The North Carolina Folklife Institute helps communities across the state connect their heritage arts and traditions to local development, education, and active citizenship. We document folklife, preserve and promote North Carolina’s diverse traditional arts and cultures, and strengthen the folklife infrastructure in the state. We work with partners ranging from universities, state government, and museums to local community groups and traditional artists. Join us and help support the People’s Arts!
In 2002, the Institute hired a staff person on contract for the first time. This position, supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NCAC, enabled the Institute, NCAC Folklife Program staff, and the North Carolina Folklore Society to organize statewide planning meetings for the field of public folklore and publish a report of those meetings. Donation of office space from Garden View Realty in Durham and a grant from the NEA in 2004 made it possible to hire an executive director by September, 2004, and begin to expand the Institute’s services and programs.
Past projects include development of interpretive Cherokee Heritage Trails’ exhibits at four locations in western North Carolina, production of a CD featuring archival recordings of western North Carolina musician Marcus Martin, and production of a series of traditional-artist-and-community profiles for broadcast on National Public Radio. More recent projects include development of heritage tourism trails in rural areas across North Carolina, development of a traditional artist directory for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, and development of the Institute’s website as a resource for information about the state’s most authentic folk and traditional arts and artists and their communities.
As of 2015, NC Folk has partnered with the City of Lexington in order to document their historical barbecue pits under town hall, and is in the process of creating an online traditional artist directory for Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Scotland (CHRS) Counties. We have also sponsored a 2013 Statewide Folklife Festival, the first in 35 years, and created online exhibits in our archive for the event as well as the Bladen, Brunswick, and Columbus (BBC) Counties Project.
NC Folk could not complete this and other amazing work without the support of the following organizations, and we thank them for their investment in our mission and goals throughout the state. Recent programming has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. NC Folk is a statewide service organization for traditional arts. This is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.