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Heritage Tours and Group Receptive Services

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Mike Campbell

Frontier skills artist

Boone, NC (Watauga County)

Mike Campbell has long been fascinated with history and older ways of living. A knowledgeable and seasoned presenter of American frontier skills, he is, among other things, a skilled woodworker, leatherworker, and knife maker. "Most of those people used their skills to make their own clothes, weapons, and food," he notes. "So you learn[ed] to do a lot of things with your hands, then barter for the rest."

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Butch Barker

Bluegrass musician

Lansing, NC (Ashe County)

"I've really enjoyed my music over the years," says Ashe County musician Butch Barker. "I don't think I would have got by without it." Known primarily as a bluegrass musician, Butch plays guitar, bass, and fiddle, and he sings lead and harmony. While he has made his daytime career at American Emergency Vehicles building molds for ambulances, he spends much of his free time picking informally with friends, performing with bluegrass groups, sound engineering at fiddlers' conventions, and promoting the music of northwest North Carolina.

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Irene and Joan Moser

Appalachian scholars and oldtime musicians

Swannanoa, NC (Buncombe County)

Sisters Joan and Irene Moser follow in the footsteps of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and of their father, Artus Moser, in being scholars as well as artists in the traditions of their native North Carolina mountains. The Moser family is distinguished in the fields of Appalachian studies and folklore for their two generations' collection of and scholarship in mountain traditions, particularly music, storytelling and plant lore, and as long-time educators in these fields.

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Robert Queen

Woodcarver and resource on Cherokee culture

Cherokee, Qualla Boundary

Cherokee artist Robert Queen practices traditional forms of woodcarving that were handed down to him through the community, both at home and in classes at the schools he attended. He makes ceremonial masks, flutes, rattles, and a variety of weaponry including bows and arrows. Queen worked for many years in a factory in Cherokee, but like so many North Carolinians, he lost his job when the factory closed its doors a few years ago. A benefit that has emerged from this otherwise unfortunate event is that Queen now finds he has more time than before to devote to his art.

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William S. Rogers

Blacksmith

Cullowhee, NC (Jackson County)

Blacksmith William S. Rogers, now a resident of Jackson County, North Carolina, has received many honors from his native state of Tennessee, and his long-time home state of Virginia. A skilled educator as well as an artist, Rogers has collaborated with or been sponsored by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the Tennessee Arts Commission in a variety of residencies and apprenticeship programs.

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Ty Gilpin

Bluegrass mandolinist

Asheville, NC (Buncombe County)

Ty Gilpin has been playing traditional and original music in Western North Carolina for nearly 20 years. In that time he has co-founded several bluegrass groups, including the award-winning group High Windy and Unspoken Tradition.

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Sonny Ledford

Carver, dancer, and lecturer on Cherokee history

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

When Sonny Ledford teaches others about Cherokee culture, he says, "I tell about how I grew up, from a child to a man." As a small child growing up in Birdtown, Ledford spoke Cherokee, and he only began to learn English when it became a practical necessity for enrolling in kindergarten. His mother, a member of the Bird Clan, and his father, a member of the Long Hair Clan, both spoke Cherokee as their first language, and were deeply versed in the tribe's history and traditions of artistry. Geneva Teesatuskie Ledford, his mother, was from the Snowbird Community.

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Riverwood Pewter

Metal workers

Dillsboro, NC (Jackson County)

Riverwood Pewter's origins date to 1930, when Ralph Morgan and his son, Ralph, Jr., learned the pewterer's art at the Penland School of Crafts. The younger Ralph, who was a teenager at the time, was hired by his aunt Lucy Morgan, founder of the Penland School, to become the school's first pewter instructor.

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Lynsey Rice

Flatfoot dancer and clogger

Buncombe County, NC

Lynsey Rice, a young clogger, flatfooter, and buck dancer, says she will never forget her mountain heritage. She is a member of the Freeman family, who have distinguished themselves as traditional artists for multiple generations. Rice's mother Loretta Freeman is a well-known area clogger and buck dancer, and her grandfather Gordon Freeman was an old-time fiddler of wide renown.

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