The National Endowment for the Arts podcast that goes behind the scenes with some of the nation’s great artists to explore how art works.
The Ties That Bind: A Conversation with Author Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee)
We’re marking Thanksgiving week by posting an interview I did earlier this year for the issue of American Artscape that focused exclusively on Native-Americans artists. I spoke with author and NEA Literature Fellow Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee) whose award-winning novel Crooked Hallelujah --a semi-autobiographical novel of linked short stories--takes us through the complicated lives of four generations of Cherokee women. Crooked Hallelujah, which is Ford’s debut novel, is not about “being Cherokee”; it is about these particular Cherokee women, how they fail, succeed, and survive. It’s an important distinction. They are not on the page to give us a history lesson but their experiences of intergenerational poverty, trauma, the scars of forced assimilation, and an unforgiving church are informed by that often unspoken history. Ford talks about writing Crooked Hallelujah, the importance of geographic place that resonates throughout the book, and the limitations and the fierceness of the love these women share. She also discusses her own upbringing on the reservation raised by generations of Cherokee women, living off the reservation as an adult, and her pushing against her own fiction as necessarily needing to contain cultural or historical explainers of what it means to be Cherokee. We’d love to know your thoughts—email us at email@example.com. And follow us on Apple Podcasts. And check out latest issue of American Artscape which just posted— Original Threads: Equity and Access in the Arts for Hispanic/Latinx Communities.
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month by Revisiting Award-Winning Penobscot Basketmaker Theresa Secord
We are celebrating Native American Heritage Month and the NEA National Heritage Award by revisiting Theresa Secord—a 2106 awardee and Penobscot basketmaker. Although Secord’s great-grandmother was renowned for her baskets woven from the bark black ash tree and sweet grass, Theresa herself didn’t learn to weave until she was an adult. In the podcast she discusses returning to the reservation after getting a master’s degree in geology and becoming interested in the traditional cultural art forms of the Wabanaki and learning basketry from an elder Penobscot basketmaker. Becoming an accomplished and award-winning artist, Secord talks about her growing awareness that basket-making was close to becoming a dying art form and her determination not to watch this fade into history; she discusses co-founding the Maine Indian Basketmaker’s Alliance—an organization she led for 21 years, and her continuing commitment to conservation to preserve the ash tree against the destruction of the invasive emerald ash borer beetle.
Join us online on November 17 when we premier the documentary called “Roots of American Culture” a celebration of the artistry of the 2022 National Heritage Fellows. Check out our website arts.gov for more details.
We’d love to know your thoughts--email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The founder of Step Afrika! C. Brian Williams explains the art of stepping.
C. Brian Williams talks about the art of stepping—defining and historicizing the art form and discussing its deep connection to African-American fraternities and sororities. (He learned to step when he was accepted into a fraternity at Howard University). He talks about the creation of Step Afrika! which began in 1994 as a dance festival in South Africa and grew into an education and performing arts organization and in now one of the top 10 U.S. Black dance companies, the company’s commitment to education (all dancers are expected to be teaching artists) and its dedication to cultural exchange. He also discusses the company’s commitment to bring the art form to as many people as possible and its creation of choreography that fits as easily in a school auditorium as it does on a Broadway stage. C. Brian Williams also discusses the significance of traditional arts globally and its ability to open a window into the soul of a nation.
Join us online on November 17 when we premier the documentary called “Roots of American Culture” a celebration of the artistry of all the 2022 National Heritage Fellows. Check out our website arts.gov for more details.
We’d love to know your thoughts--email us at email@example.com.
Remembering Lakota Culture-Bearer Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke passed away on September 30, 2022. He was a Lakota flute player, hoop dancer, teacher, and 1990 National Heritage Fellow. And we’re paying tribute to him by reposting this 2015. In the podcast, Kevin Locke talks about learning to play the indigenous flute—which had been on the brink of extinction, his work in the revitalization of the Lakota language, and the difference in meaning dance has in indigenous culture as compared to European culture. Locke also describes the Hoop Dance and its significance—the Hoop Dance is another traditional practice that almost died out-- in which he uses 28 wooden hoops to create a series of designs and patterns. Kevin Locke also discusses the universal importance of traditional arts and how the specificity of them creates connections among different peoples. We’d love to know your thoughts--email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art at the Intersection: A Community Claims Its Legacy
Early last year the NEA’s magazine *American Artscape *published an article by Paulette Beete entitled, “Let Black Voices Ring Again” about the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society’s participation in the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) to rehabilitate a vacant but historically-significant Black church. In this podcast, we’re following up to trace the continuing impact of CIRD’s work with the Athens, Ohio project and how these efforts have continued to progress. We’re joined by the Director of Communications for the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society, Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed who shares the history of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, of the vibrant Black community that once existed in Athens, Ohio, and the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society’s determination to preserve that history and repurpose the church as a Black cultural center while retaining its stunning architectural features. Ford-Ahmed talks about bringing in students enrolled in various programs in Ohio University—another Athens’ institution— to work as interns and help the preservation society develop strategies and plans. Dr Ford-Ahmed discusses CIRD’s work with the Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society, CIRD’s outreach to the greater Athens’ community, how the preservation society’s participation with CIRD led to other opportunities—including additional grants, greater community involvement in the project, and the creation of a docu-series called "Black Wall Street Athens County." She also discusses how the plans for the church have grown and evolved, the current state of the project, and where she sees it going in the next couple of years.
We’d love to know your thoughts--email us at email@example.com. And follow us on Apple Podcasts!
Meeting Bluegrass Fiddle Virtuoso Michael Cleveland
Bluegrass Fiddler and 2022 NEA National Heritage Fellow Michael Cleveland talks about his life immersed in music
Virtuoso fiddler and 2022 National Heritage Fellow Michael Cleveland talks about his life in bluegrass—and it is a lifelong love affair. He was brought to bluegrass shows as an infant and began performing on stage when he was about seven years. Known for the speed, intensity, and artistry of his playing, Cleveland is one of the great fiddler players of his generation, recognized 12 times as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (INBA)“Fiddler of the Year” and inducted into the National Fiddler’s Hall of Fame. Cleveland was a child he came to the attention of musicians like Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, and Allison Krause (who brought him to the Grand Ole Opry to play with her band when he was 13). In this podcast, Michael talks about going to the Kentucky School for the Blind when he was four years old – a school with a rich music program that frowned on bluegrass. He learned classical violin during the week and bluegrass when he came home on weekends. We discuss Southern Indiana’s rich history in bluegrass, how the music itself is rooted in community where jams are the real places of learning the music, and the accessibility of bluegrass performers to their audiences. Michael recalls starting his professional career which began by playing with Dale Ann Bradley and Rhonda Vincent, his branching out to solo work, and beginning his own band, Flamekeeper (named Instrumental Group of the Year by INBA seven times.) We also discuss his many collaborations with musicians like Bela Fleck, Tommy Emmanuel, and Heritage Fellows Del McCoury, Andy Statman and Jerry Douglas as well as his Grammy Award for Tall Fiddler. We’d love to know your thoughts--email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich content, fascinating guests
Hi Reed as a host is a treasure
I love this app! Love it!
Very well produced, wide range of topics. Great podcast!