The Letcher County Board of Education gave approval at last week’s meeting for a banjo exhibit to be displayed in the old Whitesburg High School cafeteria in mid September.
Sam Adams, a committee member of the Pine Mountain Center for the Arts, said a consultant was recently hired as part of a $7,500 grant from the Brushy Fork Institute in Berea to conduct a feasibility study on a proposed global banjo museum. The consultant will look at the cost involved in developing and maintaining a museum as well as providing ideas to financially support the museum and to see if it can become self sufficient.
Adams said the global banjo museum will help explain the history and culture of the musical instrument and how it has evolved over time.Th
e exhibit set for Sept. 17-27 will include some older instruments and Adams is anticipating that the Gibson Foundation will donate a banjo for the display.
“This will let everyone see what we are talking about and give their ideas,” said Adams.
The global banjo museum is an anchor for the proposed Pine Mountain Center for the Arts, which Adams said will enrich students and provide college accreditation classes for painting, sculpting, dance and music.
Those involved with the proposed center are Adams, his wife Legina Adams, Whitesburg businessman Joel Beverly, co-owner of The Courthouse Café Josephine Richardson, storyteller Angelyn DeBord, local artist Doug Adams and dance instructor Tiff any Owen.
“If we can get people all over the country to come study, that would be a big plus for the community,” said Adams.
Adams said the center will not only enhance education but local tourism as well.
Adams said Beverly and Richardson brought up the idea of a global banjo museum at a tourism meeting last year and he thought it would be a great idea to develop into a reality.
He said the old high school cafeteria is an ideal place to hold the exhibit because the room is round like a banjo. He said eventually the committee would like for the museum and the visual and performing arts education center to be permanently located inside the old high school building. The City of Whitesburg has talked about purchasing the building to house an assisted living facility and Adams thinks there would be room for both.
The City of Whitesburg is serving as the fiscal agent of the program until the status of nonprofit is obtained. The Cowan Creek Mountain Music School is also involved with the idea.