Two free events celebrating democracy in America are coming to Aiken.
A kick-off reception for the Voices Made Visual vote-related art exhibit at the Aiken Center for the Arts will be held Thursday, and a family festival titled “Voices and Votes: An Aiken County Celebration” will be held at the Newberry Street Festival on Saturday. Center.
“In the midst of a primary season with a runoff looming, we know that many Americans are not taking full advantage of their right to vote. Our low turnout does not reflect the level of participation our electoral process rightly affords. title,” Doug Rabold, Secretary of Aiken Voices and Votes, said in an email. “‘Voices and Votes’ is a gift to Aiken, reflecting the struggles Americans have endured before us to gain the right to vote. We celebrate these champions and affirm these hard-won rights for all American citizens through our many and diverse and creative events.”
The Aiken Center for the Arts will present the “Voices Made Visual” exhibit as a community conversation through visual art beginning Thursday, June 23. The exhibition will continue until July 28. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 23. 23, at the arts center.
Voices Made Visual is a juried exhibition and art competition celebrating the majesty and plurality of voices, past and present, that have shaped the national dialogue, according to promotional materials.
Voices Made Visual precedes a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, which will be on view at the Aiken County Historical Museum from July 23 through September 3.
“We hope our Voices Made Visual conversations will seamlessly lead you into Voices and Votes conversations and help us all connect better,” according to promotional materials from the Aiken Center for the Arts.
The arts center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located downtown at 122 Laurens St. SW For more information, visit aikencenterforthearts.org or call 803-641-9094.
Voices and Votes: An Aiken County Celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at the Newberry Street Festival Center in downtown Aiken.
The festival is a non-partisan celebration of suffrage promoting community unity and goodwill.
It will offer manual and fun activities for children, educational activities for the whole family, exhibitions on the right to vote, entertainment and food concessions.
There will be bouncy houses and a mock cutest puppy election through Friends of Aiken County Animal Shelter (FOTAS). There will be booths from community service organizations, a Corvette show and food trucks selling specialty treats.
There will also be free hot dogs and water.
Events to come
Five top academics and professionals are scheduled to visit the Aiken community in July and August for further Voices and Votes events.
“All of these people will talk about the importance of expanding the franchise throughout our nation’s history,” Rabold said. “We held 16 free events in total, with eight behind us. The remaining eight events are the most important, as we rally around the arrival and exhibition of Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, an exhibition traveling from the Smithsonian Institution, at the Aiken County Historical Museum.”
Voices and Votes: Democracy in America is based on a major exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. This adaptation, produced by the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, features many of the same dynamic features: historic and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactions with short games and additional footage, photos and information; and historical items like campaign memorabilia, voter memorabilia and protest materials.
The traveling exhibit will be held in Aiken July 23-September 3 at the Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. SW
Other Voices and Votes presentations at Aiken will include:
• A symposium entitled “The History of Democracy in South Carolina” scheduled for July 23 at 5:00 pm at the Second Baptist Church;
• A book talk titled “Unxampled Courage,” scheduled for July 29 at 6:00 pm at the Center for African American History, Art, and Culture;
• A symposium entitled “Voting Matters: Suppression and Disenfranchisement” scheduled for August 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Etherredge Center of USC Aiken;
• A symposium entitled “The Big Debate”, scheduled for 7 pm on August 23 at the Etherredge Center; and
• A book conference entitled “One Woman, One Vote,” scheduled for August 26 at 6:00 pm at the Center for African American History, Art and Culture.
For more information, visit aikenvoicesandvotes.com.