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Cherokee Exhibit Grant Announcement

Bardo Arts Center star atrium with individuals looking at the Cherokee Syllabary on the walls with no translation


The WCU Bardo Arts Center is honored to announce an $88,050 grant award from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

The grant supports a permanent interpretive exhibit, an over $145,000 project, that promotes the sharing and teaching of Cherokee language and culture through programming developed in collaboration with members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) community. 

Bardo Arts Center (BAC) opened its doors in 2005 with Cherokee-inspired designs and bilingual signage in English and Cherokee syllabary originally translated by Myrtle Driver, Beloved Woman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Currently, there is no permanent interpretative signage or professional display in BAC to explain the Cherokee language, influence, translations, and designs in the building. This project fills a critical need to present information about Cherokee culture from an EBCI perspective to audiences at BAC, while meeting the Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s goal of Cultural Preservation by specifically addressing the key strategy area of Learning and Preserving Cherokee Culture.

Cherokee Syllabary on the wall at Bardo Arts Center


“This exhibit will tell a story that is authentic, vibrant, informed, and influenced through many years of research, collaboration, and partnership with members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and scholars within the community.” - BAC Executive Director, Denise Drury Homewood

Exhibit Process and Design

Previously, Bardo Arts Center worked with project partners during a multi-year planning phase funded by in part by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to develop the conceptual plan for the exhibit. This recent funding enables the production and installation of the exhibit, featuring permanent wall text and artist installations, along with a video and sound component where visitors can see and hear the Cherokee language spoken. The project began in May 2021 and will culminate in the spring of 2022. Additional support for the project comes from Western Carolina University’s Cherokee Studies Program, the WCU Cherokee Center, and Bardo Arts Center.

Project Partners and Collaborators 

The exhibit will be rich in authentic content because of the time and efforts of stakeholder organizations like Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Kituwah Preservation and Education Program, New Kituwah Academy, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, WCU Cherokee Studies, WCU Cherokee Center, WCU Mountain Heritage Center, and individuals, Marie Junaluska, Ann Walkingstick, Matthew Tooni, Lucille Lossie, Ramona Lossie, Hartwell Francis, Sky Sampson, Elias Huskey, Lambert Wilson, Sara Snyder, Lynne Harlan, Bo Taylor, Brett Riggs, Sara Snyder, Tom Belt, Pam Meister, Myrtle Driver, WCU students Driver Blythe and Savannah Guthrie, and the staff of the Bardo Arts Center, Carolyn Grosch, Greg McPherson and Jill Jacobs.

Stay tuned for further announcements as the exhibit continues to develop! Follow along on the BAC Facebook and Instagram, and sign-up for the WCU Arts Update Newsletter at

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