Preserving and Strengthening the Cultural Heritage of Sacred Places in Central Appalachia

The Preserving and Strengthening the Cultural Heritage of Sacred Places in Central Appalachia project will identify culturally significant historic sacred places in Central Appalachian portions of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. A group of these sacred places will be invited to participate in a program that will help sustain their presence in the community and assist with preserving their folk art, architecture, and cultural traditions through repair and restoration work with local artists, craftspeople, and artisans.

Opportunities and Needs

This project responds to the shared challenges faced by many of the region’s historic sacred places as their architecture, arts, and traditions are increasingly at risk. Many congregations have smaller memberships and fewer resources than they did in the past. Some even risk closing. In other cases, a nonprofit organization has taken on the care of a sacred place in collaboration with or in place of a congregation. This project will offer new tools and resources to build networks of friends and advocates for these important buildings, develop new sources of revenue and capital funds, and lastly –collaborate with artists and artisans to activate and restore these invaluable cultural and historic places for sustainable futures.

Support and Training for Congregations

Up to ten sacred places will be selected to participate in the New Dollars/New Partners for Your Historic Sacred Place training program. The training will help develop the capacity of the stewards of culturally significant historic sacred places, and prepare them to successfully implement repair and restoration projects through new fundraising efforts and community partnerships. Participating congregations will:

  • Learn to tell their stories to the community, better care for their buildings, and engage with neighbors to develop wide support for their historic sacred places;
  • Participate in asset-mapping and fundraising training events that identify the strengths and assets of each sacred place;
  • Identify the assets in the larger community—including artists and arts organizations, public sector leaders, community organizations, local donors, and civic leaders—and find connections between the two that can lead to new programs, partnerships, and funding; and
  • Be eligible for planning grants of $2,000-$7,500 (with a 1:2 in kind or cash match) and capital grants of $5,000-$15,000 (with a 1:1 in-kind or cash match) to fund successful repair and restoration projects involving the building fabric and/or associated arts and crafts.

“Jordan” or baptistery painting at Walburg Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC.

    Interested in Learning More?

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