Within the past year, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has supported significant, community-based public art projects that contribute to the vibrancy and spirit of community in eight rural communities. The success of this work was largely due to the trusted relationships developed by the N.C. Arts Council with local arts councils and education and outreach efforts of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Marshall is a unique and historic mountain town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the French Broad River. Just 20 miles north of Asheville, Marshall is home to one of the oldest ballad singing traditions in the southern Appalachians and a growing community of artists and creative entrepreneurs. A local team of arts, government and community leaders, worked with the N.C. Arts Council, through the SmART Communities program, to develop a national RFQ for the Marshall Art Markers project. Stone Cloud Studio was selected to design a system of visual art markers to connect the arts and cultural assets from downtown Marshall across the French Broad River to Blannahassett Island, home of Marshall High Studios. In 2021, the Rural Arts Engagement grant program provided the opportunity for artists to complete four murals and eight bronze medallions that are inspired by the cultural assets and natural beauty of Marshall.