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Chewstick Foundation celebrates anniversary

The Chewstick Foundation will celebrate its 15-year anniversary tonight.

Gavin Smith, executive director, said there was no way of predicting what the charity would become when it was founded.

Mr Smith said: “Looking back, there are things that we may have done differently but the spirit and passion of Chewstick and our community participants' growth and evolution has been the most gratifying part of this experience.”

He added the fire that gutted the organisation's Front Street headquarters in 2016 had made it “step back and reassess”.

Mr Smith said the group had been “working quietly and diligently to make sure our next steps put the Foundation on solid ground to ensure its longevity”.

The charity was founded in 2003 and evolved from a “grassroots open mic jam session between friends” to an organisation focused on the arts, community, culture, education, entertainment and young people.

Chewstick has put on more than 500 open mic events, ten Beachfest celebrations and three international youth poetry team tours over the years.

It has also been behind 14 community murals and has given more than $8,000 to up-and-coming artists through its annual Mary Prince Award.

Tonight's celebration will be held at Spinning Wheel on Court Street.

The open mic event will feature performances by “stalwart Chewstick supporters”. Attendees will also be able to sign up at the door to perform, or by e-mailing infor@chewstick.org ahead of time.

A door prize raffle will include items from Bodhi Studio, DNA Creative Shop, and coffee shop Rock Island.

Using the arts: Gavin Smith, executive director and founder of Chewstick, and Deidra-Lee Bean, operations manager (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published January 06, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated January 05, 2018 at 11:07 pm)

Chewstick Foundation celebrates anniversary

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