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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Storytelling chairs brighten up Beaufort

By Cpl. Eric R. Lucero | | August 23, 2002

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT/EASTERN RECRUITING REGION, PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- -- The Arts Council of Beaufort County is presenting a children's exhibit at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort's Arts Gallery through Thursday.

The Gullah storytelling chairs exhibit has been on display since Aug. 5. It is free and open to the public between the hours of 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. weekdays only.

Children from the Beaufort County School District created the chairs with help from artist Natalie Daise.

The actual project was almost a year in the planning. The idea was the brainchild of Daise and Kristy Smith, visual and performing arts coordinators for the Beaufort County School District.

The idea was to introduce a Gullah storytelling experience at each school and to present blank chairs with directions for illustrations incorporating Gullah and Lowcountry scenes, said Ellen Zisholtz, executive director of the Arts Council of Beaufort County.

"The Arts Council [was] very excited about its partnership with the school district," she said. " It's an honor to work with young people embracing the importance of Gullah culture."

The result reflects a personal touch and the imagination of each student who helped create them.

The 30 chairs were originally designed by a Gullah carpenter, who meant the chairs to be "larger than life" so that no matter how big the person sitting in them, his or her feet would not touch the ground. Although the idea was for a children's story telling experience, the chairs give adults the opportunity to maybe relive a part of their childhood as they sit and read while their feet dangle off the edge of the chair.

Although the exhibit is in its last week, the chairs will live on. Once back to their respective school's media centers, they will then make their way to be displayed at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C.

For more information on the Gullah storytelling chairs exhibit or other cultural events in the Lowcountry area, email

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