All God's Children Project
We have used the book written by our founder, Ann Miller Woodford, When All God’s Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina to form a partnership for our new project of the same name. Using Black church music as the narrator, this project focuses on the musical traditions of the African American communities of far western North Carolina, as manifested in churches, schools, and workplaces. We are anxiously working and waiting to bring our song programs and professionally designed exhibits to far western North Carolina. Our committed partners help to prove that this is a very worthy project.
Ann is the guest curator for a traveling exhibit, as we work in partnership with Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center and Director, Pam Meister. WCU public history students will be involved in the exhibit development process, providing them with a real-life engaged learning experience. The exhibit will open at the Mountain Heritage Center in February 2017, then tour to community venues throughout far western North Carolina. The project will also include musical heritage events in three communities:
• Sylva, North Carolina, a Black History Month event hosted by the Waynesville Missionary Baptist Association at Scotts Creek Liberty Baptist Church; Sunday, February 19, 2017.
• Murphy, North Carolina, hosted by the Texana Community Development Center (the day before the annual Texana Homecoming that is held at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church) and the Murphy Arts Center in Cherokee County; Saturday, July 22. 2017.
• Waynesville, North Carolina, hosted by the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center and Jones Temple AME Zion Church; October 7, 2017.
The events, held on Saturday or Sunday afternoons between 2 - 6:30 pm, will feature programs of traditional music by four or five African-American gospel groups, community/attendees singing, and dinners-on-the-ground. Each event will be documented by video and sound recording, and still photography by audience members for use in a future documentary film.
Ann Woodford will also travel to eight schools or community venues in western North Carolina with a small portable version of the exhibits to present educational programs exploring the exhibit’s topics and themes. All project components will be free and open to the public due to grants from the NC Humanities Council and the Cherokee County Arts Council.