FLORENCE, S.C. — A new singer/songwriter circle begins Thursday night at The Healing Arts Exchange on West Palmetto Street in Florence. The two-hour event begins at 7 p.m.

The Healing Arts Exchange, located in the old Book Exchange at 617 W. Palmetto, is owned by Renee Fitch Smith. She will be partnering with singer/songwriter Dawn Larsen to bring this event to Florence once a month.

“I ran a monthly songwriter circle for nearly two years in Florence,” Larsen said. “It was successful and more than a year later, we are recreating it.”

She said a singer/songwriter circle is a listening event. It is for the songwriters to sing for each other and receive feedback from fellow musicians.

She said in a true songwriter circle, at least the ones she has seen, writers sit in a circle, sing their songs, talk about the song and how it came to be written, and then the group talks about what is good or bad about it.

“We are not performing for an audience,” she said. “We are singing our songs for each other.”

Larsen said her primary intent for doing the singer/songwriter circle is to foster a community of artists who like each other.

Larsen said she is from Branson, Missouri, and lived a couple of years in Nashville.

“I want to foster a place where people collaborate,” she said. “I am a songwriter.”

Larsen they are inviting the public to join them for an “intimate evening of acoustic, original music.”

“We want people to come and bring a chair, bring some food, hang out and listen,” she said.

For the first circle there will be three songwriters — Michael Bailey, Grover Windham and Larsen.

Larsen said they are all veteran songwriters.

“We all have enough songs to fill up the two hours,” she said.

Larsen has a one-woman show that she does using her own music.

“I toured this summer,” she said.

She also noted that they are all of a mature age, have other jobs and perform their music.

Larsen is an associate professor of theatre at Francis Marion University.

In upcoming circles, Larsen said they hope to include new songwriters.

Smith said she is excited to foster local artists and musician. She said the circle will give musicians a chance to connect to the public.

Smith said The Healing Place is a holistic wellness center that provides counseling, massages, and holistic consultations and workshops. She has an herbalist on staff.

Smith said she hosts events to promote the local art community and to give people a chance to heal through the arts.

Larsen said there are not a lot of places in the area to listen to music in such a quiet, intimate setting.

“It is a great space,” Larsen said. “I’ve sung there several times,”

The singer/songwriter circle will take place tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. The next two circles are Nov. 21 and Dec. 12. There is no charge, but a love offering will be accepted. Some of the musicians will have CDs available for purchase.

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