Saturday, August 3, 2013



photo by Elizabeth Gordon
I have to remind myself as a visual artist not to be too prejudiced or ego centric about my own art form.  I was trained and worked in the visual arts all my career.  It is my focus and center, but I do love all arts!  I love drama, dance, theater, music, writing, story telling and so much more.  But there is more than the traditional arts to enjoy as well...when people take anything to a high level of craft, innovation and enjoyment it becomes an art.  The art of food, wine, craft beer, wood carving, a great Cuban sandwich, a great many things.  Just recently while being in my Asheville studio I have learned to appreciate so many things this area has to offer.  The mountain culture in so rich in craft and music. 

photo by Elizabeth Gordon

Generation after generation of mountain families have handed down art in one form or another. The music and dance of this barrier has  stayed much the same as it was when the 17th century families who first migrated here from Scotland and England.  The mountains acted a natural barrier that isolated people from other areas. It is not unusual to hear music that might have been played in 18th century England that is little changed.  A wonderful movie to illustrate that   is The Songcatcher which was filmed in the Asheville area near Cataloochee. This past evening I went to the little town of Marshall, North Carolina to hear Blue Grass and mountain music.  

What I found was not only the music, but a wonderful sense of the community.  People had come out of the surrounding mountain homes and farms for dancing and listening to music on a Friday night. 

 There were all ages participating, from very young to old...all dancing, all two stepping or clogging or tapping.  There was a cake walk, musical chairs to win a prize, drawings, but mostly really friendly people who were very accepting and tolerant of each other. 
 No one fussed at the giggling teenage girls from a church group or mocked the local special education group that had brought severely mentally handicapped young adults, or the Florida tourist who were snapping pictures like me.   
There was even a giant puppet workshop ending in a surprise parade.  Everyone ran out from the dance hall to watch and take pictures.  It was so great to see a community so involved in and brought together by the arts.

The Puppet Parade

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