Wayne Martin has worked at the North Carolina Arts Council since 1981 and became director in 2012. Over the years, his focus has been in the areas of community arts development, folklife and cultural and heritage tourism. He was a key staff member in the planning and implementation of the Arts Council’s SmART Initiative that spurs arts-driven economic development across the state, and worked the last three years in developing a new arts council in Wilmington.
Martin played a critical role in creating the Blue Ridge Music and Cherokee Heritage trails projects as part of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative. This interstate collaboration set the stage for the Congressional designation of western North Carolina as the Blue Ridge Heritage Area. In 2004, he received the first Preserve America Presidential Award on behalf of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative. Martin spearheaded the creation of the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and the History Happy Valley trail program and oversaw led a revision of the Blue Ridge Music Trails that cover 28 western counties. Martin holds a B.A. in history from UNC-Chapel Hill and has also studied at Duke University. He is the founder of the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music and is an accomplished musician, who has recorded and produced several alubms.