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Community Programs


We are excited to offer a variety of opportunities for community members to join us for educational programs. These programs are free of charge to the public.

Poetry Slam

With Marcus Amaker

September 29, 2017

Grades: All ages

Marcus Amaker, the Poet Laureate of Charleston, will be leading a poetry slam following the 1:00pm educational performance of Mayhem Poets. All are welcome to attend, and attendance of the 1:00pm Mayhem Poets performance is not required.

 About Marcus Amaker:

Marcus Amaker is Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate. When he was 10, he wrote “When I grow up, I want to be a rock star like Prince.” Since then, his love for the purple one inspired him to pursue art in all of its forms. He’s a well-known graphic/web designer and videographer, producing award-winning work for many local nonprofits and organizations. He’s also the lead graphic designer for the national music magazine, No Depression. In 2016, Marcus was named Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate, as appointed by Mayor John Tecklenburg. Marcus’ poems have been featured on TEDx, PBS Newshour, A&E, the Huffington Post, several journals and poetry collections. As a musician, he’s recorded more than 15 albums. Of those albums, his most famous song is “Big Butt,” written when he was 10 years old. Marcus graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He worked in newspapers for 12 years. During that time, he was the editor of the Post and Courier’s Charleston Scene entertainment section. But, most importantly, he still loves Prince (RIP) and is obsessed with “Star Wars.”

Charleston’s Jazz Legacy: Overlooked But Not Forgotten

Jazz Talks Lecture Series

October 18, 2017

6pm, pre-show lecture prior to Herbie Hancock concert

With special guest speaker, Karen A. Chandler, Ph.D.
Director and Associate Professor, Arts Management Program
Co-Founder and Principal, Charleston Jazz Initiative
College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

The Jazz Talks lecture series will invite Lowcountry jazz educators and musicians to the Charleston Gaillard Center for bi-annual lectures open to all community members at no charge.

Dr. Karen Chandler, a researcher of Charleston’s jazz history including many musicians who developed their craft in Charleston during the turn of the 20th century, will present a talk titled, “Charleston’s Jazz Legacy: Overlooked But Not Forgotten,” that offers an expansive premise of jazz history. That premise is predicated on the fact that jazz, or for that matter, any cultural product, has not had a static birth nor has its journey followed a specific path.

That old jazz history cliché – that it originated in New Orleans, traveled up the river to Chicago, then to New York and over to Kansas City, and finally made its way out to Los Angeles — is at best, a simplistic explanation. Though the popular understanding is that New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, Dr. Chandler’s nearly 15-year research with other colleagues of the Charleston Jazz Initiative has shown that this great American music has roots in many other places too – Charleston included. With video, photographs, and jazz, her talk will introduce us to Gullah rhythm, big band musicians, the Jenkins Orphanage, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Motown’s Funk Brothers, a former enslaved visionary and Baptist minister, and countless others who make up the creative landscape that is the legacy of jazz in Charleston.


Hope, Healing and Moving Forward Without Limitations

A conversation with the Founders of the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse (FSA) and members of The 5 Browns

January 20, 2018

Appropriate for Mature Audiences
Free to Attend
City of Charleston Public Meeting Room

“Hope, Healing, and Moving Forward Without Limitations” is an educational program that focuses on hope and healing. Deondra and Desirae Brown, founders of the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse (FSA) and members of The 5 Browns, share their experiences and what they have learned because of their journey to justice and healing. The program aims to empower and educate participants, and restore hope and healing to victims of sexual abuse.