Kentucky Arts Council Provides Funds for Folk and Traditional Culture
The Kentucky Arts Council recently awarded $42,000 in Folk Arts Project Grants to identify, document, conserve and present folk and traditional culture. The council approved panel recommendations for funding of widely diverse programs led by 15 non-profit organizations in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth.
The primary purpose of the Folk Arts Project Grant Program is to honor, strengthen, and make visible the stylistic and cultural variety of the traditional arts that exist in Kentucky.
This grant allows many projects to get their start in what could develop into annual events celebrating local culture and traditional art forms. One example is the genesis of the National Jug Band Jubilee in Louisville – very few people realize that Louisville is the ‘storied birthplace’ of jug band music.
“It’s like a buried treasure that we should be taking advantage of,” says Rod Wenz, coordinator for the Jubilee.
Wenz conceived the event after seeing the Juggernauts Jug Band , the nation’s only full time touring jug band, play in Birmingham, Alabama. “It’s the happiest music you ever heard, it’s got lot’s of rhythm,” Wenz continued, “I think the world is ready for a little more happy.”
The Juggernauts will be featured at the Jubilee, along with many other musicians and which will also feature an educational seminar connecting the music’s roots to Louisville.
Another recipient of the grant is the Berea College Appalachian Center partnered with local musicians to present a Celebration of Traditional Music. This will highlight the music derived primarily from the Appalachian region and surrounding area stemming from a rich, diverse history of African-American, Native American and European cultures all mixing into new sub-genre of “traditional” music while preserving some of the old, original forms. “One of the most important benefits of this program is introducing young people to their own heritage because virtually none of these performers produce CD’s or appear on television or anything like that so this is something they wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise,” says Dr. Gordon McKinney, Director of the Appalachian Center.
The Arts Council’s Folk Arts Project grant programs awards are based on the quality of the organization’s detailed project plan combined with their ability to meet specific performance expectations in areas of artistic excellence, cultural significance, interpretation, planning and implementation.
For further information about Folk Arts Project grant programs funded through the Kentucky Arts Council, contact Folklife Specialist Mark Brown at 502-564-1792 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Folklife Program Manager Bob Gates at 502-564-1792 or email@example.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Print quality photo of Juggernaut Jug Band available by clicking on thumbnail. FY2006 Folk Arts Project Grant recipients listed below by county with project description and contact information.
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The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet that invests in programs that develop vibrant communities, provide lifelong education in the arts and support arts participation. Every $1 in grant funds awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council helps grantees secure $15 in earned income and matching funds from individuals, philanthropic sources and other levels of government. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Folk Arts Project Grants
COUNTY APPLICANT AMOUNT
Caldwell Princeton Art Guild, Inc. $3,000
The Princeton Art Guild’s project, the Pennington Folk Festival, will expand to a two-day music festival. The Pennington Folk Festival honors, supports and maintains the tradition of a historic thumbpickin’ style of guitar playing that belongs to the area of western Kentucky. In addition to preserving a long held tradition, the festival is a source of civic pride for the Princeton area.
Contact: Linda Ortt, Director
Davies St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church $3,000
St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church will work with folk life video artist, Stan Woodward, to create a video documentary on the story of burgoo as a folk heritage foodway of Kentucky. The documentary will describe how its roots run deep into the folk heritage and folkways of traditional culture that has its origin in the 19th century Kentucky agriculture society. The documentary will be placed in schools and libraries in the Owensboro community as well as Kentucky public television so that citizens across the state who are unfamiliar with burgoo will come to appreciate it as a Kentucky folk heritage food tradition.
Contact: Patty Bartley, Secretary
Jefferson Louisville Country Dancers $3,000
The Louisville Country Dancers will hold a one-day workshop titled Fiddling for Contra Dances. The workshop will help to preserve a traditional style of tunes to dance. Whereas square dancing is common in rural Kentucky, contra dancing is popular in Louisville, Lexington, Berea, as well as Cincinnati. Contra dance fiddlers have not been introduced to old time tunes of Kentucky. Old time fiddlers in Kentucky do not have much experience adapting old time tunes to contra dance. The workshop will help old time fiddlers learn to play for contras and teach Kentucky fiddle tunes to contra fiddlers.
Contact: Jim McGee, Project Director and Folklorist
Jefferson Kentucky Theater Project $3,000
The Kentucky Theatre Project Performing Arts program is working on a recreation of the Ohio River Steamboat experience from the 1850’s through the 1920’s.The presentation will take place in the spring on the Belle of Louisville and at Cox’s Park where the Belle can dock in much the same way that it did in the 19th century. During the heyday of steamboats, artists provided much of the draw for people to take a cruise on the river; musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers presented their craft from the gangway. The project is engaging artists who draw upon the same occupational folklore of that era and practice this artistry today to recreate the experience. The public performances will help connect the community to its unique history as a classic river town with a rich heritage.
Contact: John Gage, Director, Performing Arts
Jefferson National Jug Band Jubilee $3,000
The National Jug Band Jubilee is a tribute to early musicians, a historic occasion and an opportunity to showcase the community to visitors. This year the festival will include a performance by the Juggernaut Jug Band, the only full-time touring jug band in the United States, in addition to a detailed educational seminar that will explain jug band music’s historic ties to the area.
Contact: Rod Wenz, Coordinating Volunteer
Jackson Stringbean Memorial Festival, Inc. $3,000
The Stringbean Memorial Festival is a non-profit organization with the dual purpose of honoring David “Stringbean” Akemon, Jackson County’s most famous musician, and promoting and conserving their mountain music traditions. The festival focuses on many traditional forms of Appalachian music in addition to folk music from diverse cultures. This year they will feature bluegrass, gospel, old time mountain music, traditional Appalachian ballads, Chinese and Ecuadorian traditional music. Throughout the festival they will emphasize the similarities and differences among the traditions presented.
Contact: Philip Akemon, Board President
Kenton Media Working Group $3,000
Media Working Group will begin work on The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance, a one-hour documentary film about a pioneering, live radio show broadcast out of Chicago. From 1924 to 1960, the National Barn Dance became a voice that unified millions of Americans across the country. With its familiar brand of traditional folk music and back-home personalities, the Barn Dance capitalized on the power of radio to form a virtual community.
Contact: Stephen Perry, Project Director
312-587-8700 ext. 223
Laurel Keavy Elementary School $1,000
Keavy Elementary School and the Keavy Family Resource center will be presenting folk arts and traditions of the local community. The project will have an emphasis on occupational folk traditions of coal mining, Appalachian crafts and Native American crafts. Two community scholars will visit three fifth grade classes and a Gifted and Talented art class, helping students and teachers identify folk traditions in their own families. The classes will work with the scholars as well as tradition bearers to plan exhibits, demonstrations and interpretive activities for a festival, highlighting the traditions they have identified in their own families.
Contact: James Burns, Art Teacher
Letcher Appalshop $3,000
As community outreach for Whitesburg’s Mountain Heritage Festival, Appalshop will host an oral history collecting and storytelling residency with Angelyn DeBord, actress, playwright, visual artist and director. The project involves a cast of children collecting stories about their community’s “mountain heritage” from seniors. DeBord will work with the cast to develop a performance featuring the stories. During the week of the festival, the cast will tour the show across the county.
Contact: Suzanne Savell, Traditional Music Coordinator
Letcher Cowan Community Action Group, Inc. $3,000
The Cowan Community Action Group will offer a weekend workshop in Kentucky traditional music, the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School Fall Gathering. The weekend will offer 12 classes in traditional banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and singing. The Cowan Community Center welcomes all members of the community to attend through scholarships, instruments, transportation and encouragement so that every child that wants to learn music gets a fair chance.
Contact: Carol Ison, President CCAG, Inc.
Letcher Carcassonne Community Center Inc $2,000
The Carcassonne Community Center hosts ten monthly square dances every year and will enhance these traditional Appalachian square dances with live music. The music will be traditional Appalachian string dance band music including a banjo, fiddle and guitar. The traditional folk dancing and music was revived at Carcassonne in the 1960’s based largely on figures and tunes remembered by artists and participants as well as taught in the settlement schools and mountain colleges like Pine Mountain and Berea. The older participants cherish the art form and are passing it on to younger generations.
Contact: Jon Henrikson, Chairman
Madison Berea College Appalachian Center $3,000
The Berea College Appalachian Center partners with local musicians to present Celebration of Traditional Music. This will highlight the music derived primarily from the Appalachian region and surrounding area; consisting of a diverse array of folk music influences, the featured music will include capplla singing, gospel singing, string bands, instrumentalists and blues. This music stems from a rich, diverse history of African-American, Native American and European cultures all mixing into new sub-genre of “traditional” music while preserving some of the old, original forms.
Contact: Lori Brixcoe-Pennington, Associate Director
Rockcastle Mt Vernon-Rockcastle County $3,000
The BitterSweet Cabin Museum, operated by the Mt. Vernon-Rockcastle County Tourist Commission will preset the Discovery Festival on the grounds of the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. The festival has recently added folk life activities present in the community in order to further educate and inform visitors of the county’s diverse areas of interest and promote an awareness of or desire to learn a present activity practiced in the community. The 2006 festival will expand up on that with a Food Ways Presentation. The festival committee will work with the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Folklife Program, Rockcastle County Extension agents, and area homemaker clubs to accomplish this.
Contact: Carol Bryant, Festival Coordinator
Rowan Kentucky Folk Art Center $3,000
The Kentucky Folk Art Center is working with Hazel Kinney, Jesse Wells and John Harrod in developing a retrospective traveling exhibition that examines the diverse creative work of Charley Kinney and his brother Noah Oliver Kinney. This project will explore the self-taught art and the acoustic, string music played by both men and their role in perpetuating important regional musical traditions. The folk artists will be presented in two separate ways: as artists and as musicians. This project is an opportunity for the public to enhance, broaden and appreciate an understanding for folk arts and traditions and their significance to the community as a whole.
Contact: Adrian Swain, Curator
Warren The Bowling Green International Festival $3,000
This year the Bowling Green International Festival working with the Bosnian Club will place a particular emphasis on Bosnian culture in response to a recent growth in the Bosnian community in Warren County. Various folk arts including foodways, visual arts, dance, music, recreation and educational displays will be included into the Bosnian cultural area at the festival.
Contact: Kim Mason, Executive Director