Published on November 9th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


2015 Stephen G. Morrison Visionary Award

One Columbia for Arts and History Recognizes William Starrett with 2015 Award

COLUMBIA, SC. One Columbia for Arts and History is proud to announce Mr. William Starrett, executive and artistic director of Columbia City Ballet, as the recipient of the Stephen G. Morrison Visionary Award. The award will be presented Sunday, November 15, at the South Carolina Philharmonic’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert.

The Stephen G. Morrison Visionary Award is an annual recognition of a Columbian who reflects many of the values and qualities of those generously given by One Columbia’s former leader in support of the growth and vitality of his City of Columbia. Morrison, who passed away in 2014, co-chaired the One Columbia Arts and History Board of Directors for three years.

Starrett first came to the Columbia City Ballet as a guest artist in 1977; he served as Artist-In-Residence, Associate Artistic Director Premier Danseur before being appointed executive and artistic director. During his 29 year history with the ballet, Starrett has expanded the company to be the largest touring company in the state, introduced an educational outreach program and integrated dance into the lives of Columbians. Starrett has created over 19 principal ballets including Columbia City Ballet’s signature performances, Dracula Ballet with a Bite and Off the Wall and Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green. Starrett conceived this collaboration of art and dance in 2002, bringing South Carolina native Green’s paintings to life on the stage.

In addition, Columbia City Ballet’s Educational Outreach Program has introduced the ballet to more than half a million children in the program’s 25 years. The program introduces students to a wide spectrum of artistic genres and disciplines, dance styles, art history, music, stagecraft and literacy. The ballet has received national attention and awards for its creative commitment and vision of the Educational Outreach Program.

“It is a tremendous honor to have my efforts and passions recognized with this prestigious award,” says Starrett. “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the magnitude of being presented an award bearing the name of Steve Morrison who I so respect and hold in such esteem.”

One Columbia for Arts and History recognizes the cultural and community significance of William Starrett’s influence in our community along with the substantial contribution his efforts have made to bringing visitors to the Midlands to enjoy the premier performances offered.

“Having a vision for a stronger, more artful community is important. William Starrett not only has this vision, he brings with it a dedication that is nothing short of remarkable. We applaud this vision and dedication,” says Tony Tallent, President of the One Columbia for Arts and History Board of Directors.

The recipient of the Steve Morrison Visionary Award honors the best combination of vision and leadership, applied to arts and history and the entire cultural foundation of the City, and the value they bring to Columbia.

“Steve Morrison was passionate about creating a city that is vibrant and unique, and he was a true leader dedicated to improving the lives of Columbians,” says Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “William is truly deserving of this award in Steve’s honor, since he too has worked tirelessly for years to impact the lives of the citizens of Columbia through innovative arts programming and arts education.”

There will be a presentation made at the beginning of the South Carolina Philharmonic’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert on November 15, 2015 at 4pm. Tickets are available for purchase on the SC Philharmonic’s website:

More information about the Morrison Award and past recipients is available at

About One Columbia for Arts and History
One Columbia for Arts and History is a non-profit corporation that works to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for our residents, attract tourist dollars to our city, and further build our vibrant community. In short, it serves as the promotional arm of the City for Columbia’s cultural community. Visit the One Columbia website ( for a continuously updated master list of art and cultural activities occurring throughout the city.


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