Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sweet Grass Basket Exhibit Charleston, SC

For Immediate Release
November 6, 2009

Deborah Wright
Avery Research Center

New Exhibit Highlights Treasured Lowcountry Craft

Charleston, SC — The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture invites the public to “Sweetgrass: A Living Legacy of Family and Community”, a free exhibit showing from November 19, 2009 through May 15, 2010 at 125 Bull Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The exhibit’s opening reception is November 19, 2009 at 6pm in the McKinley Washington Auditorium.

This “Sweetgrass” exhibit is a culmination of over twenty-seven years of relationships between Avery and sweetgrass basket makers. Avery has purchased numerous baskets and has become dedicated to ensuring those in the Lowcountry and beyond recognize the wealth of history, knowledge, and culture this craft holds. The “Sweetgrass” exhibit will acknowledge the African-American heritage of the baskets and its makers, with a primary focus on how and why the baskets were used in the Lowcountry and the shift from utility to art.

Basket making is a skill passed down from generation to generation. Experienced basket makers invent forms, experiment with new materials and styles, and perfect the techniques taught to them by parents and grandparents. The Avery Research Center’s Summer History Camp and Next Generation Project seek to expand knowledge of this skill to the community, offering lessons by renowned basket maker Henrietta Snype to Charleston-area children.

The “Sweetgrass” exhibit will take visitors through the history of the skill and the people who performed it up to present day. The baskets, photographs, and artwork are from the Avery Research Center collection. Baskets created during the Summer History Camp and Next Generation Project will also be included.

The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture collects, preserves, and makes public the unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in the Lowcountry and across South Carolina. It is located at 125 Bull Street, Charleston, SC 29424 and on the Web at For more information, please call 843-953-7609 or fax at 843-953-7607.