About Us

Our MISSION

As a group where Education, Art and Activism intersect, the CHARLESTON RHIZOME COLLECTIVE – grassroots, inter-generational and inter-racial by design – has committed to conNECKtedTOO, a project of ART & CULTURE IN/WITH COMMUNITY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. We will seek and involve Tiny Business partners:

  • to support and promote TINY BUSINESS in Charleston, as a vital part of commerce and neighborhood
  • to build a mentorship program and awaken in YOUTH a spirit of entrepreneurship
  • to fully embrace THE ARTS AND THE SPIRIT OF THE ARTS as activators of sustainability

Our VISION

We envision COMMUNITIES where issues of exclusion and inequities in economics, education, housing and business no longer exist. For us BELONGING means celebrating all histories and cultures, and BECOMING all we possibly can, as we build a future TOGETHER. The COLLECTIVE believes that TINY BUSINESSES are nimble, adaptable, profitable, for the people. That is why:

  • we experiment, we research
  • we exchange skills, we teach each other
  • we take personal responsibility
  • we stand for environmental justice and socio/economic equity
  • we denounce the cultural impact of gentrification
  • we amplify the voices of disadvantaged, low wealth and historically marginalized communities

For us collaboration means shared ownership and autonomy not consensus.

About The Charleston Rhizome Collective

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Rhizome Collective is an Art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect. By design, it is grassroots, inter-racial and inter-generational. Through the arts, they aim to amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic. For conNECKtedTOO the Charleston Rhizome Collective will work with additional partners like Jason Gourdine of the Black Collective, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development and quite a few Tiny Businesses.


conNECKted.. Rhizome… Collective… All of these words imply a symbiosis, a network, a community. Each facet of the artist/activist/educator team known as Charleston Rhizome Collective was developed on a supportive, semi-stable foundation, a wealth of varied experiences and seeds that nurture and sustain all future endeavors. 

Charleston Rhizome Collective was born out of the advocacy generated by Alternate ROOTS to develop a presence in South Carolina. Imagined as a group of autonomous individuals bringing their personal skillsets to the table, the group is comprised of educators, activists, artists, and all-of-the-above or non-of-the-above combinations of caring individuals who see the worth and importance of Tiny Businesses in local communities. 

Jemagwga: A combination of the names of Jean-Marie Mauclet and Gwylene Gallimard, another combination being Gaulart & Maliclet, the name kept for the cafe more known as Fast & French. This duo of artist and sculptor spent decades creating collaborative work addressing systemic disparities and socioeconomic injustices throughout Europe and the USA. 

In 1986, they jointly opened Fast & French in Charleston, SC, a french-inspired and deeply personal bistro that remains beloved to this day, thanks to its dedication to a unique structure that defied the biases and power imbalances of the usual food n’ bev industry, and prioritized an autonomous, supportive workspace that in turn birthed a communal gathering spot for creatives, activists, and oddballs throughout the city. 

Out of the Rhizome hatched long-form art in/with community projects like conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth & Reconciliation, which explored gentrification and the effects of climate change on the historical “neck” of the Charleston peninsula, and culminated in a multidisciplinary art installation at the City Gallery at Waterfront Gallery. 

The follow up to conNECKted is conNECKtedTOO, a project combining direct action with local TINY businesses to empower them in an economy overtaken by tourism and corporate development. The conNECKtedTOO project also incorporates artist involvement through the creation of multi-faceted installations like “You Bet ‘n Me ‘n Me ‘n You, which has to date been displayed in different parts at the Cannon St Arts Center, the Charleston Public Library, and the North Charleston City Hall. 

For the long history of the Charleston Rhizome Collective look at http://jemagwga.com/you-comin/

For knowing more about Alternate ROOTS and its influence see https://alternateroots.org/

Link to the Charleston Rhizome Collective work at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya: http://www.youcomin.org/

Link to “conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth & Reconciliation”: https://www.connecktedtoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/bookletfinal2.pdf

Links to Jemagwga: http://jemagwga.com/   http://fastandfrench.org/ 

Links to a future: here where we are. Please move around and promote. https://www.connecktedtoo.org/