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Orangeburg artist Dr. Leo Twiggs will receive an Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts lifetime achievement award.

Orangeburg artist Dr. Leo Twiggs will be honored with the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts lifetime achievement award.

It is the highest honor the state presents in the arts. Established in 1972, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina.

Twiggs’ unique batik paintings have received international recognition. Several paintings have been displayed in U.S. embassies in Rome, Senegal and Sierra Leone, and his works have appeared in numerous textbooks and other publications.

He was the first visual artist to receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award in 1981.

Twiggs was selected to design an ornament for the White House Christmas tree, and he supervised the development of the museums at both South Carolina State University and Claflin University.

His book, “Messages from Home: The Art of Leo Twiggs,” won an Indie Finalist Award in 2012.

Most recently, he has received attention for his work “Requiem for Mother Emanuel,” which he created following the June 17, 2015 shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Others who will be honored at this year’s Verner Awards are: Laura Spong of Columbia, lifetime achievement; Quentin Baxter of Charleston, artist; Betsy Teter of Spartanburg, individual; Brenda P. McCutchen of Columbia, arts in education; The Callie and John Rainey Foundation and The Stringer Foundation of Anderson, business/foundation; The City of Beaufort/USC Beaufort Center for the Arts of Beaufort, government; South Carolina Humanities of Columbia, government.

“Each of these Verner Award recipients has contributed greatly to the arts community as an outstanding ambassador for our state," S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz said. "Their dedication to the arts benefits South Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. As the Arts Commission marks its 50th anniversary, we are honored to recognize these organizations and individuals who embody the service, commitment and passion that helped build our state’s half century of leadership in the arts.”

Awards will be presented May 2, with the time and location to be announced later. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients at a luncheon at noon.

A fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission, the luncheon includes an art sale and takes place at the USC Alumni Center, 900 Senate St., Columbia. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased online at www.SouthCarolinaArts.com.

The 2017 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life.

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