Hughes Immersed in Spreading the Region'S Music, Culture


When Big Stone Gap, Va., native Tyler Hughes was 13, he attended a music camp his grandparents held.

"That time made a lasting impression," he tells the Bristol Herald-Courier.

"That means having an education and getting a job that will pay the bills and give you a comfortable life."

Hughes attended East Tennessee State University's program in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots music, where he earned his BA in 2015.

Today, he works to increase access and participation in community arts.

"He is driven by the conviction that making creative work, and experiencing art together, contributes to not only our individual wellness, but it also strengthens our communities and creates new opportunities for local economies in Appalachia," writes the Herald-Courier.

Hughes plays the banjo and autoharp, calls square dances, co-directs Mountain Music School at Mountain Empire Community College, and is still the youngest member of the Big Stone Gap town council.

His musical career and service to his community and Southwest Virginia are intertwined, inspired by the vision of a formative mentor, Sue Ella Boatright, and through early experiences playing music with friends that were as many as five decades older than him.

Boatright was the dean of workforce development at Mountain Empire Community College, tasked Read the Entire Article

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