The free, public program will be broadcast live online at www.arts.gov (http://www.arts.gov). North Carolina residents can get a sneak preview by listening to a podcast at of Adams at www.arts.gov/
Adams is one of nine National Heritage recipients named by the NEA this year, and the 12th North Carolinian to receive the national award. Each fellow receives a $25,000 award.
"Sheila made it her mission to absorb old love songs from her elders and she became a bridge that has enabled young people to learn, and to love, ballad singing," Executive Director Wayne Martin, N.C. Arts Council, observed. "That venerated 17th century tradition had been in danger of becoming irrelevant."
Ballad singing flourished when rural communities didn't have access to newspapers, magazines and books, and provided a way to discuss events and ponder the human condition. Adams learned to sing from her great-aunt Dillie Chandler and the Wallin family (including National Heritage Award winner Doug Wallin). In addition to ballad singing, Adams is an accomplished clawhammer-style banjo player and storyteller. She began performing in her teens and has performed at festivals, music camps and workshops in the United States and the United Kingdom.
"Arts, in addition to enriching our lives, has also sparked an economic renaissance in many of our towns and cities in North Carolina attracting new business, downtown redevelopment and historic preservation,' says Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz. "We are thrilled that the NEA has recognized one our uniquely North Carolinian musicians."
A new travel guidebook, "Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina," features a profile of Adams and other traditional musicians in the mountains and foothills of the state. Published in partnership with UNC Press, it is a guide for citizens and visitors to experience living Blue Ridge music traditions, including ballad singing.
Adams is the author of two books: "Come Go Home With Me," a collection of stories published by UNC Press, and winner of the North Carolina Historical Society's award for historical fiction in 1997; and "My Old True Love," a novel published by Algonquin Books in 2004. She has recorded several albums of ballads, songs and stories.
About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources:
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state's communities. NCDCR's Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina's rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR's State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.
NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state's creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov (http://www.ncdcr.gov).