The Ferrum College Blue Ridge Institute & Museum (BRI) was recently named a Bedrock Institution by the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA), which celebrated its 50th Anniversary by honoring people and organizations who have inspired and championed Virginia cultural heritage for over 50 years. One of the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards, the Bedrock Institution category recognized institutions that have been in existence more than ten years, have demonstrated artistic excellence, and are a significant benefit to their community. BRI Co-directors Roddy Moore and Vaughan Webb accepted the award on Wed., Jan. 31, 2018, during an event recognizing award recipients that was held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond.
“It was exciting to be present to see our BRI receive the much-deserved Bedrock Institutions Award,” said Ferrum College President David Johns, who also attended the event. “Although I am new to the area, I have already heard many across the Commonwealth speak about the BRI’s impact on this region. Its historical focus adds a distinctive element to Ferrum College academic programs. Our museum exhibits, festivals, and outreach programs celebrate the culture and peoples of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m proud of our staff and their accomplishments.”
Since 1973, the BRI has documented, interpreted, and presented the folkways of Virginia, especially those of the Piedmont and western parts of the state. The Institute’s focus on the people whose artistry reflects longstanding family and community customs is respected nationwide. The Commonwealth of Virginia designated the BRI the official “State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore” in 1984. Together Moore and Webb have over 80 years experience as folklorists in the region and have long worked to bring audiences face-to-face with authentic regional folk arts and the people who carry on those traditions.
“Folk culture is always changing. It is important to continue to offer fresh outlooks on the traditional arts, as they reveal all of us to be tradition-bearers in an ever-evolving society,” said Moore.
The BRI was chosen as one of the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award winners from an original pool of over 350 nominees by a panel of former Commissioners and arts leaders and confirmed by the full VCA Board.