About Western Carolina University
Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains, Western Carolina University has a commitment to the rich traditions of the Appalachian and Cherokee cultures. Its Mountain Heritage CenterCherokee Center, and Craft Revival Project reflect this influence — at the same time providing irreplaceable educational resources for the region.

Cullowhee Mountain ARTS 

Cullowhee Mountain ARTS hosts the annual Summer ARTS Series of artist and writer workshops on the beautiful campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, held in the Bardo Arts Center. A jewel in the crown of WCU is the $30M Arts Center, opened to academic use in January 2007. Of the complex's approximately 76,000 square feet, close to 46,000 square feet is utilized for visual art programs including the Fine Art Museum where visitors can enjoy exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and its adjacent galleries. The unique architecture of the Fine and Performing Art Center is a work of art in itself. Designed the award winning Gund Partnershipthe space is thoughtfully designed to highlight the landscape and culture of Western North Carolina." The high ceilinged, light-filled studios are fully equipped, state-of-the-art spaces unmatched anywhere in the region. On-campus workshop participants will be able to enjoy WCU summer concerts, the library, the pool and recreation center and other campus amenities.The workshop days include daily "lunch and learns" with healthy catered lunch buffets and with a different artist-instructor presentation each day. The workshop schedule includes gatherings, a visit to the Fine Art Museum and its four galleries, gatherings, and a studio stroll. Students are always surprised at the gorgeous mountain setting and beauty of the Western Carolina University campus. more...

About the Mountains


Cullowhee is a Cherokee word that means “the valley of the white lily.” Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Plott Balsams, it is the home of Cullowhee Mountain ARTS as well as Western Carolina University which features a 6.7-mile hiking trail system open to the public. Cullowhee is adjacent to the town of Sylva featuring charming local color, cafés using local grown organic food, evening live music, shopping, local crafts, and a must-see library complex

The Region

Nearby is the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with impressive vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Only a short distance away is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Parkthe most visited National Park in the US. The mountain region is famous for its hiking, camping, river rafting, kayaking, fishing, wildflower gazing, black bear & elk spotting, and world-class golf courses.  It is rich in Appalachian history, crafts, bluegrass music, mountain vistas, and cascading waterfalls.  For more information on the waterfalls closer to the campus of Western Carolina, click here for downloadable PDF. For an interactive online map on all nearby waterfalls, click here.

Cullowhee is approximately 45 miles west of Ashevillea thriving arts community with downtown galleries, the Asheville Art Museum and the River Arts District where artists’ working studios mingled with galleries and cafés are housed in the abandoned warehouse district of Asheville. Nearby, in Black Mountain is the site of the famous Black Mountain College whose memory is kept alive at the Black Mountain College Museum in downtown Asheville.

You can also visit for more information on local dining and attractions.

Fly Fishing

Jackson County features some of the best trout waters anywhere and is home to the nation’s only fly fishing trail - the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail.

The Trail maps out 15 prime spots to catch brown, rainbow, and brook trout in the crystal-clear streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors had long recognized Jackson County as a premier destination for fly fishing.

Visit this Fly Fishing Website to see the many trails in the region.