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.