Birchwood Center for Arts and Folklife was founded in the year 2000 by four writers and educators nearing retirement age.
Birchwood, Inc., a non-profit organization established in 2001, funds Birchwood Center for Arts and Folklife, whose mission is to preserve and promote the arts, folklife, history and conservation of the Blue Ridge region by providing classes, workshops and retreats. Birchwood instructs in matters of practical and artistic value, so that others my become proficient in these areas and perpetuate them for future generations.
In 2001 they purchased the Sutherland-Masters house, near the foot of Table Rock Mountain in northern Pickens County to be used as a retreat for themselves and other writers and artists.
The house, which was built soon after Amos Ladd Sutherland and his wife, Mary Keith, acquired the land in 1813, had been lived in principally by them and their heirs, and later by at least three generations of the Masters family. In its earliest years it was the area's first resort hostelry, succeeded by the Sutherlands’ hotel on Table Rock Mountain in 1843. The house had fallen on hard times when Birchwood founders set out to make it live again, for the benefit of the community and the region.
In 2005 a fourteen member advisory board was established to assist in further developing the center's goals and programs. This board meets monthly to discuss and plan the Center's future.
Birchwood is a state and US Internal Revenue Service approved 501(3)c non-profit organization; all donations are tax deductible. Current fundraising is aimed at restoration of the house to the point that it can be used for art and craft studios, teaching and workshops.