Mark Kemp

Kemp is a senior editor at Our State. He is also the author of Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South (Simon & Schuster, 2004; University of Georgia Press, 2006).


Meet Clarence Claus

The Santa that so many have been waiting for has already wrapped Oprah’s presents and thousands more since an Apex couple created him for a line of holiday paper and stationery. Soon, he will appear under trees across the state.


Iron & Artistry

In a shop outside of Morganton, a modern blacksmith and his wife turn elemental materials — metal and wood — into elegant works that can be found all over town, and beyond.


Fonta Flora’s Legendary Brew

On a curvy road in the shadow of Shortoff Mountain, a farm-to-pint brewery embraces the legend of Fonta Flora and its long-lost agrarian community.


The Heart of Morganton

Merchants and their regulars in this Burke County town have banded together like family, uplifting and reinventing a community rich in nature, compassion, and creativity.


Color Amid the Kudzu

In 1999, a crew of urban artists descended on rural Moore County, painted some 25 tobacco barns and other buildings, and then zipped back up to New York City. Two decades later, folks still drive to Cameron in search of these curious murals.


Through the Looking Glass

A 79-year-old barn in Transylvania County transformed one man and his family, just when they needed it most.