Posts Tagged ‘N.C. Arts Council’

A celebration of traditional American culture in Greensboro, an old-fashioned tobacco harvest festival in Durham and a walking tour of the famed Riverside Cemetery in Asheville are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find across North Carolina this weekend.

Here are 10 things on our weekend to-do list:

1. See some of the nation’s finest the nation’s finest traditional musicians, dancers and craftspeople at the National Folk Festival throughout the weekend in Greensboro, and don’t forget to visit the North Carolina Stage while you’re there.
2. Step back in time to North Carolina’s colonial era at the Museum of the Cape Fear’s annual Festival of Yesteryear Saturday in Fayetteville. Hands-on crafts, games, demonstrations of colonial life and performances by an interpreter portraying the Marquis de Lafayette will all be part of the fun.
3. Celebrate North Carolina farming culture and history with music, a tobacco looping contest and historic demonstrations at Duke Homestead’s Harvest and Hornworm Festival Saturday in Durham.
4. Marvel at the spectacle of Paper Puppet Intervention during a performance at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh throughout the weekend.
5. Discover how North Carolina saved the Constitution during a lecture Saturday at Tryon Palace in New Bern.
6. Enjoy National Grandparents Day Sunday at Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead or the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport. Both have activities planned to celebrate the special day.
7. Hear about how Alamance Battleground’s location along one of North Carolina’s oldest roads led to three battles being fought there during a lecture Saturday in Burlington.
8. Take a walking tour of Asheville‘s Riverside Cemetery led by staff from the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Saturday.
9. Make art with your kids while watching classic cartoons Saturday at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem.
10. Do yoga with staff from Historic Edenton on the picturesque lawn of the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse Saturday morning.
Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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From bioluminescent bays to a Benson childhood, area writers explore the interconnections of nature, place and family in volumes of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction ideal for summer reading.

North Carolina Arts Council literature and theater director David Potorti has assembled a selection of recent books by N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipients and other North Carolinians, recently published in paperback.

1. Blue Yodel
Ansel Elkins
(Yale University Press, 2015)

In her debut collection of poetry, Greensboro resident Elkins introduces readers to a multitude of characters whose “otherness” has condemned them to live on the margins of society, inviting us to find the humanity in every person. She is a 2011–12 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipient in the category of poetry. Blue Yodel is the 109th volume the Yale Series of Younger Poets, honoring exceptional American poets under the age of forty.

2. Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World 
Leigh Ann Henion
(Penguin Press, 2015)

A Boone resident and 2013–14  N.C. Arts Council literature fellowship recipient in the category of non-fiction, Henion chronicles her experience of the world’s natural phenomena — including Sweden’s aurora borealis, Tanzania’s wildebeest migration, Venezuela’s Catatumbo lightning and Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays — as a means to rekindle her sense of wonder and deepen her experience of parenting.

3. Land of Enchantment
Liza Wieland
(Syracuse University Press, 2015)

Arapahoe resident Wieland interweaves stories from New Mexico, Atlanta and New York City showing how art reveals the depth and complexity of human love, in all its betrayals and losses, beauty and redemption. She is a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient in the category of fiction.

4. 27 Views of Greensboro: The Gate City in Prose & Poetry
(Eno Publishers, 2015)

27 Views of Greensboro showcases the literary life of this city as seen through the eyes of 27 hometown writers of fiction, journalism, history, poetry, and more. Contributors include Fred Chappell, Michael Parker, Ann Deagon, Maria Johnson, Ed Cone, Veronica Grossi, Lee Zacharias, Joya Wesley, Stuart Dischell, Quinn Dalton, Linda Beatrice Brown, Jeri Rowe, Allen Johnson, Jim Schlosser, Richard Zweigenhaft, Diya Abdo, Val Neiman, Logie Meachem, and others.

5. The Girl in the Road
Monica Byrne
(Broadway Books, 2015)

A 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient in the category of playwrighting, Durham resident Byrne pens her debut novel about a future world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing. Two women, from India and Africa, embark on vastly different, and unexpected, journeys.

6. Hotel Worthy
Valerie Nieman
(Press 53, 2015)

Greensboro resident Nieman’s second collection of poetry promises “poems of love, loss, and survival.” She is a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council literature recipient in the category of poetry.

7. Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir
Frances Mayes
(Broadway Books, 2015)

The author of three books about her life in Italy, Hillsborough writer Frances Mayes now revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia, exploring the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the lasting force of a chaotic and loving family.

8. Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers
(UNC Press, 2015)

Authors from every region of North Carolina ruminate on the meaning of place in this collection of 21 original essays, untangling North Carolina’s influence on their work, exploring how the idea of place resonates with North Carolinians, and illuminating why the state itself plays such a significant role in its own literature. Contributors include Belle Boggs, Marianne Gingher, Stephanie Griest, Jill McCorkle, Michael McFee, Michael Parker, Bland Simpson and Lee Smith.

9. Steal Away
Shelby Stephenson
(Jacar Press, 2014)

An intimate, tender and lyrical chapbook that looks back at a childhood where friendship, family, and slavery intersect. These poems ponder the conflicted emotions, from joy to sorrow, that come from meditating on one’s legacy. Stephenson, a Benson resident, is the current Poet Laureate of North Carolina.

10. The Petals of Your Eyes
Aimee Parkison
(Starcherone Books, 2014)

An eerie  tale of modern-day kidnapping and slavery by Charlotte resident Parkison, a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council literature fellowship recipient in the category of fiction.

11. Falling Into Place
Catherine Reid
(Beacon Press, 2014)

A 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipient in the category of non-fiction, Asheville resident Reid explores insights into how the mysteries of nature are interwoven with those of family and community.

12. The Life of the World to Come
Joseph Bathanti
(University of South Carolina Press, 2014)

George Dolce aspires to leave his blue collar, Catholic neighborhood in 1970s Pittsburgh to attend law school, but his involvement with a local gambling ring threatens his plans, and ultimately, his life. Escaping to North Carolina, he meets a mysterious woman who joins him in the task of reconciling his past and avoiding his punishment. Vilas resident Bathanti was awarded N.C. Arts Council fellowships in the categories of poetry (1995–96) and fiction (2009–10) and served as the poet laureate of North Carolina from 2012 to 2014.

13. An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H. L. Mencken
Hal Crowther
(Muse Books, 2014)

Mencken, the belligerent newspaperman from Baltimore, was considered by many to be the most powerful individual journalist of the 20th century. Hillsborough resident Crowther, who followed in Mencken’s footsteps as a reporter, magazine editor, literary critic, and political columnist, paints a picture of the pundit and how he came to be such an outrageous original.

14. Deadliest of Sins
Sallie Bissell
(Midnight Ink, 2014)

Asheville author Sallie Bissell’s latest Mary Crow mystery takes place in Campbell County, North Carolina, where a recent murder and a preacher could be linked in a conspiracy.

Still looking for more suggestions? The Read North Carolina Novels blog from UNC-Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Literary Map from UNC-Greensboro and the State Library are two great places to start.

Don’t forget as well that public libraries across North Carolina will be offering summer reading programs for adults and kids alike.

What will you bee reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

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It’s the first day of spring and we’re excited! It’s been a pretty rough winter across the Tar Heel State, and if you’re feeling as stir crazy as we are, you’re ready to get out there and celebrate the coming of the warmer weather with all of the best that North Carolina has to offer.

Here’s what’s on our spring bucket list. What’s on yours?

nctm-spring-list1. Jump on board the Easter Bunny Express at the N.C. Transportation Museum.

No one signals the arrival of spring quite like the Easter Bunny. And during the next couple of weeks, he’ll be offering special train rides at the N.C. Transportation Museum that your kids won’t want to miss. In addition to train rides, your family can also have breakfast with the big bunny and go on an Easter egg hunt at the museum on select days.


This free online course from the State Library and Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest will introduce beginners to the basics of the family history research, while offering pros a chance to take part in the teaching process and share their love for family history with others. Spring is a great time for a new project, make genealogy yours!


bville-spring-list3. Experience a Civil War living history program.

North Carolina’s largest Civil War re-enactment will take place this weekend at Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks, but the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of Civil War won’t stop there. We have a number of programs planned through the rest of the season.


tryon-spring-list4. Visit the beautiful gardens at Tryon Palace.

The gardens at Tryon Palace represent the wide array of landscapes you’d see on larger estates during the 18th and 19th centuries. From the grandeur of the formal Maude Moore Latham Garden to the natural Wilderness Garden and the practical Kitchen Garden, there’s so much to explore.


library-b-spring-list5. Explore past issues of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

In print since 1937, Wildlife in North Carolina is the official educational publication of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The magazine features a stunning collection of nature photography perfect for the season, and thanks to the hard the work of the State Library, you can read more than 700 issues online for free.


science-spring-list6. See the science behind some of state’s most fascinating history.

From an overview of the engineering that makes Vollis Simpson’s whirligigs work to a look at the cutting edge technology used to conserve artifacts from the wreck of the Blackbeard’s flagship, several of our historic sites, museums and other venues are teaming up with the N.C. Science Festival this April to show you the interesting intersections of history and science.


arts-spring-list7. Try out a new North Carolina arts experience.

From annual music festivals like MerleFest and Moogfest to the start of the run of the many of North Carolina’s outdoor dramas, there are so many great experiences across the Tar Heel State in the springtime. Check out the N.C. Arts Council’s cultural trails for some inspiration.


ncma-spring-list8. Take a stroll in the N.C. Museum of Art’s Museum Park.

If you saw our fall bucket list, you probably know that we recommended the park then, too. But the truth is that there’s really no bad to time to visit this 160-acre Raleigh gem. As part of its inaugural Art in Bloom festival this weekend, the museum will be offering several great programs, both inside and out.

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This year and last, we’ve been thrilled to host the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual meeting and music festival in Raleigh. Seeing the breadth of talent in the genre today and the massive number of people interested in a form of music that has strong ties to the western part of our state has truly been amazing.

So, now that you’ve been to (or at least heard of) IBMA and bluegrass, you’re probably wondering what more there is to explore. The answer is simple: a lot.

To get you started here are six Tar Heel bluegrass destinations and events you won’t want to miss:

1. The Earl Scruggs Center, Shelby, Cleveland County


Named in honor of bluegrass legend and Cleveland County native Earl Scruggs, this spectacular museum opened to wide acclaim earlier this year and explores Scruggs and the roots of the music genre he came to dominate.

2. Red, White and Bluegrass, Morganton, Burke County


Held annualy on the Fourth of July, there’s no better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than at this festival, one of North Carolina’s largest music events.

3. The Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, Mount Airy, Surry County


One of the more significant of the music festivals held in the Blue Ridge area every summer, this convention celebrates the fame Surry County musicians have achieved throughout the nation.

4. MerleFest, Wilkesboro, Wilkes County


One of the nation’s premiere music events, this annual festival honors Watauga County bluegrass stars Doc and Merle Watson and draws nearly 75,000 attendees each year.

5. Yadkin Valley Bluegrass Convention, Yadkinville, Yakdin County

A throwback to the more traditional, smaller music contests of yesteryear, this annual event has become a favorite among bluegrass and old-time music fans and musicians alike.

6The BarnEden, Rockingham County


Not many people create a music venue in their front yard, but that’s exactly what Jerry and Debbie Wilson did just a few years ago. Stop by on any Tuesday night to see and hear bluegrass and gospel bands play in the Wilsons’ barn.

These six places and events are just a few tips to get you started exploring the Old North State’s rich bluegrass culture and heritage. Pick up a copy of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, produced by the N.C. Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, or check out the book’s companion website for more great ideas.

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The back-to-school season is now officially upon us, which means before too long it’ll be time for that time-honored tradition of helping your kids with homework that might be just as much of a challenge for you as it is for them.

Have no fear! Our fantastic educational resources cover just about every topic related to the history, art and culture of the Old North State, and most of them are available online and for free to help you avoid headaches when helping your kids with their history or art homework this school year.

Here are few places to start:

  1. Our Cultural Resources Educational Tool has put all of the educational materials produced by our 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, historic preservation office, archaeology office, highway markers program, State Library, State Archives, N.C. Symphony and N.C. Arts Council in one place. Check out this tool to search thousands of articles, research guides, multimedia pieces and more by topic, historical era, grade level and keyword.
  2. NCpedia.org is a free, online encyclopedia about North Carolina. Produced by the State Library, NCpedia includes entries from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography and the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, among other popular reference materials to cover just about any topic you can think of related to the Tar Heel State.
  3. From the origins of the Lost Colony myth to Blackbeard’s demise off the coast of Beaufort, the This Day in North Carolina History Project tells the weird, wacky and wonderful stories of the people and places of the Tar Heel State’s history day-by-day in easy to digest, 200-word blurbs. Each post links to related educational resources from across our department to help you teach your kids about our state’s past.
  4. Produced by the N.C. Museum of Art, ArtNC helps students and teachers connect art to what they’re learning and teaching by using abstract ideas spanning grade level, subject area, content and skill and relating them to NCMA works of art and their historical contexts.

Still have questions? NCKnows can help! A project of the State Library and NC LIVE, NCKnows allows you to connect with a public or academic librarian online nearly 24/7 to get help and find library resources.

Good luck! And if we can do anything to help you slog through your kids homework this school year, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, post on our Facebook page, tweet at us or leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!

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From Asheville to the Outer Banks and from intimate poetry to  small-town murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer, whether you’re headed to the beach or sitting at home in your favorite chair.

The N.C. Arts Council has selected just a few new 2014 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore.

Here are 10 of their picks:

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Press, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s atmospheric novel examines a collection of aging lakeside cabins and the visitors who return, year after year, in pursuit of their dreams and desires.

2. The Hunger of Freedom by Shelby Stephenson (Red Dashboard, 2014): Former editor of Pembroke Magazine, and soon to be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Benson native Shelby Stephenson’s new poetry collection explores family, ancestors, ghosts and landscape.

3. Byrd by Kim Church (Dzanc Books, 2014): The debut novel from this Raleigh resident and N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient tells the story of a 33 year-old woman coming to terms with secretly bearing and surrendering a son for adoption without telling his father.

4. Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross (Viking Adult, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Ann B. Ross’s latest installment in her popular series chronicles Miss Julia’s efforts at teaching a visiting granddaughter how to be a lady.

5. Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson (Gale/Five Star Publishers, 2014): Retired UNC Charlotte professor Bryan Robinson crafts a mystery around a psychologist who becomes a murder suspect after returning to his hometown to confront his long-lost father.

6. Nothing Below But Air by Pat Riviere-Seel (Main Street Rag, 2014): A new poetry collection from Shelby native and Asheville resident Pat Riviere-Seel, who serves as associate editor for the Asheville Poetry Review.

7. Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2014): A long-time member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Creative Writing faculty, Ruth Moose pens her first “cozy,” a small-town murder mystery with a touch of comedy, playing out at the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast in the fictitious Littleboro, N.C.

8. Just Add Water by David R. Tanis (Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2014): Outer Banks resident David R. Tanis draws on his career as an attorney and a judge to create the character of Hamish O’Halloran, an unconventional lawyer who bumbles his way through a series of humorous misadventures.

9. In the Season of Blood and Gold by Taylor Brown (Press 53, 2014): Wilmington writer Taylor Brown’s debut story collection features a host of timeless characters from alligator wrestlers to Confederate soldiers to a tattooed artist.

10. Lost in Bermooda by Mike Litwin (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014): Greenville resident Mike Mitwin tells the story of a “mootpian” tropical island society populated by walking, talking cows with human intelligence. Mitwin wrote and illustrated this tale for young readers.

More to Explore from the Arts Council

Don’t forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council’s North Carolina Literary Trails website and guidebooks for more information on Tar Heel writers and the places they lived and wrote about. The featured writers list that is part of the Trails website is a great place to start.

The Arts Council has also produced guidebooks to African American music in eastern North Carolina, the music traditions of western North Carolina and western North Carolina’s Cherokee heritage that are great companions for a specific trip or fascinating reads in their own right.

If you missed the Arts Council’s guides to books and bookstores from last summer, be sure to see those, too.

Other Resources on North Carolina Writers and Books

If history’s more your thing, be sure to check out the offerings of N.C. Historical Publications. From an overview of the pirates who operated off the Outer Banks to histories of specific people and places, they have something for just about everybody.

If all the above isn’t enough, the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and the N.C. Literary Map, produced by UNC Greensboro and the State Library will give you even more ideas for authors and great summer reads.

So that’s about it from us. What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

Special thanks to the N.C. Arts Council’s literature and theater director, David Potorti, for compiling this list of great reads.

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Join Historic Stagville for a celebration of blues and gospel music Saturday

A new multimedia exhibit in Winston-Salem, storytelling from the Jim Crow South in New Bern and a festival of African American music in Durham are just a few of the opportunities for family fun you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend kicks off Thursday with two great programs for kids. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem will showcase art made by kids at a local children’s hospital and help kids make some art of their own on site, and the Museum of Albemarle in Elizabeth City will show Finding Nemo as part of its summer movies for kids series. Tryon Palace in New Bern will host African American storyteller Elisha Minter for an evening stories, photos and foot-stomping music from the Jim Crow era South.

Friday will bring two great opportunities to see and explore the North Carolina coast. The N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer take you aboard a Duke University research vessel to explore local marine life, while the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport will host a sunset cruise focusing on the history of the region. Back in the Piedmont, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will show the critically-acclaimed film Her as SECCA in Winston-Salem opens a new multimedia exhibition that examines the concept of life in the art of Neil Goldberg.

Saturday, the Maritime Museum in Southport will offer another installment of its popular bike tours that highlight the history of its hometown, while Historic Stagville in Durham will present live performances of gospel and blues music in the shadow of its picturesque historic buildings. Just down the road in Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of Art will offer free, interactive tours for families of the colorful prints in the Estampas de la raza and the children’s book illustrations in the Tall Tales and Huge Hearts exhibits. Later in the day, the Museum of Art will present a concert of Renaissance music and a performance by Grammy Award-winning children’s musician Dan Zanes.

This weekend is your last chance to see Mail Call at Tryon Palace in New Bern. This unique exhibit from the Smithsonian showcases military mail and communications from the American Revolution to current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This weekend is also your last chance check out the American Dance Festival in Durham and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro. Both of these awe-inspiring annual events are featured on the N.C. Arts Council’s list of the Tar Heel State’s top summer performing arts experiences.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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