Dear Friends,

2017 was truly a year of firsts for Shakori Hills Community Arts Center. New events and expanded educational programs propelled us upward and forward, and Shakori Hills enjoyed a bright and busy year, thanks to this exceptional community of which we are a part.

The first Roots in the Schools residency, an old-time music immersion for Virginia Cross fourth graders, was also the first outreach activity of the year. A group of ten local artists taught history, song and dance in this week-long program made possible by a Grassroots Grant from the Chatham County Arts Council.

Keeping this musical momentum going, in mid-April, the brand new Shakori Hills JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) kicked off at Silk Hope Elementary, offering students from four western Chatham County schools the opportunity for low-to-no-cost group music lessons. Along with a first for Shakori Hills, playing an instrument was a first for most of the kids, too!

We have come to look forward to starting the season on the land with the Piedmont Earthskills Gathering. This hardy and talented group of instructors and students, coming to share their knowledge of traditional and primitive skills, christens Shakori Hills as it awakens each spring. The love and connection we all feel to this special place is the underlying magical element of the event that birthed and nurtures SHCAC, the 15th Annual Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, held the first weekend in May.

So often is heard, “It wouldn’t be Shakori Hills [festival] without rain!” This humorously beloved, widely-held belief, proved true in the gentlest of ways this spring, as we were blessed with the chance to dance in the sunshine, and also receive life-nourishing rain throughout the night. Our gratitude to Mother Nature abounds beyond words.

The end of summer brought a beautiful Stars in the Round, and the long-awaited completion of permanent bathrooms—another first when the water turned on and the musical sound of a ush resonated through the trees. Through a venue partnership, the Big What? also held its festival at Shakori Hills for the first time in mid-August.

Other firsts included: the addition of West African Drumming to the diverse summer workshop lineup; Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention being awarded a first-time Program Support Grant from the NC Arts Council; and the first BIG single-day musical event with grammy-nominated band, Sylvan Esso! The following weekend closed out a busy season of events with a nice and dry, 14th Annual Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival.

As the year comes to a close, we are grateful for so much! First and foremost, we are thankful for YOU—you are our inspiration! So much of what we do at SHCAC is because we witness you and your families experiencing and celebrating the beauty of life through the events and programming at Shakori Hills, and simply being on the land, allowing it to restore you. In this confusing and often troubling time, our mission feels even more potent and important, and we thank you for helping us remain committed to it. We are also grateful for the opportunity to compile an annual report for your information and viewing pleasure!

2017 was a big year at Shakori Hills and, as we wrap it up and look toward 2018, our hopes are high that it will be matched in meeting goals and expanding our offerings. Please consider a year-end gift to help us continue this work.  Click HERE to make either a one-time or recurring donation.

Wishing you and your families all the best this holiday season!

New Website Coming Soon! 

Roots in the Schools


We’ve been continuing and expanding this program of bringing musicians, artists and dancers into local schools to help supplement the curriculum. If you are a teacher, parent or school administrator interested in bringing this program to your school, get in touch at

Junior Appalachian Musicians

JAM Fiddle Class, June 2017

In April of this year, we launched the Shakori Hills JAM chapter, covering Silk Hope, Siler City Elementary, Virginia Cross Elementary and Chatham Middle Schools. Over 30 students were given low to no-cost musical instruction in fiddle, mandolin, guitar and dance! This starter group will re-convene at the beginning of the school year for another 8-week session with their first performance at the Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival. Click HERE for more information…

 Community Garden

Want to grow your own food but don’t have the space or time commitment for your own20160620_125037 garden? Community garden workers get a share of everything harvested and excess is donated to the CORA Food Pantry. You can contribute as much or as little as meets your schedule and energy level. Everyone is welcome to participate in the garden, from the early planning stages like deciding what crops to grow, ordering seeds and tilling the ground to planting, weeding, mulching and harvesting. No previous gardening experience is necessary.

Cheryl is also offers free monthly gardening workshops every summer in a variety of topics for those who have their own gardens or just want to swap knowledge and experience! Send us an email if you’d like to have your own custom workshop!

Thank you for all your support! We look forward to seeing you soon!

Your contributions will help us reach our vision of giving back to our community by making the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center a place for everyone to enjoy now and for decades to come! Click here to make a donation.

Slideshow Photo Credits: Todd E. Gaul, Kevin James, Paul Kerr, Matthew Coburn, Allison Springer, Sara Waters, Dwayne Ritchie

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