Gullah Geechee artists invited to free workshop in Beaufort County

Gullah Geechee artists invited to free workshop in Beaufort County

The South Carolina Arts Commission will present the last in a series of three professional development workshops, Promoting your Gullah Geechee Art Form, from 6 – 9 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center (formerly the Marina at Lemon Island) at 310 N. Okatie Highway, Okatie, S.C. The workshop is offered free of charge. Space is limited to the first 30 registrants. To register, artists should call (803) 734-8693 or e-mail  and provide name, art form, phone number and email address.

Artists will learn how to create basic support materials necessary for promotion of their art work. “It is especially designed for Gullah Geechee residents who practice or represent one or more of the cultural expressions outlined in the Gullah Geechee Corridor’s management plan,” said Ken May, South Carolina Arts Commission executive director. Those areas are music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development.

“We are pleased to present this workshop in a location between Beaufort and Hilton Head and in partnership with the new maritime center,” May said. “They are a new community resource and exhibit venue for artists, and their recent programming has had a strong Gullah Geechee theme. It’s a good fit for our workshop.”

The workshops were developed after a series of community arts meetings in 2013, where the South Carolina Arts Commission, in partnership with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, heard from more than 80 Corridor artists and residents. The first workshop was held Sept. 30 at the Mt. Pleasant Branch of the Charleston County Library; the second took place Dec. 10 at the Georgetown County Library.

All three workshops are being led by Charleston native Kerri Forrest, award-winning journalist and owner of Social Creative Media Consulting. Active in the Charleston region since her return from a distinguished career in Washington, D.C., in 2010, Forrest currently is director of Institutional Advancement for the American College of the Building Arts. She also chairs the speaker selection committee for TEDx Charleston. Other artists and local arts leaders will also participate.

For additional information about the program and future meetings, contact Arts Participation Program Director Susan DuPlessis, or (803) 734-8693.

About the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated a national heritage area by Congress on Oct. 12, 2006. The Corridor was created to recognize contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as Gullah Geechee, who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida; to assist organizations in the four states in interpreting and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music; and to assist in identifying and preserving Gullah Geechee sites, historical data and artifacts for the benefit and education of the public. South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee Corridor includes the eight coastal counties of Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Charleston , Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper, as well as parts of three inland counties: Marion, Williamsburg, and Hampton. For more information, visit