2016-2017 Public Speaker Series

Rita Quillen | A Visit with the Mad Farmer’s Wife
November 1, 2016, 7 p.m. at the Bristol TN/VA Public Library, Kegley Room
Author, Poet | Scott County, Virginia

Rita Quillen’s novel Hiding Ezra was published in 2014 by Little Creek Books; it was a finalist in the 2005 DANA Awards competition, and a chapter of the novel is included in the new scholarly study of Appalachian dialect just published by the University of Kentucky Press entitled Talking Appalachian. Her new poetry chapbook, Something Solid To Anchor To, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2014.  Her new full-length poetry collection, THE MAD FARMER’S WIFE, is due out in the fall of 2016 from Texas Review Press. One of six semi-finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, her poetry received a Pushcart nomination as well as a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. Her most recent collection Her Secret Dream, new and selected poems, is from Wind Press in Kentucky and was named the Outstanding Poetry Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in 2008.  Previous works are poetry collections October Dusk and Counting The Sums, as well as a book of essays Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry.

John Deaderick Lyle | Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting from the 15th to the 19th Century
November 17, 2016, 7 p.m. at William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, VA
Professor of Asian Art History | Jonesborough, Tennessee

John Deaderick Lyle taught Asian Art History at East Tennessee State University for decades. Earlier while teaching at VCU in Richmond VA, he took courses under Dr. Krishna Garola (from the India diplomatic corps) in India and Southeast Asia, Buddhism, and Hindu Iconography. They traveled together extensively in North and Central India. At a different time, they went on a retreat to a Buddhist monastery run by Buddhist missionaries from Ceylon. Lyle has extensive ties to the Indian community, frequently attending services, holidays and weddings at the Hindu Temple in the Tri-Cities Area. He will be discussing the cultural and aesthetic differences between Mughal and Rajput Indian paintings currently on display at William King Museum of Art, an exhibition on loan from the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. John says that his curry is pretty good, but confesses that sometimes he cuts corners and just buys it in a jar already made.

Shara Lange, MFA | Screening and Discussion of BANJO ROMANTIKA: Bluegrass in the Czech Republic
February 7, 2017, 7 p.m. at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN
Program Head & Assistant Professor | Radio/TV/Film Department
East Tennessee State University | Johnson City, Tennessee                         * In Partnership with the Birthplace of Country Music Museum

BANJO ROMANTIKA introduces the musicians who play a unique bluegrass hybrid. Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. The music represented freedom to dissatisfied Czechs living in a communist state. Inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds, an assortment of musicians from across the formerly communist Czech Republic have melded the past, the political, and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own. Shara K. Lange is founder and director of Light Projects: Documentary/Art/Community and completed her MFA in film production at the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio/TV/Film department. Her thesis film, THE WAY NORTH (Student Academy Award Regional Semi-Finalist) tells the story of North African immigrant women in southern France. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to make the documentary, THE DRESSMAKERS, about women artisans in Morocco. She has worked various film projects including Habitat Media’s, EMPTY OCEANS, EMPTY NETS and Steven Okazaki’s, REHAB.

Jeffrey Allison | Virginia 360: Panoramic Images of Historic State Landmarks
March 7, 2017, 7 p.m. at William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, VA
Paul Mellon Collection Educator and Manager of Statewide Programs and Exhibitions
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Richmond, Virginia

Jeffrey W. Allison is the Paul Mellon Collection Educator and Manager, Statewide Programs and Exhibitions at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and a professional photographer. He holds a BA in photography and film from Virginia Intermont College and an MFA in photography from VCU. He currently teaches Advanced and Intermediate Photography at the VMFA Studio School and has taught for over twenty-five years at institutions across the commonwealth. He has curated numerous exhibitions of photography, including Unbroken Circle: Unto the Generations, and Egypt Through the Drawing Room: 19th Century Stereographs of Egypt; as well as the Paul Mellon Arts in Education Exhibitions, Faces at the Races: Equine Culture in Virginia, and A Horse of Course! Equine Images in Art at VMFA, which are traveling to locations throughout the Commonwealth. Jeffrey as co-curated the recent exhibitions, From Gericault to Picasso: The Horse in French Painting and Virginia 360: Photographs by Thomas Schiff. More recently, Jeffrey was consultant on the Discovery Channel series Ancient Origins of Native Americans and the New York Times Magazine article, Horace Bristol and the Grapes of Wrath. Awards include the 2010 John Kent Shumate Advocate of the Year. Jeffrey’s own photographic works are in numerous collections including Capital One.

Jeffrey Allison | The McGlothlin World Fine Art Collection
April 4, 2017, 7 p.m. at the Bristol TN/VA Public Library, Kegley Room

Longtime patrons James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin have given their collection of 73 works to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for permanent installation in the McGlothlin American Art Galleries. The value of the McGlothlin Collection exceeds $200 million and opened to the public on November 24 at the VMFA in Richmond. For his second talk, Jeffrey will present and discuss this world-class collection made available to the public by a southwest Virginia businessman with an appreciation for the arts.

Brandon Story | Two Myths of Appalachia, and Two Appalachia Springs
May 2, 2017, 7 p.m. at the Bristol TN/VA Public Library, Kegley Room
Assistant Professor of English, King University | Bristol, Tennessee

Story’s dissertation focuses on “Modernism in Appalachian Literature,” in which he looks at both Appalachian literature from the period of Modernism, which was roughly from the 1890s through the 1940s, as well as literature written following that period. “Both were experimental in the way Modernist literature was experimental. So, the question is – is this still Modernism that is happening in Appalachia? The second thing I am looking at is that so much Appalachian literature deals with Modernization in Appalachia, like the coming of the TVA, mechanized coal production, and mass media that both allowed for Appalachian people to be stereotyped but also allowed for their music to get out to the rest of the world.” Several authors are given particular attention by Story including Thomas Wolfe, James Agee, James Still, and a local author from Johnson City, Tenn., Jo Carson. A native of Michigan, Story’s family roots are in Southern Appalachia. “While I was working on my master’s degree at ETSU, I began playing a lot of old-time music, which is really the way I got into Appalachian studies. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher who always had banjos and guitars in his worship services, so even when he was in Michigan, he maintained this sort of Southern mountain culture.”

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