Green mountain range in the Appalachian Mountains.
Mingo County, West Virginia. Photographer: Roger May.

About the Project
The Central Appalachian Folk and Traditional Arts (CAFTA) Survey and Planning Project is a project of MAAF in cooperation with the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN).

A comprehensive 15-month cultural study of the central Appalachian regions of Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia began in March 2019. The results of this study will inform the development of a multi-state grant making program designed to increase the understanding, recognition and practice of the living traditions present in Central Appalachia.

MAAF has engaged the team at LiKEN, under the direction of folklorist Mary Hufford, to lead the extensive field-work and analysis required for this project.

Click here to sign up for more information!

Next Steps
The CAFTA Project seeks to inform the development of an Central Appalachian Program designed to promote the understanding, recognition, and practice of the diverse folk and traditional art practices present in Central Appalachia.  MAAF is re-investing and re-affirming its work in the folk and traditional arts and the resulting Central Appalachia Program will be one of the cornerstones of this undertaking. MAAF is currently working to secure additional support for the implementation phase of the Central Appalachia Program and looks forward to the results of the field survey to assist in both proposal and program design.

Questions regarding the CAFTA Project should be directed to Jess Porter at

About LiKEN

The Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN) is a link-tank for community-based research to build economic futures based on local assets, values, and visions ( Founded in 1990, we provide training and digital platforms for communities to document, understand, and act on root causes of economic and cultural well-being. We provide training and resources to document local assets, frame issues and solutions, identify stakeholders, analyze root causes, and develop work plans. We help to build cross-sectoral partnerships between communities and their supportive web of scholars, practitioners, artists, and government agencies. We provide platforms for collaborative, multi-stakeholder data gathering, aggregation, and analysis that integrate digital and face-to-face participation and problem solving.

CAFTA Project Target Area
CAFTA Project Target Area

This planning project and the resulting program proposal will target the Appalachian regions of Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The specific counties that fall within the ARC’s designation are included below:

Ohio: Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington

West Virginia: All counties: Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, and Wyoming

Virginia: Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Highland, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe. The following independent cities in Virginia are also within the Appalachian Region: Bristol, Buena Vista, Covington, Galax, Lexington, Martinsville, Norton, and Radford.

CAFTA Project Field Team

To deeply cover the wide geographic area, LiKEN has assembled a dynamic team of folklorists, community scholars, and traditional arts practitioners already actively engaged in the target counties.

Dr. Mary Hufford
Central and Eastern WV
Home Base: Philadelphia, PA & Franklin, WV

Jess Lamar Reece Holler
Eastern OH
Affiliation(s): Caledonia Northern Folk Studios
Home Base: Columbus & Caledonia, OH

Sophia Enriquez
OH River Valley
Affiliation(s): Ohio State University — Musicology; Center for Folklore Studies
Home Base: Columbus, OH

Nicole Musgrave
Southeastern OH + Southwest VA
Affiliation(s): Hindman Settlement School; Appalachian Artisan Center; Kentucky Folklife Program
Home Base: Whitesburg, KY

Lucy Long
Southwestern OH, North Central WV
Affiliation(s): Director – Center for Food and Culture | Bowling Green
Home Base: Bowling Green, OH

Bethani Turley
Northern WV
Affiliation(s): Dept. of Geography | West Virginia University, Hydrofeminist Lab
Home Base: Morgantown, WV (Hometown: Charleston, WV)

Crystal Good
Western WV
Affiliation(s): MIXXED Media, Crystal Good Solutions
Home Base: Charleston, WV

Jordan Lovejoy and Michael Gallimore
Southwestern WV
Affiliation(s): English, Center for Folklore Studies | Ohio State University
Home Base: Pineville, WV and Columbus, OH

Dr. Katie Hoffman
Southern Appalachian VA
Affiliation(s): Appalworks
Home Base: Johnson City, TN, Southwest VA

To contact LiKEN of any of the Field Team members please reach out to Mary Hufford, Associate Director at or 610-717-2002.

CAFTA Project Advisory Group

Advisors gather at the first CAFTA Planning Summit on April 27th, 2019 in Bland, Virginia. Credit: Jess Porter.

In order to recognize and access the expertise and wisdom of the many professionals that have already contributed significantly to the understanding of cultural heritage and living traditions of Central Appalachia, MAAF has assembled the CAFTA Project Advisory Group. Comprised of 15 professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, the Advisory Group is committed to providing feedback and guidance to MAAF and the LiKEN team throughout the duration of the project and directly to the final project report and program proposal. A full listing of members is included below.

Cristina Benedetti
Folk and Traditional Arts Contractor | Ohio Arts Council
Home Base: Columbus, OH

Andrew “Drew” Carter
Co-founder / Ownee | Watch Me Grow Ohio / Diverse Culture Media
Home Base: Portsmouth, OH

Danille Elise Christensen
Assistant Professor | Virginia Tech
Home Base: Blacksburg, VA

Robert Colby
Program Officer | Ohio Humanities
Home Base: Columbus, OH

Doris Fields “Lady D”
Consultant, Organizer, Vocalist | Jazz & Blues In the Ville
Home Base: Beckley, WV

Elena Foulis
Faculty Member | The Ohio State University
Home Base: Powell, OH

Rosemary Hathaway
Associate Professor | West Virginia University
Home Base: Morgantown, WV

Ellesa Clay High
Emerita Associate Professor of English | West Virginia University
Home Base: Bruceton Mills, WV

Emily Hilliard
WV State Folklorist | West Virginia Humanities Council/West Virginia Folklife Program
Home Base: Charleston, WV

Steven D. Kruger
Folklorist/ Agroforestry | Virgina Tech
Home Base: Giles County, VA

Luke Eric Lassiter
Director & Professor of Humanities and Anthropology | Graduate Humanities Program, Marshall University
Home Base: Boone, NC

Jon Lohman
Director, Virginia Folklife Program | Virginia Humanities
Home Base: Charlottesville, VA

Cassie Patterson
University/Community Liason – Center for Folklore Studies, Co-creator of the Ohio Field Schools initiative| Ohio State University
Home Base: Columbus, OH

Travis Stimeling
Associate Professor of Musicology | West Virginia University
Home Base: Morgantown, WV