Shakori Hills Community Arts Center’s mission is to provide culturally significant arts, music and environmental-sustainability education and outreach to our local community and schools, while concurrently preserving and protecting the 72-acre historic Chatham County farmstead, now known as Shakori Hills.
Shakori Hills Community Arts Center is a North Carolina non-profit, 501c3 corporation.
Management and Organization
Shakori Hills is under the management of a volunteer board of directors, consisting of professionals from various backgrounds, plus one full-time and two part-time staff members. Our office is located in the former farmstead home at Shakori Hills. Following is brief background information on each person:
Ed Griffin, Board President, has over 20 years of business management experience. He currently owns and operates two local businesses: South of Cool Sound Production and Griffin Contracting, Inc. Ed started volunteering at Shakori Hills about seven years ago. He spent countless hours running tractor shuttles and helping with onsite repairs for a few years. After getting to know the staff, he moved into running live sound (his true passion) for all four of the GrassRoots festivals.
Carol Woodell, Board Vice-President, was thrilled to learn of the inaugural Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival and has volunteered at every festival since. A seventh generation North Carolinian, she grew up working on her granddaddy’s farm just east of Shakori Hills, and on her godparents’ shrimp boat on the coast. She now works at RTI International. Her background in community organizing, project management, and community-based participatory research doves well with the Arts Center’s mission. Carol helps teach Zydeco and Cajun dance lessons at the Festival; be sure to ask her for a dance at the next Shakori Hills event!
Lissa Farrell, Board Secretary, helped start the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival and is happy to have been introduced to Chatham County, North Carolina and all it holds. She works for the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival in Trumansburg, NY, as the organization’s business manager, and oversees these operations for the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, as well. She continues to care deeply about Shakori Hills and it’s future and is excited to help make it a permanent community arts center. “At Shakori Hills my love of music, dance, people and the earth are all rolled into one.”
Moriah Swick was raised just a few miles from the Shakori Hills Farm and has dedicated her life to helping others and her art career. She has continued her passion of community development with a PhD in Sociology and participates in many volunteer activities throughout the Chatham, Durham, and Chapel Hill Communities. Moriah brings to the table her creativity with event and wedding planning as well as experience in program development with children. She has been a part of Shakori Hills from the beginning and looks forward to being a part of it’s future.
Pierre Lauffer has over 20 years experience working in environmental affairs. Pierre has long worked to keep Shakori Hills as a farmstead with many natural areas. Pierre’s family has literally grown up out around the music festival–attending every festival since the beginning- and continues to work to ensure that Shakori Hills remains alive and vibrant as a community-owned enterprise.
Jordan Puryear is a co-founder of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance as well as the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY which is now twenty-six years old! He is the talented Old-time guitarist of the Bubba George String Band. Jordan went to his first ever music festival in Union Grove North Carolina in 1969, “that experience changed my life in more ways than I imagined anything could!”
Andrew Branan first brought his children to Shakori Hills six years ago, and it has become a favorite place for his family. He lives in Hillsborough and runs a law practice that serves farmers and rural landowners across Virginia and North Carolina, including Chatham County. He takes particular interest in sustainable food systems and has taught farm law as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Program a CCCC in Pittsboro. Before opening his law practice, he worked for several agricultural non-profits and continues to help establish and counsel non-profit organizations serving varied communities.
Jim Graves: bio coming soon!
Shakori Hills Community Arts Center & GrassRoots Festival Staff
Julie My Amani, Director of Operations: Her love of the GrassRoots Festival prompted her to move to Chatham County in 2005 where she began homesteading land near Shakori Hills. She received an AS in business management from the University of Kentucky and has over 25 years of experience in varied fields from marketing to artistry. She takes care of financial business, organizes many aspects of the festival, including children’s and educational activities, is coordinator of the Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention and manages the Community Art Center’s daily affairs. In her new role as Director of Operations, she looks forward to growing Shakori Hills into a year-round facility which serves its local community through outreach and cultural events.
Sara Waters, Festival Co-Coordinator, started working for the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in 2007, doing public relations part-time, and worked her way into being co-coordinator. Her history with writing as well as her past jobs in the record label and music mangement business made fitting into the festival world an easy switch. Her favorite pastimes include writing and sitting in a field listening to music so, needless to say, she’s been honored with her dream job!
Scott Rogers, Director: info coming soon!
Cheyenne Hunter, Festival Assistant: “Charlie” grew up right down the road in Sanford, NC. After hearing friends talk about Shakori Hills when she was in college at ECU, where she received a BS in Communications, she decided to attend the festival. After that she was hooked. She loves traveling and meeting new people and GrassRoots provides the ability to explore both of those passions.
Strengths and core competence
The community has embraced Shakori Hills as a vibrant gathering place. Events at Shakori Hills range from girl-scout camp-outs, music workshops and speaker series, fundraisers for a local charter school, a camping space for college students attending an energy summit at UNC Chapel Hill, to more extensive, annual festivals and events such as Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention, Piedmont Earthskills Gathering, and, of course, GrassRoots.
Events produced by SHCAC are almost entirely run by volunteers. Volunteerism creates a unique opportunity for everyone to work together and to participate in hands-on activities, learn new skills and meet new people. This involvement and participation of many folks has made Shakori Hills a valuable resource for building community.
Marketing & Promotion
Shakori Hills Community Arts Center continues to receive good media coverage from local and state newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and radio. Events sponsored by SCHAC are advertised in the media vehicles that are determined to reach the intended audiences. SHCAC has attracted the attention of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Affairs, North Carolina Arts Council, and other arts and culture organizations across the Southeast. Word of mouth and friend-to-friend networking will always be an effective strategy, as we build our data base of supporters and event attendees. We regularly communicate with our contact list via email, standard mail, social networks and our website. These strategic methods are effective and efficient.
Facility and location
Over the last ten years we have built much of the infrastructure needed to support and sustain a community arts center. There is a permanent stage, a well-kept barn (known as the Coffee Barn), campgrounds, the Nonagon, ticket booth, security booth, parking gate booth, three concession stands, nice gravel roads, a new shower house, a general store, deep-well drinking-water, and a whole lot of beauty. Currently underway are plans for permanent, plumbed bathrooms as well as the conversion of our festival kitchen space into a meeting, yoga and dance building. On-site and adjacent parking will accommodate approximately 2,000 passenger vehicles. Campsites will accommodate approximately 500 campsites and vehicle parking spaces.
SHCAC is located at 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road in Chatham County, North Carolina in the fire district of Silk Hope–14 miles northeast of Siler City and 18 miles west of Chapel Hill. Shakori Hills is a beautiful farm of rolling hills and meadows in the very heart of North Carolina. This region is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, which brings artists, presenters of events and festivals and their participants from the mountains, the coast, and other areas of the United States. SHCAC is located near major highways and well-mapped state roads.
Financial reports through 2014 available upon request. 2015 financial information available after April 30, 2016.