2017 Indiana State Fair Master: Bill Bailey

Traditional Arts Indiana will be at the Indiana State Fair again this year to help celebrate the art and work of the Indiana State Fair Masters. This year we have put together a brochure and display honoring the life and work of our long time friend, and 2017 State Fair Master, Bill Bailey. A fixture at the Indiana State Fair for many years, Bill Bailey coordinates the entertainment in the Pioneer Village, inviting musicians, storytellers, and other entertainers from around the state to perform on the village’s two rustic stages. His relationship with the fair began in 1991, when he played percussion with a band in the village—but Bill is no ordinary percussionist. A self-proclaimed “idiophonist,” he makes his rhythmic music with spoons, washboards, and a variety of other everyday items.

Bill played percussion throughout his school years, but sold his drums when he went to college, remaining “music-less” for a while.  Then in 1976, a couple that played old-time music moved next door, and he was inspired to try his hand at the mandolin, guitar, and harmonica—yet percussion continued to call to him. He picked up playing the spoons, and eventually began tapping out his syncopated rhythms on a washboard and a variety of other resonate objects such as a wooden shoe, triangles, and horse shoes. Before long, Bill was playing multiple styles of music including old-time, blues, and jug band.

 

In 1991, Bill played with a couple of bands that were performing in the fair’s Pioneer Village. He was hooked. Each year he returned and played with a variety of musicians. In 2003, Gerry Gray, the original music coordinator for the village, chose Bill as her replacement. He continued to book the old-time and dulcimer music that had been featured at the fair since the 1970s, but he also expanded the program to include a greater variety of traditional music and other forms of entertainment. One successful program that he helped develop was a tribute to the WLS National Barn Dance, which featured the music and theatrical routines of the popular radio show in the early 20th Century. For six years, large audiences came to see this reenactment show.

 

Besides his work at the Indiana State Fair, Bill serves as a musical ambassador for the Columbus Washboard Company, the last manufacturer of hand-built washboards in North America. Bill paints and outfits their boards, transforming them into musical instruments. The company sells dozens of Bill’s musical boards, which they ship all over the world. Each year, Bill also travels to Ohio to perform at their Washboard Music Festival to promote this unique musical genre.

Today, in addition to his own musical pursuits, Bill continues to coordinate the entertainment at the Pioneer Village. From old-time country, bluegrass, gospel, and blues, to storytelling and fiddling contests, the stages at the village help create a nostalgic atmosphere where fairgoers can escape the pressures of contemporary life. And while he makes sure the Pioneer Village stage shows run smoothly, visitors can still find Bill Bailey tapping out his upbeat rhythms and entertaining audiences.

 

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2017 Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest

Saturday, August 12, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Pioneer Village Opry House

Every year, TAI sponsors the fiddle contest at Indiana State Fair to promote traditional music practices of Indiana and to bring people together to hear some toe-tapping fiddle tunes. The fiddle contest brings the music community together to celebrate the different talents and various styles of fiddlers from all over the state.

Participants of all ages are welcome to compete, within four age divisions: 11 & under, 12-17 years old, 18-59 years old, and 60 & above.

Our three judges represent a wide range of traditional fiddling styles and benefit from a combined experience of over 100 years. Points will be awarded on the basis of: 

1. Rhythm
2. Bowing technique
3. Intonation
4. Phrasing
5. Creativity
6. Old Time (Not included in overall score) 

Click the link below for more information about the contest and to register!

2017 Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest Registration Form

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TAI Apprenticeship Program Information Sessions

This week, there will be three opportunities to attend free information sessions about the new TAI Apprenticeship Program. Starting in September 2017, up to six master artists will be selected to receive a $3,000 honorarium to teach their traditional art to an apprentice, passing on important traditional knowledge to the next generation within their community.

These brown bag lunch presentations are casual Q&A information sessions intended for artists who may wish to apply to the apprenticeship program or anyone interested more generally in the work of Traditional Arts Indiana. We welcome attendees to bring a lunch if they would like since the sessions at Crown Point and Indianapolis start at noon. The dates and start times of the events are listed below:

TUESDAY, JULY 11th:

South Shore Arts at the Artful Garden
611 N. Indiana Avenue, Crown Point, IN
12:00-1:00pm

WEDNESDAY, JULY 12th:

Indiana Arts Commission, Conference Room 4
Government Center
100 N. Senate Ave.
Indianapolis, IN
12:00-1:00pm

Parking in Indianapolis: Park in the Government Center Parking Garage at 401 W Washington Street. Turn in your ticket at the workshop and your parking will be validated. Enter the Indiana State Government Center South building at the public entrance and follow signs for the Conference Center. We are meeting in Room 4.

The Monroe County Public Library, Meeting Room 1C
303 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN
5:30-6:30pm (*Evening event*)

Paper applications will be distributed at these events and we welcome attendees to bring any questions they may have about the program or the application process. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Limestone Weekend at Spring Mill!

Limestone Weekend at Spring Mill State Park 2017: 

Casey Winningham carving a gravestone.

Every June, our state celebrates Limestone month to honor the distinctive occupational tradition of limestone work found in south-central Indiana. To mark this occasion TAI and the State Parks will be hosting a weekend of limestone programming for the public. On Saturday June 24 (10 am to 4 pm) and Sunday June 25 (Noon to 4 pm), TAI will be sponsoring the Limestone Weekend event at Spring Mill State Park. 

Matt Bruce’s large scale limestone knife.

 

This year limestone carver Casey Winningham will be present to demonstrate his skills and answer questions about their craft. Casey Winningham uses a hand chisel and mallet to create clean and precise lettering work. He carves historical monuments and gravestones that allow him to restore older works and create new ones.

 This event is free and open to the public. We invite you to learn about stone carving techniques and Indiana’s limestone traditions as you enjoy Spring Mill State Park. It will be a fun weekend of arts in the outdoors! 

(From Left) Carvers Casey Winningham, Matt Bruce, and Will Galloway in deep discussion about limestone.

Spring Mill State Park is located about 3 miles east of the town of Mitchell on Indiana Highway 60. The address is 3333 IN-60, Mitchell, IN 47446. 

This program was made possible through funds from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts and is one of several programs hosted by Traditional Arts Indiana, a statewide program based at Indiana University’s Mathers Museum in Bloomington.

In the meantime, please check out our interview we did with several Indiana limestone carvers (including Matt and Casey). We recently made it into an episode of our Beauty of Folk Arts podcast. Click here to listen. 

Matt Bruce and his giant scissors.

Casey Winningham

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Love what we do here at TAI? We couldn’t do it without the NEA! Part II

We are back for another post that highlights the support we receive from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Over the years, Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) has been the recipient of many grants from the NEA that have allowed us to develop and implement public programs that center on folk and traditional arts in our state. We at TAI are grateful to programs like the NEA, and we would like to show our thanks this week by revisiting some of our past projects that could not have been possible without funding from the NEA. 

One such program is the Rotating Exhibit Network (REN) that serves 30 libraries around the state of Indiana. Each year TAI collaborates with the public library system to provide educational exhibit panels that present the work of Hoosier artisans. Every two months local libraries enrolled in the program receive a new exhibit panel, featuring one of the many artists that have partnered with TAI for this project. In the past we have featured drum makers, rag rug weavers, mariachi bands, bluegrass musicians, gospel singers, the St. Meinrad abbey, the Geode Grotto, basket makers, turkey call makers, persimmon pudding makers, ukulele builders, and quilters.

If you would like to learn more about the REN program, please click here.

TAI would like to extend our gratitude to organizations like the NEA. Without agencies such as these, there would be less opportunities for arts education and programming in our state. 

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Love what we do here at TAI? We couldn’t do it without the NEA!

Larry Haycraft teaching quilter Maxine Stovall to make hoop nets at the Hoosier Homecoming event. TAI’s participation in this program was partially funded by the NEA.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is extremely integral to the work that Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) does on a daily basis. Without the support of the NEA, TAI would not be able to provide many of our public services and programs. 

We are proud to announce that we have just completed our 11th Beauty of Folk Arts podcast. We hope that you have been enjoying these insightful interviews that explore Indiana’s folk arts traditions and the creativity of makers and craftspeople that live and work in our state. The material from these episodes came from public programs, narrative stages, and artists residencies that were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

 Fr. Jerome Sanderson was featured in our latest episode of The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast.

If you would like to listen to The Beauty of Folk Arts podcasts, click here.  

As always, we appreciate your support as well as that of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Indiana Arts Commission. 

TAI Staff: Maria Zeringue, Emily Burke, and Jon Kay. Photo by Mathers Museum director, Jason Jackson

 

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BFA11: The Beauty of Folk Arts with Jerome Sanderson

The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast is brought to you by Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington. This podcast features a recording from the 2015 Lotus World Arts and Music Festival and features director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Jon Kay, conducting a narrative stage event with wood carver and icon maker, Father Jerome Sanderson. Father Sanderson discusses how he began making icons, the religious meaning of an icon, and the significance of icons for him personally.  

This podcast was recorded in front of a live audience at an outdoor event.

 

Fr. Jerome Sanderson in his studio.

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BFA10: The Beauty of Folk Arts with Viki Graber

The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast is brought to you by Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington. This podcast features a recording from the 2015 Lotus World Arts and Music Festival in Bloomington and features director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Jon Kay, conducting a narrative stage event with willow basket maker Viki Graber. Vicki discusses her family’s tradition, her innovations on that tradition, and the creative process.

 

Viki Graber

Viki Graber’s basket weaving

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BFA09: The Beauty of Folk Arts with Indiana Limestone Carvers

This episode of The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast features a recorded interview by Jon Kay as he speaks with Indiana limestone carvers and industry workers Matt Bruce, Casey Winningham, Amy Brier, Will Galloway, Kent Todd, and Scott Todd. In September of 2015, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and Traditional Arts Indiana hosted The Art of Limestone program to celebrate Indiana’s rich stone carving traditions. This interview is a recording of the narrative stage that took place at the event. In this moving and funny episode, Matt, Casey, Amy, Will, Kent, and Scott discuss the importance of limestone to Indiana and what it means to be able to work in the limestone industry as carvers and artisans.  

Stay tuned for the end of the interview when father and son musicians, Kent and Scott Todd, play a few bluegrass songs for the audience. You are sure to be entertained by what these artists have to say!

Click on the link below the photos to hear this episode. 

Amy Brier teaches TAI staff member Mathilde how to hold limestone carving tools.

Casey Winningham carves a head stone at the Art of Limestone event.

Carving tools

Matt Bruce’s large scale limestone knife on display.

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BFA08: the Beauty of Folk Arts with Glen Summers and Bill Poynter

The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast is brought to you by Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington. This podcast features a recording from the 2015 Chautauqua at the Shades State Park and features director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Jon Kay, conducting a narrative stage event with cane maker Bill Poynter and bowl hewer Glen Summers. Bill and Glenn discuss how they started in their respective crafts, the communal significance of traditional crafts, and the importance of handmade things.

Bill Poynter

Glen Summers hewing a bowl

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