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Nature to inspire next ‘Communal Pen’ workshop

Two-part writing workshop 'visits' Congaree National Park

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption]
Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is back for starting THIS SATURDAY to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit Water/Ways, Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are co-hosts of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! Although Communal Pen is a virtual program, the Water/Ways exhibit will be on display at the South Carolina Maritime Museum from Nov. 13 through Jan. 13, 2021.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. "Communal Pen: Water/Ways" coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.

Jason Rapp

Columbia artist Susan Lenz creating ornaments for national display

Susan LenzColumbia fiber artist Susan Lenz has been selected to create South Carolina’s ornaments for the 2015 America Celebrates: Ornaments from Across the USA display at President’s Park (White House) in Washington, D.C. Lenz joins artists from each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia in designing ornaments inspired by America’s national parks and their programs, paying tribute to the upcoming National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Lenz created double-sided ornaments using image transfers of South Carolina’s flora and fauna, historic monuments, recreational areas, and her favorite boardwalks at Congaree National Park. Each ornament is machine-quilted. The back of each ornament (pictured below) features the outline of the state along with the flag’s palmetto tree and crescent moon. Images include a box turtle, a summer tanager, the Carolina wren, several unique insects, and a spotted orb weaver spider. Susan Lenz, National Ornament, reversed The ornament display honors the holiday season and celebrates the National Christmas Tree Lighting, a national event presented by the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service. Lenz plans to attend the 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting, taking place Thursday, December 3, 2015, at 5 p.m. “I am excited to be part of the America Celebrates display for many reasons,” says Lenz. “I’m passionate about conservation and environmental issues. I’ve been an artist-in-residence at Hot Springs National Park and have visited several other national parks. I have very fond memories of kayaking at Congaree National Park and simply adore walking the raised boardwalks there.” “Art can be an incredible way for people to connect with national parks, and we’re thrilled to carry on the time-honored tradition of debuting ornaments from all over the country,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We’re honored to have Susan Lenz represent South Carolina in this year’s America Celebrates display.” As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition. In addition to the America Celebrates display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, including nightly holiday performances, and model train display. For more information, visit www.thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2015. Image above: Ornament examples About the National Park Service More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961. Visit us at www.nps.gov. About the National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org

Columbia Museum of Art & Congaree National Park receive “America’s Best Idea” grant

The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) and Congaree National Park received one of 39 America's "Best Idea" grants given by the National Park Foundation this year to recognize their innovative arts and science education program called LEAF (Linking Ecology and Art of the Floodplains). The $17,500 grant helps support LEAF, which connects science, art, and the ecological experience of the primeval forest at Congaree National Park to teach over 1,300 third-graders about landscapes, soils, and habitats. The National Parks Service announced the list of national parks across the country selected to receive the award. The grant program, inspired by Ken Burns' critically acclaimed documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations that engage diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System. The award-winning program also received recognition on national television on Time Warner Cable's "It Ain't Rocket Science" show that aired in October. The show is part of the cable company's charitable initiative called "Connect a Million Minds" STEM campaign, which spotlighted the LEAF program as an innovative education program linking art and science: http://www.connectamillionminds.com/campaigns/itaintrocketscience/episode/26 "We thank the National Park Foundation for their support and are honored that the LEAF program received this national recognition," says Karen Brosius, CMA executive director. "Our museum is focused on art as a gateway to learning and creativity, and it has been a pleasure to partner with Congaree National Park to reach more than a thousand third-grade students with such a valuable and fun art and science experience." Beginning in 2007, the LEAF program has reached a total of over 4,000 students and over 200 teachers in Richland and Lexington Counties, which is the central region of South Carolina. This free, outdoor field trip is part of an ongoing initiative by the CMA to integrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education in school curricula. The STEAM movement recognizes the importance of connecting science with arts education, which is critical for 21st-century achievement and innovation. LEAF promotes arts education, science literacy, and environmental education through outdoor activities that connect to South Carolina visual art and science education standards. "Good artists make good scientists and good scientists make good artists because observation is key to both," says Congaree Education Coordinator David Shelley. The National Park Foundation is the official charity of the National Park System. Additional support for the grants comes from the Geological Society of America and the National Park Service Geologic Resource Division. For more information about the CMA's education programs, visit columbiamuseum.org/learn. Image: Congaree National Park Education Coordinator David Shelley leads third-graders in an exercise about soil weathering, erosion, and deposition. Via: Columbia Museum of Art

Columbia artist illustrating seasons at Congaree National Park

From The State:
When someone from Congaree National Park called Columbia College looking for help in selecting among artist-in-residence applications, Mary Bentz Gilkerson begged off the assignment. “I told her, ‘I don’t think I should jury it because I wanted to apply,’” said Gilkerson, an arts professor at the college. She did more than apply; she was selected for the second artist-in-residence slot at the park. For the past few weeks, Gilkerson has been working on a mural in the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. Park staffers told her some visitors who can’t physically handle the trails and boardwalk wait on the benches in that small area while friends or family members tour the park. When she’s finished, what used to be a plain waiting area will give the people sitting on those benches a sense of the trees and waterways at a certain spot where the trails intersect with Cedar Creek. “I want this to be a place where people who can’t get out there can experience the immersion of nature,” Gilkerson said. Her work illustrates the park through the four seasons. There are only three wall sections, so the large center section features the meld from spring to summer. “I’m most interested in color and light and how it moves across the surfaces,” Gilkerson said. She’s having a blast as the artist-in-residence. In fact, Gilkerson has been romping around in the woods in this area since her childhood, when her family owned land just across the Congaree River in Calhoun County. She now owns a horse that she boards with a friend just a few miles from the park’s entrance on Old Bluff Road. “I remember being turned loose to play in these woods as a kid,” she said. “It smelled so good, all the different spices of the woods.” Now, as part of the artist-in-residence program, she’s guiding hikes through the park, helping others see the colors and shadows and smell the special aroma.
Via: The State