According to the MOJA website, “MOJA, a Swahili word meaning ‘one,’ represents the spirit and sense of unity of this celebration–unity among cultures, among families, among friends and among communities.” The festival is a celebration of African American and Caribbean arts, and most events are free or low-cost.
Here are the Charleston City Paper’s picks for this year’s best events, plus a few of my picks:
- Caribbean Street Parade and Opening Ceremonies: The parade features students from many Charleston County Schools, African drummers and dancers, boy scouts, girl scouts and members of civic organizations winds through the streets of Charleston and culminates behind the Custom House. Friday, September 24, 2010. Caribbean Street Parade at 5:30pm and Opening Ceremonies at 6:30pm U.S. Custom House, Concord and Market Sts. Free
- MOJA Dance Gala Featuring Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble returns to MOJA for an exciting evening of dance. Friday, October 1, 2010 from 7:30-9:30 pm,Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, 77 Calhoun Street, $19 general seating.
- “I-8-TEE” An Exhibition of Vision and Words on Haiti: In this art and poetry exhibit the visual artists and poets are using their creativity, to raise funds to support Haiti. Specifically, the funds raised will support the League of Hope’s new art therapy program for the children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Sponsored by MOJA Arts Festival, the exhibit challenges each artist and poet to create works expressing how they feel about Haiti; its land, people and culture. When a piece is purchased the artist will donate a minimum of 15% of the proceeds to the League of Hope. The compassion displayed through these donations is not limited to only our Lowcountry artists and poets. The works of painter Duns Sylvaince, who survived the January earthquake, will be on view, along with New York City fabric artist Jacqueline Johnson. Poets, Enzo Surin, is originally from Haiti. Click here for the full list of participating artists. For more information call (843) 852-6059 or email [email protected] , [email protected], Thursday, September 23 – Friday, October 29, 2010; Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm, Opening Reception Friday, October 1, 2010 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Gaillard Auditorium, 2nd Floor Lobby, 77 Calhoun St., Free.
- Sweetgrass Basket Competition and Exhibition: Friday, September 24, 2010 at 12:00 noon, 180 Meeting Street, Free.
- Doyle Cloyd Invitational Art Exhibition: Colorful and vibrant works by Doyle Cloyd, the 2010 MOJA Poster Artist. Exhibit on view: Thursday, September 23 – Saturday, October 30, 2010; 9AM-8PM, Monday-Thursday; 9am-5pm, Friday; 9am-2pm, Saturday. Reception: Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 5-7 pm, Art Institute of Charleston, 24 N Market Street, Free.
- Reggae Block Dance: Live music featuring reggae bands (headline Causion), African drummers and dancers, ethnic foods and international crafts. Approximately 12,000 residents and tourists take part in the festivities. Friday, September 24, 2010 from 6:30pm-11:00 pm, Behind the U.S. Custom House, Concord and Market Sts., Free.
- Literary Corner featuring Kwame Alexander: MOJA presents nationally renowned publisher and author Kwame Alexander reading excerpts and discussing his current work. Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:00pm, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, 125 Bull Street, $10.00
- October 1: Marcus Amaker: Marcus Amaker is a performance poet, musician, and graphic designer living in Charleston. A founding member of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA), Amaker has published three books and released seven albums of music. A finalist for Turner South’s My South Speaks, Amaker was also one of the poets featured in Seeking the Spirit: An Evening of Poetry and Jazz which was inspired by Jonathan Green’s painting, Seeking. Currently, Amaker is the editor ofCharleston Scene, a publication of The Post and Courier. Gallery Chuma, 43 John Street, 6-7 p.m., Free.
- R&B Concert at Family Circle Stadium: The Family Circle Tennis Center presesnts international recording artist Patti Labelle and Boyz II Men perform live on stage. Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 7:00pm (Doors open at 6:00pm), Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island, General admission $35.50, Terrace seating $45.00, Reserved floor table seating $55.50
- MOJA Finale: A rousing end to an exciting festival featuring Tropical Steel Vibes from the Caribbean, Kinobe and the Soul Beat Africa, and Latin music live; African American and Caribbean craft vendors, and ethnic foods. Sunday, October 3, 2010 from 4:00–9:30 pm, Hampton Park, 30 Mary Murray Blvd., Free.
Check out Full list of events. Enjoy!