Imagine yourself immersed in an art school experience that specializes in the study of more than 50 forms of historic folk craft. Picture a place with expert instructors who teach in a small-classroom setting with joy and encouragement. Now visualize a school where you can spend either a full week or just a weekend engaged in learning a skill that has always fascinated you. You have just found the iconic John C. Campbell Folk School in Western North Carolina.
Located in the Historic District of beautiful Brasstown, NC, the folk school’s grounds span 270 peaceful and remote acres. Students find inspiration exploring the winding paths, scenic pastures, and Little Brasstown Creek nestled against a backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The founders of the John C. Campbell Folk School were inspired by the 19th century Danish folk school model, which gave farmers a means for personal and social transformation. Those roots gave rise to this celebration of Appalachian culture and all of its various forms of art. Today, the school is dedicated to sharing this heritage and teaching these specialized crafts to the world.
Your widely varied choice of studies showcases the expansive artistic works of the mountain people of Western North Carolina. The school offers over 800 classes year-round in subjects that include weaving, pottery, writing, music, dance, woodworking, jewelry-making, photography, dance, cooking, and woodworking. Learn the original crafts from local experts, including artists in residence. In 2023, these revolving artists bring their artistry in basketry, beading, thread art, needlework, storytelling, and quilting to the school.
The learning atmosphere encourages your creativity and joy without judgment or competition. Small classes promote the spirit of support and encouragement. So, whether you are a beginner trying a new skill or an artist looking to hone your craft, you have a welcoming place here.
Students are invited to stay on campus in one of many options for student housing. Choose from rooms in a charming 1930’s building, like Hill House, contemporary housing, like Energy-Star-certified Field House, and dormitories – all air conditioned and in walking distance to your studios. Wholesome and delicious meals and linens are included in your housing fee.
Local residents of Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Swain, and Graham Counties in NC; Fannin, Towns, and Union Counties in GA, and Polk County in TN qualify for a 25% discount off tuition. All teachers and young adults receive a 25% discount to support their learning.
You don’t have to attend classes at the school to experience their impressive arts. The Craft Shop, a founding member of the prestigious Southern Highland Craft Guild, is open to visitors 7 days a week. The store sells high-quality, handcrafted goods representing over 300 local and regional artists. Make sure you leave enough time to learn about the school’s intriguing past in the History Center, where you can also peruse the works of legendary and contemporary artists.
They say to fully understand and appreciate the area you’re visiting; you need to engage in the people’s cultural identity. The John C. Campbell Folk School is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the history and lore of the NC Great Smoky Mountains. You will come away with a deep appreciation for the remarkable heritage, skill, and proud uniqueness of these talented mountain folk.