Folk Arts Education

Through targeted partnerships with organizations who have built exceptional programs, South Arts has expanded access to folk and traditional arts for K-12 students throughout Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. From tactile arts such as quilting and woodworking, to fiddling and banjo, to agriculture and foodways, we are dedicated to ensuring future generations have access to traditions rooted in Central Appalachia. Since In These Mountains (ITM) programming began in 2018, the initiative has supported folk arts education activities in 24 Appalachian Regional Commission counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Appalachian communities were some of the hardest hit in the nation. Despite the challenges, In These Mountains partners quickly adapted to provide virtual education activities. ITM support helped ensure students’ continued access to folk and traditional arts throughout the pandemic. Although most ITM partners have returned to in-person classes, virtual instruction remains an important tool for widening access to folk arts education.

With COVID-19 recovery still underway, communities in Eastern Kentucky also experienced historically severe flooding in July 2022. In These Mountains partners, including Hindman Settlement School and Appalshop, have led the way in connecting their communities to necessary food, shelter, and economic resources. In These Mountains will continue support for our Eastern Kentucky partners, adapting to their needs as they recover and return to folk arts education instruction.  

Partner organizations and funded programs during the 2022-2023 school year:  

Hindman Settlement School 

Hindman Settlement School

  • After School Arts Club including weaving, leather work, painting, and poetry – Knott County, KY 
  • Family Weaving Night – Virtual, Knott and Letcher Counties, KY 
  • Pick & Bow Mountain Music Education Program – Knott, Floyd, and Perry Counties, KY
Visit the Hindman Settlement School website


Pine Mountain Settlement School

Pine Mountain Settlement School 

  • Appalachian Foodways – Harlan County, KY 
  • Sheep to Shawl Weaving Program – Harlan County, KY 
  • Appalachian Woodworking – Harlan County, KY 
  • Quilting and Needlework – Harlan County, KY  
Visit the Pine Mountain Settlement School website


North Carolina Arts Council Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS)

North Carolina Arts Council Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS)

  • Stokes County Junior Mountain Musicians-King Senior Center - King, NC
  • Stokes County Junior Mountain Musicians-Walnut Grove Elementary School - Walnut Grove, NC
  • Stokes County Junior Mountain Musicians-Lawsonville Elementary School - Lawsonville, NC
  • Yadkin Junior Appalachian Musicians - Yadkin County, NC
Visit the North Carolina Arts Council Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS) website


North Carolina Folklife Institute

North Carolina Folklife Institute

  • Mountain Victuals Appalachian Foodways – Virtual
Visit the North Carolina Folklife Institute website
Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM)

Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) 

  • Upper East Tennessee JAM-Johnson City – Washington County, TN 
  • Upper East Tennessee JAM-Unicoi – Unicoi County, TN 
  • Grundy County JAM – Grundy County, TN 
  • Hancock County JAM – Hancock County, TN 
  • Tellico Plains JAM – Monroe County, TN 
  • Tellico Plains JAM-Madisonville – Monroe County, TN 
  • Claiborne County JAM – Claiborne County, TN 
  • Smoky Mountain JAM – Blount County, TN 
  • Cocke County JAM – Cocke County, TN 
  • Knoxville JAM – Knox County, TN 
  • Anderson County JAM – Anderson County, TN 
Visit the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) website



Young folks in Appalachia often are unaware of the cultural traditions in their own community... The In These Mountains initiative allows us to highlight the richness and value of our local traditions and arts.

Sarah Kate Morgan, Director, Traditional Arts Education, Hindman Settlement School