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Storytelling with Folk Heritage Award recipient John Fowler

Enjoy a performance by 2013 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipient John Thomas Fowler at McKissick Museum. Fowler -- a master musician and storyteller -- will perform Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. - noon. john thomas fowlerFowler has been described as a treasure of a performer, an artist and a lover of folklore. For more than 30 years, Fowler has worked to ensure that Appalachian culture remains alive by sharing the music traditions and stories of his heritage with schools, churches and libraries, at festivals and other events, as well as through recordings and radio. His storytelling weaves together the threads that bind communities – a shared history and family ties, and his performances combine music, folklore and charm. He often surprises audiences by tapping his foot or dancing a jig while he plays and tells stories. His presentations are designed for all ages, from a child dreaming of playing a musical instrument to a senior reminiscing of days gone by. Fowler's performance is part of the museum's programming for the exhibition Diverse Voices, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Related: Nominations for the 2014 Folk Heritage Awards are due Dec. 16, 2013. Via: McKissick Museum

McKissick Museum celebrates Diverse Voices in new folklife gallery

The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum has opened a new folklife gallery and exhibition, Diverse Voices: Discovering Community Through Traditional Arts. Dedicated to the late George D. Terry, McKissick's director from 1976-1988, Diverse Voices explores deeply rooted traditions that help create the cultural landscape of South Carolina and the surrounding region. Each year the exhibit will focus on a specific theme or tradition. Year One offers a comprehensive presentation of objects from the museum collection that represent the work of celebrated NEA National Heritage Fellows and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients. Year One showcases the work of artists such as Philip Simmons, Janie Hunter, Burlon Craig, Snuffy Jenkins and Gale McKinley. Simmons, Hunter and Craig are National Heritage Fellows. Simmons, Jenkins and McKinley are Folk Heritage Award recipients. The public is invited to celebrate the gallery's opening at a reception Monday, Aug. 19 from 5:30 - 8 p.m. Mac Arnold (Folk Heritage Award recipient) and Plate Full o' Blues will perform from 6 - 7:30 p.m. The current exhibition runs through July 12, 2014. “It’s very exciting and rewarding to finally have a gallery space within McKissick that is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the folklife and traditional arts of the region," said Saddler Taylor, curator of Folklife and Fieldwork. "McKissick has been passionate about documenting traditional arts for more than 30 years; it’s fitting that we set aside exhibition space to tell that story on a regular basis.” Additional programs for Diverse Voices include Mill Billy Blues, featuring Freddie Vanderford on Thursday, October 3, and Folk Time, featuring storyteller John Thomas Fowler and Native American scholar Will Moreau Goins on Saturday, November 2. Vanderford, Fowler and Goins are Folk Heritage Award recipients. Diverse Voices is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. McKissick Museum is located on the University of South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe with available parking in the garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All exhibits are free and open to the public. Museum hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday - Friday and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays. The museum is closed Sundays and holidays. For more information, visit McKissick's website or call Ja-Nae Epps at 803-777-2876. Via: McKissick Museum

Artist and advocate to receive Folk Heritage Awards

The South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina announce John Thomas Fowler and R. Stanley Woodward as the 2013 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients. The S.C. State Legislature will present the awards upon adjournment in the House Chamber, midday on May 2 at the Statehouse. John Thomas FowlerFowler, of Boiling Springs, is being honored as a master musician, performer and storyteller. For more than 30 years, he has worked to keep Appalachian culture alive by sharing the music traditions and stories of his heritage. Woodward, a documentary film maker from Greenville, is being honored for 40 years of advocating for and bringing recognition to South Carolina folk artists and traditions, particularly those associated with foodways and music. Following the Statehouse ceremony, a reception will be held at the Capstone House on the campus of the University of South Carolina. This informal event gives supporters and the Stan Woodwardgeneral public the opportunity to celebrate the recipients’ artistic skills and lifetime commitment to the preservation and promotion of traditions rooted in place and community. The reception will take place in the Capstone Campus Room on the first floor. The public is invited to the ceremony and the reception. The Folk Heritage Award is named for the late Jean Laney Harris, an ardent supporter of the state's cultural heritage. The award was created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the folk arts. The artistic traditions represented by the award are significant because they have endured, often for hundreds of years. For more information about the awards ceremony or reception, contact Saddler Taylor, McKissick Museum, at (803) 777-7251 or Rusty Sox, S.C. Arts Commission, at (803) 734-8899. Also visit the McKissick Museum website or the South Carolina Arts Commission website.