Johnny Cash Heritage Festival Announces Symposium Headliners

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO — A pair of experts who have researched and authored publications about legendary singer Johnny Cash and the New Deal era will be the keynote speakers at the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival Symposium, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 19-21, in Dyess.

Michael Streissguth, a professor of communication and film studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., and Bill McDowell, a professor of art and art history at the University of Vermont in Burlington, will be on hand to discuss topics pertaining to the symposium, “Johnny Cash: Arts and Artistry from the New Deal into the 21st Century.”

“Streissguth brings great insights into the impact that Dyess had on Johnny Cash and his music,” Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program said. “Additionally, his work on Cash, along with McDowell’s New Deal photographs, will open very personal windows into this important era in our nation’s history.”…

McDowell’s recently published book, Ground: A Reprise of Photographs from the Farm Security Administration (FSA), includes the printed lyrics to “Sunken Land” by Rosanne Cash, a nod to the hardships of life in Dyess.

“Bill McDowell’s work is especially relevant to the festival and symposium because he provides insight into the context in which the region’s heritage was documented during the New Deal era,” stated Dr. Gregory Hansen, professor of folklore and English and chair of the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival Symposium.

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Reed Watson