By Sherrie Norris
Few couples have done more to preserve and celebrate traditional mountain heritage more so than Glenn and Lula Bolick. Their efforts have gained attention throughout the south and beyond for a number of years, but perhaps one of their greatest honors will come Wednesday, May 23, when they are among a select group of talented individuals receiving the 2018 North Carolina Arts Council Heritage Award.
The awards ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh, in partnership with North Carolina Arts Council.
The Bolicks are potters, musicians and storytellers representing Caldwell County, but claimed by Watauga, since their Blackberry home is just a stone’s throw from the county line.
They will join the following as award recipients during the upcoming presentation: Asha Bala (Cumberland County) performer and instructor of South Indian dance; Arvil Freeman (Buncombe County) Western North Carolina fiddler; Robert “Dick” Knight (Lenoir County) soul, R&B, and jazz trumpet player; and Tony Williamson (Chatham County), multi-genre mandolinist rooted in bluegrass.
As will all the award winners, the Bolicks will be given a chance to perform on stage during the ceremony, and will be joined by their daughter, Janet Calhoun.
The Bolick couple and their fellow award recipients will also be interviewed on stage during the ceremony and featured through video profiles by award-winning filmmaker Rodrigo Dorfman.
During the video, the Bolicks will reflect on their lifetime commitment to preserving and sharing their family traditions. Lula is a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove, and Glenn, a fifth-generation sawmiller from Caldwell County. They have been described as a couple that has carried many traditions of North Carolina’s mountains and piedmont into the 21st century through the pottery and music they’ve made together for over 50 years.
The awards ceremony is also the culminating event for the 50th anniversary celebration of the North Carolina Arts Council, which created the heritage awards to recognize outstanding traditional artists.
More than 100 artists from NC’s music, craft, dance and narrative traditions have received this prestigious recognition and include several from the High Country: Doc Watson, Ray Hicks, Elsie Trivette, Ora Watson, Bessie Eldreth, Ossie Phillips, Leonard Glenn and Robert Dotson.
The Bolicks were also chosen earlier to participate in a special commemorative video presentation, “50 for 50: Artists Celebrate North Carolina,” during which they joined other well known personalities in sharing their stories and reflecting on the importance of art and the support of same.
Reserve your seats today to be part of this time-honored celebration of North Carolina arts and creative expression, described as a “one-of-a-kind program that celebrates North Carolina’s cultural heritage.”
Ticket holders are invited to attend a post-show reception and a chance to meet this year’s master artists.
Tickets may be purchased by calling 919-664-8302. Member ticket price: $23.60; general public ticket price is $23.60.
For more information, visit www.ncarts.org.