Alabama in the Making: Traditional Arts of People and Place


Photo property of Demopolis Times

by Dempolis Times

The University of West Alabama will host “Alabama in the Making: Traditional Arts of People and Place,” an exhibit by the Alabama Folklife Association (AFA) with sponsorship from the Division of Educational Outreach, through the month of June until July 15. The opening reception will be held Thursday, June 20 from 5-7 p.m.

The traveling exhibit is an innovative effort to present AFA research collections from the Smithsonian Project and Alabama Community Scholars Institutes 2004, 2006 and 2008. The collections are photographs, audio interviews and videos. Using iPads, visitors are able to navigate through these collections and listen to Alabamians tell the stories of their experiences in folk and traditional arts including food ways, music, occupational folklore and material culture.

“We are excited to have the exhibit come to campus,” said Dr. Tina Jones, dean of the Division of Educational Outreach and AFA board member. “Working with the University Archives and the Black Belt Archives, we will also have the opportunity to create a local exhibit that taps into the larger story that Alabama in the Making tells.”

By featuring the exhibit in the Black Belt, UWA offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about the relationship of Alabama folkways to sense of place. From hunting, to basket making, to sharing stories on the front porch, to making cornbread, the people of Alabama have traditions and arts related to the resources in their environment.

With the iPads for the children to operate and the ability of seniors to tell stories, Alabama in the Making is a great exhibit for families to enjoy viewing together. Executive Director of the Alabama Folklife Association, Mary Allison Haynie, said, “This vibrant and colorful exhibit truly expresses the diverse cultures of Alabama, our unique lifeways, and the rich heritage of people like us.” According to Haynie, visitors will discover the many talents, skills, and knowledge of Alabamians and the contributions they continue to make to American culture.

The content will be especially interesting to students, scholars, community educators, and active members of museums, libraries, and other cultural organizations. There are five kiosks and each one represents a region of Alabama: Gulf Coast, Southern Appalachians, Wiregrass, Black Belt, and Tennessee Valley.

For more information about the exhibit, call (205) 652-3828 or email

This exhibit is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

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