Arts & Culture

Thomas, W.Va.: The Town the Arts (Re) Built

Apr 25, 2019
Purple Fiddle Facebook page

The downtown of this town of 600 sat nearly vacant until a music venue and artists began to create a new economic future for the former coal town. A new guide from the National Association of Governors says arts and culture can be part of rebuilding economies in rural communities.

The city of Thomas, West Virginia, like a lot of municipalities in the Mountain State, owes its initial development to coal.

Today, however, the downtown of the small town in eastern West Virginia has redeveloped in response to another economic sector – arts and culture.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Glenville State College professor set out to turn his experiences working in a mental asylum into a novel.

Colonel Sanders, his wife Claudia, Winston and Dolly Shelton, Norman Rockwell, daughter Laura Shelton, Dick Miller (Colonel Sanders' driver) and son David Shelton at Rockwell's studio in Rockwell, Massachusetts.
Courtesy of Winston Industries

Winston Shelton passed away last week. Born in Nicholas County, he grew up in Clay and Greenbrier counties, and became an electrical engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who was awarded 76 U.S. patents.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia looks at a disease that at least 2,000 former miners struggle with -- black lung. An NPR investigation found that miners are finding it tough to get help from doctors, lawyers, coal companies, and many lawmakers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginians will soon be allowed to give more money to political groups in the state. Political donors will be allowed to give $2,800 to candidate committees, $5,000 to political action committees and $10,000 to state party executive committees.

Jim Antonini, an occupational health science researcher, fields a ball at shortstop for Chico's Bail Bonds. As team captain, Antonini is in charge of the always-entertaining game write-ups that recap the misery suffered by the Morgantown softball team.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Spring is here and that means baseball season. This week on Inside Appalachia we’re taking another look at baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a fire at a US Steel plant crippled its ability to control its air pollution in December. For three months, the Pittsburgh area was blanketed with releases of sulfur dioxide much higher than usual, and thousands reported suffering from poor air quality. Last week, the steelmaker finished repairing its pollution control equipment. For State Impact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier reports that the worries about air pollution and its health impacts, remain.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This West Virginia Morning, Ken Burns joins us to talk about making the film, “Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns,” the impact it had on him, and what he has come to understand about the power of country music.

 


Courtesy of Evan Barlow

Ken Burns spoke to West Virginia Public Broadcasting about making the film, “Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns,” the impact it had on him, and what he has come to understand about the power of country music.


Jesse Wright / WVPB

“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”, a personal memoir by JD Vance, was on the New York Times Bestseller list for 24 weeks. After the 2016 presidential election, some people read the book, hoping to gain insights into the region. The book sold more than a million copies, and a Ron Howard film is now in the works.

In movies, the people and places of Appalachia are often made into an “other”. That makes it easy to both romanticize and look down upon the region. One example is the common joke many Appalachians are all too familiar with, when someone who isn’t from here pretends to play the banjo riff from “Deliverance”. In Meredith McCarroll’s book “UnWhite: Appalachia, Race and Film”, she examines the way the people of Appalachia are portrayed in films.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, 800 elementary school students gathered at Marshall University on Thursday for the 11th annual Brain Expo. Kara Lofton reports the expo is designed as an opportunity to bring science out of the classroom and give third-sixth graders hands-on learning.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia Treasury Department has joined a coalition of 27 states in an effort to tackle the nation’s student debt crisis. News director Jesse Wright spoke with State Treasurer John Perdue about the initiative and how parents can help support their children’s higher education aspirations from birth.

Quilts hung in the Culture Center in Charleston during Vandalia Gathering 2018.
WV Department of Arts, Culture and History

Entries are being accepted for an annual quilt and wall hangings competition in West Virginia.

The state Division of Culture and History says in a news release it is accepting entries for the West Virginia Quilts and Wall Hangings Juried Exhibition until April 26.

Adobe Stock

Beginning April 1, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources is stocking golden rainbow trout in 55 lakes and streams across the state for a special event called the “Gold Rush.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This morning we pay homage to women who have worked to preserve the state’s environment -- especially the water.


Tennessee General Assembly

It's pronounced "app-uh-latch-uh," not "app-uh-lay-sha."

Lawmakers give the pronunciation lesson in a resolution calling for an official state manual called the Tennessee Blue Book to discuss how people in Appalachia talk. A Senate panel advanced the proposal Tuesday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Wheeling resident and entrepreneur Brian Joseph posed the latest question in our ongoing Wild, Wondering West Virginia series. He asked us to tell the story of what some say are the oldest mountains in the world -- the Appalachian Mountains -- including sister mountain range, the Atlas Mountains.

This question won our online voting round, so we decided to visit with Joseph to gain a bit more insight into his curiosity. Glynis Board reports.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, it’s not every day you meet someone who’s turned their hobby into their livelihood, and that they still pursue it with passion.

But Jane Gilchrist was that person. She was a hand weaver in Harrison County who turned her love of fabrics into a business. She was able to preserve a craft that hadn’t been a necessity since the pioneer days in Appalachia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a new apprenticeship program through the West Virginia Folklife Program is helping connect apprentices with master traditional artists in West Virginia. We heard from several of these folklorists in a recent episode of Inside Appalachia called Appalachia’s Folkways: Handmade and Passing it On. Roxy Todd has a story about how one of the people involved in the apprenticeship program is learning old-time fiddle music.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

About 300 people gathered inside the Islamic Association of West Virginia last night to hold a vigil in memory of the 50 people who were killed in New Zealand last Friday. Religious leaders from several faiths were among those who spoke inside the South Charleston Mosque. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, about 300 people gathered inside the Islamic Association of West Virginia last night to hold a vigil in memory of the 50 people who were killed in New Zealand last Friday. Religious leaders from several different faiths were among those who spoke inside the South Charleston Mosque, as Roxy Todd reports.

Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston
Creative Commons

Updated on Mar. 19, 2019 at 3:12 p.m.

A Catholic diocese and its former bishop in West Virginia knowingly employed pedophiles and failed to conduct adequate background checks on camp and school workers, a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the state attorney general charges.

Russ Barbour

A memoir called “I Am a Dirty Immigrant” is the story of one man’s journey from the West Indies to West Virginia. Anderson Charles grew up in a tightly knit community in Grenada, and in 1986, moved to Kentucky to play basketball and attend college. 

Courtesy: Emily Calandrelli

West Virginia native Emily Calandrelli goes by the name “The Space Gal” online. She has a passion for space exploration and getting more young people, especially girls, into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, also known as STEM. She recently spoke in Charleston as part of the Higher Education Policy Commission’s Chancellor’s STEM Speaker Series. It was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Trump administration’s trade talks continue with China and other countries, farmers are feeling the pain from the president’s year-long trade war. Tariffs on agricultural goods are compounding problems caused by low crop prices and over-production. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Liam Niemeyer reports that small farms are suffering the most.

Caitlin Tan

This week on Inside Appalachia, we take off-the-beaten-path tour of some of the region’s alternative cultures and economies. We’ll visit a factory where workers are reviving the art of glassmaking. We’ll hear how farmers and chefs are returning to some of our old-fashioned recipes for inspiration and attempting to reshape our region’s economy in the process.


James and Deb Fallows

Deborah and James Fallows wrote a book called "Our Towns A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America". The husband and wife duo bought a small low-altitude plane and spent just over four years traveling 100,000 miles throughout small towns across America. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The partial meltdown of one of Three Mile Island’s nuclear reactors 40 years ago this month left areas of the facility highly radioactive. Along came a young group of researchers with an idea to send in robots to fix the damage. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Amy Sisk reports that their work helped expand the fledgling field of robotics.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia morning, automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major investment in solar and other renewable energy in Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. As Sydney Boles reports, the plan includes a massive new solar facility on an old coal mine in Kentucky.

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