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This past May, The Morris Island Lighthouse became an international "work of art".
The Spoleto Festival USA, a world reknowned celebration of the arts, takes place every Spring in Charleston, SC. This year, as part of the theme "Evoking History: Memory of Water", Kim Sooja, an internationally recognized artist who has been featured in exhibitions worldwide, chose the Morris Island Lighthouse as a tribute to the enduring relationship between light and sea. She entitled this piece " A Lighthouse Woman" to symbolize a woman's role in history as a lonely beacon of hope for men returning from wars and dangers at sea. In order to provide a ghostly and spiritual edge to that metaphor, she worked with lighting and computer specialists to produce a soft lighting, from a haunting white glow to a deep red, a cool blue, a sea green, and then to a deep regal purple. A computer ran this slowly evolving cycle of color on a continuing basis everynight from 9PM to midnight from May 24th to June 9th.
This art installation was no small undertaking. all the equipment used had to withstand the wind, salt air, and sea spray that assaults the Morris Island Lighthouse daily. Everyone involved had to make daily trips out to Morris from the mainland. The computer ran a timer which controlled the power to the lights. Any malfunction and the Morris Island Lighthouse would be left dark. This only happeneda few nights which is a testament to the care taken by the artist, crew, and the Spoleto employees, as well as the Save The Light volunteers. Tens of thousands of people walked to the eastern edge of Folly Beach to observe this beautiful light show over the course of the two week program.
Save The Light, Inc. offered a cruise from the harbor, out to the jetties, and through Dynamite Hole, to within 1,000 feet of the lighthouse for a special preview of the light show. The waters around Morris were filled with an armada of private boats. When the lights came on, there was a collective cheer from both land and sea! It was a spendid evening and we want to thank George Campsen for providing the boat and crew, 82 Queen resaurant for providing excellent food, and Southern Wine and Spirits for providing the liquid refreshments. We raised (need amount) from this event!
This Spoleto event gave Save The Light, Inc. unprecedented publicity. CNN, The New York Times and the Associated Press gave world wide coverage to this event. It literally put us on the map. Morris Island Lighthouse is extremely unique in its appearance and location. Now many more people know the solitary beauty of this great maritime monument and more importantly they understand the great need to protect and preserve the Morris Island Lighthouse for generations to come.