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Jason Rapp

2021 Folk Heritage Awards recipients announced

Proving S.C. traditions 'long-lived and ever-evolving'


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In 2021, the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards will be presented by the General Assembly to two recipients being honored for work keeping the state’s traditional art forms alive.

One practicing artist and one arts advocate are to be recognized as ambassadors of traditions significant to communities throughout the state. Their traditions embody folklife’s dynamic, multigenerational nature and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals. The 2021 recipients are:
  • Jugnu Verma (Lexington): Traditional Indian folk arts
  • Robert Hill, III (Plantersville): Advocacy, American long rifles and accoutrements
The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award is named for the late State Rep. Jean Laney Harris of Cheraw, respected as an outspoken advocate and ardent supporter of the arts and cultural resources of the state. Up to four artists or organizations and one advocate may receive awards each year. The program is managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum. Community members make nominations to recognize exemplary artistic achievement/advocacy. An independent advisory panel appointed by the lieutenant governor and president of the Senate select the recipients, who must be living and practicing in the state. “From a gun-making tradition that hearkens back to colonial America, when Carolinians commonly used rifles for hunting, to the art of rangoli—a patterned ground decoration created with colored rice and flower petals that community members have more recently brought with them from India and introduced to South Carolina—the state’s folklife is both long-lived and ever-evolving,” observes McKissick Museum Executive Director Jane Przybysz. “By their very definition, folk arts illustrate both the rich heritage and broad diversity of who we, as South Carolinians, are as a people,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director David Platts said. “It is sometimes said that we are a state where change and changelessness co-exist, and this year’s award recipients reflect something of this balance between preserving South Carolina’s traditions and opening ourselves to new and exciting art forms and experiences from around the world. Both artists do exceptional work on our behalf, and we are all grateful for what they do.” The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards and South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and are presented at the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony. The pandemic forced the shift of last year’s ceremony to a virtual format in July rather than May. A virtual ceremony is planned once again for 2021, but it will revert to its normal timeframe in the spring. The SCAC and UofSC McKissick Museum will announce a date and time later.

About the 2021 South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts Recipients

Jugnu Verma | Lexington | Traditional Indian Folk Arts Growing up in the Indian state of Bihar, Jugnu Verma found herself surrounded by Madhubani artists, whose painting was characterized by distinctive geometric patterns and depicted people, nature, and scenes featuring Hindu deities. An early interest led to learning the art form from neighbors in the community, as well as rangoli from the neighbor’s grandmother. From her mother, Verma learned the art of Henna, an integral part of Indian weddings and festivals where a plant-based dye is used to create temporary designs on the body. Verma is eager and enthusiastic about sharing her artistic traditions at various venues, which include her work as a Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) Kick-off Party Organizer, workshops, and exhibitions at the Columbia Museum of Art, the rangoli educator at Overdue: Curated for the Creative, Richland Library Main Branch, and as a lead artist at Artista Vista in Columbia. She has served as Artist in Residence at Lexington District One’s New Providence Elementary, River Bluff High and White Knoll elementary school where she taught students Madhubani and other art forms. Verma feels it is important for South Carolinians to know about India and its culture and she serves as a cultural ambassador through her work throughout the state. Robert W. Hill, III | Plantersville | Advocacy: American Long Rifles and Accoutrements From Plantersville, Robert W. Hill III grew up an avid outdoorsman eager to learn the skills to support his passion for decoy carving, forging knives, and carving gun stocks. His paternal grandfather had been an accomplished blacksmith, woodcarver, and gun stocker who, unfortunately, did not live long enough to teach Hill his skills. But he was nonetheless an inspiration to Hill pursuing his passion. Hill had the opportunity to watch and learn from master engraver Jack Spain and developed a relationship with master gunsmith Frank Burton. After a year of studying and experimenting, Hill completed his first rifle. He recognized the need to preserve the craft and continued his training by studying historic firearms from the Carolinas. Today, he is recognized by gunsmiths across the region as both an exemplary artist and an advocate. In 1994, he co-founded the South Carolina Artist Blacksmith Association, later to become the Phillip Simmons Artists Blacksmith Guild of South Carolina. Through demonstrations and lectures, he has educated people about gun makers from South Carolina to recognize and preserve the artists of the state’s past. Hill passes his skills onto others, including his son and grandson, assuring a legacy of continued preservation, study, and celebration of the traditional craft of gunsmithing.

About the University of South Carolina McKissick Museum

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum tells the story of southern life: community, culture, and the environment. The Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The Museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information, please call at 803.777.7251 or visit sc.edu/mckissickmuseum.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

SCAC commitments to DEI, rural aided by grant from Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.

$14,339 grant expands agency work in Lowcountry


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A grant awarded to the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) by Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (CCF) supported commitments to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion and reaching rural communities.

Visit the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina's website at https://coastalcommunityfoundation.org/That perfectly complements the SCAC’s new strategic plan, released in late 2020, which calls for it to “promote equitable access to the arts” through a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, the agency has a commitment to expanding arts opportunities in rural communities through such initiatives as its nationally recognized program The Art of Community: Rural SC. Extenuating circumstances in FY19 led to $500 from that year’s Expansion Arts Fund award being held over to FY20, bringing that year’s funding to $14,839. This is how the funds were distributed by the SCAC:
  • Aldwyth, an individual artist in Beaufort County, was granted $2,500 to support the creation of works for Pictures of Nothing or Mr. Varnedoe, Why Abstraction?, a multi-disciplinary exhibition focused on Kirk Varnedoe’s book, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock. Pandemic restrictions continue to postpone the public display of the works created by Aldwyth and an assistant.
  • Fletcher Williams, an individual artist in Charleston County, was granted $2,500. He worked with a local fabricator and a team of assistants to create the mobile walls for his Picket Fence – Promiseland Consisting of sculpture and large-scale paper art, the installation encouraged visitors to imagine and observe the Aiken-Rhett House as possibly seen through different eyes, times, and sets of experiences. Though delayed, the project opened and was used as a tool to address current events, serving both artistic and social-awareness goals while engaging new patrons who may have previously been unaware of or disinterested in the arts.
  • Marlanda Dekine, an individual artist in Georgetown County, received $2,500 for research related to the experiences of the artist as a Gullah-Geechee descendant living in South Carolina “with a rootedness in Africana & Caribbean being and creolization.” Written and recorded interviews, community engagement, and tours of local museums and plantations assisted in the completion of written-word poetry. The culmination of this work is to be a serial poem offered through spoken word as a site-specific soundscape, or aural architecture, as well as in live performances for the community, with discourse and audience interaction as part of the final product. In this context, Dekine acts as a conduit and witness of present, past, and future.
  • Community arts organization Colleton Museum, Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen in Colleton County received $7,339 from the Expansion Arts Fund to support the development of WHAM!, Walterboro History, Art, & Music, a new public festival. They’ve used an indefinite delay to reexamine how they implement content for the rural community they serve. By reconceptualizing the initial project, they’ve seen increased interest from artists representing a broader segment of the community and now have a more flexible framework that can be used and reused at any time.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ virtual writing workshop is back in October

Two-part writing workshop continues S.C. tour

[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 more on Saturday, Oct. 24 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, the South Carolina Maritime Museum in Georgetown is hosting this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
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 September 28 through November 8.
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.
 

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Award-winning S.C. poet to lead workshops in Georgetown Co.

Award-winning poet Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul, will lead a series of poetry writing workshops this October and November in her native Georgetown County.

[caption id="attachment_45489" align="alignright" width="251"]Close up facial image of Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul[/caption] The workshops are scheduled for Wednesdays in October and November 2020 from 10-11:30 a.m. for the Georgetown County Library System (GCLS). Due to COVID-19, all sessions will be conducted online with the video-conferencing program, BlueJeans. The program is free and open to the public. However, space in the workshop is limited in order to give proper attention to all participants. To register, please contact, Dr. Dan Turner at 843.545.3363 or dturner@gtcounty.org. If you’re interested, don’t let technology stand in your way. GCLS has laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots available for patrons to check out.
The overall theme for the sessions is “Writing Wherever You Are” and offers a unique approach to writing poetry, one that can be of equal value for beginning and experienced poets. Dekine will bring in a selection of poems by accomplished and emerging South Carolina poets and then guide participants through key elements of these works. She will then discuss ways participants can incorporate these techniques into their own writing. Each individual session of the overall “Writing Wherever You Are” series has a distinct focus to provide participants with a diverse range of approaches and tools for creating poems. Individual session topics are listed below:
  • October 7: “The Blank Page”: Techniques to start writing
  • October 14: “Healing through Writing”: Cathartic approaches to generating individuality
  • October 21: “Voice & Tone”: Immersion in literature to speak truthfully and well
  • October 28: “Sound & Noise”: Consideration of the musicality of words
  • November 4: “Before We Wrote, We Spoke”: Vocal ways to recall oral traditions
The workshop series is funded by a Fast-Track Literary Grant from SC Humanities and the SCAC. The sessions are supported by the Friends of the Library groups at each of the four GCLS libraries: Georgetown, Waccamaw, Andrews, and Carvers Bay.
Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul is a poet and author from Plantersville. Her work has appeared in Emergence Magazine, Screen Door Review, Flycatcher Journal, Spark & Echo Arts, TEDxGreenville, and elsewhere. Previously, Marlanda studied in Paris with NYU’s Low-Residency MFA program and was a 2019 Fresh Voice of the Year, awarded by SC Humanities. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at Converse College. Marlanda believes in the power of being with poetry for collective healing and liberation.

Workshops to unite communities’ business, creative sectors

Orangeburg, Georgetown first to benefit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Business and creative sector representatives in two communities will have opportunities to explore potential collaborative efforts there because of a new South Carolina Arts Commission initiative. Logo for AIR Institute of Berea CollegeThe workshop “Art Builds Business Builds Art” is itself the result of a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) and AIR Institute of Berea College in Kentucky, which was created to teach creatives and business people to connect and share their strengths. Funding for the free workshop is provided by SCAC and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (ETF). Business owners and those who work in the business world and creatives—be they chefs, painters, musicians, photographers, graphic designers or from other creative disciplines—are invited to gather at The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium on the campus of South Carolina State University (300 College St.) from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 for the workshop. The workshop is free, light refreshments will be served, and parking is also free. AIR Institute founder Beth Flowers will join workshop facilitators Yvette McDaniel, director of choral activities at Denmark Technical College and chairwoman of Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL), and GP McLeer, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. South Carolina State University and The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium are pleased to bring “Art Builds Business Builds Art” to Orangeburg. Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association, and Simple Chef are also serving as event sponsors. Three days later, a workshop will take place in Georgetown Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 from 1-3 p.m. at the Georgetown County Airport (129 Airport Rd., Georgetown). The new Georgetown Arts & Humanities Council is responsible for bringing ABBBA to the lower Grand Strand. Vanessa Greene is the director of the new council, and she will co-facilitate with Georgetown-based actress and artist Natalie Daise. “The South Carolina Arts Commission sees the business and creative communities as natural partners for community revitalization. In business you need creative solutions to finding competitive advantages, and creatives often need connections offered by business to realize the unique solutions they can offer. ‘Art Builds Business Builds Art’ is an important first step in Orangeburg and for the state as the commission seeks to expand these opportunities,” SCAC Executive Director David Platts said.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

About AIR Institute

The AIR Institute is an empowering ecosystem that provides artists, businesses and communities the tools, resources, and support to learn, connect, and succeed. The AIR Institute merges the creativity of the arts with the innovation of business to raise the value of arts and creativity in all our communities. AIR has evolved since its humble beginnings in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve transformed from a small town’s big idea to an impactful program that has served several thousand artists, creatives and communities across the United States. Learn more at AirInstitute.org.

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Grand Strand artists: got plans Saturday?

Create! Conway is inviting you get to know each other


Visual artists, mixed media artists, photographers, musicians, poets, performance artists, actors, any and all creatives, and lovers of the arts: CREATE! Conway wants to get to know you! Come and network! Talk about what you're creating. Share some of the benefits and challenges of being an artisan in the Grand Strand. Or, just hang out and get to know one another. We would love to see you and grow the community, not just in Conway, but in all of the Grand Strand!
  • Saturday, March 30
  • 4-7 p.m.
  • Conway Glass (708 12th Avenue)
  • Bring a dish to pass and your own beverage of choice

Free workshop, lunch coming soon for coastal S.C. artisans

Have you ever wondered what resources are available to help you start, sustain, or grow your business? Is your business in the creative or cultural heritage industries? Are you an entrepreneur whose business intersects with, or has the potential to intersect with the tourism industry? Are you an artist looking to start a business? This is the meeting you must attend…lunch is included! Seating is limited to 40, so register today.

  • DATE:            Saturday, April 14, 2018
  • TIME:            9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • WHERE:      901-905 Front Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
  • COST:            None. (That’s right. Free!)
Meet representatives from the Arts Commission, City of Georgetown Economic Development, CommunityWorks, Conway Innovation Center, Georgetown Innovation Center, and SCORE, along with other organizations that provide resources for small business and entrepreneurs. Network! Ask questions, provide input, and participate in planning to access business resources that can help your business grow. Click here to take a business / entrepreneur needs assessment survey that will help us help you before, during and after the meeting. This meeting is open to entrepreneurs located in Georgetown and Horry counties, but also includes the contiguous counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Dillon, Marion, and Williamsburg. We really want to see artist entrepreneurs!

What else?

Registration is required; walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Limit 2 registrants per business/organization. A registration-ticket will be sent 3 days prior to the meeting via the e-mail address you provide. Register now: Click here to register for this meeting. Registration closes April 9, 2018. This meeting is being facilitated by the SC Arts Commission. Sponsors of the meeting include the SC African American Heritage Commission, creator of the Greenbook of SC; Georgetown Innovation Center; Cultural Council of Georgetown County; Coastal Carolina University; and the City of Georgetown Economic Development Office.
For more information contact Joy Young, SCAC program director for Artists Ventures Initiative and ArtsGrowSC, at jyoung@arts.sc.gov.

Network and Knowledge workshop in Conway for arts leaders and artists

[caption id="attachment_26731" align="alignright" width="200"]Conway Glass Conway Glass[/caption] The South Carolina Arts Commission, in partnership with Conway Glass, will host an engaging and interactive gathering for arts leaders and artists of all disciplines on Thursday, June 23, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at Conway Glass, 209 Laurel Street in Conway. Join us and offer your ideas about the kinds of support needed for the arts in Horry and Georgetown counties and surrounding communities.  You'll also have opportunities to network and share knowledge with other participants. This gathering is free but space is limited! Please RSVP by June 21, 2016 at this link. For more information, contact Joy Young.

Artist captures Georgetown’s lost Front St. stores in mural

From the Georgetown Times:

The seven buildings that were destroyed by fire on Sept. 25 are slowly reappearing on Front Street ¬– one stroke of a paint brush at a time. Asher Robinson, a local artist, is painting a mural of the lost buildings on the side of the new home of Harborwalk Books, one of the businesses destroyed in the blaze. Michelle Overton, who bought the book store business from Anne Carlson days after the fire, originally wanted to have “Harborwalk Books” painted on the side of the building, which sits at the corner of Front and Screven streets. That’s just across from the Town Clock. “We wanted to do something to beautify the place,” Overton said. Overton said a friend suggested a mural of the lost buildings. Robinson had the same idea. Robinson began by drawing the buildings on the wall in permanent marker. That took about a week. For the last two weeks he’s been painting the buildings, using colors as close to the originals as possible. The next step will be to add the details, such as signs, awnings, and window displays. Robinson estimates he’s spent about 100 hours working on the mural. As the mural has taken shape, it’s become a gathering place for people. “It’s the talk of the city,” Overton said. “[Asher] has become a celebrity overnight.” Several people have come into the store after seeing the mural to purchase some of Robinson’s artwork. Overton and her husband reopened Harborwalk about three weeks ago. She said people still come in looking for Carlson and her dog, B.D., which spent its days greeting customers at the old location. “Annie has been a tremendous help,” Overton said. “I wanted her to know people really appreciate what she’s done.” Carlson stops by the new location occasionally, but B.D. probably won’t visit since the Overtons are trying to turn their two dogs, Sam and Millie, into shop dogs.

Gullah Geechee artists and residents invited to community meetings

Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organization representatives are invited to a series of networking meetings hosted by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. The goals of the meetings are to identify Gullah Geechee residents who practice or represent one or more of the expressions outlined in the Corridor’s management plan (music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development) and to gather ideas for developing awareness of the Gullah Geechee culture. The Arts Commission and the Corridor are partnering to create networks and resource opportunities.

To RSVP for either meeting, email sbauer@arts.sc.gov or call (803) 734-8687. Be sure to indicate which meeting you will attend: Each meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m.

The first meeting, held in Mt. Pleasant on Oct. 29, attracted a variety of community members.

“Our ultimate goal is to make new relationships that bring new resources to people and create interest in the Corridor – both in the state and beyond,” said Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. “We were pleased to have such a good turnout for the first meeting."

Those attending the meetings are encourage to share a "chatta" -- a seven-word essay describing a Gullah Geechee sentiment. Examples include: "Just the way we live. Embrace it!" and "Gullah Geechee wisdom. Listen to our ancestors." For additional information about the partnership, contact Arts Participation Program Director Susan DuPlessis, sduplessis@arts.sc.gov 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 counties in the Gullah Geechee Corridor are Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion and Williamsburg. For more information, visit www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.