State Scholar Announced for Special Smithsonian Exhibit Project

John FowlerSC Humanities is pleased to announce that John Fowler will be the South Carolina state scholar for the 2011 – 2012 state tour of the traveling Smithsonian exhibit New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.

A resident of Boiling Springs, SC, John Fowler was born and raised in upstate South Carolina with family ties to the western North Carolina mountains that helped inspire his interest in roots music and traditional arts. Fowler began learning how to play the guitar at the age of eight and is now one of South Carolina’s most knowledgeable scholars of music culture and heritage. Fowler is a teaching artist on the South Carolina Arts Commission Roster, a Southern Artistry Artist and a graduate of the South Carolina Institution for Community Scholars, and a member of the S.C. Storytelling Network. He is founder of the Carolina Old-Time Music Network and currently tours as a notable Appalachian storyteller and traditional musician.

Fowler has received many honors and awards for his musical skills. He placed first at the Mountain Dance Folk Festival in the Old Time Banjo contest and has won two blue ribbons in the old-time harmonica competition at Fiddler’s Grove Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival. In 2004, he placed 1st in the Old-Time Banjo category at the Pickens County Heritage Festival and has won a number of open competitions as well.

As the South Carolina state scholar for the tour of the exhibit New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music, Fowler will help select the six host sites for the exhibit and will advise them about incorporating South Carolina music heritage and traditions into their local exhibits and programming.

New Harmonies is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that explores Americans’ creative expression through music—music known by names like blues, country western, folk ballads, and gospel. Six South Carolina communities will host the exhibit from April 2011 – January 2012. The selected communities will be announced in November 2009. New Harmonies is made possible in South Carolina by SC Humanities and is a part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

For more information about John Fowler and his work in the state and beyond, please visit his Web site: For more information about New Harmonies in South Carolina, please contact T.J. Wallace at or 803-771-2477.