The Rural Arts Initiative was a collaboration between the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum designed to provide a community with a consulting folklorist to promote the study and documentation of that area and its folk culture. Interviews were conducted in Charleston, Georgetown, and Williamsburg counties with a focus on the coastal village of McClellanville.
Folklorist Gail Matthews spent almost a month in McClellanville and the surrounding area. Among the traditions documented were sweetgrass basketry, bladesmithing, the fishing industry, and an especially rich gospel tradition. In the past ten years, further documentation has focused on the variety of changes affecting the sweetgrass basket tradition, clamming, oystering, shrimping, and traditional foodways.