From the Arts Council

American Masterpieces Visits Four North Carolina Communities

This spring, Artistic Director Chuck Davis brings the African American Dance Ensemble to Beaufort, Robeson, Lenoir and Halifax counties for the North Carolina Arts Council's second American Masterpieces tour.


Bringing the magic of African dance to life through authentic attire, drumming and audience participation, Davis and nine principal dancers will make day visits to schools and lead workshops in dance for local participants as part of the one-week residencies now through early autumn. Citizens of all ages and experience levels will have an opportunity to learn African dance, drumming and cultural traditions, culminating in a special performance for the community.

The African American Dance Ensemble's primary partners for the tour stops are the local arts councils, community colleges, schools and performing arts venues that offer additional cultural and artistic programming on a local level. American Masterpieces is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legends.

American Masterpieces is a major initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy. Through the program, the National Endowment for the Arts sponsors performances, exhibitions, tours and educational programs across different art forms that reach large and small communities in all 50 states.

For more information or tour dates, visit here.

Public Art 360: Symposium of Seven Perspectives

First the first time in nearly two decades, a symposium on public art will be held in North Carolina, bringing together artists, architects, landscape designers, government, and private developers on the value of integrating public art in community-wide discussion. Scheduled April 11–12 at the Hanes Art Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the event is sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Percent for Art Collaborative and the Orange County Arts Commission.

The day-and-a-half symposium will address current and future directions of public art from the perspectives of the artist, architect, landscape designer, government, private developer, community and critic.

The symposium is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the role public art and artists play in the built environment. Attendees will learn why public and private organizations ask artists to create projects that reinvigorate shared, public and urban spaces. Seven keynote discussions will address critical issues, such as how to initiate, obtain approval, acquire funding and implement public art projects.

"Our goal is to create a bridge between private and public sectors, artists and the community as a whole," said Jeffrey York, Public Art and Community Design Director for the N.C. Arts Council. "Creating a framework where public art is an organic process of community design will make our communities more vibrant, attractive and livable."

Registration is $70, including both opening and closing receptions and lunch on April 12. A list of speakers, registration forms and additional information are available here. Registration forms, including payment, should be mailed to:

Public Arts 360
Orange County Arts Commission, P.O. Box 1177,
Hillsborough, N.C., 27278


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Arts Council Community Internship Opportunity

The North Carolina Arts Council is accepting applications for two paid internships with local arts councils or arts centers through May 1, 2008. This opportunity provides two individuals with a three-month intensive internship with one of the state's local arts councils or arts centers under the supervision of the executive director or staff member who will help the intern design a training program within the spectrum of community arts administration. The interns will have the opportunity to live in the community they serve through a stipend of $4,000 to cover living expenses.

In order to be eligible to apply, the applicant should be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident alien status. Applicants must have at least a four-year college degree and demonstrate a strong interest in a career in community arts administration. Applicants must complete an application form, and a narrative and submit a resume and references. For a complete list of requirements, visit here. Applications must be received in the Arts Council office by 5 p.m. on May 1.

Further questions about the internships should be directed to Janie Wilson, Arts in Communities Director, at (919) 807-6508 or by e-mail at


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2008 Touring Artists Directory

NC Touring Arts Directory, 2008-2010

The North Carolina Arts Council’s  2008–2010 Touring Artists Directory is now available with a downloadable version available online here.

The North Carolina Touring Artists Directory is one way the Arts Council supports professional artists in our state. The online and print directory is an excellent resource for organizations that program the arts in their communities, including local arts councils, performing arts centers, schools, colleges and universities, community concert series and festivals.

The directory includes booking information for individual musicians, dancers, theater artists, storytellers, puppeteers, literary artists, visual artists and film/video artists, as well as performing groups such as music ensembles, symphony orchestras and dance, theater and opera companies. Individual artists and performing groups with substantial experience working in arts in education that offer fully-developed programs for ages pre-K–12 may also apply to be designated in the directory as artists in schools and/or teaching artists. Applicants must be able and willing to tour throughout the state.

For more information on the Touring Artists program contact Jack LeSueur at (919) 807-6517 or by e-mail at


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Visiting Artists of N.C. Book Launch March 25

Visiting Artists of North Carolina

From 1971–1995, the North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Community College System partnered to bring more than 330 artists to communities across the state through the Visiting Artists Program. As one of the state’s most visionary experiments in education, the program provided arts upon request to any community entity that requested art: schools, civic groups, libraries, prisons and shelters.

The North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Community College System will release, They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists on March 25, to coincide with opening of the annual Community Colleges Art Show. The 3 p.m. program will feature comments by Mary Regan, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council and Martin Lancaster, president of the North Carolina Community College System. Nnenna Freelon, a jazz, vocal music visiting artist at Brunswick Community College from 1989–1990, will talk about the impact of the program on her career, as well as perform. Other visiting artists will be in attendance with selected special performances. This program is free and open to the public.

The book, written by visiting artist Joseph Bathanti, highlights the legacy of the program through a historical account, an artist’s narrative, a map and a directory of the participating artists and coordinators. Bathanti will read selections from the book. The annual art show will feature more than 150 pieces of art this year, on display in the Caswell Building at 200 West Jones Street, Raleigh. The exhibition will be open from 3–6 p.m. and by appointment.

For more information on They Changed the State, visit


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North Carolina Arts Council in New York for Media Visits

North Carolina’s national reputation in craft and the Arts Council’s latest cultural tourism project, Literary Trails of Western North Carolina, was the centerpiece of a media mission in January in New York.

Participating with the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development, the arts were presented to nearly 100 media representatives. In addition to an exhibition of craft, both traditional and contemporary, Mary B. Regan, Arts Council Executive Director and Jean McLaughlin, Director of  Penland School of the Arts, talked to the media during a special briefing on arts in North Carolina.

In addition to works from Penland on display, Piedmont Craftsmen coordinated the craft exhibition which included works by artists such as Ben Owen III, Catharine Ellis, Bob Trotman, Jerilyn Virden, John Geci, Clyde Gobble and Marvin Jensen.

Media representatives that attended the reception included “Good Morning America,” “The CBS Early Show,” Food Network, “Conde Nast Traveler,” “Essence,” “Every Day with Rachel Ray,” “Family Circle,” “Food & Wine,” “Forbes Life,” “O at Home,” “Prevention,” “Self” and “Travel + Leisure” plus their “Family” and “Golf”sister publications were among the numerous magazines represented. “The Wall Street Journal” and the “NY Daily News” were among the newspapers and numerous freelance writers also attended. Other travel partners included several convention and visitors bureaus, local resorts, wineries, and museums participated from North Carolina.


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New on the Web

Touring Artists Directory:
March Writers & Books:
Literary Trails:


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Spotlight on Fellowship Recipient Baron Tymas

Professional artists invigorate our communities by sharing their work with others and encouraging others to participate in the arts through their new and innovative work. Each year the Arts Council awards fellowships based on artistic excellence. The program operates on a two-year cycle. Sixteen artists received fellowships for the 2007–08 fiscal year in the composer, songwriter, playwright, screenwriter and writer categories. Artists in the choreography, craft, film/video and visual categories will be awarded in the 2008–09 fiscal year.

One of the recent recipients of the jazz composer fellowship, Baron Tymas, is an educator at North Carolina Central University and at North Carolina State University. Tymas also works with musical ensembles Nebulous, North Carolina Central University Faculty Jazz Combo and his own Baron Tymas Trio.

Although Baron Tymas has been playing close to four decades, he didn’t get his start until his teenage years. Growing up in Washington, D.C., he remembers how the music his parents played on the radio—West Montgomery, Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis, Brazilian music, and the pop music of the time—framed his early life, long before he ever anticipated being a musician.

“I got that music in my head at an early age. When I was fourteen, even though I started playing rock ‘n’ roll on electric guitar and was heavily into Jimi Hendrix, I still had those sounds—the jazz sounds—in my head.”

In high school, Tymas’ music teacher began an improvisational music class, and exposed him to more jazz legends. Since then, Tymas has played in a multitude of bands in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, and recently produced a CD entitled “Blues for the Tribe.” He now teaches music and jazz at North Carolina Central University, continuing his passion for jazz.

Tymas’ jazz remains distinct, as he keeps alive the traditions begun by greats like Miles Davis and Mary Lou Williams while bringing something new to the music. If you talk to Tymas about jazz, he’ll pull out names as easily as if he were plucking guitar notes, and his influences reveal themselves in his music. You can hear the quivering guitar of traditional Brazilian songs and the echo of the popular 1960s music in the jazz he creates.

It’s not a conscious effort: these styles of music, the music he heard growing up, blend together in his mind like the harmonies in a jazz ensemble, emerging as something truly distinct. It’s an appealing combination arising naturally out of rich musical history.

This remains one of the great successes of Tymas’ music—it defies classification, weaving in the strongest threads of different musical genres to create something, not only personal and powerful, but wonderfully rich and complex. In producing music, Tymas strives to bring out emotion though music, focusing on the complexities of the sounds to imbue his music with something more than just technique.

“I try to come from an emotional place— some kind of place that involves different areas from the self. I would say most of my music is kinetic. It has motion. If there’s one thing I go for—if there’s one thing I consciously do keep in mind—it’s motion in music.”

Despite the great success of his music, Tymas is always tipping his hat to those who came before. In one conversation a dozen names emerged like a saxophone out of a jazz rhythm. And while Tymas builds the foundations of his music on artist like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and many others, he keeps an eye on the future—a future he is strongly connected to through his role as an educator.

“I hope musicians—young musicians, especially—continue to find value in learning how to work as a group, to swing, and to develop their facility to execute some amazing things.”

For a complete list of the 2007–08 fellowship recipients, see the press release here.


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March Writers & Books Online

This month the North Carolina Arts Council recognizes the accomplishments of poets including Liza Sisk, Janice Moore Fuller, Michael Chitwood, and prose author Anne Clinard Barnhill. Liza Sisk’s new book, Condominiums, Conch Shells, and Consciousness contains both form and free-verse poetry, including “I am cold tonight,” “In every piece,” “Sand,” and Ode to Memory.” Although retired, she continues to have her poetry published in books and chapbooks.

For more information on Liza Sisk and other featured authors and poets, visit here


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Celebrate North Carolina’s Heritage:
Walter and Ray Davenport

The North Carolina Arts Council is proud to honor the 2007 North Carolina Heritage Award winners Walter and Ray Davenport for their many years as traditional commercial fisherman in Tyrrell County.

Davenport Brothers

Since 1989, the North Carolina Heritage Award, formerly known as the Folk Heritage Award, has honored our state's most eminent folk artists. Recipients of the Heritage Awards range from internationally acclaimed musicians to folks who quietly practice their art in rural and family settings. These awards deepen awareness of the rich and diverse cultural traditions of people in North Carolina.

The Davenport brothers’ years of fishing and shipbuilding reflect cultural traditions in Tyrrell County, a place where folks have always been tied to the sea. Like the sea, the techniques of the brothers change. By talking to other fishermen and trial-and-error methods, they’ve perfected their art while still remaining true to their heritage. In the face of modernity, such as mass-produced fiberglass boats, the Davenport brothers still make their own wooden skiffs.

“Of course we build our own pound boats,” explained Walter. “I’ve never seen a fiberglass boat that would work in a pound net good as a wooden skiff will work. The old-timers years ago designed a wooden boat—I guess they probably had a lot of trial and error, but they built a boat that was really seaworthy.”

The brothers got their start in the early fifties, and have never stopped trying to perfect their trade. “It was such a fascination to watch the older fishermen. We had a guy that had done some fishing that wanted a job and he didn’t have enough money to get in the fishing business, so dad set Walter and I up and that guy helped us get along. And then all the old fishermen, we’d sit around and talk to them and pick up bits of information,” said Ray. “And through trial and error and years of work, you learned what would work and what wouldn’t work. We didn’t jump right in with a rig like we’ve got today to fish with. You pieced it together though the years. And the more you learn about it, the better you can do it.”

Ray learned the trade of making boats from Tyrrell County builder Willy Spencer, who he used to do odd jobs in order to learn the trade. From that apprenticeship came the knowledge and skills to make their own boats, and by learning from the older fishermen in their own community, they’ve mastered the art of net building, hanging and repair, as well as welding, sawing and sewing their own fishing gear and tools. They’re encyclopedias on all things related to their trade, and those who want to know more about how to fish come to them for advice.

“We have a lot of fishermen that’s in the business that can’t even mend a net. They don’t last long. If you’re going to be a fisherman, be a fisherman.”

The North Carolina Arts Council honors theses two brothers for a lifetime of being cultural carriers of the fishing tradition in Tyrrell County

Sources consulted for this piece include the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award Nomination Narrative by Jill Hemming.


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Chuck Davis 2008 Recipient of the 57th Capezio Dance Award

The Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, a philanthropic organization funded by the premier world wide dance footwear and apparel manufacturer, Capezio Ballet Makers, recently announced the selection of Chuck Davis as the 57th recipient of the Capezio Dance Award.

Awarded annually since 1952, the Capezio Dance Award celebrates significant contributions to American dance by an individual, company or institution. It recognizes those who bring respect, stature and distinction to dance and who exhibit qualities such as innovation, creativity and imagination. Chuck Davis has spent his life achieving and virtually redefining these ideals with the brilliance of his artistry and his mission to preserve the finest traditions of African music and dance.

For more information and past recipients, visit here.


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Across North Carolina

Arts Day in North Carolina

On May 13–14, arts supporters from across North Carolina will gather in Raleigh for Arts North Carolina’s annual Arts Day. This gathering is an excellent opportunity for local arts administrators, educators, artists and arts patrons to network and learn more about Arts North Carolina’s efforts.

Arts North Carolina is the statewide advocacy organization for the arts. Their mission calls for equity and access to the arts for all North Carolinians, unifying and connecting North Carolina’s arts communities and fostering arts leadership.

For more information about Arts Day and registration procedures, visit the Arts North Carolina Web site here.


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American Dance Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary in North Carolina

The American Dance Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer. Relocating to North Carolina over 30 years ago, the American Dance Festival continues as an active performing arts institution for ground-breaking modern dance. Since its opening in Durham, American Dance Festival has brought cultural and educational opportunities to dance students and members of the community through an extensive range of classes and performances, held on the campus of Duke University for six and a half weeks in summer.

The New York Times called the American Dance Festival in Durham “the country's foremost and enduring organization devoted to creativity in American modern dance.” The Festival has hosted U. S. and world premiers by renowned choreographers, including dance companies from Israel, Argentina, and Russia.

As part of the Festival’s 75th anniversary celebrations, the ADF announces the 2008 NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism.  Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute offers journalists the opportunity to experience the American Dance Festival and is scheduled this year for June 21–July 11.

For more information about the NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism, visit here. Applications are due April 2. For general information and tickets to the American Dance Festival, visit


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Kadis Receives Honor in Business Support of the Arts Awards

Bobby Kadis

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, Inc., and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce recently named recipients of the annual Business Support of the Arts Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions to the arts in the area by businesses, organizations and individuals. Bobby Kadis, chair of the North Carolina Arts Council, received the award in the individual category.

Nominated by Arts North Carolina, Kadis was described as one who’s life “seamlessly connects artists and arts organizations with economic development and because he has used his considerable influence and resources to advance public support and value for the arts.”

A successful businessman and also a potter who served as trustee and past chair of the Penland School of Crafts, Kadis is “respected and revered by artists and businessmen… a living example of civic engagement and personal support.”

The Business Support of the Arts Awards will be presented on Wednesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at a reception and open house at United Arts’ new office space at 110 S. Blount Street in Raleigh. The celebration includes United Arts’ large donors, board of directors and friends.


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Auction in Trinity Held to Benefit Student Scholarships in Pottery

Ben Owen, III. Courtesy of Ashley Albright Foundation

The Ashley Albright Foundation is a nonprofit foundation formed for the purpose of providing scholarships for talented production pottery students at Montgomery Community College in Troy.

As a part of the fundraising efforts, the foundation is hosting an extraordinary pottery and fine art auction at 4:30 p.m. on May 10 at Linbrook Hall in Trinity. Digital images of the auction items—primarily pottery—are on the Web site at

The foundation is named after attorney Ben Albright's daughter, Ashley, who died December 2006 from complications resulting from meningitis and encephalitis. Ashley was a pottery student at Montgomery Community College.

The foundation also has an 18-month calendar, “Dirty Ol’ Men,” featuring potters Clyde Gobble, Phil Morgan, Ben Owen III, Vernon Owens, David Fernandez, Fred Johnston, Daniel Johnston, Paul Ray, Sid Luck and David Stuempfle, Mike Ferree, Bob Meier, Eric Reichard, Charles Lisk, Kim Ellington, Graham Chriscoe, Hal Pugh and Mark Hewitt.

For more information on the auction or calendar, visit


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Homegrown Handmade Guidebook Released in May

Book Cover

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources will release Homegrown Handmade: Art Roads and Farm Trails this May. A guidebook devoted to finding art and agriculture sites on 16 trails spanning 77 of North Carolina’s counties, Homegrown Handmade is the print version for a Web site,, launched June 2006.

The guidebook covers a variety of art studios, farms, campgrounds, restaurants, inns and unique local experiences. Readers will find tips for travel, maps and notations for group travel, restrooms, parking and handicap access.

For more information on the book, visit





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Watko Receives Multi-Cultural Award from Town of Cary

Business woman and Cary resident, Lizette Cruz Watko, was awarded the Multi-Cultural Award for her volunteer work in the community last month by the Town of Cary.

Cruz Watko received the award for her hundreds of hours volunteering with Diamante, Inc. as its Executive Director. Diamante, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation, development, and promotion of the culture, heritage and artistic expressions of a diverse Latino/Hispanic population in North Carolina.

The Town of Cary Multi-Cultural Arts Award recognizes an individual who is resourceful in promoting the arts and appreciation of other cultures. The recipient of this award has served with Cary’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department a minimum of three years. During this time of service, the recipient has shown support of the Town of Cary’s cultural programs, cooperated with staff and the department to carry out program/division goals and acts as a resource in the promotion of the arts and the appreciation of other cultures.

For further information on Diamante’s programs, activities and volunteer opportunities, please visit or call (919) 852-0075.


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Across the Nation

Sasha Morfaw Represents North Carolina in National Poetry Competition

Sasha Morfaw, a senior from Ronald Reagan High School in Forsyth County, will represent North Carolina in the third national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C., scheduled April 27–29.

Poetry Out Loud, a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. The North Carolina Arts Council organizes Poetry Out Loud on the statewide level.

Sasha was selected during the statewide contest February 23. She was one of 15 students across North Carolina that participated. She recited “To my Dear and Living Husband” by Anne Bradstreet, “Beautiful Black Men” by Nikki Giovanni and “Poor Angels” by Edward Hirsch.

Second Place winner was Sara Tramper from Cherokee High School: Cherokee Central Schools. Third Place winner was Jessica Adams from West Wilkes High School in Wilkes County.

Sasha will have the opportunity to compete with other students from around the nation for the chance to win a $20,000 scholarship.

For more information on the national competition, visit


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AFTA Arts Advocacy Day

The 21st annual Americans for the Arts “Arts Advocacy Day,” March 21–April 1, in Washington, D.C., brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

This year, the event features best-selling author Daniel Pink at the Nancy Hanks Lecture. Having coined the phrase, “The MFA is the new MBA,” Pink is known for his expertise on innovation, competition and the changing world of work. His latest book, A Whole New Mind, charts the rise of right-brain thinking in modern economies and explains the six abilities individuals and organizations must master in an out-sourced and automated world.

For more information on the Nancy Hanks Lecture or Arts Advocacy Day, visit


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WolfBrown Study on the Impact of Live Performance

In a recent study commissioned by a consortium of 14 Major University Presenters (MUPs) entitled “Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance,” Alan Brown and Jennifer Novak show how artistic performance affects the audience. Through a qualitative study, they show that the intrinsic impacts of art can positively affect the audience by providing intellectual stimulation, emotional and cathartic reactions, creating or reinforcing spiritual value, nurturing aesthetic sensitivities, and creating a situation for social bonding.

“Art is a conduit for emotion, a vessel for transmitting feelings, beliefs and values between the creators and performers of the work and the audience,” noted Brown and Novak.

Through their in-depth research, Brown and Novak add new insight, not only on the benefits of exposure to live performance, but how a performance can be enhanced to improve or extend the positive effects. The study takes a critical look at different kinds of artistic performance, and can help live performance groups better understand how to enhance the experience of audience members of their shows. For a full version of the study, visit here.


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SAF launches Tradition/Innovation Tour

The Southern Arts Federation (SAF) will feature the work of 58 artists in a touring exhibit entitled Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Tradition Art. Ten artists represent North Carolina, including Elizabeth Brim, Cynthia Bringle, Kristy Higby, Virgil Ledford, Vernon Owens, Mark Peiser, Richard Ritter, Billie Ruth Sudduth, Enrique Vega and Carol Welch.

Sponsored by the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and presented through American Masterpieces, Tradition/Innovation begins its two-year tour through the southeast, beginning in Georgia. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem will open the traveling exhibit in North Carolina May–July 2009.

This exhibit, which includes glasswork, pottery, sculpture and other artistic forms, will present the traditional arts and contemporary craft emblematic of the South. The display will highlight how both these forms have contributed to a rich cultural history and economic development. For more information, including a list of all the artists featured and the touring dates, visit here.


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Experience the Arts

Full Frame Film Festival

The annual international Full Frame Documentary Film Festival celebrates the power and artistry of documentary cinema in a four-day, morning-to-midnight smorgasbord of more than 100 films (both curated and submitted for competition), panel discussions, seminars, Q&A sessions and southern hospitality. Full Frame welcomes people from across the globe to come to the historic Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham to participate in the festivities.

Founded in 1998, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival celebrates the power and artistry of documentary film. Recognized as the premier documentary film festival in the United States by both The New York Times and indieWIRE, Full Frame is an important arena for documentary filmmakers—a place where they can showcase their work theatrically in an environment that stimulates conversation and community between filmmakers, industry executives and the general public.

For more information, visit


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Literary Events Celebrate National Poetry Month

Events across North Carolina herald April as National Poetry Month, from festivals and fairs to readings and book signings. Check out some of the events below or visit for more things to do in your area.

The Arts Council will celebrate poetry month by posting a video recitation from the 2008 Poetry Out Loud district champions every week day during April. Look for the “today’s featured poet” link on the home page.

Storytelling Festival of North Carolina
April 26–April 27
Historic Laurinburg
Join a group of renowned storytellers for a weekend of jaw-dropping, head-scratching, laugh-out-loud adventure! Featuring the creative talents of Donald Davis, Diane Ferlatte, Jay O’Callahan, and Led Cabral, as well as regional artists such as Kim Weitkamp, Kat Littleturtle, Gwen Rainer, Brenda Gilbert, and Tyris Jones, the festival will delight adults and children alike. While in the area, enjoy historic Laurinburg, with Victorian-style homes, various museums, and wine-tasting.
(910) 291-0929,

In their Own Words: John Scieszka
April 12
P.E. Monroe Auditorium at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory
Lenoir-Rhyne College celebrates their 19th annual visiting writer’s series entitled “In Their Own Words.” Jon Scieszka will visit Lenoir-Rhyne as part of “The Little Read,” and his book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs  will be featured. The work of Scieszka and his illustrator Lane Smith is notable because it appeals to a broad audience of both adults and children.

Haiku Holiday
April 26
Bolin Brook Farm, Chapel Hill
Come celebrate the 29th annual Haiku Holiday with the North Carolina Haiku Society. Experienced haiku teachers and poets will conduct workshops, talks and walks. The event is open to anyone with an interest in haiku, beginner or advanced.

Sixth Annual Spring Literary Festival
April 7–10
Coulter Auditorium at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee
Western Carolina University’s sixth annual Spring Literary Festival will feature Lee Smith, Barbara Bates Smith, Jeff Sebens, Thomas Lux, Dagoberto Gilb, Ron Rash, Katherine Stripling Byer, Joseph Bathanti, Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Sarah Lindsay, Pat Conroy,Gloria Vando, and Russell Banks.
(828) 227-7264,


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Merlefest Kicks Off April 24

The Duhks, a musical act featured at Merlefest 2007

Merlefest continues its history of celebrating traditional music with the 21st anniversary on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. The festival showcases blues, bluegrass, old-time, gospel and folk music that has since been termed “Americana,” and reflects a rich musical history with roots in the people who have made their home here.

Musical artists including Doc Watson, Mike Dowling, Ruthie Foster, Mitch Greenhill, and Jack Lawrence will play with a host of others. The festival will also include a number of contests in guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and include the nationally recognized Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Every year, this and other events hosted by Merlefest bring in people from around the United States.

The festival provides opportunities for individuals and families, including a number of shops centrally located in the shopping village. The vendors include artisans from around the area. Other events include nature walks and a silent auction. Merlefest includes music and events for all ages, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

For more information, visit


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Jazz Things Up For April

April is National Jazz month, an important month to a state whose citizens have been so integral in making jazz what it is today. North Carolinians continue the jazz tradition by using the old forms to invent new music. Some of the most famous jazz musicians to ever play have their roots in North Carolina—legends such as John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk whose musical beginnings helped them revolutionize the Jazz world.

Explore North Carolina’s musical roots, and take the opportunity this April to listen to the cultural heritage of jazz. Below are some events to help jazz up your month. Look at what’s going on in your area through

N.C. Central University/African American Jazz Caucus Jazz Research Institute (NAJRI) HBCU Jazz Conference/Festival
April 16–19
North Carolina Central University, Durham
This four day conference and festival is primarily intended for educators but includes some nightly jazz concerts and jam sessions that are fun for general public. Conference topics include the role of jazz in the community, unique issues affecting jazz education programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), vocal and instrumental clinics, master classes and continuing education credit workshops. The featured artists will be Terence Blanchard and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
(919) 530-6295,

Duke Jazz Ensemble
April 11, 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University, Durham
Under the direction of John Brown, the Duke Jazz Ensemble performs at Balwin Auditorium with a special guest, to be announced soon. The Duke Jazz Ensemble is comprised of some twenty musicians presenting a full schedule of concerts each year, in which they are joined by guest artists who have included jazz greats Louie Bellson, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Ellis Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, T.S. Monk, and Branford Marsalis.
(919) 684-4444,

4th Annual JAZZ & BLUES Fest
April 11–12
New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, New Bern
This year's fest will consist of two nights of entertainment. Enjoy Blues Night on Friday with an opening performance by Teresa James featuring Melvin Taylor. Saturday is Jazz Night with an opening performance by John Brown, Jr. featuring Nnenna Freelon.
(252) 633-1861,

Cool Jazz Music Festival
April 26
New Hope Park, Hillsborough
A festival featuring jazz where musicians such as Nnenna Freelon, The John Brown Quintet, The Michael Bennett Group, Marcus Mitchell and Company, Equinox, Cedar Ridge High, Orange High, A.L. Stanback Middle School, Stanford Middle School and others perform throughout the day at New Hope Park (Blackwood Farms).
(919) 245-2660,,

Jazz on George
April 19
100 Block of S. George Street, Downtown Goldsboro
Featuring live jazz performances by Shawnette Beatty, Starlight Dance Band, and Julia Dixon, antique car show, food, fun, and more.
(919) 735-4959,,

The UNCA Jazz Festival & Jazz Choir
April 19
Lipinsky Auditorium at UNC-Ashville, Asheville
Fifth Annual Invitational Jazz Festival featuring high school jazz ensembles performing for clinicians throughout the day. The UNCA Jazz Lab Band will perform at 5 pm with this year's guest artist.

The Billy Taylor Jazz Festival
April 24–26
Locations at and near East Carolina University, Greenville
This annual festival offers three public concerts, a free jam session, critiquing sessions for eight or more high school and middle school jazz bands, and opportunities for jazz friends to mingle and celebrate.


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Made in China Exhibition at The Mint Museums

Pair of Soldier Vases

Made in China, an exhibition of porcelain from 1550 to 1850, is on display at the Mint Museums in Charlotte through Sunday, April 20. Approximately 150 pieces of drinking, dining and decorative wares will be included in the exhibition, ranging in size from tiny tea bowls to monumental vases. Each is a masterwork of Chinese porcelain production.

Porcelain, with its fine white body, delicately painted decoration, and associations with exotic Asian lands, has long delighted and captivated Europeans and Americans. Porcelain is considered from a number of different perspectives: as a product of skilled Chinese artisans; as a valuable trade commodity; as a useful object of daily life, and as evidence of cultural interaction between Asia and the West.

For more information on the exhibition, visit


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