WV Humanities Council Awards Grant to Pioneer Stage at Glenville State

GLENVILLE, WV – Organizers at Glenville State College’s Pioneer Stage have applied for and been awarded a $10,000 grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. GSC’s Pioneer Stage is located 10 East Main Street in downtown Glenville and is the college’s Bluegrass Music Education Center.

The West Virginia Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has provided over $420,000 in CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants to West Virginia cultural institutions to help ensure staff retention and program delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GSC’s proposal centered on the impact of the loss of the annual West Virginia State Folk Festival to the area, which was canceled in April due to COVID-19. The event usually draws crowds to downtown Glenville to celebrate traditional life and Appalachian culture, from square dancing and storytelling to crafting and old-time music. The festival has been a mainstay of the Gilmer County community since 1950.

“The Pioneer Stage requested assistance to begin a digital program that would allow us to provide live music from our stage to audiences on Main Street in Glenville as well as on our website and over a local radio transmitter. This way people could still enjoy the music while observing social distancing,” said GSC Bluegrass Band Director and Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Megan Darby.

In addition to musical entertainment, Darby says that plans are in the works that would allow for programing to promote workshops on basket weaving, quilting, genealogy, music, and others. The workshops would be broadcast over various types of media allowing followers to see artisans and musicians perform their talents and provide mentoring.

The grant is being used to purchase and install digital audio and video broadcast equipment.

“New speakers have been installed on Main Street and we’re already playing music,” said Darby. “If you close your eyes you’d almost think it was Folk Festival weekend.”

This program is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the federal CARES Act through the West Virginia Humanities Council. Any view, findings, conclusions, or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, contact Darby at Megan.Darby@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6355.

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