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COAL

COAL was a two-year project (1992-94) conceived by former faculty member Mary Kathleen Ernst that included a commissioned musical piece and residency by the composer, Judith Shatin, at West Virginia's Shepherd College. The purpose of COAL was to deepen the community's knowledge of and relationship to the arts and 20th century music through a project that had resonance in the region. Shatin's statewide research and interviews with citizens of West Virginia focused her residency on mining history and related contemporary issues.

An important aspect of this project was the development of partnerships between the college, the composer, and community groups (including the Woodson Historical Society, Millbrook Orchestra, and the Masterworks Chorale) to plan and produce residency events. It was the belief that broad community involvement in the project would result in greater support for the music featured.

The artist traveled across the state during her research stage and talked with miners about their lives and work. A panel discussion on the topic of coal history and mine safety included Shatin, then-president of the United Mine Workers, and the assistant secretary of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. According to music writer David Schulman, "the project succeeded in establishing a creative dialogue between twentieth-century art music, the United Mine Workers, computer sound engineering, old-time Appalachian music, and the people of Shepherdstown." Much of Shatin's research was documented in a film titled 'COAL,' produced by West Virginia Public Television.

Geographic Focus: West Virginia

Resource Link: www.americansforthearts.org/animatingdemocracy/labs/lab_040.asp

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Animating Democracy Co-Director

bsbacon@artsusa.org

202-371-2830

1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, 6th Floor

Washington

DC

20005

In partnership with the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts (www.americansforthearts.org/animatingdemocracy/), NCDD's Leah Lamb researched arts-based civic dialogue programs in order to help dialogue & deliberation practitioners strengthen their work by linking it to the arts. NCDD hopes these resources will inspire you, and encourages you to connect with the artists, many of whom are interested in working with D&D practitioners.

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