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Heritage Grant Awards Announced

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership today announced twenty grants totaling nearly $245,000 in funding designed to preserve and promote Western North Carolina’s heritage.

Funded by the federal dollars the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership receives, the grant awards will help support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains and foothills, focusing on craft, music, natural heritage, Cherokee traditions, and the region’s legacy in agriculture. 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.

The BRNHA Partnership is the nonprofit organization charged with preserving, interpreting, developing, and celebrating the rich and unique natural and cultural heritage in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

“Being designated a National Heritage Area is a badge of honor for our region,” said BRNHA Executive Director Angie Chandler. “We are happy that we have the ability to provide this funding to help ensure that our heritage is preserved.”

Becky Anderson, BRNHA Board Chairman, said, “It’s important that we support the many organizations in our region that are working on quality projects that will enhance and sustain our cultural heritage.”

The twenty awards include:

  • $8,850 to the Altapass Foundation to support the development of a guided walking tour for visitors to the Historic Orchard at Altapass;
  • $17,850 to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project for an initiative to link new farmers to available farmland and to stimulate farm and food tourism;
  • $5,000 to the Asheville Art Museum for an exhibition of Appalachian, Cherokee, and Low Country baskets;
  • $1,500 to the Bethel Rural Community Foundation to support the nomination of the Francis Mill in Waynesville to the National Register of Historic Places;
  • $3,500 to the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design for an interpretive brochure highlighting the EnergyXchange in Yancey County and the Jackson County Energy Park;
  • $3,525 to the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association to support curriculum materials and events associated with the Nelson Heritage Park Cherokee exhibit in Hayesville;
  • $3,455 to Graham County Cooperative Extension to support the marketing of a Graham County Barn Quilt Trail;
  • $12,500 to the Great Smoky Mountains Association for the production of videos highlighting points of interest within the North Carolina portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park;
  • $5,000 to the High Country Council of Governments to begin the development of a bike routes map for Mitchell and Yancey Counties;
  • $15,000 to Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. to support curriculum and teacher development for local Junior Appalachian Musicians programs;
  • $25,000 to the Land-of-Sky Regional Council to support outreach and training to share a green infrastructure planning model with local governments in Western North Carolina;
  • $25,000 to the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History for the development of a traveling exhibit on local instrument-making traditions;
  • $24,700 to the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District for programming to help establish the Mill Spring School as a resource center for agricultural and other heritage-related businesses;
  • $10,000 to Rutherford County to support the development of a documentary film about the Bechtler Mint and gold mining;
  • $22,000 to the Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts & Educational Center for classes and workshops on craft, music, dance, and culinary arts;
  • $10,820 to the Surry Arts Council to support enhancements to the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall in Mount Airy; 
  • $8,675 to Transylvania Youth Strings to support the start up of a Junior Appalachian Musicians program at the Boys and Girls Club of Transylvania County;
  • $9,453 to the University of North Carolina at Asheville Foundation to support the addition of blacksmithing residencies to the Meet the Maker lecture series;
  • $24,998 to the Western Carolina University Hunter Library for the research and documentation of mountain potteries and Cherokee pottery;
  • $8,000 to the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor Partnership for a brochure marketing heritage sites in the four-county corridor.

Since its inception in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has awarded 90 grants totaling nearly $1.5 million and leveraging another $2.7 million in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector. These grants have funded projects in all 25 counties of Western North Carolina.

After announcing the grants cycle in June, 2010, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership received a total of 42 applications.