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This new exhibition presented by the Asheville History Center will explore the power, prevalence and persistence of the Appalachian hillbilly stereotype from the late 19th century to the present day.  The exhibit will take a unique approach by focusing on photography featuring the people of the region, some of them stereotypical images, combined with poetry and short prose pieces that question and challenge these stereotypes.  The exhibition will be divided into five sections and will explore issues related to:  Religion, Music, Arts and Crafts, Moonshine and Ignorance/Backwardness.   A number of three-dimensional objects and artifacts reflecting mountain traditions will be shown in the exhibit as well. Hillbilly Land will be on view through December 31, 2014, during regular visitor hours at the Asheville History Center at the Smith McDowell House.
Dr. Dan Pierce, curator of the exhibition said, “I have a love/hate relationship with the Hillbilly stereotype; hating the way that people look at me when they hear my accent, but loving playing the hick, the rube. Using the rich photography and literature of the region, the Hillbilly Land exhibition explores the complex nature of this very old and remarkably resilient image.”
Many of the early photographers in Appalachia came from outside the region and reflect the fascination with the region and the people who live in its coves and hollows.  Early photographers included in the exhibition are Bayard Wootten and Doris Ulmann. Contemporary photographers include Rob Amberg, Tim Barnwell, Don Dudenbostel, Benjamin Porter and Ralph Burns. The writers featured all have deep roots in Western North Carolina.  They include the late Jim Wayne Miller, Fred Chappell, Robert Morgan, Michael McFee, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Ron Rash, Wiley Cash, Wayne Caldwell and Jane Hicks.
Hillbilly Land was curated by Dr. Dan Pierce, Historian and History Department Chair at UNC-Asheville.  Additional research for the exhibition has been contributed by Jim Stokely, son of North Carolina writer, Wilma Dykeman; Gene Hyde, Head of Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Asheville and Erica Locklear, Associate Professor of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville.  Thomas Rash, Dr. Gordon McKinney and Dr. Richard Graham have assisted with the exhibition planning and programming.

Arts and Crafts of Appalachia
Saturday, October 18, 2014 – 2:00 pm
Presented by Becky Anderson, Founding Director of HandMade in America
And Anna Fariello, Associate Professor Western Carolina University
Manheimer Room at the Reuter Center – UNCA Campus
Appalachia is known for its traditional culture, including music, storytelling, and crafts.  Each of these traditions began as personal and grew outward into their communities and are now known the world over.  Becky Anderson, founding director of HandMade in America; and Western Carolina University professor and author, Anna Fariello are teaming up to present a brief history of the arts and crafts of Appalachia.  Where did these forms come from and where are they practiced today?  The two presenters will provide a context for understanding and appreciating today’s creative arts, still practiced in the most remote sections of the Appalachian Mountains.
As the founder and former Executive Director of HandMade in America, Becky Anderson established Craft Heritage and Farms and Garden trail guides to help foster economic activity for the region.  She has been a catalyst for community and economic development projects for more than twenty years.  Ms. Anderson also established the first Hand Made House which brought together over 100 artists from the North Carolina mountains to work hand in hand with architects, landscapers, and construction crews to create a model of collaboration that can be replicated in the region and beyond.
Anna Fariello, a professional curator, is an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library.  She is building digital collections focused on the region’s material culture.  Anna is author of three books on Cherokee crafts, author of the interpretive travel guide, Blue Ridge Roadways:  A Virginia Field Guide to Cultural Sites and co-author of the textbook, Objects & Meaning:  New Perspectives on Art and Craft. A former research fellow with the Smithsonian and Archives of American Art, she currently serves on the board of the World Craft Council.
This program is open to the public.  The fee to attend the presentation is $5.00 per person.  Members of the Western North Carolina Historical Association are admitted free of charge.  No reservations are required.  If you want additional information, please call 828-253-9231 or email



November 13, 2014 – 7:00 pm
"Thunder Road" and the Economics of Moonshine Presented by Sheriff Van Duncan
The Carolina Theater
Donation of $10.00 per person suggested

November 22, 2014 - 2:00 pm

The Social Function of Narrative in Appalachian Society
Presented by Charlotte Ross
Sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council
Manheimer Room at the Reuter Center - UNC Asheville
Open to the Public Free of Charge

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