North Carolina Heritage Award

Six traditional artists from across the state will receive North Carolina Heritage Awards on May 23, 2018 for their contributions to our state’s cultural vitality, Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier this month.

2018 Heritage Award Honorees

Asha Bala
Performer and instructor of South Indian dance 
Cumberland County
Listen to her story >>

Glenn and Lula Bolick
Potters, musicians, and storytellers 
Caldwell County
Listen to their story >>

Arvil Freeman
Western North Carolina fiddler 
Buncombe County

Robert "Dick" Knight
Soul, R&B, and jazz trumpet player 
Lenoir County

Listen to his story >>

Tony Williamson
Multi-genre mandolinist rooted in bluegrass
Chatham County
Listen to his story >>

View all recipient trailers >>

“North Carolina is a state where our traditional arts continue to reflect a unique sense of place and our diverse people,” Governor Cooper said. “I congratulate the 2018 recipients of the Heritage Award, for their individual artistic accomplishments and for representing the cultural treasures found in our communities small and large, rural and urban.”

Since 1989, the North Carolina Arts Council has honored folk artists of the state with the Heritage Awards, deepening awareness of the stories, music, and artistry that encompass the rich and diverse cultural traditions in communities across the state.

“As North Carolinians, we celebrate the artists who have devoted much of their lives to keeping our cultural traditions alive and well,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

Each of the 2018 recipients share a passion for passing on their traditions – opening their studios to interns, maintaining a regular schedule of classes for both children and adults, and actively teaching their traditions to young practitioners.

“The Arts Council is proud that our agency’s mission includes the documentation of cultural traditions that have been shaped and passed down over generations in North Carolina,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council. “These recipients actively inspire and mentor future generations of traditional artists.”

The May 23, 2018, Heritage Award ceremony will feature performances from each recipient. This event will be the culmination of activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council.

“Since our inception, the Arts Council has recognized that our state’s traditions in music, dance, craft, and literature have not only shaped our communities but allowed us to be a leader in cultural tourism,” Martin said. “Having the Heritage Awards as the finale for our anniversary celebration continues our founding ideal of ‘arts for all citizens.’”

PineCone, the Piedmont Council on Traditional Music, will partner with the Arts Council to produce the ceremony as part of their Down Home Concert series.

Tickets are now on sale for the event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. Ticket prices are $20, plus tax. Discounts for 10 or more tickets are available. Call (919) 664-8302 or visit:



Click here to watch Heritage Award Recipient videos