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Arts at OneSouthCarolina 2014

South Carolina Traditons III: 
Celebrating South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee Artists, Heritage and Corridor

Each year at OneSouthCarolina, the Riley Institute and the South Carolina Arts Commission invite artists to represent some of the many dimensions of our state’s cultural expression. This year, in recognition of the federally designated Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, five South Carolina artists who are Gullah Geechee joined us as representatives of their culture, foodways and artforms. Those in attendance learned more about the rice culture and its impact on South Carolina. They also saw examples of woodworking, blacksmithing, basket sewing and painting from artists who each hail from a distinct Gullah Geechee heritage and represent one of South Carolina’s signature cultures. For information about Gullah Geechee people go to www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org.

Music this year is a return performance by legendary blues artist Mac Arnold and his band Plate Full O’ Blues. Read below for more information about all of the 2014 artists. 

Award Winning South Carolina Traditional Artists Featured at OneSouthCarolina®

In acknowledgement of their role in South Carolina’s past, present and future culture and economy, OneSouthCarolina integrated experiences that showcased the state’s unique arts and foods traditions.

South Carolina Traditions III, curated by the South Carolina Arts Commission, features demonstrations and sales by award-winning traditional artists connected to South Carolina's rich cultural heritage. Featured artists who were present at the event include: 

Mac Arnold, blues musician, Pelzer, is a renowned blues musician and recording artist whose love of the blues began at the age of ten when he learned to play his brother’s homemade guitar. His musical resume grew with his high school band, J Floyd and the Shamrocks, who often had guest pianist, James Brown, lend his talent to their performances. Mac’s passion for music led him to pursue a professional music career in Chicago with artist and saxophonist A.C. Reed. More. . .

Zelda Grant, textile and fabric artist, crafter and photographer, Georgetown, was to be one of the featured artists at OneSouthCarolina 2014. Grant was sick at the time of the event and later died on March 6. Born in 1953, Grant was one of four generations of Gullah heritage in Georgetown, and was a self-taught fabric artist, crafter and photographer, using repurposed dresser scarves, socks and clothing giveaways for her artistic creations. More. . .

Jonathan Green, artist, Charleston, was born and raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Jonathan Green is considered by many art critics and reviewers as one of our nation’s most outstanding African-American artists and as a master in the visual capture of Southern culture and traditions. While his work has ranged in styles, his best-known approach to painting may be termed "narrative realism." More. . . 

Carlton Simmons, blacksmith, Charleston, is a nephew of famed Charleston blacksmith Philip Simmons, who was the most celebrated of the Charleston blacksmiths of the 20th century. Carlton went into the blacksmith shop at the age of 13, the same age his uncle Philip began his noted career.  During the years he worked as a team with his uncle and cousin, Carlton participated in the fabrication of many of the iron gates, fences, balconies, and window grills that the Simmons Blacksmith Shop is known for and that beautify many areas of Charleston. More. . . 

Michael Smalls, sweetgrass basket maker, Bluffton, continues one of South Carolina’s signature traditional arts as a seventh generation sweetgrass basket maker. Strongly committed to preserving this art, Smalls learned the basics of "sewing" baskets at the age of eight from his great-grandmother Lucinda Pringle, who was the daughter of a slave at Laurel Hill Plantation in Charleston County. Smalls’s work has appeared in the annual Mount Pleasant Sweet Grass Basket Festival and at Columbia’s McKissick Museum’s basket day festival at the University of South Carolina. More. . .

Thomas Williams, cane-maker and woodcarver, McClellanville, makes some of the most beautiful and distinctive hand carved cypress knees, lamps, and tables, walking canes and walking staffs in South Carolina. He is continuing in the tradition begun by his father, who began carving in the late 1930s. The craft was handed down to Thomas's older brother, CeCe Williams, and finally to Thomas, who has been carving for more than 22 years. More. . .