Posted on: July 9, 2024 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0

Last Updated on July 9, 2024

Haywood County, NC’s many outlets for local art, crafts, and performance have always been exciting destinations for visitors. But more importantly, local arts add new life and a sense of identity to our neighborhoods, contributing to the many ways there are to find what feels like home.

Whether you’re organizing a weekend in Waynesville or you plan to live in the area for life, there are many ways to take in visual arts, culture, theater, music, and more.

Here are just eight ways to support and enjoy local arts in Haywood County, NC.

Share culture

The Folkmoot Friendship Center brings the cultures of the world here to WNC. For more than 40 years, the center was the headquarters for the widely popular Folkmoot international dance and music festival. Today, the Folkmoot Friendship Center offers community events and cultural activities year round. Folkmoot LIVE! is a performance series highlighting the finest American musicians, dancers, and storytellers working today. And the Folkmoot Friendship Center provides retail and gallery space to craft artists and independent businesses.

Meet the artists

In each of Haywood County’s towns, downtown art galleries showcase a wide breadth of talented artisans and craftspeople. And many of these spots are easily walkable to each other. Our agents are especially fond of Twigs & Leaves Gallery and TPennington Gallery on Main Street in Waynesville. 

On a monthly basis, many galleries across the county offer meet-and-greets, featured shows, and other ways to engage with the artists. Among our favorite recurring events is Art After Dark, which runs May–December. The event transforms Downtown Waynesville and the Historic Frog Level District into an exquisite visual, culinary, and performing arts center. Look for the festive Art After Dark flags that guide the way to participating galleries.

Take a trip back in time

Open May–October, the grand Shelton House in Waynesville (built in 1875) now houses the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts (founded in 1977). The museum features 19th century crafts, including pottery, quilts, baskets, and woodworking. Enjoy a guided tour in the Charleston-style farmhouse with a double veranda. You can view agricultural exhibits and items of today’s crafters and artisans, as well. The museum was also the first site on the Haywood County Quilt Trails. Visiting off-season? Check their calendar for upcoming year-round events.

See a show

The award-winning Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (HART Theatre) is widely recognized as one of the finest community theaters in the Southeast and one of the best activities to do around Haywood County. And we would have to agree! Founded in 1984, the facility sits on the eight-acre national historic site owned by the Shelton House Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts. HART offers a full schedule of performances on the main stage at the Shelton House, April–December, and in the Feichter Studio, January–April.

Scout out new talent

Western North Carolina’s music tradition goes back to our earliest days. In fact, the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina preserve, interpret, and promote the rich pockets of sound and dance that originated in our 29 counties. Today, every town in the region is still home to regular live music, acoustic jams, and even “music Bingo”. Take in some old-timey bluegrass sessions, or explore opportunities to scout out young talent with fresh sounds. Local musicians make the jump to the spotlight through area open mic events. It’s perhaps the best way to test your mettle and show off your skills!

Track down your favorite scenes

With our scenic mountains, beautiful rivers and waterfalls, and comfortable temperatures, Western North Carolina has been a popular filmmaking destination for decades. Haywood County, in particular, and nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park have had starring roles in many movies over the years, from “The Fugitive” (1993) to the recent Oscar-nominated “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017). Scout out scenes from these movies, and perhaps find your dream home in the process, on the WNC Movie Trail

Engage with the arts

Whether you want to explore your creative side or just support others’, local arts nonprofits make it easy. In particular, the Haywood County Arts Council began in 1977 through the passion and action of dedicated volunteers. Now, the Council continues to promote local artists and their works through a variety of programs and promotions. And HCAC hosts or sponsors a variety of public events, receptions, and workshops to promote arts awareness and engagement in the community. Gallery 86 is their visual arts gallery on Main Street in Waynesville, NC.

Head outside!

When all else fails and you want to enjoy local art, just wander around outside! Of course, Mother Nature is an excellent artist and she has treated the mountains as her canvas. But other public artists in Haywood County have also chosen to make their mark on local buildings, sidewalks, and more. 

Along with fine shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes, public art is just one of many facets that add to Waynesville’s small-town charm. As you walk up and down Main Street’s tree-lined sidewalks, you’ll spot two-dimensional and three-dimensional art along every block. Historic murals also dot the downtown landscape in Canton, offering interesting viewing on that town’s Main Street.

Find what feels like home in Haywood County, NC!

Haywood County consists of four unique mountain towns: Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville, as well as an assortment of unique mountain communities. Whatever your interests, there is something to look forward to every month of the year. With regular musical events, art exhibits, and much more, Haywood County has active local arts organizations that bring a variety of events to the area. And throughout the county, you will find an array of places and events that are of great significance. 

From outdoor adventures to cozy spots downtown, Haywood County towns welcome people from many different backgrounds to visit and stay for life.

Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find a great home in Haywood County, NC!

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