$52,000 in Awards Distributed to Support Folk Arts and Culture in Bristol Region - The Birthplace of Country Music
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$52,000 in Awards Distributed to Support Folk Arts and Culture in Bristol Region

Photo collage of grant recipients' portraits.

BRISTOL, Va.-Tenn. (May 31, 2023) – The Greater Bristol Folk Arts & Culture Team—a collective of local culture workers—is thrilled to announce the recipients of its grant and fellowship program to support folk arts and culture in the region, thanks to Central Appalachia Living Traditions (CALT), an initiative of Mid Atlantic Arts.

Representatives articulated a shared goal for this grant program: “To promote and support folk arts and culture in the greater Bristol community by providing targeted resources and support to area organizations, artists, and artist collectives with the goal of dramatically impacting the sustainability and awareness of traditional practice, cultural knowledge, and improving economic development and regional vitality.”

The team is distributing over $50,000 in direct rewards to four (4) Cultural Caretaker organizations and eight (8) Tradition Bearer Fellows, along with sharing a variety of professional development, performance, and cultural practice opportunities. Awardees will be featured at the Virginia Folklife Area at the Richmond Folk Festival (October 14 and 15, 2024), organized by the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities. 

“We are excited for this opportunity to celebrate and support folk arts and culture in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee,” said Tyler Hughes, the grant program’s project manager. “We want these grant awards to have a ripple effect—helping the organizations to build capacity and the artists to develop their practice and skills, which in turn will directly and positively impact their communities.”

Cultural Caretaker grants of $5,000 each—focused on small-scale, limited capacity, and largely volunteer-run community organizations—have been awarded to the Appalachian African American Cultural Center (Pennington Gap, Va.), the Carter Family Fold (Scott Co., Va.), Exchange Place (Kingsport, Tenn.), and Mount Pleasant Preservation Society (Smyth Co., Va.).

Tradition Bearer Fellowship awards of $4,000 each have been allocated to broom maker John Ingles Alexander (Grayson Co., Va.), luthier Jackson Cunningham (Grayson Co., Va.), clothing maker Stephen Curd (Washington Co., Va.), musician Pierceton Hobbs (Dickenson Co., Va.), dulcimer player Roxanne McDaniel (Washington Co., Tenn.), photographer Anna Mullins (Dickenson Co., Va.), broom maker Erin Simons (Wythe Co., Va.), and luthier K. T. VanDyke (Bristol, Va.).

For more information visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org/museum/special-projects/ or email BristolAnchorCommunity@gmail.com.