What is the Traditional Craft Mentorship Program?
The Folk School will offer six, one-month-long mentorship programs that bring skilled practitioners of traditional Appalachian craft together with emerging artists for a period of focused creative study in small groups.

Mentorships in Basketry, Music & Dance, and Weaving will take place September 20–October 17, 2020 and Blacksmithing, Chairmaking, and Fiber Arts will take place October 25–November 21.

What is the goal of the program?
This program aims to support emerging artists in traditional Appalachian craft through mentorship, shared studio practice, career guidance and relationship building. It will help preserve and promote traditional craft and ensure that traditional skills are passed down to younger practitioners.

Do students pay for classes?
No, the Folk School will cover the cost of tuition, housing and meals. Students are awarded a $900 stipend to cover travel and materials.

How many students will be accepted into the program?
Due to safety concerns around COVID-19, we are limiting each studio to 3 students to enable physical distancing and maintain a safe environment for students and instructors. This small class size also allows for more one-on-one instruction, making this an incredible opportunity for students to have time and attention from sought-after practitioners as well as open studio time for independent and collaborative work.

Who should apply?
This program is aimed at emerging and early to mid-career artists in traditional craft who want to expand their skillset by learning new techniques and sharing with a group of like-minded artisans.

The following criteria, although not required, will be considered in the selection process:

  • Applicant demonstrates intermediate to advanced skills in a given media.
  • Applicant is pursuing craft, music, or dance in a professional capacity as a working artist or arts educator.
  • Applicant is actively working to preserve and promote craft, music, and dance.
  • Applicant is actively teaching craft, music, and dance and working to pass traditions down to the next generation.
  • Applicant lives in the Central Appalachian Region (as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission).
  • Applicant is an artist of color.
  • Applicant identifies as LGBTQIA+.

How does the application and selection process work?
Applications will be available here online. The application deadline for all sessions is August 28, 2020.

Students are required to submit photographs or videos demonstrating a sufficient level of skill in their field. Teaching mentors and Folk School staff will give input on each applicant during the selection process. All applicants will be informed of their status by September 4th.

Where will students live?
Students will be housed in a private room on our scenic, 300-acre campus. For more information on our housing facilities please visit our website.

Where will students and instructors eat?
The Folk School will provide 3 meals a day Monday-Friday, lunch, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday brunch during each month-long program. All are welcome to enjoy meals in the Dining Hall while practicing physical distancing and following all safety guidelines. We will also provide take-out meals for those who prefer to eat in our outdoor seating areas on campus or in their studios.

Where will students work?

Students and mentors will work together in our dedicated studios, also located on our 300-acre campus. Studios are supplied with basic tools and materials. Mentors will have supplies available for purchase and participants are encouraged to bring their own or communicate with their mentors in advance if they have specific material needs. Contact the Program Director should you have questions about available materials. Participants will be able to work directly with mentors from 9 am-4:30 pm Monday-Friday and will have access to work in the studios independently at any time.

How does the mentoring experience differ from a standard Folk School class?
With a small group of advanced students, these mentorships will be less project-based and more collaborative. The goals and interests of each student may take the mentorship in a variety of directions and instructors should expect to adapt accordingly. Participants can expect to leave this program with a greater understanding of the cultural and historic relevance of their craft as it pertains to the Appalachian region.

What kind of safety precautions will be in place on campus?
In order to minimize risk, class size will be limited to 3 students and one or two mentors. Each person will be provided with their own workstation, tools, and equipment. Restrooms and workstations will be sanitized daily using EPA-approved disinfectants for COVID-19 and influenza. Students and instructors will be required to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings at all times when indoors or when within 6 feet of others outdoors. Safety requirements may change as the pandemic situation evolves. Please email our Program Director, Darcy Holdorf for updated information on safety guidelines and requirements.

Will visitors be allowed in the studios?
No. Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the studios will be closed to visitors. The campus is currently open to visitors to enjoy our gardens and nature trails.

What else will be happening on campus during this time?

The Craft Shop is currently open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. by appointment only and will open to the general public when it is safe to do so. Masks will be required to enter the shop and a limit of 6 customers will be allowed in the space at one time.

Our administrative offices are currently closed to visitors, but staff is working in various buildings on campus.

We will be hosting a series of short-term morning workshops based around the Folk School gardens, including Gardening, Natures Studies, and Cooking classes. These classes will be limited in size and will be held primarily outdoors or in our outdoor venues.

I am not interested in applying as a student. Can I participate in any other way?
Yes! We have an incredible lineup of instructors that will be here for this program. You can learn about what they are doing in the studio by joining us for a virtual demonstration with them while they are here. These hour-long programs will feature a demonstration by the instructor in the studio followed by a Q&A. These programs will cost $10 to attend via Zoom. Learn more.

Who can I contact for more information?
For any additional information on the Traditional Craft Mentorships, email Darcy Holdof, Program Director.

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.