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South Carolina Symbols of the Arts

South Carolina’s roster of a dozen official symbols of the arts is impressively diverse.

The State Music The Spiritual 1999
Popular Music beach music 2001
Home of the Beach Music Hall of Fame Coastal Carolina University 2009
Song South Carolina on My Mind 1984
Waltz Richardson Waltz 2000
Opera Porgy and Bess 2001
Rural Drama Center Abbeville Opera House 2001
Dance shag 1984
American Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1994
Tapestry From the Mountains to the Sea 2000
Lowcountry Handcraft sweetgrass basket 2006
Folk Art and Crafts Center South Carolina Artisans Center, Walterboro 2000
Symbols of The Arts(Sweetgrass Basket: By Bubba73 (Jud McCranie) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0link
Note: I modified this picture, erasing portions of it.)

Like North Carolina, South Carolina scores big in the area of folk art.

South Carolina is the only state with an official tapestry, “From the Mountains to the Sea.” Made from 100% cotton, it depicts a number of state symbols as well as scenes from different areas of the state. The tapestry is displayed at the South Carolina Cotton Museum in Bishopville, South Carolina.

South Carolina also has an official lowcountry handcraft, the sweetgrass basket.

Sweetgrass basket-making has been a tradition in the lowcountry for more than three centuries. The baskets were originally made from bulrush, a strong yet supple marshgrass. They were commonly used to separate rice seeds from chaff.

Later, the basket makers began to experiment with new materials, including sweetgrass (Muhlenbergia filipes).

Sweetgrass baskets are almost identical in style to the shukublay baskets of Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The baskets are made by coiling, not weaving. The original basket weavers learned to coil baskets “so tightly they could hold water.”

Today, South Carolina’s Gullah community merges commerce and artistic expression in sweetgrass baskets sold in Charleston.

Other notable symbols of the arts include the official music (the spiritual) and popular music (beach music).

South Carolina also has three official songs, including a waltz, along with an official opera and rural drama center. More energetic people might appreciate the state’s two official dances, the shag and square dance.

Less energetic people might prefer visiting two official museums and two halls of fame focusing on railroads, tobacco, and beach music. South Carolina also has an official botanical garden.

Yet another attraction is the official folk art and crafts center in Waterboro.

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