Events & Outreach

fain alley music series

fain alley music series logo

Come out to hear the area’s top talented musical artists for FREE performances

Located in Historic Downtown Murphy’s Fain Alley (map link)

Shows start at 5PM unless otherwise noted

Rainy day venue will be across the street at the Cherokee County Arts Council (CCAC)

Jacob Sisters + Cassie Lowrance

May 25

Sisters not by choice, partners… Reluctantly by choice, but they love to make some music! They are influenced by the darker side of country music and lovers of catchy melodies.

Jacob Sisters + Cassie Lowrance

May 25

Cassie first became what you could call “an actual musician” during the three years she spent in the Junior Appalachian Musicians program. Playing traditional old-time music, there she learned banjo and guitar. After her years in the program, the musical genre she began to write her own songs in shifted away from the Appalachian style, with major influences being musicians like Paul Simon, Hozier, and The Smiths. But, in an underlying way, her old-time roots still impact her writing.

 “When playing old-time music, it’s hard not to feel a connection to the songs, and more particularly, the people you’re playing the songs with. This feeling of connection is what I found stayed with me and is something that I find myself trying to capture in my songs. Through the melody and the lyrics, there is an attempt to highlight small moments of life – experience and emotion – joy, love, sorrow, and hope.”

Paul Wilson

Jun 29

Paul Wilson carries on the tradition of playing and singing Appalachian gospel music as once performed by his father and uncles (the Wilson Brothers), who were recipients of the NC Folk Heritage Award for their gospel music in 1998.

Paddy’s Return

Jul 27

Paddy’s Return is a traditional Irish band from the surrounding Murphy, NC area. Members can perform as a full band, or form custom ensembles…with instruments including Fiddle, Tenor Banjo, Bouzouki, Bodhrán, Rhythm and Fingerstyle Guitar, Standup Bass, Mandolin, Accordion, Recorder, Celtic Folk Harp, and Keyboard.

Blue Eyed Girl

Aug 31

Blue Eyed Girl is a dynamic group of three Western North Carolina women whose roots are deep in traditional music and dance. Their sweet Appalachian vocal harmonies and old-time rhythmic flair draw from the music passed down to them from their families.  

Pearl Shirley was raised near Black Mountain, NC, where she was underfoot in the early days of the Old Farmers’ Ball and the Black Mountain Festival (LEAF). At age 5, she picked up a tiny violin, and since then has fiddled her way through hundreds of foot-stomping contra dances and folk performances locally and abroad. She is an elementary school teacher, dance leader, and performer.

Laurel Willoughby grew up nearby in Leicester, NC surrounded by swing and blues, gospel and old-time music. Laurel and Pearl started singing old-style harmonies together at a very young age which has resulted in a wonderfully seasoned sound now that they are grown. She plays stand-up bass and is known for her versions of old favorites like “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

Annie Fain Barralon was raised in Cherokee County, NC, whereas a small child she often fell asleep under the piano at the John C. Campbell Folk School while her parents played for contra/square dances. She is the former Music & Dance Coordinator for the Folk School and teaches banjo, book arts, clogging, Northwest Morris and European Bal Folk Dance workshops.

Jonah Graves Trio

Sept 28

Jonah Graves is a former JAM(Junior Appalachian Musician) student and certainly one of the most talented musicians from Cherokee County. Multi-instrumentalist, he is focusing on the fiddle or violin in this ensemble. Jonah already won several prizes in Old time and Bluegrass competitions and his 

Charlie Beck plays traditional and original old time, bluegrass, country, blues and swing. He dazzles on banjo, guitar, fiddle and voice with compelling feeling and rhythm. Originally from Indiana, Charlie Beck recently moved with his family to Murphy, NC from Seattle, WA. He has been performing solo and in bands such as Squirrel Butter and The Tallboys since 2003. He has played many concerts, festivals, dances and more including The Prairie Home Companion, The Festival Of American Fiddle Tunes, Wintergrass, Bumbershoot and Pickathon.

Géraud Barralon comes from Ardèche in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Now married to a Brasstown native, he makes his home outside of Murphy, NC. 

He has a background in Django Reinhardt style, rhythmic swing guitar and is a member of the French Gypsy Swing Band Djoukil. 

The trio is built around the common passion for Old Time, Bluegrass and Swing!

Addison Levy

oct 26

Meet Addie Levy, a captivating American bluegrass-country artist who effortlessly weaves tradition and vision into exciting, progressive movements. Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Addie has emerged as a true multi-talent in the world of music, captivating audiences with her powerful vocals and exciting mandolin improvisation.  From the early age of 10, she has been a powerful performer mentored by the bluegrass and old-time community. Enchanted by the resonating tales and camaraderie embedded within the “happy music” of Bluegrass, Addie swiftly cultivated a deep love for its rich history and stories. Her radiant energy and boundless enthusiasm have transformed her into a sought-after collaborator, drawing the attention of organizations, fellow musicians, businesses, and festivals. Through her music, Addie Levy has breathed new life into traditional sounds and forged a vibrant and ever-expanding landscape for its future.

annual events

Annual events are an important way of sharing varied art experiences with the community
while providing a closer look at specific kinds of art.

Art Walk

Visit downtown Murphy to talk with local and regional artists and to purchase their work, patronize local businesses and restaurants and keep our dollars local. The CCAC is proud to have continuously served as a major supporter for this wonderful First Friday event created by and organized by the members of the Valley River Arts Guild.

Date: the first Friday of the month, May-Dec

Time: 5 – 8 pm

Location: downtown Murphy, NC

Cost: free

Black History Month

Every February, the Arts Council celebrates and recognizes the importance of African Americans’ heritage and contributions to Appalachian culture.

Literary arts, visual arts, or dramatic presentations take place in the gallery and within the community.

Date: Feb 1 – 28

Location: CCAC Gallery

Cost: free

Spring Student Art Show

Each year, we open our gallery for middle and high school students to display their art and compete for medals and prize money.

This allows students to present their work to the public and helps the arts council to recognize the contributions of our art teachers who help students develop their artistic skills.

Date: Apr 1 – 31

Location: CCAC Gallery

Cost: free

Silver Arts Exhibit for NC Senior Games

NC is the only state to include an artistic section of their senior games: the silver arts competition.

Age 55+ compete for medals locally and the right to compete at the state level. Categories include, fine arts, traditional crafts, and literature.

Date: May 1 – 30

Location: CCAC Gallery

Cost: free

Not Your Grandma's Quilt Show

In October, our gallery is taken over by members of the local chapter of the Modern Appalachian Quilt Guild.

The walls are transformed into quilted surfaces showcasing modern sewing techniques and modern designs from abstract to whimsy to new interpretations of old patterns.

Date: Oct 1 – 31

Location: CCAC Gallery

Cost: free

Fashioned in Clay

The annual pottery show has proven to the public that clay artists can show you not just pots and plates, but also fishing reels, pipe wrenches, banjos, and Birkenstock sandals, all made from clay.

Showing that amazing variety is why we recognize potters every year.

Date: Nov. 1 – 30

Location: CCAC Gallery

Cost: free

center gallery

Our Center Gallery hosts a variety of shows from individual artist exhibits to entire groups in a wide spectrum of mediums. Shows typically involve a reception toward the beginning of the month – sign up for our newsletter to learn more!

Seth Thompson

The Cherokee County Arts Council (CCAC) proudly presents “Photos We Remember Ourselves By,” a thought-provoking exhibit by Seth Thompson, now gracing the Center Gallery. Thompson’s work explores the nuanced interplay between identity and class, casting a profound gaze on the duality of our existence. Through his inventive use of photographs within photographs, he offers a unique perspective that bridges the ethereal with the tangible, allowing conflicting elements to coexist in harmony. This series not only pushes the boundaries of photography but also invites viewers into a deep contemplation of self and society.

in the Center Gallery through March 31, 2024

special events

Less frequently, the CCAC hosts special out-of-town guest
performances and workshops to schools and the public.

John Brown
Jazz Orchestra

Funded by NC Arts and Education Grant and coordinated by the CCAC, the John Brown Jazz Orchestra visits our region to provide access to this special program where students learn more about band. Cherokee and Clay Co. students are also privilege to an exciting performance.

National Danish Performance Team

In Denmark, gymnastics is much more than a sport, it’s a way of life. The CCAC is always excited to host the National Danish Performance Team, who provide school workshops, along with a spectacular public performance. Keep an eye out for their next trip to Cherokee Co, NC in 2025.

Brasstown Morris Dancers

In collaboration with the John C. Campbell Folk School, the CCAC has coordinated field trips with schools to have an audience with our local Morris teams, performing in the tradition of English folk and country dances on stage at the Folk School’s Festival Barn.

Danish Senior

This team of retired gymnasts from Denmark comes to the region, with the coordination of the CCAC and John C. Campbell Folk School, to offer performances in schools along with talks on living a healthful lifestyle, followed by a fun, energetic public performance.

Berea College
Country Dancers

On rare occasions, folk dancers from Berea College in Berea, KY, tour the region to offer public performances showcasing a wide array of traditional English dance. Sponsored in part by the CCAC, they also provide school workshops with student instruction around the community.

Flamenco Vivo
Carlotta Santana

Based in New York City, Flamenco Vivo Carlotta Santana visits the area to provide day-long school workshops on history, art, and literature, along with an evening performance open to the public at the Peacock Playhouse in Hayesville, NC.

school programs

The CCAC partners regional artists with local schools
to enhance arts education and accessibility.

resident artists
in the classroom

The CCAC hires regional artists to work with classroom teachers 1-2 hours per day, 3-4 days per week, in 1+ classes in a school.

Artists are selected by the CCAC and partnered with a school (elementary, middle, and high school).

For more info, contact David Vowell at the CCAC at


Teachers are invited to bring their class to see our own exhibits and meet the artists whose work is being featured.

This opportunity is available year-round, for all ages, and at no cost.

For more info, contact Geraud Barralon at the CCAC at

week long
art gala

The CCAC coordinates a full week of varied classes (am & pm) with a show and tell event on Friday. We offer 12 classes in 4-5 forms of art that can include painting, paper arts, dance, and pottery.

This opportunity is open to all grade levels at no cost through CCAC funding. Schools selected for this program are determined by the CCAC.

youth programs

The CCAC offers extra curricular activities
in an artistic atmosphere.

chess club

The CCAC facilitates chess club for kids ages 6-13 that focuses on the fun of learning the game in a non-competitive environment.

Chess sets and instruction are provided at no cost.

The group meets Mondays 3:30-5:00pm in the CCAC gallery.

showcase your work

Make use of our gallery space,
sell or perform at events,
and get involved with the community. 

Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores,
and college-going rates
as well as lower drop out rates
all across the socio-economic strata.