Carlton Simmons (1959-) began his apprenticeship with uncle Philip Simmons at the age of 13. Today he is less known for utilitarian ironwork, but his decorative and artistic pieces are highly sought-after.
In 2008, Curtis J. Franks travelled to West Africa as a participant in the Fulbright-Hays program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education to explore historical and cultural connections between people of African descent in the Lowcountry and Africans in the Mano River Region (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast), where the artifacts in this collection were acquired.
Dr. Elizabeth Clarice Hall (1946-2005) was born in Albany, Georgia. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Ursinus College in 1968, then an M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Florida State University in 1971 and 1973. The artifacts in this collection were assembled from Dr. Hall's various trips to Africa.
The George Pope collection contains Nigerian artifacts acquired while Mr. Pope, former U.S. State Department employee, was stationed in the country.
Nike Olaniyi [Okundaye] Davies (1951- ) is an internationally known artist and textile designer from Nigeria. She founded and runs the Nike Center for Art and Culture in Oshogbo [Osogbo], Nigeria, which offers art classes to local youth free of charge. Davies' work has been exhibited in museums internationally and she has received considerable recognition for her efforts in the development of Nigerian art and culture.
The Leo S. Carty Watercolor Print collection contains nine signed and number prints by Leo S. Carty (1931-2010). The primary focus of Carty's paintings are the daily life of blacks in the Virgin Islands at the turn of the 20th century.
Leo S. Carty (1931-2010) was born in Harlem, New York on April 17, 1931. He became interested in art at a young age and at the age of ten received a scholarship to attend the Museum of Modern Art School for Children. In 1976, he moved to St. Croix, Virgin Islands where he lived until his death. His art often portrays daily life and incorporates history, focusing on the Virgin Islands.
The Johannah Gold collection contains objects from Mrs. Gold's family relating to the history of farming in the Lowcountry.
The Coards Studio was a photography studio owned and operated by Joseph and Rachel Coards in Charleston, South Carolina. Coards photographed African American families and individuals in the studio and various events and groups outside of the studio, such as graduations, weddings, and other ceremonies. The studio, located at 78 Line Street, closed in the late 20th century.
The Avery Sweetgrass Basket Collection holds significant modern examples of a centuries-old craft. Following African traditions, baskets of coiled grasses were originally produced by slaves on Lowcountry plantations for agricultural use. Over time, sweetgrass baskets have become artistic expressions that retain the African aesthetic -- a symbol of African American culture and a signature of the Lowcountry region. Alongside the baskets, the Avery Research Center has gathered visual and oral histories of the modern basketmakers and their families.
The Catherine and James Yatsco Collection contains artifacts collected in West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. During 1971-1973, Captain James C. Yatsco was stationed in Monrovia, Liberia, under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he helped manage the pharmacy in a newly-built hospital. Catherine Yatsco taught high school English to a mixture of Liberian children and the children of foreign diplomats at the American Cooperative School in Monrovia. While living in Liberia, the couple often traveled to the northern part of the country and other parts of West Africa. Destinations included Phebe Hospital near Gbarnga, Bong County; Ganta Hospital in Ganta, Nimba County, near the Guinea border; and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In 1982, Captain Yatsco spent time in Gambia distributing pharmaceuticals for AfriCare. During this time, he made additional trips to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia, Liberia.