Cultural Resources

Our goal is to preserve and cultivate WNC’s sense of place by investing in cultural projects and programs that support and develop the cultural ecosystem and enrich lives and communities throughout the region.

Photo courtesy of Mountain BizWorks.

The culture of this region distinguishes it from any other place in North Carolina or, for that matter, the rest of the world. CFWNC envisions a vibrant and equitable Western North Carolina where all people can find opportunity and enjoy the region’s many resources. Cultural resources are essential to our economy, define our sense of place, acknowledge our history and enhance our quality of life. CFWNC is working to nurture the dynamic arts and culture ecosystem by promoting equitable access to arts and cultural experiences and supporting approaches that place the arts at the center of thriving, healthy communities.

Cultural Resources grants will be made through competitive and proactive awards.

Eligible organizations must be: (1) tax-exempt as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, public agencies or faith communities; and (2) located in the Qualla Boundary or one of the following counties in Western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania or Yancey. Organizations must already be established in and serving Western North Carolina.

Competitive Grants

CFWNC will award small grants of $5,000 for general operating support through a simple online application according to the categories and schedule specified below. Each applicant must select the category that best aligns with its mission and purpose and apply only once during the rotation of grant cycles. To facilitate a rapid rollout of this grant opportunity, the first two cycles take place in 2024.

  • The deadline for Arts Councils to apply is April 12, 2024. Decisions will be announced by the end of April.
  • The deadline for Craft organizations to apply is July 12, 2024. Decisions will be announced by the end of July.
  • Thereafter, the annual deadline for each Competitive Grant cycle will be second Friday of July.


  • April 2024 Arts Councils – organizations that provide funding, management and programming services for arts organizations within a defined geographic area
  • July 2024 Craft – ceramics, glass, textile, metal or wood
  • July 2025 Performing Arts – theatre, dance, music, and other types of performance
  • July 2026 Visual Arts – painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and mixed media
  • July 2027 WNC History and Places of Cultural Significance - organizations that preserve and promote: 1) traditions, values, and lifestyles of different cultural groups to encourage understanding and respect for different WNC cultural heritages; or 2) places which may include, buildings, structures, objects, sites or entire districts that have historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance but may not include war monuments or memorials or any other sites that may promote division, disrespect, or animosity.
  • July 2028 Communication Arts – literature and writing, radio, film, and oral histories

Preference will be given to nonprofit organizations. Public agencies may be supported if few nonprofits serve a geographic area and if funds remain available. Applications by non-arts organizations that run an arts program will not be considered.

Proactive Grants

Applications may be invited for timely, unique projects or programs. These opportunities are not governed by the cycles or categories specified for competitive grants but must address the Cultural Resources focus area goal. Because a limited number of proactive grants can be made, applications may be invited as often as quarterly or until all available funds have been awarded for that year. To determine eligibility for proactive grants, contact Senior Program Officer Tara Scholtz at 828-367-9913 to discuss your proposal. If an application is competitive, she will provide you with a code to access the application in our online system and provide a deadline for submission.

To learn more about our Cultural Resources focus area, contact Senior Program Officer Tara Scholtz at 828-367-9913.