Around Town: Dillsboro’s Front Street Arts & Crafts Show enters eighth year

UPFRONT: "Blue Ridge balladeer" Anna Victoria will return to the stage at this year's Front Street Arts & Crafts Show. Photo by Kelly Donaldson

Over 40 regional artists and crafters will set up booths along Dillsboro’s Front Street on Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The event highlights the mountain traditions of Appalachia. “Dillsboro has long been known for its arts and crafts, and it’s one of the reasons people discover our area and Western North Carolina,” says Julie Donaldson, executive director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

The eighth annual show will also feature live music starting at 10:30 a.m. with “Blue Ridge balladeer” singer-songwriter Anna Victoria, followed by multigenre singer Suzie Copeland and ending with a 2 p.m. performance by Twelfth Fret, a married duo that covers classic rock and pop.

“We have some talented regional musicians and dancers performing, as well as excellent local restaurants, breweries and event vendors,” says Kelly Donaldson, assistant director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. “There is truly something for everyone.”

“The consistency and quality of the vendors as well as the variety of handcrafted items at reasonable prices” is the reason the festival has grown each year, says Kelly. “The intimate and personal shopping experience attained from a handmade purchase is a feeling that a big-box store is unable to match: originality, quality, creativity, local artisan support, plus shopping ‘one on one under the tent’ help keep traditions alive.”

The free festival will provide a shuttle service from Monteith Farmstead and Community Park, near the downtown shopping district.

For more information, visit

Stories of the South

Local author David Joy is one of many creative personalities featured in a new three-part documentary series on PBS.

The Sylva native will be featured on the first episode of “Southern Storytellers,” which premieres on Tuesday, July 18, at 9 p.m. His segment will focus on “lamenting the disappearance of the culture he loves,” according to a press release.

The docuseries — which is from PBS, Arkansas PBS and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Craig Renaud — reveals stories of the South as told by well-known storytellers who call it home.They include poet Jericho Brown, songwriters Jason Isbell and Lyle Lovett and actor Billy Bob Thornton.

“‘Southern Storytellers’ comes from our desire, as native Southerners, to show the South in an authentic light,” says Courtney Pledger, executive director and CEO of Arkansas PBS in a press release. “And we can think of no better way to do that than through the experiences of the region’s writers and creators who are able to engage us, move us and take us to a deeper understanding of such a dynamic place and its people.”

“‘Southern Storytellers’ gives our audiences the opportunity to hear creators from across the region as they share, in their uniquely Southern voices, the places and histories that inspire them to honor and preserve traditions and to create new ones for the future,” adds Bill Gardner, vice president of multiplatform programming and head of development at PBS, in the same press release.

For more information, visit

Spotlight on songwriting

Spotlight Collective, which provides local songwriters with networking and gigging opportunities, will host Music Business 101 from 5-9 p.m. Sunday, July 16, at Different Wrld.

“The intention of the event is to break down barriers to entry in the music business industry and help musicians further their music careers,” says Leah Worley, Spotlight Collective co-founder and moderator of the event.

Panelists will include:

  • James Keane, director of operations for Virginia-based Artistzen Business Management.
  • Matt Evans, booking agent for The Odd.
  • Spencer Scanlon, owner and director of operations for Asheville’s Transmission Publicity.
  • Edwin Arnaudin, music journalist at Mountain Xpress and Asheville Stages.
  • Jae Hargis, DIY organizer at Rabbit Hole.

The panel discussion will be 5-7 p.m., followed by a local songwriter showcase from 7-9 p.m. 

The featured songwriters will be Pat ZimLurky SkunkDavid BarnardDoctor Delia and Jilly Jean.

Different Wrld is at 701 Haywood Road, Suite 101. For more information, go to

Crafting community

The Center for Craft is launching new regional grant program, in partnership with UNC Asheville’s UNC Gillings Master of Public Health degree program.

The purpose of the grant is to explore crafting’s impact on community vitality. Six selected artists, artist collectives or art organizations will receive a $2,200 grant to use craft to engage with Western North Carolina communities.

“Through the practice of traditional and contemporary crafts, individuals develop skills, express their artistic abilities and find a sense of purpose and fulfillment,” says Center for Craft Executive Director Stephanie Moore in a press release. “Craft also plays a crucial role in preserving cultural traditions and strengthening identity, passing down knowledge from one generation to the next.

“Craft activities bring people together for social interactions and collaboration that create a sense of belonging,” she adds. “This collaboration is an opportunity to better understand the ways in which craft acts as an indicator of and pathway to a healthy, resilient future.”

Proposed projects must take place between September and November, and each selected project will be paired with a UNCA MPH student.

The Center for Craft invites letters of interest to be sent to before July 24, 11:59 pm.

The Center for Craft is at 67 Broadway. For more information, visit

NC in DC

Briana Sosa-Trejo, a recent graduate of Henderson County Early College, is North Carolina’s 11th District winner of the 2023 Congressional Art Competition.

The announcement was made by Congressman Chuck Edwards. “Briana is the first winner of the Congressional Art Competition since the time I’ve been sent to represent North Carolina’s 11th District, and I was pleased to be able to show her where her artwork is currently displayed in the U.S. Capitol,” said U.S. Rep. Edwards in a press release. “I’m glad to see how she used her exceptional talent to contribute to our community and wish her the best as she begins her undergraduate studies.”

Sosa-Trejo’s artwork, titled “Skeptical of Myself,” will be on display in the U.S. Capitol building for one year. She will begin undergraduate studies at UNC Charlotte this fall.

For more information on the Congressional Art Competition, visit

With additional reporting from Justin McGuire.


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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