South Arts Awards 15 Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships Supporting Lifelong Learning Projects

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South Arts is proud to announce the 2021 In These Mountains: Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients. The 15 recipients, from Central Appalachian counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, are receiving $12,000 each to pursue lifelong learning goals and continue their practice. Each artist is a standard-bearer of traditional arts and culture, spending their lives in dedication to the preservation and perpetuation of art forms passed from generation to generation.

Meet the 2021 Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellows

“The arts and culture rooted in Central Appalachia are vital to our regional and national identity,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, program director with South Arts. “The artists we are supporting through this program represent the deep history and culture carried by families and communities across centuries of practice. From white oak basket making to herbalism and from storytelling to old-time fiddling, each fellow embodies the work of their ancestors and are proudly carrying these traditions into the future.”

The 2021 In These Mountains: Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship recipients are:

  • Kentucky
    • Minnie Adkins. Woodcarving. Isonville (Elliott County), KY
    • Hasan Davis. Oral Tradition. Paint Lick (Madison County), KY
    • Scott Miller. Traditional Appalachian fiddle music. Catlettsburg (Boyd County), KY
    • Wayne Riley. Foodways. London (Laurel County), KY
    • Robert Young. Weaving. Hindman (Knott County), KY
  • North Carolina
    • Theresa Gloster. Memory Painting/storytelling through paintings. Lenoir (Caldwell County), NC
    • Mary Greene. Music, ballads, folksongs, mountain dulcimer, Shape-note music. Boone (Watauga County), NC
    • Betty Maney. Cherokee white oak and rivercane basketry, Cherokee traditional stamped pottery beadwork, and Cherokee pre-Colombian twined clothing (sewing period clothing, dolls, pucker toe moccasins). Cherokee (Swain County), NC
    • Ashleigh Shanti. Culinary Arts. Asheville (Buncombe County), NC
    • Mary W. Thompson. Rivercane double weave basketry and stamped pottery. Cherokee (Swain County), NC
  • Tennessee
    • Brandon Green. Bluegrass musician, studio engineer. Limestone (Greene County), TN
    • Yvonne Harbin. Traditional herbalist. Altamont (Grundy County) & McMinnville (Warren County), TN
    • Bhavani Murthy. Indian classical dance forms Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi. Knoxville (Knox County), TN
    • Sarah Pirkle. Music, stringed instruments, vocals, songwriting. Maryville (Blount County), TN
    • Mandy Wilson. Quiltmaking. Charleston (Bradley County), TN

Applications for this fellowship were open throughout the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021, and recipients were selected by a panel of folklorists and traditional artists. Applicants submitted samples of their work, descriptions of their practice and history, and proposals for lifelong learning opportunities. The program was open to artists and practitioners in Central Appalachian counties in Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee who have demonstrated long-term practice and expertise of their art form or cultural practice.

The Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships are part of South Arts’ In These Mountains initiative, which preserves and perpetuates the arts and culture of Central Appalachia. Through In These Mountains, South Arts awards artist fellowships, supports mentor and apprentice teams, expands access to arts education in K-12 schools, and documents the traditions of the region.

To read more about each Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellow and view samples of their work, visit