New Exhibit

"Ancestor Of The Land" 


ANCESTOR OF THE LAND is an authentic Beaufort County, South Carolina Gullah Heritage photographic, visual, digital art, material culture exhibition & Instillation experience celebrating the life and times of Rufus Daniel Mitchell, his family and the historic Sheldon, South Carolina farming community.


The GRAND OPENING of ANCESTOR OF THE LAND is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC at Beaufort Arts Council’s Exhibition Hall at the Mather School Museum on the campus of Technical College of the Lowcountry, 921 Ribaut Road Building 1, Beaufort SC 29902.  Call 842.379.2787 for more information.


ANCESTOR OF THE LAND is a tribute - curated, designed and installed by artists and philanthropists Bernice Mitchell Tate and Andy Tate. The project was inspired by their son Derek Mitchell Tate, MD – memorializing his grandfather Rufus Daniel Mitchell of Sheldon, South Carolina and the plight of the Beaufort County Black farmer.


The backstory to this exhibition/installation was captured in a series of spontaneous photographs taken by Andy Tate in 1976 on a family vacation visit. While trying to understand how to operate his new automatic camera as his father-in-law worked in his fields planting, Andy shot a roll of film. The camera remained packed away in a storage box and forgotten for thirty years.  After retiring in 2006 to Bluffton, South Carolina and unpacking old boxes the camera was rediscovered — perfect photos were developed.

* The Exhibit will also be FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Thursdays thru Saturdays from 11am – 4pm.


About Bernice and Andy Tate:

The art of Bernice Mitchell Tate is deep-rooted in personal spirituality, cultural relativism, and a sacred combination of many different connected parts where life, death, history, culture, spirituality, material culture, and veneration of the dead intersect. Her belief that ideas such as "ancestor worship," right or wrong, are not absolute but change from culture to culture and circumstances.


In Bernice’s view, “Art is a transformational evolvement of what is - or a way to re-imagine, express and experience life again.”  


Andy Tate was raised along with his three siblings in The Bronx, New York City, where he attended local neighborhood public schools. After High School graduation in 1962, he went on to The City College of New York with an interest in the Arts but, left after one semester to enlist in The U.S. Air Force. He is a proud Vietnam Veteran. After an honorable discharge in 1967, he spent two years in off-Broadway theater as a member of the newly formed Negro Ensemble Company’s Actor’s Workshop, spent the next few years immersing himself in the emerging field of information technology finance.  


Andy’s visual art talent is best captured in his well recognized historically detailed images of authentic Reproductions of 17th, 18th and, 19th Century American Broadside Slavery Sale posters and other historical graphic images.  


As a self-taught digital illustrator Andy Tate and his artist/author, wife Bernice independently published five juvenile children’s books featuring themes of multiculturalism, empowerment, acceptance, anti-bullying, the power of diversity and food choice awareness. The goal is to promote how the power of art and literacy can engage, educate and empower, the next generation of children to be competitive in their global futures.

Andy and Bernice have been married for fifty-two years.



This exhibition is sponsored by a grant from Derek Mitchell Tate with additional support provided by Bernice Mitchell Tate and Andy Tate. 


The Beaufort Arts Council encourages safe social distancing and will follow the current guidelines regarding masks, etc. 


Since its founding in 1991, the mission of the Beaufort Arts Council has been to expand the presence of art in the daily experiences of residents and visitors, and to provide exposure to the local heritage, rich artistic legacy, and cultural uniqueness of our community.


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"I just had the most wonderful and enjoyable weekend! The Painting class was so much fun! Cant wait to do it again on my next trip to Beaufort!"

   -Mary Schlegel McCarthy



We are always looking for input on how to improve and expand our programs.

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Tel: (843) 379-2787 ARTS

921 Ribaut Road,

TCL Campus Building 1

Beaufort, SC 29902