We are thrilled to announce the Traditional Craft Mentorship Program, a grant-funded opportunity for early-to-mid-career artists to spend a month at the Folk School this fall, learning from master artisans. Through this new endeavor, made possible by rethinking an unexpected change to our standard programming, we have found a way to invite small groups of emerging artists to focused sessions that will enhance their interests, knowledge, and skills in traditional Appalachian craft, music, and dance. 

Building on one of the original goals of our founder, Olive Dame Campbell, the Mentorship Program aims to educate and inspire the next generation of traditional craft artisans, keeping the time-honored practices of basketry, music and dance, weaving, blacksmithing, chairmaking, and fiber arts alive. Similar opportunities throughout Folk School history have greatly impacted the lives of those involved. Many have become students, instructors, donors, volunteers, Resident Artists, and community members.

This offering is part of a greater, grant-funded initiative aimed to promote and preserve traditional Appalachian craft, music, and dance. To support this effort, applicants will be recruited from Central Appalachia (see criteria for specifics). To help develop a diverse audience and connect with under-represented artists, the Folk School will actively recruit applicants of color or those who identify as LGBTQIA+.

We will offer 6, 1-month-long programs, with 3 students per program, and 2-4 mentors working collaboratively and independently in studios. Alongside instruction, mentors will delve into the historic and cultural context of their subject area. Participants can expect to learn new techniques and to understand the relevancy of their craft in the Appalachian region, gaining the knowledge and inspiration to pass those traditions on to others.

All apprentices and mentors will be provided housing and meals on campus, following CDC safety requirements at the time of their stay. While adjustments are being made to the Folk School experience, the goal to build community and encourage creative collaboration among all participants remains.

At a time when many young artists face limited professional and educational opportunities, we are grateful for the opportunity to support traditional craftspeople, musicians, and dancers. We hope to foster a creative space where folks can build relationships that will carry beyond their time in the studio, and welcome new members into the Folk School family.

Open to the public: Join the virtual demonstrations with Traditional Craft Mentors to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the studio and learn more about the history of Appalachian craft, music and dance. Learn More.

Session Quick Links

All Photos Courtesy of the Artists, or from the Folk School Archives.

John C. Campbell Folk School
About John C. Campbell Folk School

The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.