Fiddler John Harrod highlights kickoff of ‘Makings of a Master’ exhibit in Barbourville
Master fiddler John Harrod will help kick off the arrival of the “Makings of a Master” exhibit at Union College April 17 in Barbourville.
Harrod, a past recipient of a Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant, will perform at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Union College gymnasium. Harrod’s concert will combine musical performance and stories about the fiddle music of Knox and surrounding counties.
The arrival of the exhibit coincides with the beginning of the college’s Redbud Festival of Appalachian Culture, April 17-18. Now in its 12th year, the Redbud Festival features artists and craftspeople whose work represents Appalachia, whether in its origins, its materials, its workmanship or its symbolism. Artisans will demonstrate their talents and some will teach classes to attendees.
“I enjoy letting people know about the good things happening in our state, such as passing on local traditions, in my case Kentucky fiddling,” Harrod said. “I’m especially pleased that I’ll be joined by my 14-year-old apprentice Canaan Phillips, whose great-grandfather James Maxwell was a great fiddler in Grant County.”
Helping open the “Makings of a Master” exhibit in Barbourville is beneficial to illustrate the need to pass on artistic traditions, Harrod said.
“In our world, community art forms and local traditions don’t receive the attention they deserve. Things that need to be passed down to the next generation often aren’t,” he said. “Everybody’s moving so fast to get to the next best thing that we lose touch with the things that help us know who we are and appreciate our roots and the places we come from. I think that’s very important as we move ahead into this unknown world that’s changing so fast.”
The “Makings of a Master” exhibit is on loan from the arts council and contains six display cases housing a variety of musical instruments. Interpretive panels house photos and quotes along with a push-button video display. The exhibit explores relationships between Kentucky master traditional artists and their apprentices, with art forms ranging from banjo playing to Chinese dance, chair making, drum making and much more. This exhibit celebrates more than 20 years of apprenticeships funded and documented by the arts council.
“Without master artists there can be no artistic heritage, and in Kentucky we are fortunate to have several acknowledged masters willing to share their knowledge with eager apprentices,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “This exhibit pays tribute to that teacher-student relationship, which is so vital to continuing the tradition of great art and craft in the Commonwealth.”
For more information on the “Makings of a Master” exhibit, contact Mark Brown, arts council folk and traditional arts director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-564-3757, ext. 495. For more information on the Redbud Festival, contact Sherry Partin of Union College, email@example.com or 606-546-1213.