Kentucky Folklife Program Accepting Nominations for 2019 Homer Ledford Award

Homer Ledford

The Kentucky Folklife Program is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Homer Ledford Award through December 5th, 2018.

Since 2007, the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Homer Ledford Award has been awarded to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, a mastery of instrument creation (which includes an ease of playability and set-up for superior sound quality), and who have been recognized by the communities of musicians that 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 continue to be so vital to the musical culture of Kentucky.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his exceptional 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 Award recipients include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington, Donna Lamb of Lancaster, Frank Neat of Russell Springs, and Doug Naselroad of Hindman.

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 nominees work samples (see below) demonstrate artistic excellence as defined by the community of musicians who play instruments that are built or maintained by the nominee.

Work Samples: 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, at

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

Deadline for submissions is December 5, 2018

Doug Naselroad receiving the 2017 Homer Ledford Award, presented by Brent Bjorkman at the Kentucky Arts Council’s annual Kentucky Crafted event in Lexington, Kentucky

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