Grant awarded to Women’s History Trail

The Women’s History Trail (WHT), a project of Folk Heritage Association of Macon County, has received a $740 grant from the Jim McRae Endowment for the Visual Arts.

WHT aims to celebrate the lives of Macon County women and bring their contributions out of the shadows, through a marked historical trail, the arts, events, publications and other media. The first phase of the trail will be installed later this year.

Sculptor Wesley Wofford, of Cashiers, has been engaged to develop a design maquette for an initial sculpture, which will tell the story of three women — Cherokee, black, and white — who are representative of the early settlement period. Creation of this large piece of public art is an ambitious project, and fundraising efforts are under way to support it.

Last April, WHT held its first event, a dramatic portrayal of the lives of nine women who are buried in the cemetery of First United Methodist Church. That fundraiser, along with contributions by FHAMC and other gifts, kick started work on the trail.

This is the second year the project has received funding from the McRae endowment, a fund of North Carolina Community Foundation. The endowment was established in memory of Jim McRae, a noted figurative artist who lived in Franklin. McRae died in 2010.

“The mission of the Folk Heritage Association is to provide living history experiences and to preserve the folk heritage of Macon County for generations to come,” said Anne Hyder, chairman. “The Women’s History Trail is a unique and groundbreaking way to preserve and share our heritage. Its emphasis on public art has the power to transform our communities. We are excited to be its sponsor.”

Mary Polanski and Barbara McRae co-chair the WHT committee.

“We invite anyone who wants to participate in this project to join us,” Polanski said. “We are project-oriented, and there is a lot to do.”

You can contact Polanski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Contributions may be made to FHAMC, P.O. Box 1416, Franklin, N.C., 28734. The donation should be earmarked for the Women’s History Trail.

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