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Millennial Artists Are Keeping North Carolina’s Cultural Traditions Alive

North Carolina’s strong cultural traditions in music, crafts, dance and food have been evolving for generations. Millennials are now taking the helm and putting their own spin on various folk and traditional art forms.

A new series of portraits collected for the Millennial Traditional Artist Project captures the aesthetic and personality of various artists, including Le’Andra McPhatter and Jessica Lang. McPhatter is a jazz and gospel pianist and the owner and director of Le’Andra’s Music Studio. Lang is a singer/songwriter and performing artist in Raleigh who borrows from folk, gospel and bluegrass traditions in her guitar-playing.

Host Frank Stasio talks to these two young artists about their experiences working in traditional art forms. Stasio also talks to Sally Peterson, director of the Folklife Program at the North Carolina Arts Council, about the project and about the portraits on display at the Rubenstein Arts Center in Durham. The exhibition “New Faces of Tradition: Documenting North Carolina’s Young Artists” runs through Sunday, June 30.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.