DanSynergy VII

SMC proudly presents Ballet Spartanburg’s DanSynergy VII, February 24, 2015 @ 7 pm in Gibbs Auditorium

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to welcome Ballet Spartanburg’s DanSynergy VII  to the campus on Tuesday, February 24. The 7 pm performance will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium and is part of the college’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Admission is free of charge and the public is welcome to attend.

The evening event will feature an eclectic fusion of dance styles featuring collaborations with regional and national artists and including unique and powerful contemporary dance.  The program will start with a dance piece danced to music by African-English composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor and is based on the works of African-American writers W. E. B. Dubois and Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Also featured in the program is a dance work by Cuban Choreographer Nelson Reyes, based on the stories of Cubans trying to immigrate to America. Last in the program is a dance piece inspired by courageous stories of cancer survivors that explores their emotional journey of diagnosis to the triumph of hope and survival.

Ballet Spartanburg’s mission is to promote dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing quality dance presentation, education, and outreach. Since 1966 Ballet Spartanburg has been enriching lives through the art of dance by presenting national and international dance companies. With an ever growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/demonstrations, in-school residencies, after school programs, in-school performances, an annual free performance of Peter & the Wolf, summer programs for at-risk youth at inner city housing projects and at the Boys and Girls Club of The Upstate, and performances at nursing homes, hospitals and community events.

Ballet Spartanburg, under the artistic direction of Carlos Agudelo, is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, at the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, and in Tryon and Forest City, North Carolina.

Ballet Spartanburg produces a four program season that includes The Nutcracker, a fall program, a spring program and a guest company. These productions showcase world class guest artists from such companies as: Ballet Austin, Houston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, and American Ballet Theater, and New York City Ballet. In addition, Ballet Spartanburg performs in several festivals and galas each year including, Piccolo Spoletto in Charleston, SC and maintains an active Outreach Program for the community.  In 1976, the Dance Center was established as the official school of Ballet Spartanburg. Today The Dance Center instructs over 400 students from Spartanburg, Greenville, Union, Gaffney, and Asheville, Tryon and Rutherfordton in North Carolina.

 

 

Jenny Dunn headshot

SMC’s Jenny Dunn to attend 2015 NAPAHE Conference in DC

Jenny Dunn, Special Assistant to Spartanburg Methodist College President Colleen Perry Keith, has been awarded a $1000 grant to the 2015 NAPAHE Conference in Washington DC, to be held on March 13-15, 2015.

NAPAHE, the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education, enhances the profession of its members through programs, networking and information resources that address the broad range of roles fulfilled by presidential assistants in service to presidential leadership and higher education. The organization provides members a powerful venue to share professional experiences and ideas that spearhead personal success.

NAPAHE is an affiliate organization of the American Council on Education (ACE). NAPAHE meets once a year, in conjunction with ACE’s annual meeting. Colleagues from colleges and universities across the country, and internationally, join together to network, exchange ideas in interactive sessions, and explore and discuss topics of mutual interest that broaden their knowledge of strategic higher education issues, executive speech writing, strategic planning, event management, relation and coalition building, fundraising and advancement activities, communications, legislative and governmental affairs, and office management.

Dunn assumed the role of special assistant to the president in July of 2014, and continues to serves as Director of Human Resources for Spartanburg Methodist College.  Dunn has over twenty-five years of service with SMC, serving in such capacities as Director of Human Resources and Controller.   Dunn holds a Master’s  degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.  She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church and resides in Spartanburg with her husband Joe.

 

 

Flannery O'Connor cover

SMC to host Flannery O’Connor at 90 Conference on May 15-16, 2015

The Spartanburg Methodist College will host Flannery O’Connor at 90 on May 15 and 16, 2015 in Ellis Hall.   In observance of the ninetieth anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s birth, the Division of English at SMC will host the two-day conference honoring the distinguished short-story writer, essayist, and novelist. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Papers from citizens, scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate students are currently being sought. Paper subject matter may include any aspect of O’Connor’s writings or her life. For more information, please contact Dr. Harry M. Bayne, Chairperson of the Division of English and Professor of English, bayneh@smcsc.edu or 864-587-4381

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Preserving Gullah Culture – Rag Quilting Workshop and Presentation on Monday, February 2

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to welcome Sharon Cooper-Murray to campus on Monday, February 2 for two separate events, a hand’s-on rag quilting workshop and a presentation on this lost art by the Community Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative.

See Spartanburg Herald Journal Photo Gallery of workshop: http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Dato=20150202&Kategori=PHOTOS05&Lopenr=202009996&Ref=PH&pl=1

 

According to elderly Gullah women from Wadmalaw and Johns Island, SC, the textile tradition of rag quilting began during the antebellum period when women used feed and grain sacks along with rag strips to make quilts for warmth during inclement weather.This art form was passed from generation to generation.   Today many of the elderly practitioners of rag quilting have passed away and others are no longer physically able to tie the knots required during the rag quilting process.

Today we are faced with the possibility of this Gullah folk art tradition of rag quilting being lost.

The Community Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative seeks to continue the transmission of folk art skills from generation to generation, to promote this indigenous textile tradition within the tourist industry and to facilitate a textile cottage industry of handmade crafts.

SMC will be hosting a hand’s-on rag quilting workshop in the Buchheit Board Room, located within the Vassey Information Technology Center, at 4 pm on Monday, February 2. The public is invited and the event is free of charge.

Later that same day, at 7 pm the college will welcome Sharon Cooper-Murray to the stage of Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall, for a presentation on the Gullah folk art tradition and the Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative.  This event is open to the public, and also free of charge.

Cooper-Murray is a native of Lake City, South Carolina, and a Speech and Drama graduate of Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee. After graduating she traveled for a brief time trying decide where she what area to take up residence. It was then she was invited to Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina a small Sea Island southwest of Charleston and the home of the indigenous group known as the Gullah people. She was fascinated by their creole language and even more intrigued by their culture.

Cooper-Murray worked as an Educator for the Charleston County School District in the area of Remedial Reading. While teaching she was recruited by Rev. Dr. Willis T. Goodwin, founder of Rural Mission, Inc. an ecumenical/educational organization which provided community development programs for the Gullah people on the five sea islands known as the Gullah islands; James, Johns, Wadmalaw, Yonges and Edisto Island.   She served as the Development Officer responsible for fundraising and grant writing. The position afforded her the opportunity to work within Gullah community and that was the beginning of what became her lifelong passion for the Gullah culture.

By 1986 after years of research Cooper-Murray partnered with Frank L. Murray to established De Gullah Enna Pry, a heritage development organization designed to preserve, conserve and develop the Gullah Culture. Though the inclusion of the Gullah culture was very limited in the Hospitality/Tourism Industry she believed this rich and diverse culture would greatly enhance the lore of Charleston, S. C.  She wrote, directed and produced two theatrical productions, the 1992 “Don’t let um die Yah,” and the 1997 “Gullah, Rice and Cotton.” In 1993 she served as the Black History Coordinator at Middleton Place, the antebellum rice plantation founded in 1741, which immersed her in the lives of the West African slaves and the evolution of the Gullah Culture.

Today, Cooper-Murray is founder and President of Gullah Enna & E Sweet Pan & Ting, a manufacturing organization i.e. cottage industry specializing in Gullah fiber arts & crafts. The organizations philosophy and mission is to increase awareness of the Gullah culture and facilitate understanding of their way of life; language, music, arts and crafts.

Both events, the 4 pm workshop and the 7 pm presentation, are open to community and are free of charge.  For additional information, please contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu or 864-266-7409.