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Williams joins West Virginia Humanities Council as state folklorist

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has named a new state folklorist.

Jennie Williams joined the council staff on Tuesday.

Williams was raised in Frederick, Md., and attended the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Indiana University at Bloomington where she is a candidate for a doctorate in ethnomusicology.

During her work with Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University, she secured funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to restart the Traditional Arts Indiana Apprenticeship Program, which has since supported four cohorts of artists.

She has worked with local, regional and national arts programs including the National Education Association, Maryland Traditions, Mississippi Folklife and Smithsonian Folkways in Washington, D.C.

A proficient mandolin and guitar player with a knowledge of traditional music repertoire, Williams has extensively worked in traditional music circles as a performer and a field researcher. She compiled her Indiana University dissertation fieldwork into a video featuring photography, interview clips and performances and stories by musicians in southern Indiana on their front porches during the pandemic.

The resulting film was screened April 2021 at the Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities at Indiana University and locally for the musicians in Paoli, Ind.

The West Virginia Folklife Program is a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts Program. West Virginia Folklife is dedicated to the documentation, preservation, presentation, and support of West Virginia’s vibrant cultural heritage and living traditions.

For more information on the West Virginia Folklife Program, go to www.wvhumanities.org and wvfolklife.org or contact Williams at williams@wvhumanities.org or 304-346-8500.

The West Virginia Humanities Council is a nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors whose members are drawn from all parts of West Virginia.

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