The North Carolina Folklife Area—which includes the North Carolina Traditions Stage and the North Carolina Folklife Demonstration Area—celebrates and showcases the rich, living traditions of North Carolina, from the southern Appalachians to the Piedmont to the coastal plains.
One State, Many Worlds
- The N.C. Traditions Stage features music and dance performances that enrich North Carolina’s longstanding reputation for masterful traditional music.
- The Cuisine and Cookery Area introduces unique foodways that are prepared in the homes and cafés of recent newcomers.
- The Masters and Makers Area showcases age-old and modern arts and crafts that express the cultural identity of the artist and his/her community.
Both immigrants seeking opportunity and refugees from war-torn homelands have made North Carolina their home:
- Guilford County is home to North Carolina’s largest and most diverse refugee population.
- In 2011, North Carolina ranked 14th among all states for total number of foreign-born residents.
- More than 1 in 10 North Carolinians are of Latino or Asian heritage.
- Today far more Montagnards, indigenous peoples from the highlands of Vietnam, live in North Carolina than in their Central Highlands homeland.
- Newcomers bring a wealth of cultural gifts to share with their new neighbors, and contribute their skills and knowledge to North Carolina communities:
- Newcomer students contributed more than $416 million to North Carolina’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses in 2013-14.
- Newcomer entrepreneurs and consumers add tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to North Carolina’s economy.
Although North Carolina may be an unknown world to newcomers, they bring generations of experience and cultural knowledge with them. Many treasure the arts of their homeland and seek to preserve them. They also respond to the dynamic forces of cultural encounter—fusing styles, substituting new resources for those now lost, and celebrating the emergence of new identities born from an old-world past and a new-world present.
Curated by the North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Folklife Institute.