Appalshop, the media, arts, and education center located in Whitesburg, is serving as a host organization for Gochmyrat Gutlyyev from Turkmenistan. He is a collector of Turkmen folk stories, a writer, and blogger.
Gutlyyev is one of 16 Fellows chosen to travel to the U.S. by the organization CEC ArtsLink, based in New York. The program offers artists and arts managers from eligible overseas countries a five-week residency at an established, non-profit arts organization in the U.S. The program creates opportunities for artists and communities across the U.S. to share artistic practices with artists and arts managers from abroad and engage in dialogue that advances understanding across cultures.
While in Kentucky and the surrounding area from Oct. 13 to Nov. 13, Gutlyyev has met with local and regional writers and attended a gathering of authors held at the Highlander Center in Tennessee, was invited to a meeting of the Whitesburg Rotary Club and has been a special guest on programs broadcast on WMMT-FM. He also attended an Appalachian music and crafts festival in southwest Virginia, viewed Appalshop documentaries about the history, culture, and social issues of the region, and conducted a presentation for youth interns participating in the Appalachian Media Institute’s Fall Media Lab. He has toured the area and this week will travel to Lexington as a guest of the Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky. There he will meet with faculty and students and take part in a class, as well as other events on campus and in town.
To read about his Fellowship experiences, impressions, and interactions with those he’s been meeting, see entries from “Whitesburg” by going to the blog: http:// artslinkfellows2011.wordpress.com