Master Makers and Players Series - Elizabeth Cotten: Her Artistry and Her Legacy

  • Date:  February 23, 2014
  • Time:  2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Attachment:  View

Throughout the spring, the Folk Arts Program of the Castellani Art Museum will host Master Makers and Players, a series of public lectures, demonstrations, and workshops that further explore the legacy of National Heritage Fellows and that highlight some exceptional traditional artists living and working in Western New York. These events are held in conjunction with the exhibition Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts (February 2-June 20, 2014).

Join us from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, 2014 for an afternoon lecture given by Dan Franklin Ward, exploring the life of Elizabeth Cotten and her impact on American music.  The program is the first in the Master Makers and Players Series, programs held in conjunction with the Folk Arts exhibition Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts (February 2—June 20, 2014). Admission is free.

National Heritage Fellow, Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (1893-1987), grew up near Chapel Hill, North Carolina in a family that had sung and played traditional country blues tunes for generations. Although she worked most of her life in domestic service, she became an acclaimed songwriter and performer, winning a Grammy Award and inspiring the praise of other musicians like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Taj Mahal, and Jerry Garcia who covered her songs. Elizabeth Cotten eventually settled in Syracuse, New York where she was befriended by folklorist Dan Franklin Ward.

Dan Franklin Ward, Ph.D. is a Syracuse-based public folklorist and Curator at the Erie Canal Museum. Over the past decade, he has co-directed collaborations with a number of organizations on an extensive documentation of contemporary culture along inland waterways in upstate New York. Prior to undertaking his waterways project, Ward served as the Regional Public Folklorist in Central New York for 23 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Bowling Green State University and an M.A. in Folklore from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

This event is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information, contact Carrie Hertz, Ph.D., Curator of Folk Arts at 716-286-8290.