A traditional concert and Photography exhibit is scheduled for Thursday December 7, 6:30-9pm at the Flood Fine Art Center at 2160 Hwy 70 near Swannanoa. Ash Devine will showcase her Maybelle Carter/Pete Seeger guitar and Ukulele talents during the opening of “Appalachia A Hundred Years Ago” which exhibits photographs by William Barnhill of Western North Carolina residents demonstrating traditional crafts and documenting their simple mountain lifestyle.
In 1914, Barnhill was inspired by Horace Kephart’s then-new book, Our Southern Highlanders, the 25-year-old Philadelphian came to Asheville, where he established a commercial photography business. But Barnhill’s passion was to hike into the mountains around Asheville and take candid images of the people living there and crafting everyday necessities with their hands. He did that for three years, unaware of the Appalachian crafts revival occurring at that time. In 1959, he produced prints of those images for Pack Library in Asheville, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. Some of them appeared in American Heritage and Life magazines.
These images have also appeared in publications including American Heritage and Life magazine. He gave negatives for these images, as well as many other scrapbooks and items, to Mars Hill College in 1982.
A friend explained how Barnhill was able to capture the portraits of the mountain people he met: “He often shared their mode of living for short periods of time—the cornhusk mattresses, the hogback and greens—and it was this acceptance of him as a friend which made it possible for him to obtain the many intimate studies of their way of life. He repaid their hospitality with copies of the photographs, and many of these are still cherished by the families.” Some of these families have been invited to speak at the opening about their interactions with Barnhill before he died in 1987.
Ash Devine, an award winning songwriter, folk-americana-country musician and multi-talented humanitarian performance artist is based the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville. Ash’s unique and classic folk sound and interactive stage presence has been compared to the legendary Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Recently seen on stage with grammy winning folk artists David Holt and Sheila Kay Adams, Ash Devine’s folk Fusion style gleans sounds of Appalachian traditional folk, americana-pop and classic rock. Ash Devine is an accomplished instrumentalist on finger-style and Carter Scratch Guitar and innovative original Ukulele playing. Her breathy and rich vocals and finger picking guitar styles sound like a marriage of Maybelle Carter and Pete Seeger and is a perfect fit for the William Barnhill photos that will be opening at the same time.
These events at the Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center art free and open to the public.
The Flood Fine Arts Center is located at 2160 Hwy 70 in Swannanoa, NC.
Photos: Ash Devine at the Flood Gallery, Appalachian Photos by William Barnhill, 1914-1917, from the Library of Congress Collection.