$110,000 in Natural and Cultural Resources Grants Approved

Students create at a workshop hosted by the Asheville Art Museum.

Four Natural and Cultural Resources Focus Area Grants totaling $110,000 were recently awarded to the Asheville Area Arts Council, Asheville Art Museum, Carolina Public Press and NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot. Natural and Cultural Resources is a focus area for the Foundation, which serves 18 counties in Western North Carolina.

The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) will receive $25,000, contingent upon AAAC's receiving Our Town funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in April 2016. Funds will be used to conduct a collaborative, comprehensive assessment of Buncombe County's cultural resources to inform partnering policy makers to support job growth, provide feasibility information for arts and culture-based development and infrastructure, guide policy, enhance opportunities to serve the community through cultural resources and evaluate the need for enhanced programs and services. CFWNC funds represent one third of the required $75,000 match for the Our Town grant and have the potential to leverage city, county, NEA and other funds. The Walnut Fund partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.

The Asheville Art Museum received $35,000 to deliver its Literacy Through Art (LTA) program to students in rural WNC counties. LTA provides rural public schools with an arts-integrated, site-specific curriculum that fosters creativity and proficiency in the arts, language arts and communication skills. LTA includes nine 60-minute lessons taught by an artist-in-residence that meet the grade-appropriate NC Standard Course of Study goals and objectives in language arts and the visual arts. The final lesson is a visit to the Museum for a gallery tour led by a specially-trained docent and a hands-on studio activity with the Museum's Education Program Manager. An anonymous endowment fund partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.

Carolina Public Press received $20,000 to provide in-depth, investigative and explanatory journalism on the present condition and future of our region's water systems and national forests. The grant will fund balanced reporting on the cultural, environmental and economic impacts of the region's forests and water systems. The future management and use of these natural assets depends on the participation of informed and active citizens in public policy decision-making. A series of investigative articles and multimedia reports will help ensure that the public is informed and able to participate fully in determining the future of the region's critical natural resources. The Walnut Fund and the Little Acorn Fund - W partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.

NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot received $30,000 to continue planning and development of the Center for Multi-Cultural Exchange, an effort to transition from a two-week summer festival into a year-round community and cultural resource. Folkmoot has a solid reputation for bringing high quality programming to rural Western North Carolina, including more than 8,500 international performers from 200 countries, over the past three decades. With a new and permanent 43,000 square-foot home, a new Board of Directors, Executive Director and marketing professional, Folkmoot has launched a $1.2 million-dollar campaign to restore its building, increase endowment funding and build programming. The Fund for Haywood County, a CFWNC affiliate fund, co-invested in this grant.

Through the Natural and Cultural Resources Focus Area, CFWNC works to preserve and cultivate sense of place by investing in cultural and environmental projects and programs that protect or enhance the way of life in Western North Carolina. The grants help protect natural resources, including landscapes, vistas and historic sites, and support and develop the arts-based economy, which is an important economic driver in the region. Since inception, this focus Area has invested more than $672,491 in the region.