The John C. Campbell Folk School, which is also known as "The Folk School" is located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina along the Cherokee County and Clay line which was founded in 1925 by progressive educator Olive Dame Campbell with the help of Marguerite Butle in honor of her late husband. The school is a non-profit adult educational institute based on non-competitive education sited on 380-acres of farmland and one of the country's most noteworthy centers for customary arts and crafts. The school was established to cultivate and protect the folk arts of the Appalachian Mountains; the Folk School's motto is “I sing behind the plow”. It offers week and weekend classes for adults in traditional and contemporary craft and art, gardening, cooking, music, dance, photography, and writing. Classes are scheduled throughout the year, and are listed on the school’s website.
Keith House which happens to be the school’s main building boasts one of the best dance floors in the country and concerts are held once a week on Friday evenings, and twice a month on Saturday evening dances are open to all and sundry.
The campus comprises of a saw mill, craft studios, nature trails, meeting rooms, a covered outdoor dance pavilion, vegetable gardens, a craft shop, and rustic lodgings. Guests are welcome to tour the campus on their own, which includes the nature trails, studios, and History Center. Free entrance to the school’s Craft Shop, showcasing carvings from the celebrated Brasstown Carvers and an extensive assortment of craftwork of more than 300 craftspeople from all around presenting their talents and advertising their work for sale.
The property also has a range of easy nature trails, together with the Rivercane Walk, a quarter-mile stream side round path with sculptures from area artists reverencing the local Cherokee tradition.
Touted by the National Geographic as one of the “100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life”, guests are welcome to benefit from the free Friday night performance series, featuring old-time, folk music and bluegrass or stay for a Saturday night dance with live music.
Every year an Annual Fall Festival is hosted on the first weekend in October and is still one the most sought after events in the state. The event boasts some of the most striking arts and crafts from so many gifted artisans on show with tons of enameling, woodcarving, blacksmithing, and other Appalachian crafts on exhibition all through the carnival.
Visitors to this grand event can lodge in the neighboring towns of Brasstown, Blue Ridge, Blairsville, and Hiwassee, which has lots of cabins, apartments and condos for rent or outright purchase and also get the opportunity to visit other places of interests like the Brasstown Bald- highest point in Georgia, Merciers Orchard, the Scenic Blue Ridge Railroad, Lake Chatuge and a host of other places.
Today, nearly 90 years after its establishment, 21st century visitors are still impressed by the art and craft on display at the John C. Campbell Folk School and it’s a visit you might want to add to your calendar as there is always something for everyone at the festival.