The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership recently announced eighteen grants totaling nearly $225,000 in funding 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.
Ten of the eighteen awards in this grant cycle will support music heritage projects. These will dovetail with the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina initiative, an effort by the North Carolina Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership to enhance many aspects of the traditional music industry in the region, and in so doing strengthen its economic impact on communities region-wide.
“Our traditional music heritage has influenced many aspects of America’s music,” said Angie Chandler, Executive Director of the BRNHA. “We’re happy that the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership is able to support the growth and enhancement of this treasure with our grants program.”
Cathy Robbins, Board Chair of the BRNHA, said, “By building on the established foundation of our music heritage, we hope to strengthen this cultural asset to its full economic potential.”
The eighteen grant awards include:
- Altapass Foundation: $6,560 to enhance the presentation of music and dance at the Historic Orchard at Altapass
- Ashe Civic Center: $18,000 for a new sound system for the Ashe Civic Center
- Asheville Art Museum: $18,000 to support the collection, archiving, and presentation of contemporary Cherokee art
- Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association: $18,000 to support the “Four Elements of Climate” exhibits at the Cradle of Forestry
- Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor: $17,500 to support an economic impact study for a proposed Tuckaseegee Heritage River Corridor in Jackson County
- Exploring Joara Foundation: $18,000 to support an outdoor living history exhibit on 16th century Native American life-ways at the Catawba Meadows Recreation Park in Morganton
- Forest History Society: $14,000 to support a documentary film about pioneering forestry educator Carl Schenck and the Cradle of Forestry
- Friends of the WNC Nature Center: $2,370 for a visitor map and guide to the WNC Nature Center
- Haywood Community College Foundation: $20,000 to support the start up of a continuing education program providing instruction in traditional Appalachian music
- John C. Campbell Folk School: $8,950 to support a CD recording documenting ballad, folksong, and instrumental traditions in far western North Carolina
- Macon County: $10,697 to provide sound and lighting for traditional music events at the historic Cowee School
- Miles J.O.B. Fund: $5,500 to help promote the scenic Highway 21 corridor through Yadkin, Surry, and Alleghany Counties
- Mitchell High School: $18,000 to support the creation of a working farm at the school to connect students with the county’s agricultural heritage and encourage the next generation of farmers
- Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center: $10,000 for a mobile website, enhancements to a backstage green room, and new exhibits for visitors
- Surry Arts Council: $15,000 for enhancements to the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall in Mount Airy and the packaging of local music experiences for group tours
- Toe River Arts Council: $7,035 to start a new Traditional Art Program for Students (TAPS) in Bakersville that provides after-school music instruction for kids
- Town of Marshall: $14,150 for staging and other improvements to enhance the capacity of the Marshal Depot to host traditional music performances
- Wilkes Heritage Museum: $3,238 for exhibits at the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame
All of the grant awards will be matched with local funding and donated services.
Since its inception in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has awarded 109 grants totaling over $1.7 million and leveraging another $3.4 million in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector. These grants have funded projects in all 25 counties of Western North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership received a total of thirty-four applications in this grant cycle.
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.