The University of West Georgia’s Center for Public History has undertaken special projects that are reflective of our musical traditions. Listed below are some of the many projects that have been completed under our guidance. Graduate students Jared Wright and Brian Crews are just two of the many students who have dedicated themselves to documenting west Georgia’s musical traditions. Counted among these projects is a website dedicated to honoring the Shape-Note musical genre and a documentary dedicated to Blues music!
The Center for Public History has also assisted the Georgia Humanities Council with the tour of a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibit. New Harmonies, a traveling exhibit about American roots music. Dr. Ann McCleary, Center for Public History Director, served as state scholar for the exhibit.
The Center’s scholar team included Bobby Moore, a public history graduate research assistant, Angie Ramirez, a graduate intern researching Hispanic music in Georgia, and Mollie Marlow, an undergraduate research assistant. The team also worked with an Advisory Committee of scholars from around the state.
Dr. McCleary, Georgia Humanities Graduate Fellow Bobby Moore, and undergraduate research assistant Mollie Marlow created a state catalog for the exhibit, Georgia Harmonies: Celebrating Georgia’s Roots Music, developing the state themes for the exhibition. This catalog is accessible here. The scholar team then created a website to accompany the exhibition, including stories, videos, photographs, discographies of music, and a list of festivals and historic sites that highlight this history and make it accessible.
To assist the twelve local communities hosting the exhibition, McCleary and Georgia Humanities Graduate Fellow Sarah Foreman Reeves visited all of the communities and provided reports for each community. These reports covered key areas such as exhibitions, programs, marketing, and fundraising and helped highlight the music traditions the communities might explore for their region.
To culminate this two-year celebration of Georgia roots music, McCleary, Georgia Humanities Fellow Jesse Garbowski, and Joseph Johnson Fellow Jared Wright helped Georgia Humanities organize the Georgia Roots Music Festival highlighting Georgia Music at the Woodruff Arts Center, with performances throughout the day followed by a full concert.