Museum Concepts Awards
The Smart Initiative Award
An Arts driven economic development plan for cities and towns in North Carolina
Earl Scruggs Center and Don Gibson Theater, Shelby
Although relatively small in population, Cleveland County has given the world two musical giants. Earl Scruggs, an innovative banjo player from the small community of Boiling Springs, created a distinctive style of picking the banjo that catapulted the instrument from a background to a sophisticated lead instrument. Through his partnership with Bill Monroe and others he created bluegrass music. Don Gibson of Shelby was a songwriter of great talent. A Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, he enjoyed a string of hits from 1957 into the early 1970s including “Sweet Dreams”, “Oh Lonesome Me” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
Destination Cleveland County (DCC) has created multiple partnerships and raised significant funds to complete two civic and tourism projects in Shelby — the Don Gibson Theater and the Earl Scruggs Center. The Don Gibson Theater, renovated from a downtown cinema, opened in 2009 and has attracted positive attention to the town and increased local revenues.
The Earl Scruggs Center, scheduled to open in early 2012, will be located in the newly renovated courthouse building. The Center will host displays documenting and chronicling the music of Earl Scruggs and its occupational, regional and social contexts. In this way, hometown hero Scruggs serves as the catalyst for local history and contemporary artistic expression in the county. In addition to articulating the life and career of Scruggs, exhibitions will offer opportunities for visitors to glimpse the broad musical, literary and raconteur talents of regional citizens.
Much of the local information about artists and artistic events was compiled by a documentation team of folklorists and historians from UNC-Chapel Hill. Destination Cleveland continues to collaborate with local citizens to create oral histories that inform the exhibits. Further plans include a community theater and classrooms for the Center.
This grassroots project, which involves strong partnerships with local stakeholders as well as nationally-recognized researchers, writers and designers, has allowed the citizens of Shelby to leverage local arts assets for innovative arts-driven economic development: It demonstrates the power of identifying and growing cultural resources through arts inventory processes and community outreach. In 2010, the project received $1.5 million in funding from the federal government’s Economic Development Administration.
National Association of Development Organizations
2011 Innovation Award
WASHINGTON, DC – The South Delta Planning and Development District, based in Greenville, Mississippi received a 2011 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.
NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners will be showcased during NADO’s 2011 Annual Training Conference, to be held October 8—11 in Miami, Florida.
“Creative projects like the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center advance the economic growth and sustainability of our nation’s regions and communities. For more than 20 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations throughout the nation a unique opportunity to showcase their important work and their critical role in promoting economic development for rural and small metropolitan communities,” said NADO President Tim Ware, executive director of the Mid-East Commission in Washington, North Carolina.
BRONZE: B.B. King Museum Films
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center and Dollarhide Film, Inc.
Judges said: This production presents the life and times of BB King, a music legend whose rise to prominence carries inherent interest. Well-told and thematically arranged to promote browsing in a museum context, the video remains compelling as a whole. While the briefest glimpse of BB King the man (reflecting back on audience response to his Fillmore West performance in the late 1960s) might leave audiences craving a deeper understanding of how King’s many accomplishments affected him personally there remains plenty of visual interest and historical detail to engage viewers.
Producers said: The films take visitors, twelve years and older, on a trip with Riley B. King from his birthplace in Mississippi to the pinnacle of his success as the “King of the Blues.” Each of the eight films mirrors the associated subject areas of the Museum’s interpretive content, addressing the following topics: the social context, people and places of B.B.’s youth; his early musical experiences and decision to pursue blues professionally; the vibrant music scene in Memphis; life on the road and the Chitlin’ Circuit; the turbulent 1960′s and America’s racial unrest; B.B.’s ascent to international icon; and his pride in his place of origin, giving back to Mississippi and his community.
The films were produced by the B.B. King Museum and Dollarhide Films. Editors were Jim Dollarhide, David Selman, Jim Smith, Sam Watson, John Stockwell, Bill Simonett; the content team included Connie Gibbons, Allan Hammons, Carver Randle, Edgar Smith, Robert Gordon, Cissy Anklam, Scott Barretta, Robert Malootian, Deborah Mack; and B.B. King music is courtesy of Geffen Records / Universal Music Group.