We are pleased to announce our 2022-2023 cohort of apprenticeship participants in the third round of the West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. Seven apprenticeship pairs from across the Mountain State will study and practice traditions including soul food cooking, fiddle repair, and mushroom foraging. The Folklife Apprenticeship Program offers $3,000 to recognize and honor West…
A version of this piece will be published in the Summer 2022 issue of Goldenseal, a print magazine produced by the WV Department of Arts, Culture and History. My name is Jennie Williams, and I’m thrilled to join the West Virginia Humanities Council and direct the West Virginia Folklife Program as the new state folklorist….
West Virginia Folklife is thrilled to announce that its digital archives collection, The West Virginia Folklife Collection, is now accessible online through the West Virginia and Regional History Center at West Virginia University Libraries. The collection may be viewed at https://wvfolklife.lib.wvu.edu/
Please join us on Thursday, September 23 at noon for a virtual showcase featuring apprenticeship pair in old-time banjo of Central West Virginia, Kim Johnson & Cody Jordan of Kanawha County, and old-time fiddle apprenticeship pair Joe Herrmann & Dakota Karper of Hampshire County. The pairs will perform a concert and host a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees should register here.
In April 2020, in the midst of West Virginia’s Stay at Home Order, the West Virginia Folklife Program issued a call for West Virginians to share documentation of how they were creatively responding to the COVID-19 crisis, through music, stories, writing, craft, art, memes, mask making, and more.
Over the next year, we received documents, photos, and videos featuring homemade masks, quilts, doll clothes, and hooked rugs, original poems and compositions, parody songs, paintings, home herbal apothecaries, and even the Mothman statue. These submissions demonstrated the various ways Mountain State residents were processing, documenting, and occupying their time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joe Herrman of Hampshire County is leading an apprenticeship in old-time fiddle with Dakota Karper of Capon Bridge. Herrmann is a founding member of the Critton Hollow String Band and has taught old-time fiddle to many private students and at the Augusta Heritage Center.
Kim Johnson of South Charleston is leading an apprenticeship in banjo traditions of central West Virginia with apprentice Cody Jordan of Charleston.
West Virginia Folklife deeply mourns the great loss of labor songwriter, musician, activist, radio host, teacher, and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Elaine Purkey.
We are thrilled to announce that old-time musician John Morris of Ivydale, WV, is one of nine 2020 National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellows, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
Happy West Virginia Day 2020, from the West Virginia Humanities Council!
W.I. “Bill” Hairston, 71, is a storyteller, old-time musician, and pastor living in Charleston, West Virginia. He was born in Phenix City, Alabama, and his family moved to Saint Albans, West Virginia, in 1960.
William Harrison ‘‘Bill’’ Withers Jr. (July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020) was born into a miner’s family of 13 children in Slab Fork, Raleigh County, West Virginia. His mother moved the family to Beckley when Withers was 3, but he continued to spend weekends in Slab Fork. By the time he was 15, Withers…