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Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of an American Mill Town

Serpent Child Ensemble, a Swannanoa arts group, will present portions of its documentary film, about the rise and fall of the Beacon Blanket Mill at the Bee Tree Fire Station Community Room on Sunday, February 20, 2011 from 2 til 4pm. The film's working title is "Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of an American Mill Town." Dr Roxanne Newton will also give a short talk on the history of textile mills in North Carolina. This event is free and open to the public.

Serpent Child Ensemble, which produced the popular Way Back When series of plays at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, is led by Jerry Pope and Rebecca Williams. "We've been collecting stories in the Swannanoa Valley for a long time," Williams said. "After the fire destroyed the plant, we were struck by how emotional people were about it - how attached they were to the mill as a symbol of the heart of this community. As we started hearing their stories, we realized that it was so much more than a place to work, it was a way of life." "We're interested in discovering how the changes in our small community reflect changes on a national and global scale," says Pope. "How does a town make the transition from a thriving mill town to what is basically a bedroom community for Asheville? How do people cope with job loss, and how do they maintain that healthy communal bond that the Beacon factory gave them?"

While the film is not completed, the filmmakers wanted to show the community what they've done so far and get some feedback. Additionally, Dr Newton, director of the Humanities and Fine Arts Division at Mitchell Community College, will give a multimedia presentation on mills and mill workers.

This project is made possible in part by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is also made possible in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. It receives technical support from URTV, Woodland Productions, and bclip Productions. Partners in this project include the Swannanoa Valley Museum, Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition, The University of North Carolina, and Warren Wilson College. For more information about the project or to contribute photos or footage of the Beacon Mill or mill village call Serpent Child Ensemble at (828) 686-3922. In case of snow, the event will be postponed to Saturday,

1 comment:

  1. Very good mill town info, what about add some history elements and events.

    BTW, some may like this arts documentary.