Arts & Culture

Molly Must/ Traveling 219

This week for Inside Appalachia, we wanted to go on a kind of road trip and meet people who are making community art across Appalachia. 

Jeff Pierson

Here in central Appalachia, where coal reigns supreme, many people said the trial of Don Blankenship was something they had never imagined.

Never before has a top American coal executive been convicted of a crime related to the deaths of miners.

Cameras aren’t allowed in federal court for criminal trials. Two local artists, Rob Cleland and Jeff Pierson, were hired by the media to capture the trial.

Doug Estepp / Coal Country Tours

West Virginia is expected to be in the national spotlight on January 26 in an episode of the PBS documentary series, American Experience.

Martin Luther King
wikimedia commons

Plans are in place for West Virginia's annual observation of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Carolyn Stuart, who heads the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission, says the theme for the Jan. 18 commemoration is "There's Still Work To Be Done; If Not Now, When? If Not You, Who?"

Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Charleston's annual urban deer hunt has set record numbers this season.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the hunt saw its largest kill to date this season. According to City Manager David Molgaard, of the 105 deer killed between Sept. 2 and December, 85 were does and 23 were bucks.

Wayne County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

The town of Wayne will host a celebration in honor of the 174th anniversary of the town's formation on January 18, 1842.

The Herald-Dispatch reports Town Councilman Robert Thompson announced that the event will take place Saturday, Jan. 16 at Wayne Town Hall.

Barbour County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Participants dipped into icy cold waters, kicking off their new year in Barbour County's annual Polar Bear Plunge.

The Inter-Mountain reports the event took place at the boat ramp beneath Philippi's Covered Bridge on New Year's Day. The purpose of the annual event is to raise funds for the Barbour County Emergency Squad.

Meerkats, Meerkat, Zoo, Reserve
Charles J. Sharp / Wikimedia Commons

A new meerkat at Oglebay Resort's Good Zoo has been named Rafiki.

The zoo says in a news release that Rafiki received 63 percent of the votes cast by the public through Oglebay's Facebook page.

Mountain Stage/Pat Sergent

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear why Davis and Elkins College offers a unique type of scholarship for students who play traditional folk music. And we’ll hear about a new tourism music trail in West Virginia called The Mountain Music Trail.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

New River Gorge National River is offering a 100-mile hiking challenge to celebrate the National Park Service's centennial.

To complete the challenge, visitors must hike at least 100 miles on trails in New River Gorge National River and Bluestone National Scenic River in 2016.

West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Application deadlines are approaching for the 2016 West Virginia State Dance Festival.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History says Jan. 4 is the deadline for dance director applications. The deadline for dance directors to submit student applications is Jan. 11. Scholarship applications are due Jan. 15.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Every year, dozens of people in Harpers Ferry go back in time. In the shops and at the national park, it's 1864 all over again. It's fun for locals and visitors to see how people in Victorian-era West Virginia celebrated Christmas. But it's also a reminder of how bittersweet it can be for people to try to find a bit of good cheer in the midst of a long and terrible war.


Malcolm Wilson/ Humans of Central Appalachia / Humans of Central Appalachia

What happens when strangers with cameras go to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about. This week, we revisit our most popular episode from 2015. Since this first aired, Vice Magazine has published another article by photographer Stacy Kranitz. It's the latest in Kranitz's photo essay series called, "There Aint No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down", which takes its title from the song by Brother Claude Ely.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear stories of Christmas past, Christmas present and even hope for Christmases in the future.

Batistaya / wikimedia Commons

Audio Pending...

  The annual Capital Classic battle between WVU and Marshall in basketball tips off tonight at 7 at the Charleston Civic Arena.

The Mountaineers enter the contest with just one blemish on their record -- a loss to the University of Virginia. They sit at 8-1 on the season and are ranked 20th in this week's Associated Press poll.

Music Legend Bill Withers Makes Virtual Stop at the Morgantown PopShop

Dec 16, 2015
Morgantown-based artist Jamie Lester graffitied the PopShop.
courtesy of Chris Russell

PopShop is a music academy in Morgantown where previous musical training is not a requirement and where there are no age limits for those who want to learn how to rock. Students at the school just had a Skype-date with a musical legend: West Virginia native and recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Bill Withers.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been four and a half months since a fire broke out in Harpers Ferry that devastated its historic commercial district and caused millions of dollars in damages. Residents and nearby fire departments swarmed the town’s streets in the early hours of the morning to do what they could to contain the fire. Nearly eight hours later, the fire was put out but left behind the wood and stone frames of four buildings, some which were built before the Civil War.

Since that day, the town of Harpers Ferry has moved quickly toward recovery and is getting close to rebuilding. West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been following this story since the fire; here's a look at how things are going now as 2015 comes to a close.

Shepherd University

Backup quarterback Connor Jessop threw two touchdown passes and Shepherd survived a last-minute two-point conversion attempt to hold off Grand Valley State 34-32 in a Division II semifinal on Saturday.

Shepherd advances to Kansas City Dec. 19 for the NCAA Division II national championship to face the winner of the West Georgia-Northwest Missouri State semifinal.

Mackensen / wikimedia commons

A historic former black church in Montgomery has become the target of vandalism.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that vandals have broken down the doors and busted the windows of the First Baptist Church, which has been empty since July 2012. They've also broken antique cups and plates and scattered hymnals and other church materials on the floor.

Scotty White/ Inside Appalachia

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began December 6, and continues through December 14th at sundown. In light of Hanukkah, this week's show features Jewish Appalachians, a group that’s not really talked about a whole lot.

Jewish communities across West Virginia are struggling to keep their traditions alive.