Raleigh, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2019) — This week marks the return of a new season of Arts Across NC, a podcast by and about the North Carolina Arts Council. The three-episode season highlights the story of the Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS), a statewide network of afterschool programs, created by the N.C. Arts Council.
TAPS programs across the state represent the diversity of North Carolina’s cultural life and heritage. Each program is uniquely shaped by the community, but all share three core values. Programs are affordable, and often free. Students learn the traditional arts of their own region, from teachers within their community. Music is taught by ear, and crafts are taught by hand.
Through field recordings and interviews collected by N.C. Arts Council staff, this season of Arts Across NC highlights the diverse TAPS programs across the state.
Part 1: Call and Response chronicles the origin story of TAPS, which arose from community requests for traditional arts education taught locally, knee-to-knee, and across generations. Available now.
Part 2: A Family Affair profiles the Haliwa-Saponi’s TAPS program in Hollister N.C. which prioritizes educating K-12 aged students and their parents about tribal traditions. Available for download and streaming October 11.
Part 3: Full of Riches takes listeners into the world of Seagrove, N.C. where TAPS students are taught the region’s celebrated pottery tradition by master artist and N.C. Heritage Award recipient Sid Luck. Available for download and streaming October 18.
The traditional artists leading each TAPS program teach more than the arts -- they imbue their instruction with the cultural attitudes and values that have upheld and enlivened generations of families and neighbors in North Carolina. TAPS instructors impart lasting love and respect for the traditions that have shaped their lives, and that now shape the lives of the next generation.
“When we support traditional arts learning, we are not just saying young people need to know how to form a chord or turn a pot,” said N.C. Arts Council Folklife Specialist Zoe van Buren.
“We are saying that traditional arts, grounded in the experiences of everyday people and valued over generations, carry with them the relationships, histories, and grassroots innovations that make us all into better citizens of our communities.”
The new podcast season follows the release of a short film documenting the TAPS program in September.
“This is an intergenerational story. This is a story about community and pride in place,” said podcast and N.C. Arts Council Content Strategist Sandra Davidson. “For us it’s a story about the role we play in helping North Carolinians use their artistic traditions to thrive as individuals and as communities.”
Today the N.C. Arts Council funds 22 TAPS programs in 21 counties.
Arts Across NC is available for download and streaming on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. Previous seasons have explored archival North Carolina music field recordings, the 2018 N.C. Heritage Award recipients and more.