Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife CenterMay 30, 2013
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center opened on Fairmont State University’s and Pierpont Community & Technical College’s shared campus in June 2010. It is only one of twenty-five college centers like it in the nation.
As a college facility, the Folklife Center functions in education for uncommon and historical courses. It is used for the folklore studies major, and for the museum studies certificate and minor. Classes like The Art of Storytelling in Theory & Practice, Museum Exhibit Design & Preparation, and Folk Literature are taught in and with the aid of the Folklife Center.
It is not simply a great addition to the college campus; it is also used to serve and honor the region. The Folklife Center is a performance space and a place for events. In the past, the center has hosted quilt readings, A Festival of Story, and silent auctions. Every Thursday the Kennedy Barn String Band plays their old-time tunes there in a personal and fun tribute to the region.
And one of those events is coming up soon. The Friends of Folklife Gala, June 1 and 2nd features a wide assortment of folklore fun. Presented here will be traditional entertainment in arts, exhibits, music, wine tasting, Civil War re-enactors, storytelling, and cake walks. The Kennedy Barn String Band will perform a barn dance, with caller Taylor Runner. A History Alive performance by Joe Bundy, in conjunction with the WV Humanities Council, will act out his first person interpretation of historical figure Martin Delany.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center does more than add to the community; it adds to our history. The Folklife Center strives to preserve and share West Virginia’s history. This is done in the forms of a museum, publications, research studies, as well as Cultural Heritage Exhibits.
For a more powerful impact of historical significance, the Folklife Center publishes texts such as Traditions: A Journal of West Virginia Folk Culture and Educational Awareness with nine volumes in circulation. A younger publication, its inception in 2002, is Hillchild: A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children and currently has three volumes in circulation.
A newer text, the second volume of Witches, Ghosts and Signs: Folklore of the Southern Appalachians was written by Patrick W. Gainer. Created quite differently from the others, this publication involved the work and efforts of the students at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community&Technical College. The Folklife Center has transformed into a place where its own students of history are helping to preserve history in the region.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is growing, taking on new tasks, and thriving. Because of the Folklife Center’s efforts now, the college, the community, and generations to come will get to appreciate our region’s history.