Hickory – Experience the soulful, cultural history of Southern traditional music at Hickory Museum of Art (HMA) during We Are the Music Makers: Preserving the Soul of America’s Music, a multimedia exhibition of photographs, audio recordings and video from Tim Duffy, founder of Music Maker Relief Foundation, in the Museum’s Shuford Gallery April 30 – July 24. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with HMA’s third floor installation Discover Folk Art: Unique Visions by Southern Self-Taught Artists, which includes more than 250 paintings and sculpture.

We Are the Music Makers features Southern Roots musicians active during the past 20 years, all photographed and recorded by Duffy in his quest to preserve Southern traditional music by partnering with the artists who make it.

Precious Bryant – Photo by Tim Duffy

The exhibition highlights questions of how poverty, geography and age have limited the exposure of these artists, leading to the widespread idea that the musical traditions they perform have died out.

“Throughout We Are The Music Makers, the viewer is granted access to worlds that are beyond reach and off limits to most,” musician Marty Stuart said. “There is less than a razor’s edge of difference in royalty and rogue at the bedrock of American roots music.”

Visitors will be able to access audio and video recordings using their smart phones and kiosks throughout the exhibition. We Are the Music Makers will meld with Southern contemporary folk art and regional art from the Museum’s collection.

HMA further celebrates these legendary musicians, rooted in traditional Southern blues, during its Music Makers Blues Revue & BBQ on Saturday, May 14. See the exhibition We Are the Music Makers and join the community in an outdoor, plated BBQ supper to benefit the Museum 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by a free blues performance 7-8:30 p.m. in Drendel Auditorium on the SALT Block.

Minnie Reinhardt, Possum John, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase from the Collection of Allen & Barry Huffman, 2006.10.20

The musical lineup includes Cool John Ferguson, John Dee Holeman, Big Ron Hunter, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, Harvey Dalton Arnold and Bubba Norwood. Admission to the blues performance is free with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Receive early entry to the Music Makers Blues Revue with purchase of a BBQ plate by Lafone’s Barbecue Catering. Plate purchase includes a drink. Beer will be available for purchase and HMA’s Guild will be selling homemade Southern desserts. Order smoked chicken or pulled pork plates online at www.HickoryArt.org or by calling the Museum at 828-327-8576.

About Music Maker Relief Foundation

The nonprofit Music Maker Relief Foundation was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time.

Marie Elem, Southern Cotton Patch, acrylic on wood, Gift of Dell M. Orr & David M. Vandre, 2015.1.1

Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performances that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.

Since its founding the 1994, Music Maker Relief Foundation has assisted and partnered with more than 300 artists, issued more than 150 CDs and reached more than a million people with live performances worldwide. Music Maker started by helping a small group of blues musicians in Winston-Salem, including Guitar Gabriel, Willa Mae Buckner, Preston Fulp, Mr. Q, Macavine Hayes and others.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information about Museum exhibitions, art classes, field trips, and events, visit www.HickoryArt.org or call 828-327-8576.