Led by Victoria Rae Moore
The core group shrinks/transforms out of necessity for sustainability. We are now a small creative team (paid) supported by a circle of advisors (unpaid) comprised of some conNECKtedTOO originators and supporters, still with attention to reflect the values and principles held all along. My role has shifted to carry greater responsibilities in the continuation of the collective work and development of radical imagination in our journey together.
Youth apprentices transform into dedicated creative team members leading projects of their own, like the development of a podcast and zine for engaging other youth and deepening links within the community. Embedded artists apply creativity and talents to support and promote tiny business presently with special focus on tiny culinary businesses and their futures supported by Charleston City Council Members and others. Belonging and Becoming youth engagement adapts to COVID-19 and the bourgeoning social/political movement in the development of an arts-based curriculum for students and an anti-racist book study for educators.
This transfer of responsibilities coincides with a time that will be remembered as a definitive moment in our lifetime’s Revolution. There have been protests in all 50 states and multiple countries in solidarity and agreement that BLACK LIVES MATTER. Like the waters, consciousness is rising and the demand for social and economic justice and racial equity is permeating all layers of society while allies are growing in number. We must speak up, stand up, stay active and engaged. We must form partnerships, strategize, exchange knowledge and skills. We have to communicate with each other, imagine, create, listen, ask questions, and hold one-another accountable in the achievement of a society where the color of your skin is not a determining factor of your life’s outcomes.
The CHARLESTON RHIZOME COLLECTIVE, an art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect, created conNECKtedTOO as a project which is now becoming TINYisPOWERFUL with its own wings. By design we are grassroots, inter-generational and interracial. Through the arts we amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic.
JEMAGWGA, GWYLENE GALLIMARD and JEAN-MARIE MAUCLET are the lead artistsof the Charleston Rhizome Collective. A longstanding collaborative artistic duo “JEMAGWGA”, some of their prior collaborations include two French cafes; art installations and participatory visual art programs about the health insurance industry, homelessness, the arts, gentrification and religious beliefs. Their work has received support from Ministère De La Culture (France), the SC Arts Commission, Alternate Visions, Spoleto Festival, the SC Humanities Foundation, Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Alternate ROOTS, and the National Endowment of the Arts. They have led the creation of the Residency program at Azule, NC. www.jemagwga.com www.Azule.org
PAMELLA GIBBS is an experienced Activist, Educator, and Advocate for an equitable quality education. She is a recently retired primary school teacher assistant from James Simons Public Montessori, and was engaged in its 100th anniversary leading team. Pam Gibbs leads the development of the conNECKtedTOO Mentorship and Apprentice program.
DEBRA HOLT is an educator and founding member of both the conNECKted and conNECKtedTOO projects, serving in various support capacities. She is a researcher for the Charleston Maps project, harnessing her anecdotal memories, interviews, and academic research skills to bring the Maps to life. She retired from banking and is now a substitute school administrator.
THERON M. SNYPE is the conNECKtedTOO Tiny Business Coordinator. He is a native of Charleston, SC. And attended local public schools graduating from Burke High in 1967. He earned a BS degree in political science from Tuskegee University and an MA degree in human resources development from Webster University.
“My professional career includes seventeen years in the radio broadcasting industry. My roles included on-air announcer, operations manager, and general manager. I was employed with Cummins Engine Company eleven years serving as a human resources generalist and operations manager at the Charleston, SC plant. My employment with the City of Charleston began in 2003 as a project manager. In 2006 I was appointed minority enterprise business manager for the city serving in that role until my retirement in 2018.”
ANASTATIA KETCHEN entered the Charleston Rhizome Collective as one of two assistants for the “conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth & Reconciliation” project in 2017. She has served as an outdoor wilderness counselor/teacher. She leads D.R.I.V.E.N. LLC, a women’s support network and has developed an afterschool program called UP (Unlocking Potential) This program includes creative & performing arts, science education, community service and financial planning. She is also a Diversified Artist, publishing poetry and more. In 2019 she produced her play “I Heard Chicago Crying: Outcry”.
VICTORIA RAE MOORE is a native of Charleston, SC where she studied dance at Charleston County School of the Arts before earning a BA in journalism from the University of South Carolina. Her work has led to features in local and national media including Charleston City Paper, Azalea Magazine, HuffPost, and Eater. She is curious, optimistic, and building a legacy with her husband, JA Moore and daughter, Mariah Rae Love. Her community involvement includes service with Passion to Forgive and previously Jenkins Institute, the Low Country Association of Black Journalists and Green Heart Project. She is also a founding member of the Coastal Community Foundation’s Bridge Philanthropists program which aims to educate and connect the next generation to a culture of philanthropy. She is currently the Program Facilitator for conNECKtedTOO by the Charleston Rhizome Collective.
JASON GOURDINE is an entrepreneur/filmmaker and owner of Crown Vision Media. In 2014, Gourdine made his directorial debut with his feature film, Enter the Dominion. In 2015, Gourdine started Black Collective, a digital media platform, along with filmmaker Travis Pearson. Accustomed to addressing societal issues involving race through film Gourdine took on the task of telling the story of Denmark Vesey. Gourdine is the SC Arts Commission 2018 Media Production Fellow. He is the main Documenter for the conNECKtedTOO project.
ANNA BROWN is an ‘administrative arts’ apprentice: She’s passionate about handling the nuts n’ bolts of arts activism as a way to support her fellow cTOO members in their work. As a part of conNECKtedTOO, she handles special projects research for various installations, including the large Memory Maps of the MLK District that were on display for Piccolo Spoleto 2019.
MARKELLE EVANS is a creative in every sense of the word- this jack-of-all-trades. As an arts apprentice she can be found painting, drawing, cooking, even woodworking!- depending on the day. She has lent her artistic abilities, leadership skills, and effervescent sense of humor to many projects including the TINY Business models in the “You Bet n’ Me n’ Me n’ You” installation.
SHANEQUA RAINEY is a ‘design-centric’ apprentice who lends her adept writing, computing, and artistic skills to many projects around the Rhizome studios. The only thing she loves more than cute stationery is collaboration on tough but rewarding projects. She dreams of becoming an art director and owning her own art studio one day.
AYSHA BOWENS is a high school senior at Burke High School set to graduate in 2020 as the Valedictorian of her class. Aysha brings her thoughtful, intelligent approach to all aspects of her work at conNECKtedtOO, and assists with social media management and content creation for all of the Rhizome social sites.
TIMOTHY HUNTER is a student of science at the College of Charleston, but at the Rhizome studios he brings his gifts for painting and artistic design to various projects and installations. He is working on a new larger-scale installation temporarily entitled “When the water rises, so does the rent” along with Jean-Marie Mauclet, Morgan Kinne and others.
KIT LONEY has an M.F.A from the University of South Carolina in Fiber Arts, and taught art to youth and special needs students for decades. She is a visual artist, a poet, a weaver and now specializes in handmade books. In conjunction with conNECKtedTOO she created a series of accordion books in which hundreds of “house pages” were folded from grocery bags, then were painted, drawn, and collaged to represent past and present tiny businesses in the Charleston area.
SHARON COOPER MURRAY leads the Community Rag Quilting Initiative. It is an emerging nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Gullah textile tradition of rag quilting and developing employment opportunities based on the cottage industry model. She is also a storyteller specializing in reviving and celebrating Gullah and historic African American arts traditions.
MORGAN KINNE is an artist with an emphasis on sculptural work that analyzes and celebrates the universality of the human experience. In 2011, she received a BFA/Sculpture from Winthrop University, and in 2014, an MFA/ Contemporary Art, Sculpture from the University of Edinburgh. A minimalist at heart, she pursues beauty, found in the relationships between people and objects that give life and meaning to the environment. morgankinne.com
SONIA OSIO is a Venezuelan-born artist whose work celebrates both the diversity of our world, and the threads of the arts that can connect us all. She is known internationally for her Global Mandala. In Charleston, she co-created an installation commemorating the 100th anniversary of James Simons Montessori School, which uses paper mandalas designed by students, collective members, or others to create a large spiral of memories, dreams, and hopes because ‘another world is possible’. This installation, called “In the Whorl of Time”, will remain up for the full 19-20 schoolyear and is helping the students understand the legacy of their school in Charleston.
ARIANNE KING COMER is a BFA graduate of Howard University, and has served as an Artist in Residence in the state of South Carolina since 1995. She specializes in indigo batik dyeing, and presents lecture demonstrations on creating indigo textiles and preserving the heritage of indigo dyeing across the Southeast. She was the owner of Ibile Indigo House on St Helena House ’98-04. She is an active member of Alternate ROOTS, Charleston Rhizome and a designer for Seeking Indigo. Her work is in several traveling exhibitions nationally as well as statewide. She represents historical scenery as much as she fabricates wearable art, allowing others to practice with her. http://ariannekingcomerart.com/
KURTIS LAMKIN is an award-winning poet, songwriter, musician, and sometimes musical instrument inventor. He collaborated with conNECKtedTOO to write its very own jingle entitled “Bet on YOU”, a hope-filled message of mutual support between TINY Businesses and the communities they serve. He and his daughter also lent their voices and playing to the recording of the jingle.