The L.A.-based Grammy Museum, in conjunction with Woody Guthrie Publications Inc. and the Woody Guthrie Archives, announced today details about their plans to commemorate the life and career of Oklahoma folk music legend Woody Guthrie in Tulsa.
Designed to celebrate Guthrie’s extraordinary body of work and impact on American music, Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration will take place March 5-11 and will include an exhibition, educational programming, a conference at The University of Tulsa and a tribute concert headlined by John Mellencamp and Guthrie’s son Arlo Guthrie.
Tickets to the concert, which also will feature The Flaming Lips, Hanson, Rosanne Cash, Del McCoury Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Tim O’Brien and Jimmy LaFave, will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 4.
Kicking off the Tulsa celebration is the launch of the new exhibition “Woody at One Hundred: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration 1912-2012,” sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Curated by The Grammy Museum and the Woody Guthrie Archives, the exhibit will open at Gilcrease Museum on Feb. 5 and remain on view through April 29. The exhibition will consist of a broad array of Guthrie’s lyrics, journals, original artwork and ephemera from the Okemah native’s life, according to the announcement.
As part of the special exhibit, Guthrie’s original draft of the alternative American anthem “This Land is Your Land” will be on display for the first time in Oklahoma. Additionally, a week-long series of educational programming, produced by The Grammy Museum, will support the exhibition.
As a special addition to the programming, the cast of the musical “Woody Sez” will perform at Tulsa elementary schools throughout the week.
“We are delighted that Gilcrease Museum has been selected as the venue for the debut of the exhibition celebrating the life and body of work of Woody Guthrie. The exhibition will offer the public its first glimpse into the Guthrie Archives recently acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation,” said Duane H. King, Ph.D., Executive Director of Gilcrease Museum, in the announcement.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation, a Tulsa-based charitable organization, purchased the Woody Guthrie Archives in 2011 from Woody Guthrie Publications in New York and plans to create a permanent home for the archives and make Guthrie’s collection available for research and education in downtown Tulsa.
“Different Shades of Red,” the March 10 University of Tulsa conference, will explore Woody Guthrie’s Oklahoma roots. It will feature three panels, each with three speakers. The panels include “A Culture of Protest,” which examines the political and cultural environment that shaped Guthrie’s views; “Red Dirt Roots,” which considers Guthrie’s musical influences; and “Echoes of Woody,” which addresses Guthrie’s legacy as it pertains to the Dust Bowl and Depression-era Oklahoma.
“For far too long, Woody Guthrie’s contributions have not been fully appreciated in his home state of Oklahoma. Now, 100 years after his birth, we are able to honor his musical legacy, explore his societal contributions and truly appreciate this iconic piece of state – and national – history right here in the Heartland. The University of Tulsa is thrilled to kick off this yearlong celebration of Guthrie’s multifaceted life,” said Brian Hosmer, H.G. Barnard Associate Professor of Western American History at TU, in the announcement.
For more information and to register for the conference, go to www.utulsa.edu/guthrie. Registration is $40 and includes lunch. National radio commentator and bestselling author Jim Hightower will deliver the keynote address. Students may register for $15 and must show a valid ID at check-in.
The apex of the Tulsa celebration will take place on Saturday evening, March 10, with
the first installment of “This Land Is Your Land ~ The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Concert” at the historic Brady Theater. John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Rosanne Cash, Del McCoury Band, The Flaming Lips, Old Crow Medicine Show, Hanson, Tim O’Brien and Jimmy LaFave will perform classic Woody Guthrie songs at the star-studded event.
Ticket prices range from $45 to $250 and will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at www.protixonline.com.
People who register for the March 10 TU educational conference by Friday, Feb. 3, will have a special opportunity to purchase advance tickets to the benefit concert.
“The goal of The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration is not just to pay tribute to Guthrie’s obvious contributions to American music, but to also broaden the national understanding of his cultural impact,” said Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli in the announcement. “The lineup scheduled for the Brady Theater show in Tulsa speaks volumes about Guthrie’s influence. It’s truly an honor to be producing this all-star event.”
Woody Guthrie was born July 14, 1912, in Okemah. The prolific songwriter, folk musician and crusader for social justice died Oct. 3, 1967, from complications of Huntington’s disease but not before having a vast impact on American music and culture.
The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration is one of the largest and most comprehensive centennial celebrations ever staged for an American music icon. For the most up-to-date information and a complete schedule of events for the nationwide Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration, go to www.woody100.com.