The Pursuit of Freedom & Opportunity, a collection of ten canvases illustrating key historical moments in the Island’s history, will be showcased at the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina from June 28 – July 3, 2021. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Sunday 12-4 pm, and 90 minutes prior to all Arts Center performances. The historians behind the art will be at the gallery at 11 am Tuesday through Friday to discuss the island’s history. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, June 30, 5-7 pm which is free and open to the public. Attendees should rsvp to attend any event to gallery@artleaguehhi.org.

The project was the idea of Hilton Head Island Middle School’s IB-MYP Coordinator, Kathleen Harper. Harper approached the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs to partner on the project. A committee of historical experts, educators, and community leaders was formed in 2019 and collaborated to identify key events in Hilton Head’s history.  Eight local artists were then identified by Art League of Hilton Head to partner with the historians to accurately depict these moments in time. A depiction of the Greens Shell Ring, which is estimated to more than 4000 years old, starts the hallway gallery. Other paintings illustrate the period of European exploration, colonization & plantation/enslavement era, Mitchelville and the Gullah-Geechee community, as well as modern-day Hilton Head.  In addition to the 10 canvases, the exhibit also features a 150-foot mural of contemporary community change makers and canvases by students inspired by their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project was underwritten by the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs as one of its Community Creates Initiatives. The purpose of the project was to educate the students about the significant role Hilton Head Island has played in our country’s history.  Harper says, “I conceived the idea when it became apparent that many of the 1000 students attending the middle school were unaware of the Island’s history and its role in shaping America. Beyond inspiring the students to learn more about where they live, the artwork brings this main corridor of our school to life.”  When Covid restrictions are removed, there will be a public opening reception at the school accompanied by gallery tours led by student docents..

Art League of Hilton Head is the only nonprofit visual arts organization on Hilton Head Island with a synergistic art gallery and teaching Academy. Its mission is inspiring visual arts for our community and its visitors through exhibitions, education and partnerships.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs works to promote and support Hilton Head Island as a vibrant cultural destination that enriches our diverse community. We strive for the island to be recognized as a vibrant & distinctive destination known for its unique arts & culture assets that serve a diverse community and create a richer quality of life.

Hilton Head Island Middle School is an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme in the Beaufort County School District. The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

COVID safety: Masks are mandatory for employees and patrons.


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