A free event on May 7th in Fentress County will celebrate Tennessee cultural arts and heritage. Art, music, food and history are all part of the Sgt. York Cultural Arts and Heritage Celebration, to be held at the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall, Tenn. Sponsored by the non-profit Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation (SYPF) and funded in part by an Arts Build Communities grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the event features craftsmen and artisans demonstrating skills that would have been commonly engaged in throughout the Wolf River Valley and Cumberland Plateau during Sgt. Alvin C. York's lifetime.
"Many of these skills are now preserved as arts," said SYPF executive assistant Sarah Voiles, coordinator for the event. "Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 7 we are proud to showcase an impressive list of Tennessee artists and craftsman demonstrating and discussing their talents throughout the day as well as making their creations available for purchase."
Among the artists demonstrating are Mary Curren, who spins llama hair into wearable creations; Natali and Paul Devine, a husband and wife team who make colorful hand-dyed baskets using reeds and white oak; Julie Styer, whose talents include wood burning and painting; Patti Ognibene, creator of handmade colorful, wire wrapped jewelry and free form art; Lynne Looney, who creates large modern and abstract art; Maxine Osburn, who grows gourds and turns them into works of art; Chuck Becker, who paints landscapes in oil and acrylic; Robin Blaine, who weaves on a handmade, Native American loom and discusses the traditions of beading and the Native American way of life; and Chuck Blaine, who creates and plays dulcimers.
Other participating artists include Carol Ludgate, who does realistic paintings; Joan Swanson, specializing in portraits and landscapes; Doug Thompson, who fuses metal and wood to create artistic benches and boxes; Rachel LaPlant, who makes jewelry for women and girls; abstract artist Jack Holtz; Debra Genchi, who works with vintage fabric and materials; and members of the Fentress County Artist Guild.
In addition to the arts, the Celebration will offer World War I displays of artifacts, interpreters in period attire, a live, online genealogical research booth, book signings by local authors and tours of Sgt. York's home, farm, mill, Bible School, nature trail and burial site.
Sgt. York's three surviving children will be present throughout the day to meet visitors and answer questions about their father. World War I military artifacts and other period pieces will be presented and discussed by Alison Vick from her extensive collection of historic artifacts. Mark Thompson will demonstrate black powder shooting and display and explain the associated equipment and ammunition.
Presenting the genealogical information is Bruce E. York, creator of York's Fentress County, Tenn., genealogy database. He will demonstrate and share information collected during 55 years or research.