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About the Directory

Welcome to the Traditional Artist Directory of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. In this directory, you can learn about people in the North Carolina mountains and foothills who are master practitioners of many of the region’s folk traditions. You will find information about musicians, craftspeople, storytellers, dancers, and other artists. You can browse photographs of traditional artists and their work, listen to samples of music and storytelling, and find contact information.

The directory was created to serve three primary purposes:

(1) to provide a resource for event planners and educators who want to include traditional artists in their programs,
(2) to be an educational resource for those wanting to learn more about the region, and
(3) to assist traditional artists who are interested in participating in public programs.

In providing descriptive information about artists and regional traditions, the directory introduces readers to the depth and breadth of traditional culture in the North Carolina mountains and foothills. It also offers information about services artists can provide, including performances, workshops, and craft demonstrations.

Selection of Artists

Artists are included in the Traditional Artist Directory based on their artistic excellence, authenticity, and significance as practitioners of their respective traditions. A team of researchers from the North Carolina Folklife Institute led the effort to gather information and recommendations throughout the region. They held community meetings, interviewed artists, collected work samples, and prepared nominations. The nominations were reviewed by a group of panelists who had expertise in the region’s folk culture. Panelists included presenters, scholars, folklorists, and traditional artists. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area then created this online directory in order to present the selected artists as outstanding representatives of the traditional arts in Western North Carolina.

An Ongoing Project

This directory presents many of the finest traditional artists in the North Carolina mountains and foothills, but is by no means comprehensive. We hope to continue to expand the Traditional Artist Directory to include additional artists in the future, as funds and resources permit.

Sponsors and Partners

The directory was compiled by the North Carolina Folklife Institute.

Many organizations have contributed expertise and in-kind resources to the project including:

• Appalachian State University
• John C. Campbell Folk School
• Madison County Arts Council
• Mars Hill University
• Mountain Heritage Center
• Museum of the Cherokee People
• North Carolina Arts Council
• Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual
• Western Carolina University

Major financial contributors include:

• Appalachian Regional Commission
• Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership
• The Conservation Fund
• National Endowment for the Arts
• North Carolina Arts Council
• North Carolina Rural Center

Additional Online Resources

Cherokee Artist Directory
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has created an online directory of artists who are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Most are willing to travel and present programs on some aspect of traditional Cherokee culture.

North Carolina Arts Directories
The North Carolina Arts Council maintains online directories of North Carolina artists, artist grant recipients, and North Carolina Heritage Award winners.