For Immediate Release
September 15, 2015

Karen Mack
Mike’s Art Truck

New Exhibit Brings Gullah Art to Hillsborough Visitors Center
“Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison” runs 9/25/15 through 11/19/15

Hillsborough, NC - Mike’s Art Truck and the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough are excited to present “Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison.” The seventeen-piece exhibit will be the first in our area by artist Irene Tison.

Irene Tison is a self-taught artist with deep roots in the Gullah culture of the South. Now living in Charlotte, NC, Tison was raised in the coastal low country of South Carolina, and her heart and heritage will always be Gullah.

The Gullah and the Geechee people are descendants of Africans that were captured and brought to the Atlantic coast to work as slaves on Southern rice plantations. From slavery to today, these relatively isolated communities have nurtured and maintained a distinct cultural identity. In 2006, the 30-mile-wide area from Pender County, NC to St. Johns County, FL, known as the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated a National Heritage Area.

Irene Tison had a happy childhood as the youngest in a large hard-working family. Her parents gave all the children a strong and loving family foundation. As a young girl, Irene developed a deep and lasting bond with her mother, who played an integral part in her love of art. She watched her mother draw pictures after the day's work was done, and soon she was doing the same. Although resources were scarce, Irene's mother always did what she could to support Irene's artistic interests.

Through her brightly colored paintings, Tison shares her own memories along with memories that her parents passed along. “I grew up during the time that the world began to change for African Americans, but things were still hard for us,” Tison relates, while remembering household and farm chores necessary to keep the family together. There were hard times and a simple lifestyle, but the people of her community had a strong will to survive and an abiding hope for their children’s future.

There is a story of growing up in the South in every one of Irene Tison’s paintings, transporting us directly to the heart of the low country. As she shares her stories, the artist hopes that we will feel the joy she finds in her heritage, and the love she holds for her family.

The show will open on Friday, September 25, 2015 with an artist’s reception from 6 pm to 8 pm, in conjunction with Hillsborough’s Last Fridays Art Walk. The artist will be on hand to meet guests, answer questions, and share a few stories.

The paintings in this exhibit are available for purchase directly from Mike’s Art Truck. Purchased artwork can be picked up after the conclusion of the show. Visit the Mike’s Art Truck website at

“Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison” will be on view at the Hillsborough Visitors Center, 150 E. King Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278 from Friday, September 25, 2015 through Thursday, November 19, 2015. Admission is free. Call 919-732-7741 for more information.


New Exhibit Brings Gullah Art to Hillsborough Visitors Center
“Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison” runs 9/25/15 through 11/19/15
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