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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Keepers of the Tradition opens at The Arts Depot

"The Restorative Forester," pastel
Additional photos below »

May 31, 2017

"Keepers of the Tradition," a collaboration between artist, Leslie Gregg and writer, Michael Abraham, opens June 14 at The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia.

The award-winning project is a compilation of fine art portraits of contemporary Southwest Virginia Appalachians who are following the paths of those who came before them. It was first unveiled in 2015 at the Historic Alexander Black House in Blacksburg, Virginia, and has traveled to multiple locations including The History Museum of Western Virginia. The show includes original portraits titled "Moonshiner," "Coal Miner," "Gospel Singer," "Father/Daughter Guitar Makers," "Presbyterian Minister," "Quilter," "Farmer," "Herbalist/Midwife," "Millstone Preservationist," "Violin Maker," "Restorative Forester" and "Woodworker."

The accompanying hardbound book tells their heartwarming stories. The book and portrait nameplates are interactive QR codes and can be accessed to hear the "Keepers" speak, play music, and sing. Their goal, from the birth of this project, has been to share and celebrate the unique and talented Appalachian individuals and traditions of Southwest Virginia.

The exhibit's opening reception and book signing is held Saturday, June 17 from 2-4 p.m. at the Arts Depot. "Keeper" Edwin Lacy performs. Lacy is a claw hammer banjoist. He was born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he played music professionally and semi-professionally until entering seminary in 1997. He leads the Wild Goose Christian Community in Floyd County, Virginia.

The artist and author are available throughout the day to share information about the project and will be accompanied by some of the "Keepers."

The exhibit and reception are scheduled as a Cultural Experience during the Crooked Road's 2017 Mountains of Music Homecoming. This exhibit is sponsored by Abingdon Olive Oil Company, who will offer a special tasting during the reception. Seven resident artists studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. "

"The Violin Maker," pastel

"The Quilter," pastel

Edwin Lacy