Cowan Creek Mountain Music School Chosen for Recognition as a 2009 Coming Up Taller Semi-finalist.

The Cowan Community Action Group, Inc. has been notified that it is among the top 50 semi-finalists in the 2009 Coming Up Taller Awards by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The message read:  “We reviewed more than 420 nominations from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Osan South Korean US Air Force Base.  Your program’s selection as one of the 50 semi-finalists distinguishes it as one of the top arts-and humanities-based programs in the country serving youth beyond the school hours.” 

The nomination is currently being rewiewed for a Coming Up Taller award by a national jury composed of field experts.  Recipients will be notified by the end of June.  If selected, Cowan will receive a plaque and a $10,000 award at a ceremony in the fall/winter.  Cowan will also have the opportunity to participate in the sixth annual Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference, August 5-7, 2009, in Washington, DC.  The program and organization will be listed in this year’s Coming Up Taller awards national publication and in the press kit announcing the award recipients.

Cowan is very proud of this distinction, and recognizes it as an accomplishment to be shared by its stakeholders, Cowan Community Center Staff both past and present, the Cowan Creek Mountain Music Faculty and its many students throughout  the years, other organizations that have so closely worked with us as partners, such as Appalshop and the Cowan Elementary School,  and the many people of the area who believe as we do that our traditional mountain music and folk arts must be preserved and passed on to future generations.  

2008 Scholarship Recipients

The Art Stamper Scholarship for Fiddle Students is awarded to a fiddle student based on commitment, excellence, and accomplishment.  

                                                                                                                         2008 Recipient:  Joseph Collum, age 8, Shelby County.

The Burt Hatfield Scholarship for Banjo and/or Guitar Students is awarded to a guitar or banjo student based on commitment, excellence, and accomplishment.  Open to students  at any level.                                                                                                                                                             2008 Recipient:  Chandler Sparkman, 12 years old, Letcher County

The Ray Slone Teaching Assistantship for Fiddle or Banjo Students is awarded to a fiddle or banjo student based on excellence and accomplishment. The student should show maturity, promise, and demonstrate an ability and interest in teaching.  

2008 Recipient: Rossi Clark, age 14, Pulaski County            

     The Rodney Sanders Scholarship is awarded to a student based on a sincere commitment and interest in learning any area of traditional Kentucky music.  This is both a merit and need based scholarship and is open to students of all ages, with an emphasis on youth and senior citizens.

2008 Recipient: Justin Grimm, age 17, Banjo player,           Perry County

Cowan Community Center Receives Governor’s 2007-2008 Folk Heritage Award

The Cowan Community Center has enjoyed the great honor of having been nominated for and receiving the Governor’s 2007-2008 Folk Heritage Award for their role in preserving and promoting Kentucky’s traditional arts.  Many thanks to our previous Arts Coordinator, Susanne Savell, for the honor she bestowed upon the center by nominating us. 

There are nine awards presented each year in the arts, and all of the nine recipients were honored at a special event in Frankfort’s Capital Rotunda in October. Following the public event, the recipients and their invited guests were honored at a luncheon in the Governor’s Mansion.  All of the day’s activities were taped and later shown on a KET special presentation.  In February, all of the recipients will again be honored by receiving a citation from the Kentucky Legislature.  Being a recipient of such a prestigious award has given us a great recognition throughout Kentucky, and it affirms our belief that we are doing the right things with our mountain traditions.   It has strengthened our belief that our music, dance, storytelling, quilting, and all of the activities we participate in have worth, and that persons from out of our region respect and value our work also.  It has certainly been something we have used with pride when submitting grant proposals and applications for future funding.  Again, thanks to Susanne Savell, for believing in the center enough to take the time and effort to nominate us.  The events can be viewed on the following web links.

The Governor’s remarks  Video can be found on this page:

Carol Ison, Director

Cowan Community Center

Thanks to everyone!

early intermediate jam 

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year one of the best Cowan Creek Mountain Music Schools ever! We have been building this school, and the extended family that belongs to it, for seven years now. From all the staff, faculty and volunteers of CCMMS, we want to extend a big thank you to all the wonderful students who joined us this year. We also want to thank all the local folks who came out in numbers to join in the square dances and attend the many performances throughout the week.

  • In addition to the array of musicians performing and teaching at the music school this year, Cowan Community Action Group was proud to present storyteller Angelyn DeBord and women from the Cowan Creek Community in the It’s About Time project.  It’s About Time was sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council’s Art Builds Community and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.  The performance by these women is the culmination of a year long project in which women in the Cowan community were provided with regularly scheduled workshops of poetry writing, story sharing and visual art. These workshops were  documented for posterity!  This project culminated in the involvement of these local women in the staged performance that we all so enjoyed.  The play was based on the stories from these womens’ lives, scripted and directed by Angelyn DeBord.   Kentucky artists Mimi Pickering, Anne Shelby and Pam Meade were all involved in the creation of this project.  The National Performance Network provided funds for Angelyn DeBord and Nancy Brennan Strange to conduct a week-long residency with the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School and to present DeBord’s original play,  ”Stubborn Memories,” as part of the faculty concert. 

Several folks have been asking about the wonderful photographs that Kelly Christian took during the music school. As soon as we get the files, we will create an online album and email everyone with the link (and also notify you here!). It may seem like a long way off, but make sure to save the week for next year: June 22-26, 2008! More news to come as we make plans for more music between now and then!  All the best,Suzanne