In this issue | May 2023

  • 2023 North Carolina Heritage Awards
  • May is Asian American Pacific Island Heritage Month
  • “Field Notes” from Jeff Bell
  • Poetry Out Loud
The 2023 North Carolina Heritage Awards ceremony is coming up!
2023 N.C. Heritage Award winners Neal Thomas, Rhonda Gouge, Cornelio Campos, Butch & Louise Goings, and Richard Bowman

The North Carolina Heritage Awards are returning for the first time since 2018, with a ceremony at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, in Raleigh, on the evening of May 31. This year’s six honorees are white-oak basket maker Neal Thomas, musician and teacher Rhonda Gouge, Cherokee artisans Butch and Louise Goings, old-time fiddler Richard Bowman, and muralist and painter Cornelio Campos.

In preparation for the ceremony, we offer several ways for you to get to know these artists: 

  1. We re-launched the Arts Across NC podcast, with Folklife Director Zoe Van Buren interviewing this year’s honorees. You can listen on our SoundCloud page, or wherever you get your podcasts.
  2. Filmmaker Rodrigo Dorman visited our honorees, and created short documentaries that will premiere at the May 31 awards ceremony. Catch a preview on our YouTube channel and on our blog.

The North Carolina Heritage Awards are our state’s highest honor for folk and traditional artists. We hope you’ll join us in the celebration on May 31!

May is Asian American Pacific Island Heritage Month
May is AAPI Heritage month
Governor Cooper proclaimed May Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, to commemorate the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to the state of North Carolina. Head over to our blog, where we highlight some of the AAPI artists and arts organizations enriching our state’s arts culture.
“Field Notes” from Jeff Bell
Field notes - a moleskin field not book with a map of NC next to it
In the latest issue of Field Notes, Executive Director Jeff Bell provides an update on the recent happenings at the Arts Council and what lies ahead: ARTS Day last month, grant panels, our upcoming board meeting in Boone, and the return of Music at the Mansion. 
Poetry Out Loud 
Abby Sullivan, N.C.’s Poetry Out Loud finalist.
Abby Sullivan, a senior at Weaver Academy, in Guilford County, advanced to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. She competed alongside eight other high-school students at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., on May 10. The National Endowment for the Arts, which hosts the annual poetry recitation contest, conducted interviews with the nine finalists ahead of the event. Congratulations to Abby Sullivan and her coach, Weaver Academy theater teacher Keith Taylor, on their impressive showing. 
In case you missed it

AEP6 Surveys
The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts. Their economic impact studies have been trusted for decades to leverage increases in local, state, and federal arts funding. The study has two components: audience-intercept surveys, taken at arts events across the state, and organizational surveys, collected from as many not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations as possible. 

Be sure to fill out your organizational survey by June 10, 2023. If you did not receive one, please contact our research director, Brenna McCallum, at Each organization that completes the survey makes the findings more robust. Join the rest of the arts and culture community today and make sure that your organization is counted!

In the news
  • At long last, Link Wray, a native of Dunn, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Shawnee guitarist is often credited with laying the groundwork for punk and hard rock, and musicians such as Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, and Neil Young have cited him as a major influence. 
  • Congratulations to newly-minted Pulitzer Prize recipient Rhiannon Giddens! Born in Greensboro, Giddens received the award for her opera “Omar”, based on the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim scholar who was captured in Africa in the early 1800s and sold into slavery. 
  • Fayetteville native J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first non-binary actor to receive a Tony nomination for their leading role in Some Like It Hot.
Dates to know
May 21:  History at High Noon: Amplifying Asian American Voices, virtual program from the N.C. Museum of History
May 31:  North Carolina Heritage Awards, in Raleigh
August 29 – 31:  Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability (LEAD) Conference in Boston, MA. Registration is now open.
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