Arts & Culture

This story ran on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Gloria Vanderbilt was an artist, heiress, designer and philanthropist who, for many Americans, may be best remembered for her blue jeans. She died at the age of 95.

Vanderbilt's son, Anderson Cooper, announced her death Monday, airing an obituary for her on CNN. Vanderbilt had cancer, he said.

Truth, Imagination, and Vulnerability: The All-American Town Photobook

Jun 5, 2019

“We can concern ourselves with presence rather than with phantom, image rather than with conjure. Bad as it is, the world is potentially full of good photographs. But to be good, photographs have to be full of the world.” — Dorothea Lange and Daniel Dixon, Photographing the Familiar: A Statement of Position, Aperture, 1952.

The closing statement of The All-American Town: A Photography Project by The Rural Arts Collaborative, Bellaire High School, a 60-page photobook (some may call it a zine), reads: “These photographs and statements are a sharing of our collective truth and imagination.” And it is striking.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, data on the Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis show that the problem is often more profound and persistent in communities that are economically distressed. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series, “Working Toward Recovery,” Aaron Payne visited an Ohio community tackling both problems.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Jeremy Farley is a self-taught expert on Appalachian storytelling.  He grew up in Wythe County, Virginia, and is the founder of Appalachian Magazine. Jeremy is also one of 10 new reporters with the Folkways Reporting Corps. Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, recently sat down with Jeremy to talk about Appalachian Magazine, and his new position on the team. We hear part of that conversation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, after almost 15 years, the West Virginia Legislature came through on a promise made to the state’s horse and dog racing industries. As Liz McCormick reports, revenues that had been allocated elsewhere is flowing back to those industries. As part of our occasional series, “Effective from Passage,” we explore Senate Bill 13, which officially went into effect late last week.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After almost 15 years doing without, revenue dollars are flowing back into West Virginia’s horse and dog racing industries. The legislature came through on a promise made more than a decade ago, and men and women within the racing industry are excited at the possibility of a boom in business. As part of our occasional series, “Effective from Passage,” we explore the potential effects of Senate Bill 13 (SB 13), which went into effect last week.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia University will host an NCAA Baseball Regional tournament this weekend for the first time in 64 years.

The 15th-seeded WVU Mountaineers (37-20) earned a spot in the NCAA Championship this past weekend. That’s despite losing, 5-2, to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship final on Sunday.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As public schools adjourn for summer, an art residency program that places professional artists in classrooms just wrapped up its second year in northern West Virginia. Students, community members and teachers gathered for an in-school reception at John Marshall High School, in Marshall County, to celebrate.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly is directing a new initiative to expand our arts and cultural reporting throughout central Appalachia, and helping her is our new reporter, Caitlin Tan. The two sat down to talk about what Caitlin has discovered during her first few months of living here and reporting on folklife for Inside Appalachia.

Emily Hilliard / West Virginia Folklife Program

Doris Fields, an R&B, soul, and blues musician and songwriter, also known as Lady D, is the daughter of a coal miner. Her dad moved to West Virginia from Alabama at 10 years old and spent 50 years in the mines. She currently lives in Beckley.

Fields explained that music has been in her blood since she was a young girl, growing up in Cabin Creek, West Virginia.

Caitlin Tan

Greasy pepperoni rolls, pungent ramps, sweet apple butter, shaggy Big Foot, scruffy Mothman – these are all symbols that represent West Virginia. Local treasures that began from traditions and legends from long ago that are getting a modern flare, thanks to a graphic design artist in Morgantown.

Liz Pavlovic’s business “Liz Pavlovic Design and Illustrations” recreates West Virginia’s mementos with an endearing modern, cartoonish flare.


U.S. Department of State

On Monday, Americans will celebrate Memorial Day. The holiday came to represent the unofficial start to summer. But for many, the day also reminds us to take a few moments to stop and remember a loved one who fought and died for our country on the battlefield. The holiday is steeped in rich history dating back to the American Civil War.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore how our cultural traditions change over time and evolve as they get passed from person to person.

 

How does foklife fit into our already busy, and frankly, quite stressful lives?

“Henry Glassie, another folklorist, says that folklore is the creation of the future out of the past. So in order to know where we're headed, we have to know about these traditions in the past,” explained West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Greensboro is a small town in southern Pennsylvania, just across the West Virginia border. It sits on the banks of the Monongahela river, surrounded by small hills and patches of trees.

Over the years the town has weathered boom and busts of a pottery industry, river trade, and coal.  Lately, it’s been more bust than boom.

But now, some artists are trying to stimulate the local economy using what they know best: creativity. Our folklife reporter Caitlin Tan visited the Greensboro Art Cooperative to find out more.

Caitlin Tan

Walking down the streets of Greensboro, Pennsylvania, it feels a bit like a ghost town. There are houses, business signs, a post office, but only two cars drive by in 10 minutes and no one is walking the streets.

The small town in southern Pennsylvania is just across the West Virginia border. It sits on the banks of the Monongahela River, surrounded by small hills and patches of trees. In years past, the town has weathered the boom and bust of a pottery industry, river trade and coal. Lately, it has been more bust than boom.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, There’s a strong historical connection between Appalachia and Wales.

Many of our ancestors migrated from Wales to Appalachia, both regions once heavily depended on the coal industry and both have a strong mountain culture -- a culture that includes music, art and storytelling.

This month at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, you can see an expansive art exhibit dedicated to the Welsh-Appalachian connection. Our folklife reporter, Caitlin Tan, has more.

Jesse Wright

Across the Atlantic Ocean -- 3,586 miles away from West Virginia -- you will find Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom. The western side of Wales is lined by two channels from the Celtic Sea. And inland is quite mountainous. Within those mountain towns, you will find similar folk culture to Appalachia.

“The nature of the people and the landscape is very similar. Plus, many people from West Wales came over here. So we’ve got those really strong connections,” said Peter Stevenson, a Welsh artist, writer and storyteller.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol in Charleston at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 20, to reconvene a special session on education betterment that was called months ago. But Republican leaders have yet to agree on exactly what kinds of reforms will be considered. So, as Dave Mistich reports, instead of focusing on education, the special session will likely address bills Governor Jim Justice vetoed on technical grounds.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, following an investigation started five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice determined West Virginia is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s because it has too many children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders in out-of-state residential facilities. As Kara Lofton reports, the Justice Department and the state have agreed to a plan to bring West Virginia into compliance with that law within five years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the department of education released a 33-page report titled West Virginia’s Voice last week. It presents education reform ideas collected from a series of forums held around the state.

The department concludes that “West Virginia’s education system is not broken,” but identifies four priorities for improving public education: increasing pay for all school employees, increasing funding for mental health professionals, incentivizing high-performing schools by providing local flexibility to explore educational innovations, and funding supplemental pay for shortage areas, especially math instruction.

In this Jan. 28, 1989 file photo, actress and animal rights activist Doris Day poses for photos after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award she was presented with at the annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
AP file photo

Doris Day, the honey-voiced singer and actress whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and ‘60s and among the most popular screen actresses in history, has died. She was 97.

Wheeling Country Day School

Kids, parents, grandparents, and educators are getting together around West Virginia this week to celebrate non-traditional learning. It’s part of a growing initiative to demonstrate and practice innovative education models.


The 1981 Northfork Blue Demons after winning their 8th state championship title.
Courtesy of Patricia Boyd

Coal was king in McDowell County in the 1960s and 70s. At one point, it was one of the richest counties in the country due to coal production. There were more than 53 communities that either had their own mines or housed miners who worked in the area. Because the coal mines attracted workers from all over the country, even the world, there was a pretty diverse group of people in McDowell.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s only one high school in Preston County. But there used to be many, and the sports rivalry and team spirit at each school were strong.

Former students from the original schools banded together to create the Preston County Sports Museum, to help memorialize the sports league of years past. It’s the only one of its kind in the state.

Inside Appalachia folklife reporter Caitlin Tan visited the museum and spoke with a brother and sister who graduated from one of the schools in the 1950s.

Jesse Wright

The tall, red brick building that was once home to Rowlesburg High School still stands after surviving the historic 1985 flood.

After the flood it was no longer used as a school, but today it remains the heart of the community of Rowlesburg – it's where people meet, festivities are held, weekly dinners are made, etc.

VIDEO: A W.Va. Community Responds to Religious Violence of Past and Present

May 7, 2019
Bobby Lee Messer

One Appalachian community is responding to violence of the past and present targeted at religious groups.

At their annual reading of the names ceremony, the B’Nai Shalom Synagogue in Huntington, West Virginia, brought together community members in a ceremony to remember victims of the Holocaust.

Just a few blocks away, community activists gathered to also honor the victims of the Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.

The remembrances came the same day as the latest attack on the Jewish community in America– a shooting at a California synagogue.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, science can be a hard subject to understand, especially upper-level higher-ed science courses. A professor in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle is creatively cracking the code to help his students understand tricky topics. Corey Knollinger has more.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Thinking back on a tradition that’s been carried on in your family probably isn’t too hard. The Thanksgiving Turkey, or celebrating Christmas morning, or even just watching cartoons with your siblings on Saturday morning.

For one family in Lincoln County, West Virginia, the tradition is building furniture. Inside Appalachia folklife reporter, Caitlin Tan, visited the shop and brings us their story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in June, 2017, West Virginia University Medicine was studying a little-known approach to cancer treatment called narrative medicine. The aim was to improve the treatment experience for doctors and patients alike.

The idea with narrative medicine is that if doctors get to know patients through their life stories, the physicians will be able to improve their ability to care for their patients, beyond simply managing symptoms. It takes time to sit down and record stories with cancer patients like Lacie Wallace, but the art of storytelling had lasting effects, especially for a patient’s family. Kara Lofton reports.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, reporters with Marketplace spent more than a year in central Appalachia. They were investigating how the opioid epidemic has changed as law enforcement began cracking down on prescription drugs. The series is part of a podcast called “The Uncertain Hour”. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Trey Kay, host of Us and Them, recently spoke with producer Caitlin Esch. They talked about how it’s difficult to fight a drug epidemic through law enforcement alone.

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