CROSSVILLE — Polly Page, of the Pleasant Hill community in Cumberland County, has received a 2013 Governor’s Arts Award in the Folklife Heritage category. The award was presented to Page by Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam during a special ceremony held Tuesday, April 23, in Conservation Hall at the Tennessee Residence.
Page, who is 94, is a woodcarver/dollmaker who has been a respected figure in traditional Tennessee crafts since World War II. Trained in the craft program at the Appalachian social mission school of Pleasant Hill Academy, she is known for a variety of animal and human figures, including her signature Aunt Jenny and Uncle Pink dolls. Her dolls have been exhibited at the Smithsonian and other folk museums around the world.
Dolly Parton once brought actress Jane Fonda to visit Page, so she could learn how to properly hold a carving knife in preparation for the movie, “The Dollmaker.” The Folklife Heritage Award recognizes folk artists or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to artistic tradition. The award is intended to honor long-term achievements within art forms rooted in the traditional culture of Tennessee.
Established by the Tennessee Arts Commission in 1971, the Governor’s Arts Awards are Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts. Recipients were selected from a field of nominees in three different categories — Folklife Heritage, Arts Leadership, and Distinguished Artist.
In addition to Page, independent radio station WDVX in Knoxville, received a Folklife Heritage Award. Arts Leadership Awards were presented to Donald Fann of Woodbury, and James C. “Jim” Martin of Johnson City, along with Knox Phillips and David Porter of Memphis. Receiving Distinguished Artist Awards were Bobby “Blue” Bland of Germantown, Ann Patchett of Nashville, and Jim Sherraden of Nashville.
This year’s recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards will join 206 others who have been recognized over the past 43 years.
Her family will be hosting a reception in honor of her Governor's Arts award and to celebrate her 95th birthday on June 22, 2013 from 2-4 at the Pleasant Hill Community House.