Saturday, September 22nd, on the heels of Hurricane Florence suddenly diverting away from the Lowcountry community, over 950 people gathered at Charleston Music Hall to experience something they’d never experienced before. What they were there to experience was hip-hop artist and activist Benny Starr, supported by The FOUR20s, debuting and recording his latest body of work, entitled “A Water Album.”
As a part of this concert experience, attendees were engaged with Voter Registration & Education, remarks from community activists and public servants, as well as imagery from John Gaulden’s “The Water Is Rising” photography series. Using water and our relationship to it, especially as Black people, Benny Starr performed a soulful, jazz-inspired, love letter that not only echoed through the Music Hall but would also be pressed to vinyl.
“The Water Keeps Rising” exhibit aims to explore that evening, and so much more. As the Avery Research Center plans to reopen on January 15th 2020, artist Benny Starr will be creating an exhibit built around his momentous night, along with using data from The Avery’s State of Racial Disparities Report in Charleston County.
Along with showcasing his multifaceted music, and social justice art, within this showcase Starr will be the first ever lowcountry rap artist to have his work showcased in a museum.
This exhibit will create an immersive experience for visitors. Bathed in blue light, and accented with local palm trees, this room will serve as a small scale replica of the Charleston Music Hall stage the night of Benny’s landmark performance.
“The Water Keeps Rising” exhibit will showcase cultural influences & artistic intricacies from across the Lowcountry; creating a sensory experience that tells a specific story and celebrates our local black history.
In the areas of Civic Engagement, Racial Disparities, The Environment, and Performance Art/Music, this exhibit will aim to connect the dots from historical data and archival information, up to the present conditions of The Lowcountry that informed the conception of “A Water Album.”
Featuring the work of Charleston photographers, film makers, graphic designers this exhibition proves the greatness that lies within Charleston creatives. To learn more about the Avery Research Center and future events surrounding the exhibit, connect with the Avery online avery.cofc.edu or on their various social media accounts.