The MOJA Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival produced and directed by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the MOJA Planning Committee, a community arts and cultural group, and the MOJA Advisory Board, a group of civic leaders who assist with fundraising and advocacy.
Moja, a Swahili word meaning “One,” is the appropriate name for this festival celebration of harmony among all people in our community. The Festival highlights the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures. MOJA’s wide range of events include visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much, much more. In addition to its myriad arts presentations, MOJA also includes an active and busy educational outreach component of workshops in the public schools and senior outreach in senior citizen homes.
2017 The 2017 MOJA Festival was a vibrant celebration with eleven days of programming. Theatre offerings included the award-winning drama Fences by renowned playwright August Wilson, produced by Art Forms & Theatre Concepts, When I First Remember from Lady in White Productions, and Sugar in the Grits, the compelling self-discovery story of a young trans-woman who finds strength and resilience in her Gullah Geechee heritage. Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company was in residence for three days with workshops in public schools and a public workshop and performance at Gadsden’s Wharf, on the future site of the International African American Museum. Musical performances included Ellington’s Sacred Concerts at the Charleston Gaillard Center with Charlton Singleton, Nathan L. Nelson, and Lowcountry Voices and Friends. The Charleston Music Hall played host to Higher Ground: The Music of Stevie Wonder and Woman & Cooke: A Tribute to Sam Cooke. Visual Arts exhibitions at City Gallery included the Annual Juried Art Show, Libation, and Dance of the Ancestors, Egungun Masquerade. The 2017 MOJA Festival also forged partnerships with the inaugural Free Verse Festival and the NEA Big Read to present an incredible lineup of literary events. The Festival closed in triumphant style with a free-outdoor finale concert at Hampton Park featuring Toby Foyeh and Orchestra Africa and Super Deluxe and a homecoming concert at the Dock Street Theatre from Charleston favorite, Ranky Tanky. The poster art is Sankofa/23 million miles No. 2 by artist Cedric Umoja.
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