The Appalachian Fiddle and Bluegrass Association (AFBA) received a project grant in 2023 for the Historic Mural Preservation and Exhibition project. The mural was restored by artists Amanda Schwartz and Kathy Bestwick. Local television station WMZ-69 News did a segment on the mural, exhibit, and grant.
The mural was delivered to the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, in May, 2023, by Chuck and Kathy Bestwick with Dotti Sullivan. Museum curator Carly Smith installed an exhibit on bluegrass festivals in May – June, with the mural serving as the anchor. In June the exhibit opened at the museum during the ROMP Festival. Dotti and Kathy attended the opening and spent hours speaking with visitors about the project. Rack cards were printed and left for visitors at the museum.
In November Carly Smith arranged for the professional photographs to be used for this grant report and for a full-page ad in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. An article and ad for the exhibit is slated for the January 2024 issue of BU for their festival edition. Local (Pennsylvania) radio station WDVR is doing a segment on the mural, exhibit, and grant, while highlighting the musicians depicted in the mural. In spring of 2024, International Shaky Radio will air a similar segment.
The exhibit will close and the mural will be transported back to Pennsylvania in June 2025. During the two-year period, the IBMA Foundation logo has been printed on all promotional materials for the Appalachian Fiddle and Bluegrass Association festival, for monthly shindig events, and on their activity calendar.
This project has been an extraordinary way to celebrate the AFBA’s 50th anniversary. It has been a very rewarding experience to receive both this grant from the IBMA Foundation and to have the exhibit of the mural in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum.
We made many friends during this project. We attended the ROMP Festival in Owensboro for the exhibit opening and the IBMA Foundation grant reception in Raleigh, NC, during World of Bluegrass week. Our experiences at these events have made a lasting impression, and we plan on attending in the future.
This project was a dream of Joe Sullivan, a long-term president of the AFBA, who passed away in 2021 from cancer. This was a wonderful tribute to his legacy of dedication to the promotion of bluegrass music. Thank you for making it possible.
Kathy Bestwick, Chair of the AFBA Board of Directors
Chuck Bestwick, Vice-President of the AFBA
Dotti Sullivan, Lifetime AFBA member and wife of Joe Sullivan
Return to the December 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.