Looking for a last-minute trip or weekend getaway during Black History Month? You should definitely add the Gullah Celebration to your list. The Gullah Celebration is an annual festival held to celebrate the rich heritage and culture of the Gullah people, who are descendants of enslaved Africans who lived in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia and continue to live there today passing on rich traditions in food, art, and culture. This event is a perfect opportunity for a multigenerational family experience to travel and explore Gullah Culture and has something for everyone.
The festival features a wide range of events and activities that showcase the unique music, food, art, and traditions of the Gullah community. Here are a few events to add to your calendar espeically for the art :
- Wed, Jan 10, 202410:00 AM Tue, Mar 12, 20244:00 PM
- 70 Honey Horn Drive (map)
Experience an extraordinary gallery event at Coastal Discovery Museum where the legendary works of artist Alvin B. Glen take center stage. Delve into a personal journey of observation, analysis, and interpretation as you discover new and surprising ideas and emotions. With a teaching background in the Orangeburg county schools and a current focus on middle and high school art in Dorchester, SC county public schools, Alvin brings a unique perspective to his art. His portraiture skillfully captures emotion through expression, gesture, and adornments, set against the backdrop of historically reminiscent low country environments. Immerse yourself in the captivating history and spiritual essence that emanate from these compelling figures. Prepare to be intellectually engaged and entertained by the distinctive charm of this event.
2024 Official Artwork is “Last Cast” by Alvin B. Glen
“This exhibit illustrates moments in South Carolinas’ history. Scenes of work, celebration and tragedy remind us that although most enjoy a great life. Joy is sometimes interrupted by tragedy. How do you individually respond to or react to joys and pains? Is your response genuinely yours? Or are you influenced by your audience/peers? Is your stance one of helpfulness? Do you change your response based on who is listening in the moment?When your stance is truth, fact and experience, not myth, rumor or emotion, this is the only path to positive change.We should not be as children, tossed back and forth by waves of opinion, blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14” – Alvin B Glen
- Tue, Jan 30, 202410:00 AM Fri, Mar 1, 20244:00 PM
- 14 Shelter Cove Lane (map)
Join us in collaboration with the Hilton Head Island Art League at The Walter Greer Gallery. as we celebrate the magnificent artwork of the esteemed Alvin B. Glenn. Immerse yourself in his exquisite art and thoughtfulness as this year’s celebrated artist. Indulge in a museum-wide takeover, and basks in the brilliance of Glenn’s creations.
Growing up in the small town of Dorchester, South Carolina, during the era of Jim Crow laws, Alvin’s artistic journey faced many challenges. Despite the lack of visual arts classes in his public school, Alvin’s parents arranged for him to take correspondence art courses in middle school. These early experiences ignited his passion for music, which carried through to college.
In 1979, he proudly earned my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from South Carolina State College, with a strong focus on education. This laid the foundation for his career as a dedicated art teacher in the Orangeburg county schools, where he served for an impressive forty-three years before retiring. Through his artwork, Alvin strives to capture the strength, dedication, and interconnectedness of the people who inspire him. Spirituality, compassion, and empathy flow through every brushstroke, creating images that resonate with viewers. After a brief period living in Orangeburg, he returned to his hometown of Dorchester in 1985. Over the years, he has had the honor of showcasing his work at various galleries throughout South Carolina, as well as briefly in North Carolina and Georgia. Some notable galleries include The Dr. N. Lee Morris Gallery, Waterfront Gallery, I.P. Stanback Museum, Penn Center, and The Columbia Museum of Art. His recognitions include winning first place at the Charleston Artist Guild Exhibit, Featured Artist for The Moja Arts Festival and Best in Show award at the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit. Today, Alvin resides in beloved Dorchester, South Carolina, enjoying the serenity of retirement after dedicating my life to teaching visual art in the public school system.
OPEN: Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12-4pm + 90 minutes before all Arts Center performances. Telephone: (843)681-5060
- Saturday, February 10, 2024
- 12:00 PM 3:00 PM
- 14 Shelter Cove Lane (map)
Join us for the enchanting Taste of Gullah event, held at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Experience the rich and vibrant heritage of Gullah through captivating storytelling, soul-stirring gospel music, mesmerizing dance performances, and more. Bring the entire family and take in the Gullah culture through interactive arts and crafts stations, where children can create their own cherished keepsakes.
In the Walter Greer Gallery, the esteemed Art League of Hilton Head presents the inspiring exhibition “Arts Ob We People.” Delve deep into the fascinating world of Gullah artistry and gain a profound appreciation for its beauty and significance.
Enjoy extraordinary food prepared by local and regional chefs. Indulge in a tantalizing array of Lowcountry delicacies, including the mouthwatering island gumbo, succulent barbecue ribs, crispy fried fish, delectable shrimp and grits, and comforting shrimp and okra gumbo. This is the ultimate lowcountry festival that you simply cannot afford to miss. Get ready to embark on a captivating journey into the heart of Gullah heritage at the exceptional Taste of Gullah festival.
All ages are welcome. No ticket required.
- Sunday, February 18, 2024
- 4:30 PM 7:00 PM
- 149 Lighthouse Road (map)
Join us on an extraordinary voyage this year aboard the magnificent Spirit Of Harbour Town, where exclusivity and luxury converge. Prepare to embark on a culinary journey curated by renowned Chef B.J. Dennis and accompanied by live music, all while sailing through the picturesque intracoastal waterways. Indulge in signature cocktails and savor an exquisite menu meticulously crafted by Chef Dennis, celebrated for his mastery of Gullah Geechee cuisine.
Hailing from Charleston, SC, personal chef and caterer Benjamin “BJ” Dennis artfully blends the rich flavors and heritage of the Lowcountry into his culinary creations, offering a captivating twist to the expanding southern gastronomy scene. What sets Chef BJ’s cuisine apart is his profound reverence for the Gullah Geechee culture, a cultural tapestry rooted in African traditions and spread across the West Indies and the American South. Drawing inspiration from his ancestral techniques acquired during four years of study in St. Thomas and his grandparents’ invaluable wisdom of sustainable living, he crafts innovative interpretations of local delicacies that emphasize seasonality and locally sourced ingredients.
Chef BJ’s culinary explorations have taken him to various corners of the globe, including Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Angola, Bahamas, and Benin. Through his exceptional work, he bridges the people and cultures of the African diaspora, using food as a means of connection. Join us on this enchanting experience and rediscover the true essence of the captivating Gullah Geechee culture through an unforgettable culinary odyssey.
Cruise begins boarding at 4:30 PM | Departure from Dock is 5:00 PM Sharp
Full Lineup Here
The event is a great way to support up and coming as well as established Gullah talent making waves in art, music, food and more. Check out some of the talent below and be sure to meet them when you visit and support some of their upcoming projects on Hilton Head Island and beyond.
Poet & Artist AsiahMae
Asishmae is a Black, non-binary Southern writer, poet, producer and community worker from the Southeast US. With a background covering film, curation, language arts, and performance, they are a co-creator of both the online writing platform For The Scribes and the curation hub IllVibe the Tribe, current show-runner of the oldest vintage market in the city, The Holy City Vintage Market, as well as the Second Poet Laureate of Charleston, SC.
Chef & Author Benjamin “BJ” Dennis
Born and raised in Charleston, SC, personal chef and caterer Benjamin “BJ” Dennis infuses the flavors and culture of the Lowcountry into his Gullah Geechee cuisine, bringing a new taste to an ever expanding culinary palate of the south.What differentiates Chef BJ’s food from his contemporaries in “southern” cooking is the homage he pays to the Gullah Geechee culture, brought to the Americas by West Africans, and disseminated along the West Indies and the American South. Dennis infuses the techniques of his ancestors, learned from four years of study in St. Thomas, as well as the lessons of his grandparents about eating from the land, to create fresh interpretations of local dishes focusing on in-season, locally sourced vegetables and seafood. Recent trips to Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Angola, Bahamas and Benin has brought his work full circle. Connecting the people and cultures of the African diaspora through food. Bringing back a true taste of Gullah Geechee culture.
Born and raised on Hilton Head into one of the oldest native families in the Spanish Wells community, Omolola “Lola” Campbell is of Gullah descent. Growing up in the Lowcountry, and born into the rich Gullah culture, one where community and heritage are key, Lola has learned many life gems from her elders. She has always considered finding her life purpose and following her dreams as very important for survival and personal success. A formally trained lawyer, Lola works, by day, as a senior derivatives counsel in the demanding financial industry. However, her passion has always been to help others find the magic that makes their souls soar, through helping them to find their own divine purpose. Lola is a graduate of The University of Georgia and Howard University School of Law. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her doing community work, journaling or exploring the local area with her adventurous eleven year old son, Jaylen. Writings On The Wall is Lola’s first book.
Susan River Madison
Susan River Madison is a poetic activist, visual artist and workshop facilitator whose work focuses on feminine divinity, racial equity and spirituality. Madison is the author of two chapbooks, if i can’t sing the blues and Gullah Paths. Her short stories and poetry have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, UKWELI Searching for Healing Truths, South Carolina Writers and Poets Explore American Racism and other publications. Madison holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Antioch University and lives in St. Helena Island.
Click to read about the other talent participating: https://www.gullahcelebration.org/talent
While you are experiencing the Gullah Celebration, here are some things to do on Island for your whole family:
- For Kids
- Playgrounds/Beaches : Check out these fun playgrounds scattered thoughtout the island with lots of waterfront and marshland views, and lots to do for kids of any age. https://www.hiltonheadisland.org/island-time/family/family-friends-parks-playgrounds-hilton-head-island
- For Couples
- Foodie Fun: Looking to attend the Gullah Celebration for Valentine’s Day or weekend, add these restaurants to your trip: Check out more here: https://www.hiltonheadisland.org/hilton-head-sc-dining
- For Families
- Outdoor Experiences: Looking for fun things to do with the family? From heritage sites to boat tours, the Island has a plethora of things to do for your family in between the Gullah Celebration programming. Check out more here: https://www.hiltonheadisland.org/see-do/family-vacations
The Gullah Celebration is a wonderful opportunity to experience the unique and vibrant culture of the Gullah community and a perfect opportunity for multigenerational fun. Be sure to add it to your travel list for this year and future years.
PRESENTED BY : Gullah Celebration