With The Theme “Reclaiming The Native South,” MGA’s 2023 Arts Festival Features Native American Writers & Scholars

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023 12:00 AM
Categories: Faculty/Staff | Events- Public | School of Arts and Letters | Pressroom | Students

Macon, GA


Built around the theme “Reclaiming the Native South,” the 2023 Arts Festival hosted by Middle Georgia State University's School of Arts & Letters features a reading and book talk with author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (Eastern Band of Cherokee); a discussion panel featuring Tracie Revis, (Muscogee (Creek) and Euchee), director of advocacy for the Macon Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative; a film screening with Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee), historian and documentary film producer; and a musical performance and storytelling presentation with Randy Kemp (Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw, and Euchee), an interdisciplinary artist and storyteller.

The free festival, which takes place March 27-April 14, will explore the richness and deep roots of Native American arts and culture in the South, particularly in the Middle Georgia region, home to Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. Most festival events will take place on the University’s Macon Campus and are free and open to the public.

The headline events are sponsored by the Middle Georgia State (MGA) School of Arts & Letters, with generous support from Georgia Humanities Council, and from the Georgia Council for the Arts. Additional support comes from the MGA Foundation, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Honors Program.

“We are grateful for the generous financial support that allowed us to take the annual festival to a whole new level,” said Dr. Mary Wearn, dean of the School of Arts & Letters. “The Ocmulgee Mounds are such a treasure to our local community. We hope the festival will support the growing awareness and appreciation of indigenous history, art, and culture.”

Among the Arts Festival’s featured events:

Clapsaddle, who lives in Qualla, N.C., will read from her work at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 5. She is the author of the novel Even As We Breathe, a finalist for the Weatherford Award and named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. In 2021, it received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She is the former executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and former co-editor of the Journal of Cherokee Studies.

In addition, Clapsaddle serves on the Board of Directors for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and is the president of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network. She established Bird Words, LLC in 2022 and works as an independent contractor and consultant.

At 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 3, Lowery will screen her documentary films Real Indian and Sounds of Faith, both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  

Lowery is a historian and documentary film producer. In 2021 she joined Emory University as the Cahoon Family Professor of American History, after spending 12 years at UNC-Chapel Hill and four years at Harvard University. Her second book, The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle, was published by UNC Press in 2018. The book is a survey of Lumbee history from the eighteenth century to the present, written for a general audience. Her first book, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation, won several awards, including Best First Book of 2010 in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

Kemp will give a Native American flute, storytelling, and visual arts performance at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 10. A noted artist in the contemporary American Indian art world, his work has been exhibited in prestigious museums, galleries and private collections throughout the world. He is a retired environmental graphic designer for Arizona State University.

Here is the complete Arts Festival schedule:

Monday, March 27

MGA Student Art Exhibition Opening and Awards (exhibition runs through April 6)
6 p.m., Peacock Gallery, Cochran Campus
Juried exhibition featuring the work of Middle Georgia State University art students

Wednesday, March 29

Reclaiming the Native South Humanities Panel
4:30 p.m., Arts Complex Theatre, Macon Campus
Experts on the Indigenous Southeast gather to share their work and reflect on recent scholarly trends in a lively and entertaining session  


Dr. Matt Jennings, Historian/MGA Professor

Tracie Revis (Yuchi/Muscogee), Director of Advocacy for Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative

Dr. Jace Weaver, Religious, Literary, and Law Scholar/University of Georgia

Beau Carroll (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), Archeologist/University of Tennessee/EBCI Tribal Historic Preservation Office

Dr. Robbie Ethridge, Historical and Environmental Anthropologist/University of Mississippi

Monday, April 3

Film Screening with Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee), Historian and Documentary Film Producer
3:30 p.m., Arts Complex Theatre, Macon Campus
Lowery's short films Real Indian and Sounds of Faith will be screened, followed by a Q&A  

Lecture and Recital by MGA Professor Giuliano Graniti: Ombaska: Composers of Native American Music Against Cultural Stereotypes
7 p.m., Arts Complex Rehearsal Hall, Macon Campus
This lecture-recital will explore the fusion of European contemporary classical music techniques and Native American music idioms in the works of Louis Ballard and Alberto Ginastera

Wednesday, April 5

Lecture and reading by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (Eastern Band of Cherokee) 
4 p.m. Arts Complex Rehearsal Hall, Macon Campus
The author will read from and discuss her novel, Even as We Breathe (2020) and will be available to sign books

Monday, April 10

MGA Student Art Exhibition Opening and Awards
6 p.m. SOAL Building Lobby, Macon Campus
Juried exhibition featuring the work of Middle Georgia State University art students

Presentation and performance by Randy Kemp (Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw, and Euchee)
6:30 p.m., Arts Complex Rehearsal Hall, Macon Campus
Kemp will give a Native American flute, storytelling, and visual arts performance

Wednesday, April 12

Release party for Fall Line Review, MGA's annual journal dedicated to highlighting the literary and artistic achievements of students.
2 p.m., SOAL Building Lobby, Macon Campus

Jazz Band Concert
4:30 p.m., Walker Auditorium, Cochran Campus
The student-fronted jazz ensemble is expanding their repertoire to include jazz-rock along with the classics   

Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday April 12-14

The Thanksgiving Play

Times for Cochran Campus:
April 12: 7:00pm
April 13: 7:00pm
April 14: 7:00pm
Location:  Russell Hall Theatre | Cochran Campus

Times for Macon Campus:
April 12: 7:00pm
April 13: 5:30pm
April 14: 7:00pm
Location:  Arts Complex Theatre | Macon Campus

Written by Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse, the play satirically explores production of a Thanksgiving pageant. The Thanksgiving Play is coming to Broadway this spring

Thursday, April 13

Percussion Ensemble
7:30 p.m., Arts Complex Rehearsal Hall, Macon Campus
The Percussion Ensemble will present a show of Latin and modern percussion music, from the timpani to the steel drums and everything in between



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