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Jagged Path: the African Diaspora in Western North Carolina in Craft, Music, and Dance

April 30, 2022 - October 22, 2022

BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) is excited to open the exhibition, Jagged Path: the African Diaspora in Western North Carolin in Craft, Music, and Dance. The in-person exhibition is accompanied by a program series, digital exhibit, book, and traveling exhibit.

The Jagged Path seeks to illuminate the obscured history of African contributions to craft, music, and dance in Western North Carolina. Drawing connections across geography and generations, the Jagged Path will demonstrate how African traditions that survived the Middle Passage have helped create the culture of Western North Carolina.

The exhibition is the result of over two years of work by the project manager, Willard Watson, and the curatorial team of Marie T. Cochran (visual arts/craft curator), Laurie Goux (dance curator), Fred J. Hay (music curator), Gabe Wilson (BRAHM executive curator). The exhibit
features art and history and we are excited to work with the following artists: The Allen Boys, LaKisha Blount, Marie T. Cochran, Nathan Favors & Mariela de Leew, NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, Theresa Gloster, Cara Hagan, Victoria Casey McDonald, Jim McDowell, Jenny Pickens, Viola Spells, Valeria Watson, Tray Wellington, Todd Wright, & the Junaluska Heritage Association.

Jagged project manager and BRAHM programs and outreach director, Willard Watson said, “This is an ambitious undertaking for our organization, but it is the type of work that arts an cultural organizations should be doing. We are the only arts organization in our tri-county area known as the High Country and it is our responsibility for all members of our community to see themselves represented in our galleries and programs. Right now in our country there are conversations going on about who is really American, who’s history is American history, and who belongs. Well, many of the traditions that we hold dear in Western North Carolina have roots in the African Diaspora, three examples that many people aren’t familiar with are the banjo, face jugs, and flat foot dancing. For various reasons, not a lot of people know that. If we can illustrate how these familiar traditions have links to the African Diaspora we can encourage larger conversations about what it means to be a North Carolinian, what it means to be Appalachian, and what it means American. The meaning of the exhibition was summed up beautifully in our exhibition invocation written by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green. We are truly blessed to have partnered with an incredible team of curators and artists.”

The exhibit is accompanied by a calendar of over 20 programs including artist residencies, scholarly lectures, dance performances, concerts, art workshops, and poetry readings. There are too many events to list in this single article but a few notable programs associated with the
exhibition are an artist residency with potter Jim McDowell (May 5-7), a concert with virtuoso Banjo player Tray Wellington on August 28, and an evening with North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green on September 22. You can view the full calendar of events at
www.blowingrockmuseum.org/see/jagged-path. Accessibility is very important as not everyone is able to make it up to Blowing Rock for all the programs, because of this all programs will be filmed and posted on BRAHM’s YouTube page.

The in-person exhibition and program series are supplemented by an exhibition book, a traveling exhibition, and a digital exhibit that includes artist interviews, oral histories with tradition bearers, and archival videos. The traveling exhibition will begin touring at the beginning of 2023 with a visit to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina. For more information on booking the traveling exhibit please contact Willard Watson at 828-295-9099 ext. 3006 or email programs@blowingrockmuseum.org.

The Jagged Path: the African Diaspora in Western North Carolina through Craft Music and Dance is made possible by support from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, North Carolina Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As well as SouthArts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. As well as financial support from Andrew and Claire Knoblich, Houck and KB Medford, Bill and Judy Watson, and Hellbender Bed & Beverage.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the Jagged Path exhibition, do not necessarily represent those of Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, SouthArts, North Carolina Humanities, North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, or the National Endowment for the Arts.

BRAHM is a 501-c3 non-profit arts and history museum nestled in the village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. BRAHM’s mission is to provide cultural enrichment to the High Country communities by promoting the arts, and Southern Appalachian heritage and history, through educational programs, exhibitions, activities, and permanent collections. The museum offers FREE ADMISSION and is open to
the public, Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00AM – 5:00PM. Visit https://www.blowingrockmuseum.org/ or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @BRMUSEUM for updates.

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April 30, 2022
October 22, 2022
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Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
BLOWING ROCK, North Carolina 28605 United States
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We welcome submission of Western North Carolina events focused on our heritage themes of mountain music, crafts, foodways, outdoors and Cherokee culture. Please submit two weeks in advance.

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