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The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration programming includes a variety of events designed to attract residents, regional, national, and international travelers. The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast. Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration events incorporate many facets of the Gullah culture. Visitors have an opportunity to experience the food and music, receive firsthand historical information, and take a journey through the culture via the visual arts.

Established in 1996 by NIBCAA (Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association), the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration is an annual event held during the month of February. Since its inception, the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration was designed to create economic development opportunities for minority business owners, to develop the cultural tourism market and to increase tourism in February on Hilton Head Island, historically the slowest month of the year. While consistently meeting the intended objectives the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration continues annually to strategic assess opportunity for continued growth and expansion. The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration is an initiative of the NIBCAA in partnership with the Native Islanders Property Owners Association, the Town of Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County and SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

To learn more about NIBCAA click here.


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Patricia Elaine Sabree, {formally Patricia Elaine McFadden} is the product of Lake City, a small country town carved from the dark earth, located in the low country of South Carolina. Lake City is known for its amazing crop raising, dusky flatland, muddy-swamp wetland, endless fishing, a surplus of snakes, and the Gullah people culture. Even though now divorced, Sabree kept her married name, "Sabree" due to its meaning, "one who perseveres until the job is done," and the connection it gave to her two lovely daughters- Faridah and Ameenah. Sabree and her fourteen siblings spent most of their youth working on the farm. Their parents were loyal sharecroppers who taught their children the value of hard work. This is certain to be what contributed to their strong craving for education coupled with the desire for another way of life. Most of their days were spent stringing tobacco or suckering tobacco (suckering is a process of removing impurities between the full tobacco plant; it could take over the plant if not eradicated). It is a tedious process that requires patience and endurance. The rows of the tobacco plant, cotton, and cucumber fields gave the impression of no end in sight, which you will witness in many of Sabree's paintings.


To escape the dreaded fields of labor, Sabree obtained a Bachelor's of Arts Degree from South Carolina State University, and a Master's of Education from Southern Wesleyan, Central, South Carolina. Her Art professors from S.C.S.U. were Mr. Hunter, Dr. Michaux, and Dr. Leo Twiggs. Of the three Art professors, it was Dr. Leo Twiggs, a famous Batik artist, who had most inspired her love for painting. She has been teaching Art for twenty-two years, four years in Elementary School (South Fant, Whitehall, Homeland Park, Anderson, South Carolina) and fifteen years at Pendleton High School, Pendleton, South Carolina, and three years at Bishop Spaugh Middle School, Charlotte, North Carolina. Sabree has tasted the flavor of all three worlds, holding partiality to high school. She proclaims there is something special about working with older students who are independent thinkers. After working for 15 years as a High School Art Teacher, Sabree heard a little voice telling her that she needed a new challenge. Although her students were awesome and Pendleton High supported the Fine Arts Program, having spent so many years promoting her students and their art, she knew they would be fine. She felt she was needed elsewhere. If she was going to survive as an artist, she had to move to where Art was flourishing. For years the feeling was like a compelling urge beckoning her to move on. Unable to shake the feeling, she packed up and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.


Sabree explains that she felt the need to expose these images to the world. Some days she expressed that she can barely put down a paint brush due to the images she sees in her dreams and awakened state. Most importantly, there is a force resonating through her emphatically stating that this is the time... time to tell the visual low country story that needs to be told. Her style can be best classified as Expressionism because of the bold brushstrokes, vibrant lash of colors, crossed-sectional patterns, sometimes featureless individuals, bright-eyed little girls, and boys. She is painting a legacy of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, friends, and the Gullah people's way of life.

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