Watch The Lilies Project Blossom!


Walnut Cove, NC is the site of a National Creative Placemaking Fund Project, The Lilies Project, which is sponsored by ArtPlace America. Together we can come up with creative solutions to address coal ash, 20 million tons of which sits in the Belews Creek community. 

Funding period is from January 1st, 2018 - June 30th, 2020

Check Out What We've Accomplished So Far

What to Expect


the technology

Demonstrate the technology of the NC State A&T University Coal Ash Encapsulation Process in order to promote the building of a pilot plant at Belews Creek with the goal of eliminating the burial of new production coal ash 


the art

Create public art made out of coal ash installed in Walnut Cove with accompanying art throughout Southeastern Stokes County
Quarterly Community Building Workshops featuring Oral History, Visual Arts, Spirituals, Public Health, Environmental Justice, Renewable Energy


the people

Support impacted residents and the broader community through sharing about the health impacts of coal ash, what it's like living on bottled water, and to share their on stories in their own words.


from anywhere

Donate today 
to give Snug Play
to the Walnut Cove Library
and the children
of Stokes County!

Take Action
in support of #coalashneighbors
living on bottled water
for #1000days

An introduction to The Lilies Project, a grant to create art out of coal ash and do accompanying programming in Walnut Cove, North Carolina. Stokes County is also the home of Belews Creek Power Station. Over 20 million tons of coal ash are stored at Duke Energy's facility in the community. The Lilies Project is a National Creative Peacemaking Fund grant, which is funded by ArtPlace America.

Lead Organizations

Stokes County Arts Council | Stokes County Historical Society | Appalachian Voices | NC A&T State University

Project Leader

Caroline Rutledge Armijo

The Original Press Release

Caroline Rutledge Armijo Receives Funding From ArtPlace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund

$8.7 million in funding invested in 23 projects

(December 5, 2017) Today, ArtPlace America announced that Caroline Rutledge Armijo has been chosen from nearly a thousand applications to receive funding through its 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund. 

ArtPlace received 987 applications in 2017, from which 70 finalists were selected and The Lilies Project is one of only 23 projects that will receive funding this year.  ArtPlace has a deep commitment to investing in rural America, with almost 52% of this year’s funded projects working in rural communities.

ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, which invests money in community development projects where artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity work to strengthen communities across 10 sectors of community planning and development.

Armijo’s The Lilies Project proposed using public art and public programming to address coal ash impacting her home community. Walnut Cove, NC is adjacent to Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Power Station, which houses 20 million tons of coal ash. Armijo, mixed-media artist will partner with scientists from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to create a series of sculptures that repurpose this hazardous waste material safely and that will become the centerpiece of a new public park. This project will also serve as a local pilot for environmental policy that can provide safer alternative for how coal ash is managed in the region. 

“This year’s investments highlight critical dimensions of creative placemaking strategy that can provide great inspiration to communities across the country.” said F. Javier Torres, Director of National Grantmaking at ArtPlace. “We are deeply excited to announce these 23 new investments as our seventh cohort of funded projects through the National Creative Placemaking Fund.”

 “Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of art and culture into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These projects embody what this looks like at its most effective,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and Chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council. “We were overwhelmed by the extraordinary commitment demonstrated in these projects - contributing to the growing understanding of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.”

Meet all of the 2017 funded projects here.

Learn more from ArtPlace : Caroline Armijo | ArtPlace

About Caroline Rutledge Armijo

Caroline Rutledge Armijo is a Stokes County mixed-media artist, environmental advocate and mother who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her work expresses her concern for environmental justice issues threatening her home community, including coal ash and fracking. She works with Residents for Coal Ash Cleanup based at Belews Creek, NC and Alliance of Carolinians Together (ACT) against Coal Ash. Caroline is the ninth generation of her family to live in Stokes County, NC. She primarily works in book arts, collage and paper sculpture.

About ArtPlace America

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partner foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. 

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic.

Media contact:  
Caroline Armijo