Two professionals with extensive experience in music, arts education, marketing and fundraising have been selected by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (BRNHA) to guide the development of the Blue Ridge Music Trails project, a joint initiative of the BRNHA and the NC Arts Council.
Dale Bartlett, who has served as General Manager, Development Director, Marketing Director and in theater production for the Flat Rock Playhouse since 1990, brings years of expertise in organization, planning, tourism marketing and fund development to the Blue Ridge Music Trails Coordinator position.
Bartlett has served as Chair of the Henderson County Travel and Tourism Committee and also on its Budget and Personnel committees. He served on the board of directors of Arts NC, and as both president and treasurer of Blue Ridge Mountain Host a ten county tourism marketing organization. He was on the Henderson County Heritage Council, an initiative started by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership that convened volunteers who created county heritage plans that served as the blueprint for the BRNHA’s federal management plan.
“Dale has all of the core attributes ands skills we needed to help us take the Blue Ridge Music Trails to the next level,” said Angie Chandler, Executive Director of the BRNHA Partnership. “He has many regional and statewide connections that will help support the Blue Ridge Music Trails program.”
To support Bartlett in this project, the BRNHA Partnership has also contracted with well-known musician Laura Boosinger, who will serve as a consultant on the project and as a liaison with the music community in Western North Carolina. Presently the Executive Director of the Madison County Arts Council, Laura is deeply connected to the music and the musicians in the region as both a performing artist, arts educator and event planner.
“We feel that the combination of skills, connections, and experience of these two professionals will serve to bring this project to fruition in the coming months and bolster the rich music heritage of our NC mountains and foothills,” Chandler continued.
“We wish to thank everyone who applied for this position,” she said. “There were many fine and qualified applicants, and it was a hard decision. We hope that everyone who was interested will continue to support and be a part of this important initiative for our region.”
Background of Blue Ridge Music Trails Initiative
In 2010 the N.C. Arts Council received funding support from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to update the Blue Ridge Music Trails Guidebook which was originally produced in 2003, in addition to producing a regional map to the music venues.
Working with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and community leaders, it was determined that this was an opportunity to focus on Western North Carolina’s music traditions to not only strengthen awareness about the music of the region but to enable mountain communities to utilize music traditions for economic development.
“Authentic experiences are important factors in travel decisions and expectations,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council. “Cultural visitors want to participate in North Carolina’s arts traditions and, in turn, they support the artists and communities that sustain those traditions. Our partnership with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area to promote Western North Carolina’s music heritage will provide content that is not currently accessible to many visitors by focusing on the places and the musicians that have played a role in making the region a cultural treasure.”
The springboard for the project will be the upcoming release of the second edition, a revised version of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina guidebook, which will be available in late April. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership will jointly develop a website and take on responsibility for other marketing materials and organizing events that will bring the music heritage of Western North Carolina to the forefront, support area musicians and venues, and strengthen the economic impact of music in this region.
NOTE: The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, designated by Congress and the President in November, 2003, works to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to stimulate improved economic opportunity in the region. National Heritage Areas are locally-governed institutions that encourage residents, non-profit groups, government agencies, and private partners to work together in planning and implementing programs that preserve and celebrate America’s defining landscapes.