Open the Door: Crafting Creative Partnerships

2015 Folklorists in the South Retreat Agenda

June 5-7, 2015 | St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center, Seabrook Island, SC


3:00 p.m. Check-in begins


Welcome from Al Head (Executive Director, Alabama State Council on the Arts & South Arts BOD), Dr. J. Herman Blake (Executive Director, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor) and Susie Surkamer (Executive Director, South Arts).

6:00 Dinner
Caroleen Sanders - photo by Brittany Taylor

Caroleen Sanders – photo by Brittany Taylor

Session: Artists + Scholars + Universities = Partnerships

A panel of scholars and artists share how their partnerships were established and have evolved. Dale Rosengarten (College of Charleston) and sweetgrass basket weaver Nakia Wigfall will discuss their decades-long alliance and provide context for Saturday’s fieldtrip. Stephen Criswell (University of South Carolina Lancaster) and Catawba traditional potters Beckee Garris and Caroleen Sanders will review the impact and opportunities created by the establishment of the Native American Studies Center at USCL.




National Updates

Our colleagues from national organizations share news and expectations for the coming year including the American Folklore Society and the National Endowment for the Arts.


News from the Field

Briefly introduce yourself and share a quick (two sentences!) update of your work.


7:00 a.m..

Morning Walk on Seabrook IslandMorning Walk

Join St. Christopher’s naturalists for a morning walk to explore the natural wonders of Seabrook Island. Seabrook Island is known for diverse wildlife, ranging from alligators and bobcats to endangered loggerhead sea turtles and canopies of majestic oak trees.




Professional development workshop: Arts Partnerships, PART 1

Partnerships can alleviate the financial burden and of developing and presenting new projects, but what are the other ways they may benefit an organization and community? Are we missing advantageous collaborations? Morenga Hunt (Arts Consultant/Winthrop University) leads a two-part workshop/panel exploring the pathway to engaging unlikely partners and will guide us in considering how to build relationships that live beyond a project.

10:15 Break

Professional development panel: Arts Partnerships (that really work!), PART 2

Morenga Hunt facilitates a panel that explores effective partnerships including sharing successes, failures and lessons learned along the way. We’ll learn about the partnerships from several projects including the African American Music Trails of North Carolina and community workshops in the Low Country of South Carolina. Panelists include Sally Peterson (North Carolina Arts Council) and Susan DuPlessis (South Carolina Arts Commission).

12:00 p.m.



Depart for Fieldtrip

A chartered bus will take us to Memorial Waterfront Park (99 Harry Hallman Jr. Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, under the Arthur Ravenel Bridge) to attend the annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival.

The highly anticipated Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival celebrates the rich Gullah Geechee cultural heritage and provides the most extensive showcase of sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry. The event features traditional arts, live performances and food. Festival-goers will enjoy entertainment that includes music, storytelling and basket-making demonstrations. This is your chance to add to your folk art collection!


Return to St. Christopher’s Conference Center



Gather for a traditional Low Country Boil at St. Christopher’s Picnic Pavilion and enjoy the beautiful ocean view.

Mill Billy Blues

Mill Billy Blues

Saturday night concert

South Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient and Piedmont Blues harp player, Freddie Vanderford and three talented friends Brandon Turner, Shane Pruitt and Matthew Knights, all hailing from mill villages in South Carolina’s Upstate, will perform as Mill Billy Blues.

Sunset over the water panorama


8:00 a.m. Breakfast at St. Christopher

Session: How Can South Arts be a Better Partner?

Traditional arts advocate Al Head and folklorist Wayne Martin (both state arts agency executive directors and South Arts board members) will lead a conversation addressing how South Arts can support the traditional arts guided by our updated Strategic Plan. Your voice is vital to this discussion!




Session: Partnerships & Collections: Southern Folklife Archives Made Accessible

The protection and public access of fieldwork and research is a critical issue for academic and public sector folklorists and traditional arts programs. Panelists will discuss targeted acquisitions, digital access, funding, and the partnerships that make it possible. Panelists include Brent Bergin (Native American Studies Center, University of South Carolina Lancaster), Julianne Carroll (Georgia Traditional Arts Collection, Georgia Council for the Arts), Kevin Nutt (Archive of Alabama Folk Culture, Alabama Department of Archives and History) and Amanda Hardeman (Florida Memory Project).

12:00 p.m.

Retreat wrap-up

Teresa Hollingsworth, South Arts