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Mtn: Talk: Appalachian Artists Talk Mutual Aid

Mtn: Talk: Appalachian Artists Talk Mutual Aid


Our August Mountain Talk takes you to the Grayson Art Gallery in Grayson, Kentucky, where a collective of artists are busy putting on a show. The show was a benefit the Eastern Kentucky Mutual Aid Network, a volunteer organization formed in early 2020 as a response to increasing levels of material need in Eastern Kentucky during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a 3,000-person strong Facebook group and thousands of dollars distributed, EKYMA provides a no-bureacracy alternative to the complex application process for much nonprofit and state-run financial assistance.

While mutual aid is an old idea, referring the ways that ordinary people help each other out and exchange skills – neighbors repairing each others’ cars, cooking each other dinner, caring for each others’ children – it gained serious  traction in the last eighteen months. And artists have been using their talents to pitch in.

In this episode, we speak with poet and EKYMA organizer Misty Skaggs, Raina Rue of Juniper Moon Folk Arts, comedians Drew Morgan and DJ Lewis, and artist/activist Warren Tidwell about balancing art and working life, about artists’ responsibility to the places they live and the places they’re from, and what mutual aid means in a time, where, as some say, the social safety net doesn’t catch everybody and communities are left deeply vulnerable.  We’ll also hear sound from the benefit – comedy from Morgan and lewis, poetry, and music.

Music is by Slut Pill, Sasha Colette, and Yellow Cuss from performances at the event.