U.S. poet laureate, Air Force ‘Rhythm in Blue’ Band in Sumter this weekend
This weekend in Sumter, the Sumter County Cultural Commission and Arthenia Millican Literary Foundation partner to present a new two-day multicultural arts event featuring performances, speakers, an art exhibit, and vendors. "Love. Respect. Unity. Festival" (LRU) is seeking to unite diverse people groups through the arts at Sumter's Patriot Hall March 10-11. Event host Cynthia Hardy from "On Point with Cynthia Hardy" will welcome U.S. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth and Hate Won't Win founder Alanna Simmons as speakers. The headlining performer is the U.S. Air Force Rhythm in Blue Band – a nod to Shaw Air Force Base, which calls Sumter home. “We often get into a routine of existing day to day in silos, without meaningfully engaging with people who are different. We have the rare opportunity to unite people around the Sumter area’s rich culture and the diversity of the arts," Sumter County Cultural Center Executive Director Melanie Colclough said. Other performers are scheduled to appear include a combined ‘unity’ choir consisting of choirs from Morris College, First Baptist Church, and Lakewood High and the Sumter County Civic Chorale; a performance by Charleston’s first poet laureate Marcus Amaker; an art exhibit; and performances by a host of Sumter-area and S.C. talent. The AJBM Foundation was established in 2008 to preserve the legacy and literary works of Dr. Arthenia Jackson Bates Millican and to give back. Dr. Millican (1920-2012) was an internationally known poet, educator, novelist and humanist of rural beginnings who called Sumter home. A focal point of the foundation’s contributions is to promote literary and cultural arts locally, nationally and globally. “Many of the performances are inspired by the works of civil rights icon C. T. Vivian and feature themes of togetherness, cooperation, and unity," Millican Foundation Executive Director Richard (Rick) Jones said. “What I’m most excited and passionate about is the impact the festival and ongoing LRU programming will have [on] bringing our diverse and multicultural community together through the arts." Festival admission is free. Hours are as follows:
- Saturday: vendors from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; program from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
- Sunday: program from 3:30-5:30 p.m.