Art and music are both cornerstones of the unique heritage found only in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.
From working art studios to award-winning community theater, museums, historic landmarks and tours, quilt trails, live music venues, heritage festivals and celebrations— Haywood is home to a vibrantly woven cultural tapestry.
Here are a few highlights:
Haywood Arts Regional Theater
Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, founded in 1985, is one of the most active theatres in the Southeast, producing a year-round schedule of plays and musicals from its home, The Performing Arts Center at the Shelton House. Opened in 1997, and funded by the support of people throughout the community, HART’s home is a stunning facility constructed in the style of the traditional Summer Stock playhouses of the 1920’s.
In addition to its own productions, HART also co-sponsors the Razzle Dazzle children’s festival, and plays host to events by Folkmoot USA, the Smoky Mountain Brass Band, Voices in the Laurel, and the Haywood County Arts Council’s series of concerts, including the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival and February Jazz. HART also operates the Rodwell Visual Arts Gallery and has an Internship program for young aspiring professional actors.
The historic Colonial Theater was built in 1932 & renovated in 1992 & again with state of the art film, video & sound equipment. It is the perfect venue for film festivals, stage productions, weddings, as well as corporate conferences.
The venue often hosts homegrown acoustic musicians, Balsam Range, who thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround their home county.
Haywood County Arts Council
The Haywood County Arts Council believes in the power of creativity to strengthen communities, support their local traditions, and build pride in their cultural heritage. This belief is their driving motivation to nurture the growth and accessibility of art and crafts throughout the Western North Carolina Mountains. The Haywood County Arts Council promotes visibility and support for the visual arts, performing arts, as well as traditional and evolving craft movements in Western North Carolina.
Some examples of local events include:
Art after Dark, an event that transforms Downtown Waynesville into an exquisite visual, culinary and performing arts center, the first Friday evening of each month from May until December. There are few destinations in the mountains where you’ll find such a wide breadth of talented artisans and craftspeople in a single location. All participating galleries are open from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., offering meet & greets, featured shows, refreshments, and live music performed by local bands and musicians.
Art After Dark offers a relaxed atmosphere, filled with art, music and laughter.
Headquartered in the historic Hazelwood School in Waynesville, North Carolina, Folkmoot is an international folk festival held since 1984 throughout twenty–five Western North Carolina counties. During its history, the two-week event has featured over 200 groups from approximately 100 countries.
Folkmoot is an old English word meaning “meeting of the people.” As an organization built on decades of international festival experiences, Folkmoot believes that sharing global culture in rural communities broadens individual perspectives and changes lives. Folkmoot creates opportunities for individuals and communities across the world to find a deeper sense of connection, mutual respect and shared purpose.