Earlier this month, the Blue Ridge group’s board of directors announced more than $340,000 in funding designed to preserve and promote Western North Carolina’s heritage.
After announcing its grants program in June 2006, the Heritage Area received a total of 39 applications. This year’s grant cycle focused on projects identified and included in local heritage development plans prepared by volunteer Heritage Councils in the Cherokee Qualla Boundary and in each of the 25 counties that comprise the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
The following groups recieved grants.
• $23,000 to the Swain County Economic Development Committee, to add a kiln shed and kilns to the Heritage Arts Institute at Southwestern Community College
• $15,000 to the Town of Dillsboro, for development of a master plan for the preservation of the Monteith Farmstead and the creation of an Appalachian Women’s Museum.
• $27,100 to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, to fund a project that will strengthen farmers’ markets across central Western North Carolina and promote local agricultural heritage
• $14,750 to The Conservation Fund, for a documentary video about the relationship between the Appalachian Trail and the Town of Hot Springs
• $26,000 to the North Carolina Arboretum Society, to support the creation of a springhouse exhibit– highlighting elements of the region’s natural, agricultural, and craft heritage – in the Arboretum’s new demonstration greenhouse;
• $15,000 to the Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts & Educational Center, to expand and enhance its “Appalachian Evening” concert series by adding a dinner experience featuring traditional food of the Southern Appalachian Mountains;
These grant awards total $341,046. The required local matching funds for these projects add up $743,973.
The grant awards are supposed to support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains, focusing on craft, music, natural heritage, Cherokee traditions, and the region’s legacy in agriculture. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is comprised of the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey as well as the Qualla Boundary.