Contact us:

Links to more information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Upcoming Events
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

ASU Home Page


Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tom Moore
Frances Hart

fax 870-972-3069


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 organizations.
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 music.

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…”

                                       # # #


NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |