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Artist’s song stresses “YoungStroke” awareness and prevention

Ron DaisePerforming artist Ron Daise received a $500 quarterly project grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission to produce and record a song, "People Gotta Know," for YoungStroke, Inc., which works to create awareness about strokes in young people. Daise is vice president for creative education at Brookgreen Gardens and the former chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. (Related: Brookgreen official wins grant for young stroke awareness) From The Sun News Article by Steve Palisin

A song not only can tell a story, but send a moving message to the masses. As Ron Daise will sing at the inaugural YoungStroke conference, which opens for three days Saturday (June 27-29) in Jacksonville, Fla., “People Gotta Know.” The multi-award-winning singer, songwriter and performer made this recording about stroke awareness and prevention an extracurricular project outside of his day job as vice president for creative education at Brookgreen Gardens, and to make a difference for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which runs along the Atlantic coast from Wilmington, N.C., south to Jacksonville (www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org). Amy Edmunds of Conway, also a health sciences lecturer at Coastal Carolina University and the founder and chief executive of YoungStroke Inc., reiterates that this condition, when blood flow to a part of the brain stops, can affect anyone ages 18 to 65. She also shared the alarming statistic that 58.5 percent of doctor-diagnosed strokes in 2013 in South Carolina were for people younger than 65 – up from 50 percent in 2009, when the national average was 34 percent. Daise reflected on his contribution to getting the word out. Question | In the 2 minutes and 51 seconds of this song, with its upbeat piano introduction and the ivories’ ending signature framing the work of this piece, how easily did the lyrics pour from your heart, meshed with the composition and production by Travis Winbush? Was is a star that fell on your lap? Answer | I hear a rhythm, and from the rhythm come the lyrics. … I didn’t write the music, but I have a melody line. … It happened one day, and then it continued. … I had been having a conversation with Amy Edmunds. … She had met with me about my participating in this upcoming YoungStroke conference, and part of the conversation was, “Some people do not know what young stroke looks like. Well, it could look like you. Uh-huh, it could look like me. … ” That shows up in the chorus. … It was germinating for a while. I think our conversation was in November …, but it was on New Year’s Day that it fell from the sky. Q. | With your career built from talent and innovation in creativity, education and articulation, what extra effort goes into crafting a song, a lasting legacy that will be played over and over, and possibly for generations to come? A. | Developing a hook that someone will be interested in developing for the content of the songs, the telling of a story: That’s how the verses fell into place. This shows scenarios, and for the people who are experiencing strokes, or people witnessing family and close friends with stroke, how this might be something they should be aware of. Q. | How did having your wife of almost 30 years, Natalie, speak her part later in the song add another layer of depth in the devotion to this cause for health awareness? A. | It needed two voices, because I cannot be singing this spoken piece in addition to my singing the chorus, because it might be confusing. So I thought, I would like my wife to do this. Q. | How did you first encounter the reality of young stroke affecting folks as young as 18, right here along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and any points beyond where this message needs to resonate? A. | The awareness of stroke in young adults came from Amy Edmunds, at the time when I was chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. … At one of our meetings, she spoke about stroke affecting so many youth, how it was an international health concern, and how it’s particularly relevant for younger adults within the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. … For a long time, it was thought that … if you’re older than 65 that those are the persons who would be affected by a stroke. … There’s a gentleman from my church who had a stroke earlier this year, and he is not over 65.

Firsthand experience

Edmunds voiced her enthusiasm for the conference next weekend, especially with the endorsement by the World Stroke Organization and the Mayo Clinic as a sponsor, and guest speakers traveling from Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom. She also said Daise plays a vital role with “People Gotta Know” in this “creative health messaging” about awareness in steps to prevent a stroke. Q. | How did this cause become a passion for you? A. | I was exposed to this reality Jan. 11, 2002, when I experienced a stroke at the age of 45. … For me, I had a healthy lifestyle, was running 5K races, and no family history of stroke. My stroke was a little unusual in that I cared about my health. … After a weeklong hospital stay, I left and I was able to walk away. … I did not have diabetes, hypertension or any issue of obesity, and my prognosis was very good. That was the exception. That’s part of my message, that we need to take care of ourselves, so that when medical crises occur, like me, you will be able to walk into the hospital, and walk out. Q. | How does this debut conference reflect the outreach for worldwide participation? A. | This issue of stroke among young adults is not just a South Carolina or American problem; it’s really an issue of global prevalence, and that’s why we were able to attract these international people. We are discussing this in a much broader context than what you generally think about with strokes. It’s much more than a medical diagnosis, and it affects the community, with a large percentage of adults who are disabled, and young adults who cannot live independently. You look at how that imposes on the community and think about the absence of resources for helping them. Q. | What other directions will this awareness effort take? A. | Someone 33 to 43 with a stroke is quite a different generation and lifestyle from someone 74 to 83, because younger adults are raising children, or they’re still in school and at the start of their career. How they pay for their rehabilitation becomes a real issue; they don’t qualify for Medicare. It’s a whole change of worlds when you have to pay for rehab out of pocket. These are issues that are very unique to young adults. Q. | So, your firsthand experience and these pressing subjects led to your establishing YoungStroke? A. | It was organized in 2005. We have to have this conversation. I am in – and there are so very much of – a first generation of young stroke survivors, and I’m motivated to go forward because I know the generation of children behind me might be diagnosed with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. They are the second generation of young stroke waiting to happen. HEAR IT, BUY IT What | “People Gotta Know” by Ron Daise About | Awareness of strokes affecting people ages 18 to 65, especially in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org) Where | cdbaby.com/cd/ronalddaise5 How much | Downloadable for 99 cents More information | From YoungStroke Inc.: ▪ 843-655-2835 ▪ P.O. Box 692, Conway, S.C. 29528 ▪ youngstroke.org ▪ info@youngstroke.org
HOOK OF THE SONG “Some people do not know what young stroke looks like. Well, it could look like you. Uh-huh, it could look like me. People gotta know what young stroke looks like. No life should become, A catastrophe.”

S.C. Arts Commission building new relationships through Gullah Geechee partnership

[caption id="attachment_18446" align="alignright" width="317"]Gullah Geechee mtg Conway May 2013 Launching the partnership in May 2013[/caption] In May 2013, the South Carolina Arts Commission entered a partnership with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission to help increase awareness of and connect to the state's Gullah Geechee artists and communities. This partnership between a state arts agency and the Corridor Commission is the first of its kind in the four-state corridor, which includes North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The Arts Commission's involvement as a partner is also providing a template for recognizing the culture regionally and nationally. (Download the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor brochure - PDF) [caption id="attachment_18480" align="alignleft" width="200"]Layla Love Young artist Layla Love at a Gullah Geechee community arts meeting at the Penn Center.[/caption] Through this partnership, the Arts Commission has created an initiative to recognize the distinct artistic contributions of the Gullah Geechee  -- descendants of formerly enslaved people -- by identifying and supporting artists with professional development, networking opportunities and grants. The Arts Commission's work follows the Corridor Commission's management plan in recognizing the Gullah Geechee people's contributions to music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development. The initiative includes fostering the preservation of the Gullah Geechee traditions while recognizing the culture as the setting for contemporary Gullah Geechee artists and creatives -- a way of honoring both the historical and living expressions that have shaped the history of our state, region and country. (Related: S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May explains the importance of connecting to Gullah Geechee culture in this short video developed with SC-ETV's Palmetto Scene.) This initiative is part of the Arts Commission’s long-standing commitment to strategically design and build partnerships with other organizations and commissions in order to develop arts participation and community engagement. (Related: the last in a series of marketing workshops for Gullah Geechee artists is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Okatie, S.C. The workshop is free, but registration is required.) Images above article: Left to right: Cast net maker and Folk Heritage Award recipient Joseph Legree of St. Helena Island; Sweetgrass Basket Festival in Beaufort; Michael Smalls and Dino Badger of Bluffton were among Gullah Geechee artists featured at OneSouthCarolina 2014.

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 sduplessis@arts.sc.gov  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, 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’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 www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.

Beaufort County visit inspires director of Smithsonian’s African American museum

Beaufort County and Gullah culture will be on display at the Smithsonian's museum on African-American history, which is set to open in 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Museum rendering pictured above.) From The Beaufort Gazette:

Beaufort County tells an important story of the African-American experience, a Smithsonian museum's founding director says. Lonnie Bunch, who has been working for nearly 10 years with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, spent the weekend in Beaufort County learning about African-American life in the Lowcountry. He saw the authentic slave cabins at the Heyward House in Bluffton, and the grave of Robert Smalls in Beaufort. He dined with commissioners of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, and toured Penn Center during Heritage Days festivities Saturday. Renowned Gullah leader Emory Campbell guided him on a tour of Hilton Head Island's historic African-American communities, including Mitchelville and Spanish Wells. On Sunday, about 75 people attended a reception and question-and-answer session at the University of South Carolina Beaufort's Hilton Head Gateway Campus in Hardeeville. As his three-day visit came to an end, Bunch said he was inspired and motivated by what he saw. "It was exciting to see the possibilities, to see the excitement and passion of this community," Bunch said. "It's not something you see in a lot of places." Beaufort County and Gullah culture will be on display at the Smithsonian's museum on African-American history, which is set to open in 2016 in Washington, D.C. An early edition of the Gullah Bible from St. Helena will be part of the museum, as well as oral histories from Beaufort County residents. One exhibit will look at Gullah/Geechee culture -- the centrality of family, people's connection to Africa, the Gullah/Geechee language, and the importance of the rice culture in America and how it was brought here and carried on by the Gullah/Geechee. Bunch said the museum will become a reality because of people such as Campbell, who introduced Bunch at Sunday's reception. Bunch said he has known Campbell for more than 15 years. "One thing I realized as I build a national museum is how much the work of pioneering people like Emory Campbell shapes what I'm doing," Bunch said. "Emory is representative of people across the country who find it important to preserve a part of history. I want to make sure I honor those pioneers. "One way of honoring them is by making sure the work they do will continue on long after they're involved." And Bunch said he and the Smithsonian are not done with Beaufort County. "The opportunities here are so great. I'd like to be a part of it," Bunch said. "And I don't know what it looks like yet. But when the Smithsonian comes to town, it helps. It helps with visibility, credibility. And we want to partner with you in a way that works for you." "Once this museum opens, as long as there's an America, there's a chance to learn this story, and to be made better by the African-American experience," Bunch said. "The story of the Gullah/Geechee culture is important for this nation to know."

DATE CHANGE: Gullah Geechee artists free marketing workshop

The “Promoting your Gullah Geechee Art Form” originally scheduled for Nov. 10 in Georgetown has been changed to Dec. 8 at the same time and location. Read the original post about the workshops here.  

DATE CHANGE: Gullah Geechee artists invited to free marketing workshop

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE: The meeting originally scheduled for Nov. 10 has been rescheduled for Dec. 8 at the same time and location. The South Carolina Arts Commission, in partnership with  local libraries, will present the second and third of three professional development workshops, Promoting your Gullah Geechee Art Form. The workshops will help Gullah Geechee artists create support materials necessary to promote their art work.

Dates and locations:

Both workshops run from 6 – 9 p.m. and are offered free of charge. Space for each workshop is limited to the first 30 registrants. To register for either workshop, artists should call (803) 734-8693 or email sduplessis@arts.sc.gov  and provide workshop location, name, phone number and email address.

"The workshops are 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 include music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development. The development of these workshops began after a series of community arts meetings in 2013, where the Arts Commission, in partnership with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, heard from more than 80 artists and community residents in the Corridor. “Our ongoing goal is to make new relationships that bring new resources to people and create interest in the Corridor – both in the state and beyond,” May said. “This series of workshops for Gullah Geechee artists will hopefully provide a template for replication in the four-state corridor.” The other states in the Corridor are North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. “We are also pleased to present these workshops in partnership with local libraries, which serve as essential community resources,” May said. The first workshop was held Sept. 30 at the Mt. Pleasant Branch of the Charleston County Library. All three workshops will be 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, sduplessis@arts.sc.gov or (803) 734-8693. Images, left to right: cane maker Thomas Williams (photo by Randall Hill); ironworker Carlton Simmons About the South Carolina Arts Commission The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three 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 www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696. 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 www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.

Brookgreen Gardens offers Gullah Geechee exhibit and programs

Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, S.C. is presenting the traveling exhibit "Sojun tu Gullah Geechee" and related programs to help visitors and students understand the influence of Gullah Geechee culture. From SC.Now.com:

The Brookgreen Gardens Creative Education Department has scheduled programs that will educate visitors and students about the influence of Gullah Geechee culture to the rice heritage of the Lowcountry community and America. “Sojun tu Gullah Geechee,” or Sojourn to Gullah Geechee, a traveling exhibit from the Geechee Kunda Center, Riceboro, Ga., will be housed in Learning Lab One of the Lowcountry Center Complex from Jan. 13 through March 16, 2014. The exhibit showcases the Gullah Geechee Rice Culture with storyboards, photographs, artifacts, tools, relics, and implements and is free with Garden admission from noon to 4:30 p.m. daily. The exhibit and lecture series are free with Garden admission. “Rice production in Georgetown County and throughout the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor greatly shaped and influenced American culture through the technological skills, lifestyles, and culture of Gullah Geechee people and their enslaved West African ancestors,” said Ronald Daise, Vice President for Creative Education. “This exhibit artfully will allow visitors to engage in a historical journey. Hopefully, it will leave viewers informed and inspired.” Daise also is former chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. The exhibit will be seen by third graders of Georgetown and Horry Counties who visit during Brookgreen’s annual Gullah Gullah Days field trip event on Feb. 3-7 and 10-14. Exhibit components include information about the language, spiritual life, enslavement, and resilience of Gullah Geechee people. “Viewers will leave with an understanding of the African presence in America and the growth and perpetuation of Africanisms in our country,” said Jim Bacote of the Geechee Kunda Center. His family hails from Riceboro. “To me, the enslavement tools are the most meaningful artifacts. They’re a sobering reminder of Gullah Geechee people as a ‘stolen people.’ Our ancestors had community life, culture, arts, and religion before and after captivity for the enrichment of America. The exhibit documents our technological skills, ingenuity, and endurance.” Complementing the exhibit is “The Reign of Rice Lecture Series” on one Saturday per month from January to May. “The lecture series is designed to educate about the complexity of Gullah Geechee heritage through the production of rice,” Daise said. Guests will learn about freshwater tidal rice production in West Africa, rice-related food ways, as well the artistic, sociological and archeological ramifications of rice culture. Featured presenters and topics are:
  • Jan. 18, Edda Fields-Black, Ph.D., author, researcher, “The Work of Our Hands: Mangrove Rice Production in Coastal Guinea.”
  • February 15, Jessica Harris, Ph.D., Queens College/ CUNY, cookbook author and culinary historian, "Carolina's Gold: The Rice AND The People.” March 15, Louis Nelson, Ph.D., University of Virginia, “Carolina Gold.”
Brookgreen’s Gullah Geechee Program Series will feature “Priscilla’s Posse: A (Simulated) Press Conference about Gullah Heritage” on January 22, 29; February 19, 26, and March 5. Through songs, lectures and photographs, Ronald Daise, Brookgreen’s Vice President for Creative Education recounts the historical visit of Thomalind Martin Polite of North Charleston to Sierra Leone, West Africa in May 2005. Polite is the seventh-generation descendant of “Priscilla,” a 10-year-old Sierra Leonean who was captured as a slave in 1756 and brought to a rice plantation in South Carolina. Cultural links with Gullah and Sierra Leone are explored: language, dietary practices, crafts, rice production, and the Bunce Island Slave Castle. The performance will cite exhibits along the Brookgreen Gardens Lowcountry Trail. Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily. For more information, consult our web site at www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.

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.

Gullah Geechee residents invited to meetings celebrating culture

The South Carolina Arts Commission is pleased to partner with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission to help connect Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organizations to resources and promote the state’s Gullah Geechee culture.

“Our goal is to identify Gullah Geechee residents who practice or represent one or more of the expressions outlined in the Corridor’s management plan,” said Ken May, S.C. Arts Commission executive director. “Those areas include music, arts, handicrafts, foodways, spirituality, language, education and economic development. We want to build relationships with Gullah Geechee artists and those who advocate for the preservation of Gullah Geechee culture and traditions. 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.” Gullah Geechee artists, residents and organization representatives are invited to learn more during a series of networking meetings that will be hosted by both the S.C. Arts Commission and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission:
  • Oct. 29, Mt. Pleasant Waterworks Community Room, 1619 Rifle Range Road, Mt. Pleasant
  • Nov. 19,  The Frissell House at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, Beaufort County
  • Nov. 21, Georgetown County Library Auditorium, 405 Cleland St., Georgetown
Each meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m. “The Gullah Geechee Corridor’s partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission hopefully will develop a template for use with other arts commissions throughout the Corridor,” said Ronald Daise, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission Chairman. “We’re excited that the initial meeting is being held during Gullah Geechee Awareness Month, and we encourage Gullah Geechee artists in each community to participate. All ideas that are expressed will help to develop awareness of authentic representation of Gullah Geechee culture.” 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." View the Oct. 29 mtg invitation. To RSVP for this meeting, email deona@dejogroup.com or call (843) 793-8684. For additional information about the partnership and future meetings, 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.

Oct. 12 is Gullah Geechee Day at the South Carolina State Fair

On Saturday, Oct. 12, the South Carolina State Fair will feature Gullah Geechee singers, storytellers, basket makers and other artists as part of Gullah Geechee Day. Fair organizers partnered with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission to sponsor this special event to help raise awareness, educate, and entertain the public about this significant aspect of our state’s history and heritage. Enjoy stage performances on the WIS-TV stage and craft displays and demonstrations in the Cantey Building throughout the day. Performance schedule (WIS-TV stage)

  • 1:45 p.m.  Ron Daise, chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, "A Celebration of Gullah"
  • 2 p.m.  Oslami Lamoke - Gullah singer and songwriter
  • 4 p.m.  Dorothy Montgomery - the Gullah story through song and quilting
  • 6 p.m.  Sharon Murray - Gullah storytelling
  • 8 p.m.  Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers
Artists participating in craft displays and demonstrations (Cantey Building)
  • Jeannette Lee - sweetgrass basket making
  • Frank and Sharon Murray - rice demonstrations, storytelling, rag quilting
  • Dorothy Montgomery - quilting with a Gullah story
  • Lornabelle Gethers - author of "Honey Bea's Everlasting Gift"
  • Ade Ofunniyin, Ph.D. - metal works and sculpting
Read the artists' biographies and view a complete schedule on the South Carolina State Fair's website. “Gullah Geechee Day” is the first statewide observance during “Gullah Geechee Awareness Month." For more information about other activities, visit the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission's website. Via: South Carolina State Fair