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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 is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
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.