Doreyl Ammons Cain, a visual artist and co-founder of the local nonprofit organization Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, has volunteered to paint a 24-foot mural in Pack Square called “Golden Threads” to honor Shindig on the Green’s equally enormous history.
Since the mural project will cost $10,000, local groups Folkmoot USA and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area have joined Catch the Spirit to hold a fundraiser, Passing the Music On, featuring performers who focus on mountain heritage.
Cain and her sister, mountain storyteller Amy Ammons Garza, started Catch the Spirit to preserve Western North Carolina history. “We realized what a precious treasure it is here, and how it should be honored,” Cain says. “That’s our mission of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia — to show the great creativity and traditions that we have here.”
After painting murals for the town of Dillsboro, the Jackson County Public Library and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cain decided to focus her sights on giving Shindig its own permanent corner of Asheville.
The outdoor concert series has been a summer staple in Pack Square since 1967, highlighting the region’s heritage with traditional mountain music, dancing and storytelling. For three months Cain interviewed prominent performers like David Hope and Bryan Sutton to prepare for “Golden Threads,” which she says will be a year-round reminder of Shindig.
“I like making public art where people can see what we have here in the mountains,” Cain says. “I think it’s something that changes the whole community when there’s art that honors the area. I think it’s one of the most important things I can do.”
Cain has attended Shindig for 15 years with her husband, drawing inspiration from acts like the J. Creek Cloggers and fiddlist Carley Arrowood. Now she plans to paint these performers and more in her mural. However, completion relies on how much money can be raised through donations. “It’s a long, hard road on this one,” Cain says.
Folkmoot USA, an annual international arts festival, will lend its Waynesville-based center to the Passing the Music On fundraiser on Sunday, June 14, from 2-5 p.m. The event will feature regular Shindig acts like the J. Creek Cloggers, The Ross Brothers, Carley Arrowood and ballad singer Betty Brown.
Garza will tell a story about growing up in the mountains while Cain will paint a spontaneous 8-by-6 interpretation of the story. A pottery and artwork auction and a cake walk will also take place at the fundraiser.
Tickets for Passing the Music On are $10 for adults and $3 for children under nine, and all proceeds will benefit the project. If you’re unable to make it to the fundraiser, you can donate funds through the North Carolina Arts Council’s crowdfunding initiative as well.