Mid Atlantic Arts partners with the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS) and South Arts on the Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowships. This program honors and promotes the understanding of Black Appalachian storytelling traditions that embody the history, heritage, and culture of African Americans in the region. The National Association of Black Storytellers awards one Fellowship per year in each of the six eligible states: Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fellows receive $5,000 in unrestricted funding, a unique physical award created by a Black Appalachian artist, and NABS membership during their award year. The Fellows are honored each year at the “In the Tradition…” National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference.

The Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellowships are part of Mid Atlantic Arts’ Central Appalachia Living Traditions program.

Current Fellows

2023 Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellows: 

  • Andrew Baskin: Madison County, Kentucky 
  • Ronnie W. Pepper: Henderson County, North Carolina 
  • Lyn Ford: Columbiana County, Ohio 
  • Kelle Jolly: Knox County, Tennessee 
  • L. Renée: Tazewell County, Virginia 
  • Aristotle Jones: Cabell and Monongalia Counties, West Virginia 

Read more about the 2023 Fellows here. Each 2023 Fellow received a unique physical award created by Virginia gourd carver and instrument maker Dr. Dena Jennings 

Previous Fellows

2022 Black Appalachian Storytellers Fellows

  • David Butcher: Athens County, Ohio
  • Raymond Christian: Watauga County, North Carolina
  • Ruby Daniels: Raleigh County, West Virginia
  • Crystal Good: Kanawha County, West Virginia
  • James “Sparky” Rucker: Blount County, Tennessee
  • Alicestyne Turley: Powell County, Kentucky

Each 2022 Fellow received a unique physical award created by artist Harlan Mack. 

Opportunity & Support Type
Target Candidate
Folklife & Traditional Arts
Regional Requirement
Appalachian Counties of OH, VA, and WV
Questions or need guidance?
Ellie Dassler
Program Director, Folk and Traditional Arts
Joel Chapman
Program Associate, Folk and Traditional Arts
Funding support provided by:
  • Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies Logo