Beaufort News

This Beaufort school opened almost 150 years ago. Now it will have a lasting legacy.

The symbolic meaning of Beaufort’s newest public art project

A two-year public art project started Feb. 24, 2017, in the tunnel connecting Technical College of the Lowcountry under Ribaut Road in Beaufort. Artist Henry Herring explains the meaning.
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A two-year public art project started Feb. 24, 2017, in the tunnel connecting Technical College of the Lowcountry under Ribaut Road in Beaufort. Artist Henry Herring explains the meaning.

A lasting legacy to Beaufort’s history and one of its historic institutions received its first brushstrokes Friday.

Arts supporters, students and Technical College of the Lowcountry personnel celebrated the history of Mather School with the beginning of a community mural project Friday. The painting will adorn the walls of the tunnel under Ribaut Road connecting the TCL campus.

The two-year project will include work from multiple local artists and recognize Reconstruction-era history. Supporters hope the area can eventually support a sculpture garden and smartphone application with audio explaining the art.

“It’s going to evolve,” said Sharon Reilly of the Beaufort Arts Council and mural project. “This is a start.”

Helen Jackson Brown and Johnnie Bampfield James, two of the oldest living Mather alumni, painted the first strokes as part of a string of symbols to start the mural. The school started in 1868 to teach daughters of freed slaves and served young black students 100 years before becoming a state trade school.

The mural kickoff was part of a second annual event celebrating the history of Mather School. The Arts Council and TCL dedicated the Mather Library building on the school’s campus as an interpretive center for education, history and local culture.

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen

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