I graduated from high school in the spring of 2017 and that fall I moved from my hometown of Greensboro into a tiny dorm room in Chapel Hill. I spent long nights and weekends studying for tests, writing papers, taking meticulous notes, and honing my craft as a painter. I was determined that my work would recontextualize art as a centuries-long discussion artists have with one another about their identity, as both individuals and as a greater cultural collective, in which history is the fundamental building block for the process of meaning-making in the present.
What I came to realize was that while I was studying the connection between our cultural legacy and meaning making in books, I was missing that meaning-making actually taking place. Coming home I was surprised to find new murals, people who I went to high school with in successful bands, a new performing arts center, among so many other meaningful developments in the Greensboro arts community. Spending time reconnecting with the music and stories of all the wonderful artists the North Carolina Folk Festival has presented reminded me of the joy I experience at the National Folk Festival seeing such talented artists directly engage, challenge, and expand upon the history and craft of their people, forging new ways of being in the process.
This playlist is my invitation to all fans of folk, be they students who have returned home, long-time festival goes, or first-timers, to discover/rediscover some of the wonderful artists in our archives.
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