Alumnus Wins Guggenheim for Photography Research
Writer and Folklorist Gathering Material for Exhibits and Upcoming Book

Writer and  folklorist Alan Govenar, who earned his doctorate in arts and humanities at UT Dallas, has received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to support research for his upcoming exhibition “The Folk Art of Community Photography.”

The project is related to an exhibition he is curating, “Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan,” which opens in January at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City and will run through May 2011.  Fine-arts book publisher Steidl, in association with the ICP, will release his book, also titled “Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan,” in October.

“I will be conducting interviews in Texas and consulting with photographic historians and curators in New York and Paris,” Govenar says. “The Guggenheim fellowship will help defer some of the expenses of travel and also covers some of the basic costs of living and working, leaving more free time to devote to thinking and writing.”

Govenar, the president and founder of Documentary Arts, a non-profit organization that presents new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures, received his award in the humanities category for the folklore and popular culture field of study. In its 86th annual competition, the foundation has awarded 180 fellowships to artists, scientists and scholars in the United States and Canada.

Govenar is a writer, folklorist, photographer and filmmaker. He has a BA with distinction in American Folklore from Ohio State University, an MA in Folklore and Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in Arts and Humanities from UT Dallas. He is the author of more than 20 books, including Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound, and Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller. His book Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter won first place in the New York Book Festival (Children’s Non-Fiction), a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, and an Orbis Pictus Honor from the National Council of Teachers of English. The off-Broadway premiere of his musical Blind Lemon Blues, co-created with fellow UT Dallas graduate Akin Babatunde, received rave reviews in The New York Times and Variety.

United States Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1925 as a memorial to a son who passed away. The foundation offers fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts.

The successful Guggenheim Fellowship candidates were chosen from a group of some 3,000 applicants.

Alan Govenar is curating an exhibition titled “Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan,” which opens in January at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Photos compiled for the Jaspar, Texas, exhibit appear in an upcoming book.  Govenar has also written widely on Texas music.

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