Request for Artist Qualifications
The North Carolina Arts Council seeks to commission artists for two park-sited public art projects, each of which will become a centerpiece of cultural tourism trails celebrating the state’s rich history, creative heritage, and contemporary artistic practices.
Applicant artists must be U.S. citizens or legal residents aged eighteen years or older. Artists may apply to both RFQs, but they must submit two separate application packages. Please see the links below for additional information about the RFQs.
About Cultural Tourism in North Carolina
When most of the country turned to "cultural tourism" as a way to increase visitation and subsequently tourism revenues in the mid 1990's, the emphasis was on developing an inventory of cultural opportunities -- including museums, arts and crafts, historic sites, music, theater, festivals, architecturally significant buildings and neighborhoods -- for visitors. There was little local or regional context and product development entailed itineraries and packages around thematic tours, such as Civil War sites.
The North Carolina Arts Council, an early leader in cultural tourism, took another approach, and continues to receive national recognition for the depth of its cultural tourism program. What set the Arts Council apart was the systematic and in-depth approach developing cultural tourism. Since 1995 the Arts Council has provided funding and a team of staff members to support rural communities that are utilizing their rich traditions to develop sustainable place-based economic development projects.
Recognizing that authentic experiences of different cultures are important factors in travel decisions and expectations, the Arts Council utilized best practices in documentation of living traditions -- the foundation for rich cultural tourism and place-based economic development. Recordings, audiotapes, conversations, interviews and the interaction between folklorists provided the foundation for identifying, preserving and enhancing cultural resources.
By building grassroots partnerships (not only with arts councils and tourism authorities) but with local planning departments, entrepreneurs, land owners, etc. resources from other state agencies have been leveraged. Because of the Arts Council's in depth process we are an important resource for the travel industry in providing visitors with accurate, in depth and insightful interpretation of state culture through guidebooks, Web sites and other materials.
The Arts Council is committed to projects that celebrate community heritage, cultural identity, enhance and enliven public spaces, streetscapes and greenways -- which are all part of a cultural visitors experience.
This initiative focuses on the major contributions that African Americans from North Carolina have made to the world of music. The state was home to some legendary figures of jazz and blues, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller and Elizabeth Cotton. Today, artists like Shirley Caesar, F.C. Barnes and Maceo Parker represent North Carolina to the world through their internationally acclaimed music. The goals of the initial phase of the project are to bring greater public visibility to African American music traditions in eight eastern counties -- Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Wayne, Wilson -- by documenting artists and community music events, venues and sites; contribute to economic development by presenting selected resources to residents and visitors though tourism trails and accompanying products; create supplemental income for African American artists and presenters; and bring new customers to tourism-related businesses such as restaurants, motels and hotels, and bed-and-breakfast inns.
Historic Happy Valley Trails
The scenic Upper Yadkin River in Caldwell and Wilkes counties, known locally as Happy Valley, winds through a region rich in history, folkways and arts. The project originated in 2004 when farmers and other residents of the valley requested assistance from the N.C. Arts Council to achieve the following goals: create new jobs and boost supplemental income through cultural tourism development; preserve farmland and protect water quality of the Yadkin River; and conserve arts traditions that have been practiced for generations. The Arts Council provided staff assistance and funding to support a folklife survey, creation of a cultural resource inventory, the production of music and agricultural heritage events that present living cultural traditions to the public, podcasts for use in driving tours and construction of a Web site that allows visitors to access the arts and history of the valley. In addition, Arts Council staff presented the project to other state agencies and received assistance in farmland preservation, greenway construction and signage for Scenic Byway 268, which runs through the valley.
Blue Ridge Music Trails
In 1995 the Arts Council provided leadership and start-up funding to create tourism trails in western North Carolina that focus on cultural assets with national significance: traditional music of the Southern Appalachians and the culture and history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Completed in 2003, Blue Ridge Music Trails and Cherokee Heritage Trails guidebooks use music, dance, craft and storytelling traditions to breathe life into the venues, sites and resources presented in 25 western counties in North Carolina. To date, nearly 17,000 copies have been sold. In addition to the guidebooks, other products such as Web sites, maps, sound recordings and videos are functioning both as educational resources and as tracking tools to monitor the economic benefits that the trails are bringing to rural areas and small towns in the region. The revised version of the Blue Ridge Music Trails Guidebook and Web site will only include venues in North Carolina.
Click for more cultural trails developed by the N.C. Arts Council.