Rebecca WilliamsFolkways Reporter
Rebecca Williams, of Swannanoa, North Carolina is a writer, director, educator and digital media storyteller who has facilitated community-based arts and cultural development projects for the past twenty five years in Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma and North Carolina. Along with her husband, Jerald Pope, she cofounded Serpent Child Productions, a non-profit dedicated to the collaborative creation of multidisciplinary art that draws on the history and stories of community participants. She is a graduate of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.
Valdese is a small town in North Carolina's Piedmont, and it shares a surprising amount of culture with the other Piedmont — the one in Italy. A few dozen Italian immigrants settled in Valdese back in the 1890s. They were "Waldensians" a group that had been persecuted for their religious beliefs in Europe. In North Carolina, they made wine at home and eventually set up a winery.