In the service of promoting Appalachian culture, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition advocates and sponsors numerous events, conferences, and gatherings throughout the year. Things like Ringin’ in the Appalachian New Year and the Lower Price Hill Community Appalachian Festival are just two notable examples. Now, with the help of Core Team member John Bealle, the UACC will be able to offer the Cincinnati Appalachian Cultural Resources Directory. This site will feature a registry of musicians, artists, and creatives who are working specifically within the realm of Appalachian culture, making it possible for people to find those who are the practitioners of Appalachian arts and music from around the greater Cincinnati area.
Cincinnati Appalachian Cultural Resources Directory ties together as many artists, musicians, writers, and creatives as possible in one central site. The goal is to allow all artists and creative folks to find each other, and to help people from outside the urban Appalachian community to find artists and others who work specifically within Appalachian culture. The Cultural Resource Directory will serve as a central place for anyone with an interest in Appalachian culture to find the mass of talent whose work represents the music, arts and literature of Appalachia.
I had the opportunity to talk with UACC Core Team member John Bealle who is the man behind the creation of the Appalachian Cultural Resource Directory. John plays old-time fiddle himself and knows a thing or two about local Appalachian music and arts. He has been deeply involved in Appalachian music and arts for many years. John also happens to be the main force behind the computer systems at UACC. John explained that the Resource Directory will “create a unifying effect for Appalachian artists—something like a chamber of commerce for Appalachian artists, musicians, and other creative people.” In effect, the Resource Center becomes a site on which Appalachian artists, musicians, and others can register, find each other, and others can find them.
To develop the resource directory, John worked with Lampros Labs in Covington, Kentucky. This company was founded by Troy Davis, a UACC friend whose grandfather was a well-known Appalachian radio announcer. John Bealle kept the entire project local and close to the Appalachian community. The project makes it possible for everyone concerned to integrate their interests and projects within a single website. John told me he sees it simply as way for people from outside the Appalachian community to find creatives: “People can search the site and find musicians for weddings and other occasions. It is a place where folks can buy gifts, for example, made by Appalachian artists. Ultimately, it is one way to educate the public about Appalachian culture and arts.”
The educational component of the Appalachian Cultural Resources Directory is particularly important. John explained that “the directory can work in the service of eradicating stereotypes about Appalachians. By highlighting the cultural significance of Appalachian artists and creatives, we have another outlet to promote the value of Appalachian culture.” By making the work of these people more accessible to everyone, the Resource Directory demonstrates how the arts, music and literature of Appalachia are woven into the fabric of the community more generally.
John also pointed out that the importance of Appalachian culture is disappearing even within the Appalachian community: “We are now looking at people who are two and three generations out from their Appalachian heritage. The resource directory can help re-connect people to their own culture.” The resource directory serves to connect those with an interest in the arts and culture of Appalachia and those who have lost touch with their Appalachian identity.
The Appalachian Cultural Resources Directory will serve as an educational tool and as service for people who want or need to find exposure for their work. The purpose is to both promote Appalachian culture as a meaningful contribution to the cultural life of greater Cincinnati, and as a real platform to support artists, writers, and others. One of the central goals of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition is to promote Appalachian culture and the Appalachian Cultural Resources Directory offers yet another valuable tool for this purpose. Links to everything you need to get started are below.
- A link to the Cultural Resources Directory can be found at: http://uacvoice.org/directory/
- Instructions for creating a profile: http://uacvoice.org/docs/InstructionsForArtists.html
- Signup form: http://uacvoice.org/signup/
Mike Templeton is a writer, independent scholar, barista, cook, guitar player, and accidental jack-of-all-trades. He lives in downtown Cincinnati with his wife who is a talented photographer. They spend their free time walking around the city snapping photos. She looks up at that the grandeur of the city, while Mike always seems to be staring at the ground.