Appalshop News

We're proud to announce NEA awards to our Appalshop Archive & Roadside Theater

4 months ago



We are very proud to announce that our Appalshop Archive and Roadside Theater are both recipients of National Endowment for the Arts grants.


“Appalshop is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year,” says Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.


It’s an enormous honor — and critically important work.



The Appalshop Archive has preserved thousands of hours of moving images on film and videotape, and  thanks to a grant from the NEA’s Grants for Arts Project, the 1983 Appalshop color documentary “Strangers & Kin: A History of the Hillbilly Image” will now be among them.


Creating fresh film stock from the original master 16 mm picture and sound elements, the $15,000 grant will restore the film's original colors and vibrancy. The documentary traces the evolution of the ‘hillbilly’ stereotype, and the project will culminate with a special screening of the newly preserved “Strangers & Kin” as part of a series of films exploring rural issues and identity.

“Herb E. Smith's "Strangers & Kin" was the first Appalshop film to directly address issues of media representation,” says Appalshop Archive Co-Director Caroline Rubens. “This generous NEA grant will enable us to preserve a milestone film in Appalshop's history, made at a time when the original workshop filmmakers had matured as artists and were exploring new subject matter and style.”




The National Endowment for the Arts has also awarded Appalshop’s Roadside Theater a $15,000 grant to support an original playmaking process in West Baltimore. Roadside has a long history of working with partners across the country, oriented towards building not just coalitions, but movements.


Our partnership with the Arch Social Community Network (ASCN) and WombWork Productions, Inc. is no different. Thanks to the NEA’s support, we’ll work together to create a play currently titled “West Baltimore Performs Our Future” exploring West Baltimore’s perseverance and progress since the 2015 uprising after Freddie Gray’s death.


“This project will support cultural organizing efforts, celebrate local life, spark collective imagination, and develop the power of ordinary residents to perform their future together, onstage and off,” says Roadside Theater Director Becca Finney.


Both NEA Grants for Arts projects embody Appalshop’s core mission — cultural preservation, perpetuation, transmission, and exchange — and support efforts to create and amplify the full picture of life in the communities where we work.


We're grateful for the National Endowment for the Arts' support, and for yours: it is because of you that Appalshop can tell these stories. We are honored to do this work.

More information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement at More information about Appalshop available at @appalshop on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and


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