Kentucky Folklife Program Accepting Nominations for 2017 Homer Ledford Award

The Kentucky Folklife Program Homer Ledford Award – Nominee Application 2017


Since 2007, the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Homer Ledford Award has been given to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and who have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

The Kentucky Folklife Program, based at Western Kentucky University, has a long history of working with the Kentucky Arts Council to document, present, conserve, and teach the public about the rich heritage of folk and traditional artists working in Kentucky today. This award celebrates the legacy and creative industry of traditional stringed instrument makers who are vital to Kentucky musical culture.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his superb craftsmanship, impressive productivity, inspired innovations, generous spirit, and willingness to teach anyone interested in his art, Homer had a profound impact on musical communities throughout Kentucky and far beyond. Many luthiers and musicians remember visiting his basement shop in Winchester, Kentucky where he immersed himself in his work while sharing techniques, wisdom, and stories surrounding his cultural heritage. Ledford’s legacy lives on among today’s musical craftspeople, and this award symbolizes that legacy.

Past Homer Ledford Awardees include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington, Donna Lamb of Lancaster, and Frank Neat of Russell Springs.


The Kentucky Folklife Program, along with our partner the Kentucky Arts Council, will present the next Homer Ledford Award at Kentucky Crafted: The Market in the Lexington Center on Saturday, April 22, 2017.


Application Process

In two pages or less, describe:

  1. The type of instrument building, maintenance or repair work being carried out by the nominee.
  2. The caliber of the nominee’s work as it pertains to their historical and cultural background.
  3. How the nominee learned instrument making, including information on when, where, and from whom he or she learned.
  4. How the nominee’s work samples (see below: Work Sample) demonstrate artistic excellence as defined by the community of musicians who play instruments that are built or maintained by the nominee.

Work Sample

In addition to the written portion, it will be important for the Homer Ledford advisory team to see sample images of the nominee’s work. Please attach to the same email 6-10 representative digital images of what you consider the nominee’s strongest work.

Attach your nomination and work sample to an email message and send to Virginia Siegel, Folklife Specialist, Kentucky Folklife Program:

If you have questions about this process, please contact Virginia Siegel, Folklife Specialist, at 270-745-4133.

Deadline for submissions is November 21, 2016.

October Newsletter – Read and Subscribe!


Check out our latest newsletter here. Highlights from the newsletter:

  • KFP’s upcoming Hammer-In to take place this Saturday at the Kentucky Museum
  • KFP’s Log Cabin Old-Time Jam to be held on October 27th from 7-9pm
  • KFP featured in the Journal of Folklore and Education
  • Updates on the Kentucky Museum exhibition Standing the Test of Time: Kentucky’s White Oak Basket Tradition, now open at the Kentucky Museum
  • Hart County’s Leona Waddell honored as an NEA National Heritage Fellow
  • Updates on KFP’s Bosnia Oral History Project
  • Join us in celebrating Kentucky folklife by using the hashtag #kyfolklife in your social media posts celebrating traditional arts and folklife throughout the Commonwealth.

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