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Traditional Arts Program for Students (TAPS)

In September of last year, Toe River Arts was awarded a grant for Traditional Arts Program for Students (TAPS) from the North Carolina Arts Council. This enabled us to offer after- and in-school programs that unite North Carolina middle school students with local traditional artists. Taught by experts utilizing traditional instructional techniques, students receive training in local artistic traditions that have deep cultural roots in their community. Classes are small and dedicated. Students use their own instruments or borrow them from Toe River Arts’s musical library. They learn not only to play the guitar and banjo but to feel the music and understand the reasons to continue the traditions. This school year, we have after-school classes in Bowman (banjo) and Harris (guitar) middle schools. In-school classes are held at Cane River and East Yancey (guitar) middle schools.

TAPS is free to any dedicated student, ages 8 to 17. Spaces are limited and practice is mandatory. Contact Community Outreach Coordinator, Melanie Finlayson or call 828.765.0524 for more information.


 A Terry McKinney student at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine

Check out the Traditional Arts Program for Students (TAPS) students as they perform at a free concert in Black Mountain this past spring, “JAMming Across the Blue Ridge.”


A Don Pedi dulcimer player at Bald Creek Elementary in Burnsville

This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.