S.C. museum hires first arts ed director

With funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum is announcing Valencia M. Goodwin as its first arts in education director.

Using the extensive collection of the museum, the director will work with middle and high schools and community organizations to explore the South Carolina history that shaped America.

Goodwin, a native of Hopkins, believes that “like life, in art, there are no mistakes, only magic.” This is the motto she lives by as a mother, creative visual artist, art instructor, model and owner of her own creative arts company, SoulSweet Avenue.

Since the age of 3, Goodwin has been drawing. She can recall in elementary school completing a “When I Grow Up” form. Her top five options were to be the most famous artist in the world, become a fashion model, have her own art school, make art for the rest of her life, and have lots of children.

It was during her years as a student at Lower Richland High School, under the instruction of Mr. John Johnson Jr., that she realized the uniqueness of her gift. He influenced her to further her education and pursue a career in the arts. In 2001 she won a Black history poster contest with an illustration titled, “My History,” which is one of her most popular pieces to this day. Once her name was called as the winner she knew what was her life’s purpose: to tell her truth, her history, our story, share our beauty and culture with the world and leave a legacy.

Located in Orangeburg, the Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum honors a generation of people throughout the Palmetto State, who deserve to be remembered for their unselfish commitments and sacrifices. Together, they destroyed Jim Crow, demanded dignity and justice for all people, changed the Constitution, and inspired mankind.

The museum is open for visits by appointment. Now through the latest technology, virtual reality tours also allow an extremely immersive experience for everyone. You may tour the museum virtually at https://www.cecilwilliams.com/virtual-tour.