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Posted on: September 20, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 2023 MOJA Arts Festival

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Tickets are now available for the annual MOJA Arts Festival, an 11-day celebration of African American and Caribbean culture, which runs through October 8 and features a variety of performances, art exhibitions and community celebrations. 

Many MOJA events are free to attend, with others being offered at affordable prices. Tickets can be purchased at www.mojafestival.com

For more than 40 years, the festival – named for the Swahili word meaning “one” – has brought together artists, musicians and performers from around the world to share their talents and celebrate cultural heritage. 

The festival highlights the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures with a wide range of events, including visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, artisan crafts and culinary arts, among others. 

Festival highlights:

  • Opening Day Parade: The parade on Thursday, September 28 will begin at 6 p.m. at Marion Square. It will continue down King Street, across Market Street and end at the U.S. Custom House. The parade is free to attend.
  • Juried Art Exhibition: Beginning Thursday, September 28, this free-to-attend exhibition will feature recent works from South Carolina artists, including painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography at the City Gallery on Prioleau Street and the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. It will be on view during normal exhibition hours throughout the duration of the festival. 
  • Reggae Block Dance at Brittlebank: On Friday, September 29 beginning at 6 p.m., this free event at Brittlebank Park on Lockwood Drive will feature live reggae music, food vendors and artisan crafts from local artists.
  • The War and Treaty: This husband-and-wife duo will make their MOJA Festival debut at the Charleston Music Farm on Friday, September 29 at 8 p.m. Formed in 2014, this group is emerging as one of the most exciting new acts in music and was named the 2022 duo group of the year by the American Music Association. Their Music Farm event will celebrate their recently released major label debut, Lover’s Game.
  • Yankee Bajan: As part of its weeklong residency in Charleston, Yankee Bajan, an original theatre production from Barbados making its U.S. debut, will hold ticketed public performances at the Dock Street Theatre on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1. Written by Linda Parris-Bailey and directed by Dahlak Brathwaite, this play focuses on an African American family’s sojourn to repatriate to their ancestral home in Barbados. 
  • Gospel Divas and Gents of the Lowcountry: On Sunday, October 1 beginning at 4 p.m., this event features Lowcountry Voices with Minister Mario Dessausure, Jason Singleton, Elder Javetta Palmer Campbell and Minister Ashley Hale. Reverend Randolph Miller will host the event at Greater St. Luke AME, located at 78 Gordon St. 
  • Colour of Music Festival Octet with Meghan Bennett: Hailed as a Southern Cultural Treasure, the Colour of Music Festival (COMF) returns to Charleston’s Historic Dock Street Theatre on Wednesday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m. with a classical chamber music performance in honor of the legacy and compositional genius of Charleston-born composer, Edmund Thornton Jenkins. Special guest and Lowcountry native Meghan Bennett will join the COMF Octet for this memorable evening of virtuosic musical performances. 
  • MOJA on King: This free-to-attend block party will feature live music, vendors, outdoor dining and extended retail hours, with King Street between John and Mary Streets closed to vehicular traffic from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m on Thursday, October 5. At 7 p.m., headline musical attraction The Queens of Hip Hop and Soul will take to a stage located at King and Ann Streets for a high energy performance of classic hits.
  • Marcus Anderson: Saxophonist Marcus Anderson is a Spartanburg, SC native with 13 studio albums on his list of accomplishments. Charting number one in both Billboard’s Smooth Jazz and Sirius XM’s Watercolors categories, Anderson’s fusion jazz blends R&B, Pop, Rock and Funk. Marcus Anderson will perform at the Dock Street Theatre at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 6.
  • New Jack Swing Dance Party: Two-time Grammy Award Winners Charlton Singleton and Quiana Parler will feature favorites and forgotten gems from the New Jack Swing era of the late 1980s and early 1990s at Charleston Music Hall on Saturday, October 7 at 8 p.m.
  • MOJA Finale: On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 4 p.m., this free-to-attend event at Hampton Park on Mary Murray Boulevard will close out the festival with live music, artisan crafts, food vendors, and health and wellness exhibitors. Mainstage musical performers include the Terence Young Project.

For a complete calendar of events and more detailed online ticketing information, please visit www.mojafestival.com

The 2023 MOJA Arts Festival Poster Artist is visual artist and graphic designer Alexandria Searles, whose featured painting, “Heritage,” will be exhibited as part of the Juried Art Exhibition at City Gallery. 

 

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