Social engagement, community engagement, and social justice reform. These three areas within contemporary art demonstrate creatives using art as a tool to talk with the public. Creatives like Marcus Amaker and Charlton Singleton use these terms to drive the conversation within their local community and beyond. Both Singleton and Amaker use their craft to shape a conversation about social justice reform through the language of art in order to bridge divides.
Singleton has lived past lives as a public school teacher and is now an active member of the Charleston community through his music and social justice work. Marcus Amaker moved to Charleston in 2003 and initially worked for the post and courier while writing, performing and connecting with the greater Charleston community.
Charleston’s Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker and Grammy Award winner Charlton Singleton are taking center stage at The Gaillard Center, in Charleston SC. The Gaillard Center artists in residence are stepping into the next stage of social engagement art through a video series delivering an open, honest dialogue about race. Amaker talks about the elevation of consciousness in society and the profound effect of stepping into your power and voice as artists. The series begins with Amaker and Singleton examining their own experiences with racism as artists. Each subsequent conversation is led by either Amaker or Singleton having in-depth discussions with local (Charleston) Black leaders, educators, business owners, and artists.
Combining Singleton’s work in education and art, Raising the Volume will also be accompanied by a lesson plan for middle and high school students. The Gaillard Center’s on-staff educator will facilitate cross-school virtual meetings for students in different areas to discuss the interviews’ content. Lesson plans will soon be freely available on gaillardcenter.org. The first episode of the web series can be seen below.
Episode I – A conversation on music, racism, art, activism, and more with Marcus Amaker & Charlton Singleton.
Episode II – A conversation on Charleston activism, past and present with former Municipal Court Judge for the City of Charleston for 33 years, Judge Arthur McFarland.
Episode III – A conversation on awareness and action with the Executive Director of YWCA, LaVanda Brown.
Additional episodes will feature:
Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell, Founder of Closing the Gap in Healthcare
Dr. Karen Chandler, Director of the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Cultural Management at the College of Charleston
Andrea Davis, Founder and Owner of Motherland Essentials
Herb Frazier, Charleston-based author
Kaeley is a contemporary artist and cultural organizer who loves good espresso and a cold Coke Zero.