Links to more information:
Links to News Releases
Public activities at ASU
Faculty and Staff
ASU Home Page
Arkansas State University
ASU awarded $30,000 grant from the
National Endowment for the Arts
May 18, 2005-Arkansas State University in
Jonesboro has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment
for the Arts (NEA).
The NEA is a federal agency to support state arts and non-profit arts
The grant, from the Folk and Traditional Arts Program of the NEA, will
be used to hire a folk arts coordinator to collaborate with the Arkansas
Arts Council and plan a statewide folklife program.
The initial projects will involve researching the traditional culture of
the Mississippi Delta region, and technical assistance with heritage
programming throughout the state.
Continued work will include field research to document traditional
artistic expressions and customs of the Arkansas Delta such as
quiltmaking, woodcarving, blacksmithing and sorghum making. The
folklorist will interview and document people carrying on a range of
activities such as old-time fiddling, blues, gospel and Mexican conjunto
The results of the research will be preserved in the university’s
archives, and the folk art coordinator will also provide educational
activities in the form of lectures, educational programs, and technical
assistance to organizations.
“The majority of states have active folk arts programming and with
Arkansas’ rich heritage of folklife, this grant will provide
opportunities to document, preserve, present and interpret the rich
legacy of the state’s traditional culture,” said Dr. Gregory Hansen,
assistant professor of English and folklore, who wrote the grant.
Additionally, he said, “Over the last 20 years, there have been various
statewide folk arts programs by the Arkansas Arts Council and other
organizations. This grant was developed over and Traditional Arts
Program of the NEA could provide new opportunities for folk arts
programming in Arkansas.”
The folk arts coordinator is expected to be hired later this summer, and
will be located within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as
a joint venture with the Arkansas Arts Council.
Dr. Gloria Gibson, dean of the College of Humanities and Social
Sciences, is very pleased with the NEA decision. She said, “I am proud
that Arkansas State and the Arkansas Arts Council have been awarded this
prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant. The importance of
this grant cannot be overstated. The folk arts coordinator will work to
identify, collect and archive the traditional arts of Arkansas, and
specifically those of the Arkansas Delta.
“The coordinator will help expand the public’s awareness of the
importance of traditional practices within their communities. The
cultural heritage of Arkansas’ citizens is a source of pride for
traditional artists, practitioners and citizens, and as such should be
rigorously documented, continuously celebrated, and integrally connected
to various educational activities.”
ASU will provide needed office space and, in turn, the folk arts
coordinator will also assist with the annual Delta Blues Symposium on
campus. In addition, the folklorist will work closely with students in
the Heritage Studies Ph.D. program on various fieldwork projects,
serving as a mentor and resource for graduate students.
The U.S. Congress passed P.L. 94-201, The American Folklife Preservation
Act of 1976 which created the American Folklife Center at the Library of
Congress. The Act states in part, “…it is in the interest of the general
welfare of the Nation to preserve, revitalize, and disseminate American
folklife traditions and arts…”
# # #