Collaborative seeks
to address racism

The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, part of the Sophia Institute's Living Your Truth series, is planned for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun St. It will feature the Rev. Nelson Rivers III, pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston and vice president of religious affairs and external relations for the National Action Network, as well as Alex Sanders, former chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals and former president of the College of Charleston.

The event is an effort to foster racial healing and community transformation. The two speakers will talk about their social justice work. News anchor Carolyn Murray will moderate.

The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative seeks to address the challenges of structural and institutional racism and to transform Charleston into a more just and equitable place to live and work.

The event is free, but registration is requested. Go to www.thesophiainstitute.org/events/living-your-truth-series.

High Water Festival
draws 20,000 fans

The High Water Festival's sold-out inaugural event at Riverfront Park in North Charleston, which took place April 22-23, drew more than 20,000 patrons and generated millions of dollars in local spending, according to organizers.

The festival, curated by Charleston-based folk duo Shovels & Rope, raised more than $50,000 for three local nonprofits: Charleston Waterkeeper, The Greenheart Project and Water Mission.

The festival presented more than 20 musical acts on two stages, chef-curated dining experiences and local craft beer, wine and cocktail selections. Organizers donated a percentage of all festival ticket sales, concession profits and tips, as well as more than 3,000 volunteer hours, to the festival’s nonprofit partners.

A slight majority, 56 percent, of tickets were purchased by patrons from outside the Charleston market; 44 percent of those patrons were from outside of South Carolina, representing 45 states and multiple countries.

Jeff Cuellar, AC Entertainment vice president of strategic partnerships, said the organization looks forward to another High Water Festival in Riverfront Park next year.

For more information, go to www.highwaterfest.com.

City's poet laureate
announces festival

Marcus Amaker, Charleston's first poet laureate, and the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, announced the inaugural poetry festival, called Free Verse. The festival will take place in October. Exact dates and participants will be announced in August.

The festival’s mission is to uplift the community by providing eclectic poetry events and workshops at multiple venues downtown and in West Ashley. Amaker will collaborate with the Charleston County School District to put poets in schools to share the power of the written word.

The festival also will include public art by putting elementary students’ poems on sidewalks, napkins, T-shirts, billboards, buses and more.

"Teaching poetry to kids is my life’s work, and I’ve always wanted to bring a festival to Charleston.” Amaker said.

For more about the Free Verse festival, go to http://www.freeversefestival.com.

Christie's to auction
Ferguson collection

Christie’s will auction the art collection of Lowcountry resident Esther B. Ferguson, beginning Monday, May 15. The collection includes 17 paintings, sculptures and works on paper by artists of the Impressionist, Modern, Post-War Contemporary Art and American Art movements, including Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Auguste Rodin, Barbara Hepworth, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Milton Avery.

Among the works on auction is Picasso's "Femme dans un fauteuil," originally owned by movie star Gary Cooper.

Ferguson, an arts patron and philanthropist, built the collection with her late husband, James L. Ferguson, former CEO of General Mills. Upon his retirement in 1989, the couple relocated from Manhattan to Charleston where she renovated their 19th-century James Island residence.

Ferguson is founder of the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University and has served on the boards of the Charleston Symphony, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Young Concert Artists and the Spoleto Festival USA. Currently she is on the board of the Gibbes Museum where she established the Distinguished Lecture Series.

She has also provided financial support and leadership to the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center and International Piano Series. In 1996, the Fergusons donated two of their historic homes in Trujillo, Spain, to create a dynamic new study-abroad program for College of Charleston students and faculty.

For more information about the auction, contact Sara Fox at 212-636-2680 or sfox@christies.com.

OHM Radio holds
sweet corn cook-off

The Royal American will host the third annual OHM Radio Sweet Corn Cook Off at 1-5 p.m. May 21. Local musicians/bands will be paired with local restaurants to create sweet corn dishes. A competition will determine a winner.

The Artisanals will team with The Park Cafe; Howling Moon Pimps will work with The Obstinate Daughter; Jordan Igoe will pair with 492 King; Benjamin Star will forge an alliance with Taco Boy; and She Returns From War will partner with Verde.

Each team will create a unique dish to present to the public. Participants will vote for their favorite creation and all proceeds will go to OHM Radio. Live music will be provided by The Soul Preservation Society, The Garage Cuban Band and participating musicians.

The Royal American is located at 970 Morrison Drive. Tickets, $20 in advance, $10 for those 18 and under, can be purchased at www.ohmradio963.org.

Ohm Radio 96.3FM is Charleston’s first nonprofit, noncommercial radio station, an enterprise of Media Reform SC.

Coastal Ballet mounts
'Alice in Wonderland'

Coastal Ballet USA and Charleston Ballet Center for Dance present “Alice in Wonderland," with choreography by Jill Eathorne Bahr, at 7 p.m. May 26 at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.

Tickets are $39-$49, available at www.charlestonballet.com or by calling 843-469-2080.

"Alice in Wonderland" features fantastical costumes by Chicago-based costume designer Travis Halsey inspired by the surrealism of Cirque du Soleil.

A host of characters move in an alternate reality with musical accompaniment provided by French composers Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Gabriel Pierne, and Claude Debussy.

The production features guest dancers from across the U.S., including Alexander Collen as the March Hare, Kylie Morton Berry as the Queen of Hearts, Michaela Rodriguez as the Mad Hatter and Elizabeth Nicole as Alice.

—Adam Parker

Contact Adam Parker at aparker@postandcourier.com or 843-937-5902.