January 2015

Foodartica for Project Connect: Art, music, food & champagne in support of our teachers

Author: Frank Dunne Jr.

It’s really a sad state of affairs that teachers should have to shell out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms, but it does happen. It happens right here in Beaufort County where some teachers are known to spend hundreds of their own dollars per year for classroom supplies. Fortunately there is help, though, thanks to the “power of community.”

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Partnership Committee operates Project Connect, a program designed to help lessen that financial burden on teachers at public and private schools throughout southern Beaufort County. Hannah Horne, the Chamber’s director of public policy and small business explains:

“Teachers send us their wish lists for their classrooms. It could be for a specialized project, or it could simply be pencils and paper or crayons. The wish lists are published weekly in the Island Packet, and I keep them on record at the Chamber. Either somebody from the business community contacts me or I ‘dial for dollars’ with local businesses and say, ‘Hey there’s a teacher with this specific need.’” The local businesses then either donate the requested items or contribute funds to purchase them. “There are so many great things happening in our classrooms that teachers just need a little extra help with,” Horne said about Project Connect’s mission.

Teachers and students alike are very appreciative. “When somebody comes in and grants their wish, it’s just like Santa’s come to town,” added Anne Feldman, Chamber communications manager, and your chance to play Santa is coming up at a Thursday, February 26 fundraising event, “Foodartica,” in support of Project Connect.

The fundraiser, a collaboration between HogsHead Kitchen & Wine Bar proprietors Alexis Dunham and John Pashak, Rob Benson of the DTM Agency, and Bluffton-based artist Amiri Farris will be an evening of fine art, fine food, music and a little champagne. “We’ve had a really nice time using our outdoor space for private events,” Dunham said, “and we think this will be a great setting for Amiri to showcase his art.”

Although Farris’s work explores a wide variety of subjects, he is best known for his joyously uplifting portrayals of South Carolina and Georgia Sea Island Gullah culture. Using bold, vibrant color and huge canvasses, his paintings seem to come to life before your eyes. If that’s not enough, the multi-faceted artist also plans to entertain with some of his original musical compositions—a blend of electronica and hip-hop—for this special occasion. “I try to create music with a positive message,” he said.

In addition to creating his paintings and music, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)-educated Farris shares his artistic gift teaching studio art at University of South Carolina Beaufort and foundation art courses at SCAD. His role as an educator inspired the selection of Project Connect as the beneficiary for Foodartica. “This program was chosen because of Amiri’s commitment to education and the teaching that he does,” Horne said.

What you can expect if you attend is a champagne tasting, buffet style dining created by Pashak who is HogsHead Kitchen’s executive chef as well as co-owner, and an exhibit of Farris’s latest work with pieces available for purchase through a silent auction.

“We considered having a wine dinner at first,” Pashak said, “but we thought it would be much more fun if people were up, walking around, looking at the paintings and generally mixing and mingling.”

“I want to make it a fun event where people might even get up and dance,” Farris added—“make it a multi-media type of event.” Again, Foodartica is Thursday, February 26 at HogsHead Kitchen & Wine Bar, and proceeds raised will benefit Project Connect in support of southern Beaufort County teachers. 

HogsHead Kitchen & Wine Bar is located in Moss Creek Village at 1555 Fording Island Road, Suite D, Hilton Head Island. Call (843) 837-HOGS (4647) or e-mail info@HogsHeadKitchen.com for reservations to this special event in support of Project Connect. If you cannot attend but would like to lend your support to Project Connect, please reach out to Hannah Horne, (843) 341-8373, or Anne Feldman, (843) 341-8367, at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

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