The Southern Highland Craft Guild is appealing the National Park Service’s decision to issue a Concession Contract to the group to continue its operation of the Folk Art Center. For the last thirty years, the guild has operated the facility under a Cooperative Agreement that allowed the organization to not pay fees to the Park Service in exchange for providing park visitors free educational programs, interpretive exhibits and special event programing. According to a letter sent to members of the organization by Guild President Lila Bellando, the Park Service’s proposed change “could have a serious negative impact” on the center’s educational programming.
Founded in 1930, the Southern Highland Craft Guild is a nonprofit that represents more than 900 craftspeople from throughout the Southeast. Its Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center includes the work of more than 200 members of the guild, showcasing a variety of media such as fiber, clay, wood and glass. Allanstand is the oldest continuously operating craft shop in the United States and has been located at the Folk Art Center since 1980.
photo — from the recent Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands held at the Asheville Civic Center — by Halima Flynt