We are Davis & Elkins College’s program for the Heritage Arts. Augusta provides instruction and performances, folklife programs, and a home for significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments, and Appalachian art. We teach. We share. We celebrate the wonder and diversity of the heritage arts.
Augusta was the historic name of West Virginia in its period of earliest settlement. In 1973, “Augusta Heritage Arts Workshops” was the name given to a summer program that was set up to help preserve the Appalachian heritage and traditions. In 1981, Davis & Elkins College became the new home of the program, renamed Augusta Heritage Center. In the years since then, it has flourished and grown. Augusta Heritage Center is known nationally and internationally for its activities relating to traditional folklife and folk arts of many regions and cultures.
Augusta Heritage Center is best known for intensive weeklong workshops that attract several hundred participants annually. Thousands more attend our public concerts, dances, and festivals. Augusta’s full-time staff, plus volunteers, seasonal staff, and work-study students, produce a great variety of quality workshops. These world-renowned workshops and festivals have brought together master artists, musicians, dancers, craftspeople, and enthusiasts of all ages.
Our year-round activities also include folklife research and documentation, production of films and audio recordings for a national audience, and outreach programs for young people and our local community. Augusta-sponsored activities in the community enrich the quality of life in the Elkins area year-round.
One of these activities is “Pickin’ In The Park,” a weekly series of informal old-time and bluegrass jam sessions hosted by Augusta every Wednesday night. From mid-May through September these jam sessions take place under the trees in Elkins City Park, attracting participants and spectators from near and far. The Wednesday jam sessions continue on a smaller scale in the Myles Center for the Arts lobby on the Davis & Elkins College campus from October to May.
An important goal of the Augusta Heritage Center is to foster an environment whereby folk art and folklife traditions are encouraged, nurtured, supported, presented, and documented. Through our Folk Art Coordinator fieldwork and research is ongoing to identify and document traditional artists, practices, and historical data relating to West Virginia.
Funding for Augusta’s Folklife Programs comes from the National Endowment for the Arts and private contributions.
The Augusta Heritage Center’s folklife outreach program includes the Folk Art Scholarships, and video & audio documentaries. Augusta Heritage Productions offers DVDs, CDs, and publications online and at our retail store. Portions of our Folklife Program are generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Folk Art Scholarships to attend Augusta workshops also have an application process. For more information call 304-637-1209.
To learn more about the history of Augusta, read Brittany Hicks’s 2014 Master’s Thesis from Appalachian State University, “Exploring ‘Nostalgia for the Future’: A History of the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia.”
Davis & Elkins College, in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the West Virginia Human Rights Act is an equal opportunity institution that does not discriminate on the race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, gender identification, or genetic information or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, admission to and enrollment with the College, including, but not limited to, recruitment, selection, hiring, placement, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, discipline, termination, educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship and loan programs, housing, athletic and other College-administered programs and activities. Inquiries regarding Title IX and/or 504 compliance and the filing of a complaint should be referred to the College’s Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator, Amy Kittle, in Liberal Arts Hall, Room 209, or at 304-637-1277.