Portrait by Chelsey Ashford Photography

A few weeks ago, author and frequent TOWN contributor Scott Gould came to me with an idea. He wanted to honor the South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts & Humanities’ top graduating students in dance, drama, creative writing, music, and visual art. Because Gould teaches creative writing at the Governor’s School, I thought it fitting for him to pen it. And because light is an evocative symbol of talent, thought, and excellence, we decided to use it prominently in the student portraits, with Paul Mehaffey masterfully executing the photography. “Speed of Light” tells where these students have been and where they’re going, thanks to those who recognized a glint of their talent.

With each edition of TOWN, we aim to go better and brighter than the last, sharing new ideas, experiences, and voices. For our annual arts issue, we present a mix of creatives who aren’t only dazzling by trade, but who are also using their work to amplify the lives of others, to break barriers, and to change the status quo. Art does that.

Artists are like superheroes. They expose us to new ways of thinking, to things beautiful and moving. They see life in alternative ways. They feel it more keenly. They are like conduits of spirit, channeling emotions into physical being, into experiences that delight us, calm us, or challenge us.

With our illustrated cover and the stories within, we suggest that artists are larger than life and touched with special gifts that move us in extraordinary ways. They may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but their talents often defy logic. We are inspired by inspired people. And that’s a wonderful thing.

—Blair Knobel