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A brief history of CARE

The Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort, Inc. (CARE) was organized in 2003 by like-minded citizens who came together to help foster the economic development of Charleston, MS through the arts while maintaining the heritage and valuable history of the community.

The Charleston Arts Center

CARE was able to purchase the old Bank of Charleston building and renovate it for arts and cultural events in the community. This opportunity was made possible by building fund grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) and the Rock River Foundation, and the hard work and expert leadership of Mike Wine, volunteer and “jack of all trades,” CARE’s building chairman.

Once CARE had a building, it took off running! CARE has offered so much in the few years that the Charleston Arts Center has been open; events that even major cities have envied and enjoyed!

The ground floor has been the site of weddings, receptions, showers for brides and babies, “Going Away” and “Come and Meet” receptions, films and documentaries, SonEdna writers’ workshops, computer classes, diabetic classes and other health programs, history of the community programs, turkey and food give-aways, ministers’ luncheons, actors’ and students’ luncheons, Santa visits, Christmas dinners and caroling, community choir practice, Karaoke, musicians entertaining for noontime lunches and evening exhibitions, art exhibits of both local, other Southern artists, and works on loan from the MS Museum of Art (CARE’s CAC is a satellite gallery!). The Magnolia Garden Club and CARE partner to provide the Community Garden for Charleston. The meetings are held in the CAC, along with the County Health Councils.

Three of the most notable receptions held in 2012 were to honor actor Morgan Freeman as one of CARE’s “2012 Living Legends,” and musician Mose Allison with a “Mose Allison Day” reception. A “Town Hall Meeting” (with Senator Roger Wicker and other local and state officials) was held in March with an overflow crowd spilling into the street.

The third floor of the Charleston Arts Center houses 2 art rooms and a beautiful dance studio overlooking the square. CARE offers, at various times: gymnastics for children, Hip Hop, modern dance, Line Dancing, Zumba and Yoga. In the art rooms, Summer Art Classes (SAC), After School Art Programs (ASAP), and Super Saturday Art Workshops are held throughout the year. The students are offered classes in pottery, sculpture, 3-D construction, painting, drawing, collage, print-making, fashion design and construction (10 sewing machines!), jewelry-making and musical instrument-making. CARE has offered free movies and “CARE-toons” upstairs in the dance studio for young children’s entertainment on Saturdays. To support these programs, the Community Foundation of NW MS, Rock River Foundation, MAC grants, membership dues and “CAREing individuals” donations have been given.

Fundraisers

Another source of funding for the arts education of the county’s children is through numerous and successful fund-raisers.

CARE hosted “An Evening with Eden Brent,” which included a free performance at the public school, an evening performance for the public, and a party and art auction. Duff Dorrough was invited to entertain with Eden at the party held at the CAC. CARE has held 5 Tractor Pulls which included musical entertainment and arts, crafts and food vendors; dessert contests; how-to exhibits; and talent competitions. CARE has held 2 “Ham It Up” Reviews which showcased local talent and Morgan Freeman! CARE has held 5 Christmas Home Tours the last of which featured the talented Alphonso Sanders entaining in the CAC. CARE has held one Fashion Show which was co-chaired by Talent Agent, Laura Warner Byrd, and Costume Designer, Myrna Colley-Lee. CARE has hosted 3 “Cookies and Pictures with Santa” events, and much more.

Honors

CARE has been honored with several awards: 2009 Community Foundation of NW MS’s “STAR AWARD” for Best Non-Profit Organization selected from 8 counties; 2009 (Callender), 2011 (Cossar), and 2012 (Bordelon and Roberson) “President’s Volunteer Service Awards given by CFNM; and earning the cover and five page article in The Delta Business Journal.

CARE strives to give the community what it wants and needs.

If there is a need in the community, CARE tries to fill the bill. There is a deposit on the health and nutrition knowledge and welfare of the community, so CARE is partnering with TGH, UM Applied Science Departments and other local, state and federal agencies to alleviate or improve this poor state of health.

CARE envisions a brighter future for the citizens of Tallahatchie County and provides HOPE and programs to achieve this. Join CARE and help us achieve these goals: a larger floor space for a community center which houses exercise equipment; a stage and audience space for the performing arts; a museum area to house Lamb-Fish, Scissors, Camp Tallaha, old farm equipment, famous and notable individuals (such as Morgan Freeman and Mose Allison memorabilia), and old Charleston/Tallahatchie County history; and a Fly-Way Education Center … because Tallahatchie County is the new “Hunters’ Paradise!”