -based community development projects in a way that is authentic, equitable, and augments existing local assets. Since Our Town’s inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To support “Keeping Our Traditions Alive” POSAM, the City of Pickens, Hagood Community Center/Senior Center of Pickens and its partners would like to develop a traditional arts and crafts center at the current Hagood Community Center in Pickens. This project would help design the renovations for the existing auditorium and plan workshops, concerts, activities which would take place at the Center and which would promote the engagement of the community of Pickens in traditional arts.

“POSAM/City of Pickens demonstrate the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community,” Chu said. “Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.”

“The $25,000 grant money received from the National Endowment for the Arts will help the Senior Center of Pickens (also known as Hagood Community Center) realize our dream of restoring the old auditorium of the former Pickens Mill Elementary School (built in 1929),” said Betty McDaniel, executive director of POSAM and Senior Center of Pickens board member. “With this money the center can become a cultural space that will play a central role in keeping alive the traditional arts and culture of our community.”

The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA website at Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well.

Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music Inc. (POSAM) is a charitable non-profit organization which supports Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM).  For more information on the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) program, visit, Facebook: “YAM (Young Appalachian Musicians,” call (864) 878-4257; or e-mail