Audiences are beginning to return to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in a social distance spaced theater auditorium. Exhibits in limited capacity galleries at the Art League of Hilton Head and Coastal Discovery Museum are bringing high quality arts experiences to patrons in a safe, in-person model.

As well, other arts and culture organizations are continuing to get creative and present their experiences online.

This past month, Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park offered its annual forum centered around social justice issues, but did so in the Zoom room as opposed to in-person at USCB. The forum included panelists from across the country to discuss the topics of Education and a Pandemic, Athletes and Activism, Anti-Racism Education Trends, and Protest and the Fight for the Right to Vote.

The Zoom seminar allowed for Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park to not only bring these incredibly profound speakers safely to members of our community but also allowed people from across the country to participate in the audience. Kudos on a job well done.

In December, Lean Ensemble Theater takes the page not only to the stage but then from the stage into film format with a virtual presentation of “Art” by Yasmina Reza. The fully staged production will be recorded live at Main Street Theatre to be viewed in the comfort and safety of one’s home.

In the play, directed by Peggy Trekker White, one of Marc’s best friends, Serge, has just bought a very expensive painting. To Marc, the painting is a joke, but Serge insists Marc doesn’t have the proper standard to judge the work. Lines are drawn and these old friends square off over the canvas.

Similarly, Hilton Head Dance Theatre will still be offering its holiday sensation, “The Nutcracker,” but for the safety of their dancers and audience members alike, sections of the production will be filmed in segments and edited together. Audiences can enjoy the ballet in a socially spaced Park Plaza Theater for showings Dec. 10, 12 and 13.  My daughter and I can’t wait to continue our annual holiday tradition of girls night at “The Nutcracker.” What a thrill it will be for the tiny dancers (and the older ones as well) to see themselves on the big screen!

Historic Holidays on Hilton Head Island will take on a new look this year when it goes virtual. Our History Day partners will bring the island and the history of Sea Island traditions to the people starting Dec. 1 and continuing for three weeks, with something special almost every day.

Offerings include a series of author chats focused on the Lowcountry and South Carolina authors; historic tours from Zion Chapel of East Cemetery, Mitchelville Freedom Park, Fort Howell and Fort Mitchell; and holiday decorating, cooking tutorials and Lowcountry holiday storytelling.

I am thankful for these dual models of in-person and online offerings, because they ensure that islanders, and our friends near and far, can still connect with our favorite organizations and traditions.

Stay up-to-date at the arts and culture calendar of events for all things in-person and virtual at

Jenn McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs.