Mike Guggino, mandolinist for the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, will be honored with the inaugural Arts Achievement Award from UNC Asheville’s Arts and Ideas Program during the Rangers’ concert at the university on April 10. The award and the concert are part of the first-ever UNC Asheville Arts Fest, which takes place April 10-13.
“Part of our Arts Fest mission is to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and we want to honor Mike Guggino for his outstanding contribution to the arts,” said Laura Bond, professor of drama and director of UNC Asheville’s Arts and Ideas Program.
Guggino, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from UNC Asheville in 2001, said, “Many of the songs we write and play as a band borrow from significant themes and ideas in Appalachian history: coal mining, railroading, moonshining, etc. As artists, we want to represent the music in a way that shows respect for the history of the music and culture but also moves forward and shows a connection to modern themes and influences.”
Recalling his time at UNC Asheville, Guggino said, “Some of my earliest ‘picking sessions’ as a beginning mandolin player took place on the Quad between classes. I could never have imagined that one day I would be returning as an alum to perform at the basketball arena!”
The Steep Canyon Rangers, who won the Grammy Award last year for Best Bluegrass Album, will perform at Kimmel Arena at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 10. The concert is part of the four-day-long UNC Asheville Arts Fest, which includes performances by David Holt and other musicians, as well as dance, theater, fine arts, digital arts and literature.
“It sounds like it will be a fantastic weekend,” said Guggino. “We are very excited to be performing alongside so many great musicians and artists of all kinds. I am extremely honored to be receiving the Arts Achievement Award on Thursday night at our show.”
For tickets and information, visit unca.edu/artsfest or call 828.251.6808.