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Grant Awards Announced for 2015

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (BRNHA) announces the award of 22 grants totaling $170,000 to help support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains and foothills, focusing on craft, music, natural heritage, Cherokee culture, and agricultural traditions. These five facets of the region’s heritage earned the 25 counties of Western North Carolina a Congressional designation as the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area in 2003.

“We appreciate and are grateful for all the wonderful work that is being done throughout the region to preserve our heritage and improve our communities,” said Angie Chandler, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. “This year’s grant cycle was extremely competitive—we had 52 applicants and some great projects presented, but we simply could not fund them all.”

The 22 grant awards include:

  • Appalachian Barn Alliance: $7,000 to create a historical archive and a self-guided driving tour of old barns in Madison County
  • Appalachian State University: $7,500 to work with local schools to develop multimedia lesson plans about North Carolina’s music traditions for 8th grade students
  • Asheville Art Museum: $5,000 to begin development of an exhibit on the role of women in the Craft Revival
  • Blue Ridge Conservancy: $7,000 for outdoor and online exhibits showcasing the natural and cultural heritage of the Middle Fork River and Greenway in Watauga County
  • Clay County Historical & Arts Council: $6,000 for interpretive landscaping with native plants and heritage fruit trees at the Old Jail Museum in Hayesville
  • Fines Creek Community Association: $3,950 to enhance the Fines Creek Community Center as a venue for indoor and outdoor traditional music performances in Haywood County
  • Forest History Society: $8,000 to support the production of a 30 minute documentary about forestry pioneer Carl Schenck for public television and for use at the Cradle of Forestry
  • Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team (GREAT): $13,050 to build a Cherokee-themed outdoor classroom with interpretive signage next door to Robbinsville High School
  • Isothermal Community College: $8,000 for upgrades to WNCW-FM’s Studio B which presents live broadcasts of regional and traditional musicians
  • John C. Campbell Folk School: $10,000 for renovations and improvements to the interpretive Rivercane Walk and Little Brasstown Creek Park on the school campus
  • Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University: $5,000 to support a documentary film about Madison County master fiddler Roger Howell
  • Mayland Community College: $15,000 for architectural designs to establish a heritage crafts training center on campus
  • Mount Airy Museum of Regional History: $6,500 to support the development of a traveling exhibit on dulcimer makers
  • Muddy Sneakers: $7,000 to expand its outdoor experiential education program to additional schools in Henderson and Buncombe counties
  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian: $10,000 to train tour guides for Cherokee heritage sites across eight far western counties
  • North Carolina Trail of Tears Association: $5,000 to develop a website and brochure showcasing Cherokee Trail of Tears interpretive sites in six far western counties
  • Parkway Playhouse: $6,000 for upgrades to the Burnsville theater’s lighting and sound systems to support further music programming
  • Penland School of Crafts: $10,000 to establish a rotating interpretive exhibit about the school’s craft heritage in the visitor center on campus
  • Smoky Mountain Host: $7,000 to create a pocket guide to rivers in seven far western counties and a companion website
  • Surry Arts Council: $5,000 for sound system and exhibit improvements at the Earle Theatre/Old-Time Music Heritage Hall in Mount Airy
  • Town of Lansing: $10,000 for renovations to two historic barns to create an indoor stage and dance hall for traditional music events
  • University of North Carolina-Asheville: $8,000 to create interpretive pollinator meadows on campus and hold a how-to workshop for property managers

All of the grant awards will be matched with local or state funding and donated services.

Since its inception in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, a public charity, has awarded 133 grants totaling over $1.9 million and leveraging another $4.2 million in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector. These grants have funded projects in all 25 counties of Western North Carolina.