Clay County Historical and Arts Council

Our web site is being rebuilt and not all information has been transferred to this new site yet.

In the interim, you can access the old site here.


The Clay County Historical and Arts Council was established and incorporated in 1974. Its main purpose is to support arts education and activities in the schools and community. We also pay particular attention to the history of the local area and to our cultural heritage.

Throughout the year, CCHAC provides for special programs in the schools and community that showcase both the arts and the history of our area. We are able to do this through Grassroots Grants from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowments of the Arts. Many of these require matching funds, raised by us. Our major fundraisers are the Membership Drive, the Festival on the Square and the Silent Arts and Crafts Auction held during the Cherokee Festival in September. Along with these, other activities will take place. Please check our Facebook page  and our website ( ) for updates.

The Old Jail Museum, operated and supported by CCHAC, provides a cultural center for visitors and residents to enjoy Clay County’s heritage. The museum is open on weekends during May with the grand opening coming the Saturday before Memorial Day each year. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 4, Memorial Day through Labor Day. It is also open on Friday and Saturday during September and October. A new exhibit on African-American history in Clay County was installed in the spring of 2017.

Local/Regional Grassroots Grants are available to help local artists in obtaining materials, equipment, training, or opportunity to develop their art/craft.

During the year, CCHAC provides programs for the schools that students would not otherwise be able to experience. Some of these programs for 2016-2017 included the following:

  • 4th and 6th grade study of Cherokee Culture. Members of the Cherokee Nation who are educators presented a program to the students. Thorough advance preparation from their teachers made this program outstanding.
  • Peacock After School Program. This was designed to introduce students to dance, magic, mask making and stage presence/improvisation. Twenty students participated and a final presentation for parents and friends included snapshots of their new skills. Photos can be seen on the CCHAC website.
  • Art in the School with Rob Withrow. Mr. Withrow introduced students in art classes to working with clay, including throwing on a wheel and hand building. His skill and success in building a pottery business inspired students to career possibilities.
  • Poetry/Song Lyrics Contest, sponsored by CCHAC in collaboration with the North Carolina Writers Network West, for students and adults in the community.
  • John Brown Jazz Orchestra. John Brown, Duke University music professor, performed and presented an educational program on jazz for students in Clay and Cherokee schools on two different days in May and an open rehearsal to which the community was invited.
  • Not Just for Students: We sponsor a Concert on the Square each summer and a Song Writers Concert at the Peacock Performing Arts Center each year.

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