Public invited to Conroy Center dedication


From staff reports

A ribbon-cutting and dedication of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will be held at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 19, at 601 Bladen Street in Beaufort. The event is free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served, and registration is requested at https://conroycenterribboncutting.eventbrite.com.

Rev. Kenneth Hodges will give an invocation, and Mayor Stephen Murray will cut the ribbon. Visitors will then be invited to come inside to tour the Center.

“We will have an extended Open House the next day, Sunday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” the Center’s Executive Director Jonathan Haupt said in a release. “Docents will be on hand to show people around the Center and highlight some of our ongoing educational programs.”

A military “brat,” Conroy lived many places, but he considered Beaufort his home. In his last book, “The Death of Santini,” he wrote, “I’ve come home to the place I was always writing about. … I’ve tried to make Beaufort, South Carolina my own.”

According to Haupt, that quote speaks to why the Center is in Beaufort, and not in Charleston or Atlanta, where Conroy also lived. He said the main reason for the event is to thank the many donors who support the mission of the Center and made possible the purchase and renovations of the Center’s new home on Bladen Street.

The Center nurtures a diverse community of writers, readers, teachers, and students by offering educational programs and special events that celebrate the transformative power of story. It is filled with curated artifacts from Pat Conroy’s writing and teaching life, including copies of manuscripts and correspondence, photographs, and movie memorabilia. The three-gallery museum also features Conroy’s Fripp Island writing desk, his father’s flight jacket, and Conroy-inspired artwork.

Besides the museum, the Center has rooms for writing workshops and critique groups, book club meetings, visiting author programs, school field trips and workshops as well as broadcast studio space for virtual educational programs reaching attendees beyond Beaufort County.

The Conroy Center also offers numerous onsite and offsite educational events, including:

Visiting Author programs

Writers workshops

Open Mic Night readings

School visits

March Forth social justice and diversity programming in March

Annual Camp Conroy Summer Camp for young writers and artists in June

Children’s Book Fair in August

Lowcountry Book Club convention in September

The Pat Conroy Literary Festival in November.

Regular hours for the Center are from noon to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday; trained docents provide tours. Private tours and special programming are available during off-hours, as well. For information, visit www.patconroyliterarycenter.org.

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