SC State's first art grad inducted to S.C. Black Hall of Fame

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Carolyn McCoy Govan has been inducted to the S.C. Black Hall of FameHARTSVILLE — Carolyn Govan, '74, an artist and visual arts teacher at Blenheim Elementary/Middle School in Marlboro County School District, has been inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame for her commitment to the arts and devotion to education.

The S.C. Black Hall of Fame is a project of the United Black Fund of the Midlands. Since 1991, the United Black Fund has inducted more than 200 people into the hall of fame.

Govan and nine other honorees were recognized during a banquet and ceremony June 22 at Seawells in Columbia.

“I was totally surprised,” Govan said of being inducted. “I wasn’t aware I was nominated until two weeks prior to being informed I was selected to be inducted.”

Govan said she became interested in art because her father would illustrate pictures from books her mother would read to her and her nine siblings.

“As a young child, I’ve always been exposed to the arts,” Govan said. “When I was learning to read, I would draw pictures of what I read in the book.”

Some of Govan’s favorite artists include Vincent Van Gogh, her mentor, Leo Twiggs, and Jonathan Green.

She said inspiration for her paintings comes from events in her life and the people she meets. Govan works in many mediums, including acrylics and pastels. She also creates ceramics and sculptures.

Govan said she began with landscapes but was encouraged by her husband, Charles, to do more paintings that dealt with a person’s soul.

Govan, a Hartsville native, has taught in Darlington, Lee, Sumter and Williamsburg counties during her 31-year educational career.

She said she loves teaching and giving students an opportunity to explore the world through visual arts.

“The arts lends itself to children, even of a low economic background, to expand themselves,” Govan said. “It closes the gap between all races and economical backgrounds because the love and interest in the arts builds self-esteem and similar interests.

“I have taught so many young people in my lifetime,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to expose them to a world otherwise closed to them.”

After graduating in 1969 from Butler High School, Govan attended South Carolina State College (now University), where she was the first art major to graduate from the university. There she studied under Twiggs, who was then an art professor, and helped develop the university’s art department.

Govan later attended Francis Marion University, the College of Charleston and Clemson University to further her studies in the arts.

During the years, Govan’s artwork has been shown at art museums in Hartsville, Florence, Orangeburg and Bishopville.

She also does work for youth and community programs, such as the “I Have a Dream” Foundation and the South Sixth Street Youth and Elohim Outreach Program.

Govan is a member of the South Carolina Arts Commission, which she was appointed to by Gov. Mark Sanford. She also serves on the Hartsville Museum Board and SC State University Art Alumni Executive Council. She is a member of several state and national organizations, including the Arts in Basic Curriculum steering committee and National Education Association.

Govan and her husband, Charles, who is a member of the Darlington County Board of Education, have three daughters, Wanda, Dione and Michelle. She also has three grandchildren, Jasmine, Jaswan and Tahjae.


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