Dance workshops, an exhibition of artwork by Mr. Imagination and a panel discussion with artists, archivists, curators and historians are some of the highlights of Fall into Folk, a two-day festival Oct. 8-9 celebrating folk art and folk music hosted by the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts. All events are free and open to the public.

"Fall into Folk celebrates unconventional creative expression as well as connection to past and community, and focuses attention on the importance of folk art traditions in our region," said Rachel Talent Ivers, LCVA director. "We firmly believe in the power of creative pursuits to transform lives, regardless of socio-economic circumstances, political beliefs or education levels. All of the Fall into Folk activities are open to the community completely free of charge, including Thursday evening’s concert in Jarman Hall." 

The festival opens at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, with a reception for FIRE! The Resurrection of Mr. Imagination. The exhibition consists of works created by the late Gregory Warmack, better known as Mr. Imagination, an outsider artist whose work features self-portraits and fantastical subjects made of sandstone and bottle caps. Ramona Austin, curator for the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries of Old Dominion University, will present a gallery talk.

White Top Mountain Band, photo by Susan Roark
White Top Mountain Band, photo by Susan Roark

At 7:30 p.m., a The Whitetop Mountain Band and Adam McPeak & Mountain Thunder will perform in Longwood’s Jarman Auditorium. Jack Hinshelwood with The Crooked Road Music Tour will serve as master of ceremonies for the concert.

On Friday, Oct. 9, the Whitetop Mountain Band will present dance workshops at the LCVA for bluegrass, old time and flatfoot dancing at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The festival concludes with the 5:30 p.m. panel discussion Preserving the Self-Taught: A Conversation between Collector, Curator, Archivist and Historian, also at the LCVA.

"The panel discussion will focus on the importance of collecting oral histories, particularly when working with self-taught artists," said Ivers, who will serve as moderator.

Panelists include Ramona Austin, curator, Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries of Old Dominion University; Elizabeth Thompson Colleary, independent art historian and consulting archivist, Hopper Research Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Dr. Larissa Fergeson, university liaison for The Moton Museum, acting associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of history, Longwood University; and Ann Oppenhimer, interim director, Folk Art Society of America.  A cocktail reception will follow the panel discussion.

The event was initially inspired by LCVA’s affiliation with the Folk Art Society of America, a national organization that champions the collecting of folk art and advocates for its scholarly treatment. In 2014, Longwood entered into an agreement with the Folk Art Society of America to gradually transfer the society to the university. Longwood will become a major repository for the FASA archives,  an irreplaceable trove of more than a thousand books, catalogs and other primary sources that detail much of the rich history of folk art across the world.

The LCVA is located at the intersection of Main and Third streets in Farmville. For more information, call 434-395-2206 or visit

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