Five South Carolina artists (and one advocate) will receive a 2019 Folk Heritage Award from the state. Charleston’s own Dale Rosengarten takes home that advocate award for her work researching the sweetgrass basketry tradition for over 30 years.

The S.C. Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC manage the program and will present the awards in Columbia on May 1 at South Carolina Arts Awards Day.

These awards are presented to South Carolinians who are either practitioners or advocates of traditional arts significant to communities throughout the state, those that embody folklife’s “dynamic, multigenerational nature, and its fusion of artistic and utilitarian ideals.”

In a press release South Carolina Arts Commission executive director Ken May said, “The work of proliferating our state’s unique cultural heritage is an important one in an age of constant change. The intrinsic value of these treasured art forms is the story each tells of where and who we’ve been, and are, as a culture. We should all be grateful for the work these award recipients do on our behalf.”

Rosengarten’s fieldwork with basket makers and her archival research on the tradition’s evolution have culminated in projects like McKissick Museum’s 1986 exhibit, Row upon Row, Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry and Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Tradition.

In 1995 Rosengarten was hired as a historian and curator at CofC’s Addlestone Library; she has authored a number of publications on Lowcountry baskets and their history.

If you want to help celebrate Rosengarten and the other winners, head to a mixer at the Blue Moon Ballroom in West Columbia on Tues. April 30 at 6 p.m. Admission is just $5 for the public (or free for McKissick Museum members) and you can register online.

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