Amen Street Artwork | East Bay Street Downtown Charleston SC

If you’re a frequent Amen Street on East Bay Street in Historic Downtown Charleston SC diner, you’ve probably wondered what the story is behind the colorful, whimsical artwork gracing our walls.

The stacks of twirling paintings on our dining room’s main wall are the work of French artist Paul Colin. The lithograph series, called “Le Tumulte Noir” are moments of Charleston history frozen in time. Colin’s artwork depicts the dance craze that took the world by storm in the flapper era: The Charleston.

Named after our city by the sea, The Charleston was a popular dance during the time of prohibition and speakeasies. “The Charleston” debuted as back-up dancing during a song of the same name, written by composer James Jackson. The Charleston was featured in the 1923 Broadway show “Runnin’ Wild”, making the song- and dance forever popular.

In 1925, “The Charleston” made its debut on stages across the pond, beginning with famous dancer Josephine Baker and her muscial troupe at Paris’ Theatre des Champes-Elysees. Baker and artist Paul Colin were reportedly one-time lovers and life long friends. Colin was so inspired by Baker and this dance craze that he created the lithographs on display at Amen Street. The artwork he created in the 1930’s captures the fun, free feeling we lowcountry residents are lucky enough to experience every day.

Come see them for yourself!

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