How the Arts Help Charleston Heal

Two months ago, on June 17, 2015, the unspeakable occurred in our beloved Charleston – a gunman took the lives of nine African American men and women as they participated in bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church.  This devastating act not only shattered the lives of the victims’ families, but it also shook the sense of safety and serenity that this community cherishes.

In the midst of immense grief over lives lost and anger over this appalling racially motivated act, much of the healing process has been galvanized by the arts community.  Across disciplines, artists have helped the community understand and deal with the grief, sadness and anger. They are also leading difficult conversations about race, politics and the economic divide with the intention of bringing positive change out of this heartbreaking event. Murals have taken up empty walls, poets, dancers and singers have interpreted the collective heartache, and there have been numerous concerts, auctions and other fundraisers where artists of all genres have raised funds for the victims’ families.

The Foundation believes that the arts are fundamental to our everyday lives. The outpouring of the arts community during this tragedy is yet another example of how vital it is and continues to be for a strong, united Charleston.  If anything, the event strengthens our resolve to continue to partner with the community to help nurture and strengthen the arts in Charleston and across the Lowcountry.

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