What has the West Virginia Folklife Program done lately? Learn about our 2020 fieldwork, programs, and activities.
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.
Kathy Evans of Bruceton Mills is leading an apprenticeship titled “Sheep to Shawl: The Art of Raising Sheep and Creating Fiber Arts,” with apprentice Margaret Bruning of Elkins.
Ashley Wamsley Morrison’s father Jeff Wamsley founded the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant and Ashley manages the museum’s marketing and is one of the organizers of the Mothman Festival. In this interview she speaks about the legend of Mothman, and how the narrative and town’s promotion of the creature has evolved in Point Pleasant.
Leenie Hobbie of Rio in Hampshire County is leading an apprenticeship in traditional Appalachian herbalism with Jon Falcone of Lost River in Hardy County.
Ed Daniels of Mill Creek is leading an apprenticeship in agroforestry/forest farming with Clara Haizlett of Wellsburg. A ginseng digger and cultivator since he was young, Daniels and his wife Carole own and operate Shady Grove Farm in Randolph County where they grow ginseng, goldenseal, ramps, cohosh, and industrial hemp, among other plants. Haizlett, who was an intern in The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s “American Ginseng: Local Knowledge, Global Roots” project, plans to start a forest farm on her family’s land in Brooke County.
Rev. Ronald English of Charleston, West Virginia was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944. He grew up in the community surrounding the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta and his family was close with the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. English is a graduate of Morehouse College and served as ministerial assistant to Drs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sr. He delivered a prayer at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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.
West Virginia Folklife is collecting documentation of the various ways West Virginians are creatively responding to the COVID-19 crisis and sharing their experiences through music, stories, writing, craft, art, memes, mask-making, and more. West Virginians can share documentation of their creative responses by leaving a voicemail on the toll-free West Virginia Folklife Hotline at 1(844)618-3747, or…
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…
We are excited to announce our 20202-2021 class of master artist and apprentice pairs in the West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. In this second year of the Program, seven apprentice pairs from across the Mountain State will study traditions including old-time banjo of central West Virginia, seedsaving, and midwifery. The Apprenticeship Program offers up to…