Community art projects bring diverse groups together to create

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The first half of this year has been spent launching the Community Creates initiatives of the Office of Cultural Affairs. The goal of these initiatives is to offer opportunities for our community to come together and spark their creativity.

Diverse groups of people from all communities on our island are coming together in common spaces to learn, create, and beautify our island spaces.

So far this year we've created three new two-dimensional additions to our public art offerings. All were led by local artists and created with artistic contributions by members of our community.

All ages and skill levels were invited to participate and it has been a beautiful opportunity for members of our community to come together. Now I hope all are inspired by the final installations.

So, if you have a moment, stop by and see the first two installations of Lauren Andreu's Peacemaker Series. The first in the community meeting room at Island Recreation Center. "For the Cause of Peace and Brotherhood" is a beautiful tribute to peacemakers passing the torch to the next generation.

The second, in the gym at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head, is called "Love is the Net" and shows images of Muhammed Ali among words of inspiration chosen by the young members of the club.

Or pop into Island Rec to view the hanging fabric art installation. A true tribute to the Lowcountry, designed by Stella-lee Anderson, "Tangled up in Blues: Conservation through Community" pays homage to threatened and endangered flora and fauna in coastal South Carolina.

Full details about conservation status and efforts of each of the species included in the installation can be found at CultureHHI.org/CommunityWallArt.

We plan to bring more of this creative play to our community over the rest of the year as we prepare for this fall's lantern parade. Be on the lookout for Culture HHI making art at community events all summer and fall long.

Our first public lantern-making event will be at the Outside Foundation's fourth annual "Keep the Broad Creek Clean" water festival Aug. 15. The festival will begin with a kayak-based cleanup of Broad Creek from 3 to 5 p.m. and then the festival, located around the statue of Neptune in Shelter Cove Marina, will take place from 4 to 7 p.m.

I will be onsite making jellyfish lanterns, so come get a head start on your lantern, as we get ready to parade as a community on Nov. 9 on South Forest Beach.

Jennifer McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island's Office of Cultural Affairs. CultureHHI.org

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