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Appalachian Futures

Appalachian Futures is WVU Libraries' second annual collaborative, multidisciplinary project advancing important conversations in the region. The exhibit addresses the dominant contemporary narratives about Appalachia in a new way — how the people of Appalachia have worked and will work to rewrite their own narrative and transcend limiting definitions of what it means to be Appalachian. Synthesizing humanities research, art, and civic action, the exhibit invites viewers to explore the often overlooked communities of Indigenous Appalachia, "Affrilachian" (African American in Appalachia), and queer Appalachia. Examine Appalachian tradition and culture; the intersections between extraction industries, new technology, and science; literacies and education in Appalachia; as well as speculative futures for the region.

Appalachian Futures contributors include WVU and regional scholars, community groups and artists. A soundtrack by Gangstagrass will be downloadable online. A complete list of contributors is available online.

Lead Sponsors: WV Library Commission, WVU Humanities Center
Traveling Exhibit and Events Sponsor: Marshall University Libraries
Exhibit Sponsors: MPB Print & Sign Superstore, WVU Reed College of Media, Appalachian State University Libraries, Arts Monongahela, Catherine Wilson Jones
Supporters: First United Bank & Trust


Exhibition schedule:
August 1, 2019-July 1, 2020: WVU Downtown Campus Library
August 3, 2020-May 31, 2021: Marshall University Libraries
June 2021-December 15, 2021: Appalachian State University Libraries
January 1, 2022-May 15, 2022: West Virginia Library Commission
June 1, 2022-December 15, 2022: WVU Keyser Campus Library
January 15, 2023-May 15, 2023: WVU Beckley Campus Library

Explore the content of this exhibit further via the WVU Research Repository Appalachian Futures webpage.

In conjunction with the initial exhibit will be the following programs:

Appalachian Futures: Regional Artists Respond [images: McClintock, Barton, Hansell, Kessler]
Room 1020 - August 15-October 15, 2019

Artwork by regional artists including: Debra Ellen Lott (Louisville, KY); Otaes (Kentucky); Robin McClintock (Hendricks, WV); Alana Yon (Bowling Green, KY); Mo Kessler (Sylva, NC); Gina Mamone (West Virginia); Janet Hart (Wheeling, WV); Michael K. Paxton (Chicago, IL [raised in WV]), DeWayne Barton (Asheville, NC) and Thomas Hansell (Creston, NC).

Opening Reception:
Milano Reading Room - September 3, 2019, 5-7pm

Live music by Chris Haddox and Travis Stimeling; Interact with games designed by collaborative teams of art, media, and computer science students in the spring 2019, inspired by West Virginia History.

Campus Art Crawl
September 27, 2019, 1-5pm

Put the Downtown Campus Library and Appalachian Futures Exhibit on your list of places to see during the Art Crawl.

Women of Appalachia Spoken Word Event
Milano Room - October 19, 1-3pm

WVU Libraries will again host the annual traveling series— the Women of Appalachia Project, featuring selected written submissions of residents Appalachian counties in a live spoken word event.

Women of Appalachia: Invitational Exhibition for Women's History Month:
Room 1020 - March 2020

The Women of Appalachia Project™ is a 501(C)3 non-profit arts program curated by Kari Gunter-Seymour who is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University and the Poet Laureate for Athens, Ohio. This special fine art exhibit includes work selected by Gunter-Seymour from the 10th anniversary exhibit in 2019. 

Soundtrack by: Gangstagrass

Artwork (from left to right) by: Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero Sunset), Liz Pavlovic (Holiday Cryptids), and David Smith and Baaria Chaudhary (Where will Appalachia take you?).