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Jason Rapp

New ink for Communal Pen

Writing workshop returns March 21

Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities, is coming back on Saturday, March 21 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place. 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 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. This three-hour writing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Newberry Arts Center (1200 Main St., Newberry). It draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.771.2477. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. 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! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. 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 the S.C. Humanities Council.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the South Carolina 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 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 the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.
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SC Humanities invites applications to host Crossroads: Change in Rural America

Eligible host sites include small museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural centers and other community venues in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents. SC Humanities announces a special South Carolina tour of Crossroads: Change in Rural America, an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. Developed as part of the Museum on Main Street (MOMS) program, this exhibit is designed especially for small cultural organizations and rural audiences that lack regular access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations. The exhibit will tour six South Carolina communities from September 2018 – June 2019. Eligible host sites include small museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural centers and other community venues in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents. Applications are due by September 1, 2017. Host sites receive free exhibit rental, a grant to support local community programming, opportunities for professional development, and more. Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to envision their futures by exploring the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred. Dr. Randy Akers, executive director of SC Humanities, is pleased to be bringing Crossroads to South Carolina: “SC Humanities is one of the first three states to host this new Smithsonian exhibit, joining Illinois and Florida.  I grew up in a farming village of 600 people in rural Illinois and have seen the devastating changes as small farms collapse, industry moves out, young people move to the city, and schools close. South Carolina is such a rural state, and its numerous small communities have suffered the past decades. Yet there are people, values, and cultural and historical assets that offer hope.  The exhibit and programs which accompany it will challenge us to think about the future. What can we do to bring new life to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in our state? This is a timely and extremely important exhibit addressing one of the most pressing social issues of this century.” Crossroads: Change in Rural America has been made possible in South Carolina by SC Humanities. Crossroads is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Find the application online. For more information about Crossroads: Change in Rural America in South Carolina, contact T.J. Wallace at 803-771-2477 or tjwallace@schumanities.org.