27 Nov Support the Folk School During Our Fall Appeal
The John C. Campbell Folk School has been a cornerstone of Appalachian culture for nearly a century. Our school is dedicated to furthering traditional crafts, music, nature studies, and storytelling, while fostering a unique learning environment among locals, students and instructors.
But preserving this history and culture is not easy. It requires dedication, hard work, and resources. That’s why we are asking for your help.
In this letter, you will hear from our Executive Director, Bethany Chaney about how your support is integral to helping us provide enlivening and enlightening experiences for all.
Olive Dame Campbell and Marguerite Butler were on to something back in 1925. They knew that fundamental to any Folk School is developing a sense of community and interpersonal connection. Alongside classroom education, elements like shared meals, music and dance programs, and the work of the Brasstown Carvers both relied on and created community during a particularly difficult period in the nation’s history. By the mid-1930s, the Folk School was a unique economic and cultural anchor for southern Appalachia.
Today it still is, holding space for creativity, communion and growth for thousands of people who come here annually, some of whom consider us a second home. They come here to make things: craft shaped from metal, reed, wood, paper, fiber, and foraged things. Music from instruments, voices, and percussive feet. Comfort and cheer from the bounty and beauty of our gardens and grounds.
You are one of those people, and so am I.
When I first came to Brasstown in 2016, something took hold and year after year it called me back. Now I have the genuine honor to lead in the spirit of Olive and Marguerite, and I feel their influences every day. The Brasstown Carvers teach novice makers every Thursday night. Musicians and dancers repeat old time traditions in the Community Room twice a week. And between classes, we still come together around the table, family style.
Some things have changed, of course, but the fundamentals have not. This includes the enduring generosity of supporters like you.
Thanks to donors, in 2023 we installed a comfortable new floor in the weaving studio, a bright new cedar roof on the Log Cabin Museum, and our first EV charging station on campus. We granted 87 student scholarships and hosted over 200 free or low-cost music, dance and educational events for the community. And we nurtured the Cory Brown Memorial Dye Garden into a lush, productive, peaceful space for all to enjoy.
As we approach our 100th anniversary in two short years, we’ll continue to strengthen the fundamentals that anchor the Folk School and ensure the Folk School anchors us. I hope you will help by donating to our Annual Fund or directing your giving to a particular studio or project at www.folkschool.org/giving.
However you choose to give, know that we will steward your resources wisely, with purpose, and with great appreciation for your generosity. We hope to see you back on campus soon.
Bethany E. Chaney