Stecoah Valley gallery
The Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center was named as the 2011 Mountain Heritage Day Award Organizational Recipient. Built of native rock with the skill and labor of many local residents, Stecoah Union School in Graham County opened to its first students in 1926. After 68 years of serving as a center of the community, the school was closed due to consolidation in 1994.
For two years, the school sat abandoned, but the Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts and Educational Center Inc., a nonprofit corporation, was formed by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to restore the old school to its original role as the community hub. Now the 14,000-square-foot building is home to the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, which offers cultural and heritage programming and community services to about 12,000 people each year.
The arts center’s well-known summer concert series, “An Appalachian Evening,” draws top acts such as Doc Watson and David Holt to perform, and the new Stecoah Artisans Gallery and Guild provides sales promotion and support for more than 125 local and regional artists.
The center also provides many services to the local community, including an award-winning after-school program that serves more than 50 students each year. The center’s Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program offers students an opportunity to learn to play traditional stringed instruments, helping to preserve the culture of the region.
The award presentations were part of activities at Western Carolina University’s 37th annual Mountain Heritage Day festival. Each year the university honors one individual and one organization in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the preservation or interpretation of the history and culture of Southern Appalachia, or for outstanding contributions to research on, or interpretation of, Southern Appalachian issues.
For more information, visit stecoahvalleycenter.com.