The Cherokee Artists Project

The Cherokee Artists Project grew out of a collaboration between the Asheville Art Museum and Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. to honor and celebrate the work of the artistry of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. These impressive artists blend history, culture and creativity to make their work. The Cherokee Artists Project aims to be a robust and educational resource for those who seek to better understand and appreciate Cherokee artistry.


Preserving a treasure

Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual and the Asheville Art Museum have a shared goal of preserving and enhancing the native culture and arts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the nation’s oldest and foremost Native American cooperative. When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1940, it brought the outside world to Cherokee as never before. Visionary Cherokee craftspeople and leaders had the foresight to preserve and promote Cherokee crafts in order to strengthen tribal values and proved livelihoods while offering unique beauty to the wider world.

Since 1946, Qualla has realized this vision. You can see it in the Cherokee artwork featured on this site, including basketry, pottery, weaving, carving, sculpture and other works of art. These pieces look and feel different than small and big-box merchandise. Every craftwork is handmade by nameable, knowledgeable artists who blend timeless traditions with individual expression. No two things are alike, yet all form a harmonious whole.

Cherokee art is one of three collecting priorities of the Asheville Art Museum. The Museum’s Permanent Collection currently includes 24 works by Cherokee artists. Over the last ten years the Museum has presented four exhibitions featuring the work of Cherokee artists, all of which included programming designed to educate Museum visitors on the history and culture of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.


Meet Our Partners

asheville-art-museumThe Asheville Art Museum was established by artists in 1948 and continues to be a fundamental force within the community and beyond for providing life-long opportunities for enrichment and education through visual arts. With innovative programming and an impressive collection of 20th and 21st century American art, the Asheville Art Museum is the only organization of its kind that maintains educational and cultural programs benefiting residents and visitors of Western North Carolina.


qualla_sealQualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, was founded in 1946 and is the oldest Native American Co-op. Showcasing traditional arts and crafts of the Eastern Cherokee people, Qualla Arts and Crafts strives to promote and preserve the traditional works of over 250 members.



logoThe Cherokee Preservation Foundation works to preserve the native Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians culture, protect the environment, and create diverse economic opportunities in an effort to improve the quality of live for Cherokee Indians and all of Western North Carolina.



blue ridge logoThe Blue Ridge Natural Heritage Area Partnership strives to preserve, protect, study, and develop the beautiful and unique natural and cultural resources of Western North Carolina to benefit current and future generations. Designated by Congress and the President in 2003, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area encompasses the culture, character, and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills.