What are folk and traditional arts?
Folk and traditional arts are creative practices shared by specific ethnic, linguistic, occupational, religious, and regional groups. These arts are shaped within families, neighborhoods, and communities and passed down from one generation to the next. They are learned through participation in community-based activities, through observation and practice, or through apprenticeships with elders and masters.
Folk and traditional arts are part of a larger system known as folklife. Folklife is the term used to describe all the customs and practices that a group shares, which have been passed down or have risen up through demonstration, observation and word of mouth. Customs like what to eat, how to celebrate, what stories to tell, or what will heal an ailment. The word ‘folklife’ was coined by a celebrated folklorist from right here in Schuylkill County, Dr. Don Yoder!
What does the Folk Art Alliance do?
Our mission is to document the varied expressions of folk and traditional arts in the region, to enhance the capacity for regional artists to thrive in their creative endeavors, and to foster learning opportunities between artists and the public. Our work supports all sectors of the population, we strive for equitable representation of all folklife communities.
We host public events for all ages throughout the year including exhibits, workshops, presentations, and an annual folk festival on the first Saturday in June, 1-5PM. Many of our events are FREE.
We sponsor educational opportunities for K-12 and post-secondary classrooms, connecting young learners with master artists throughout the region.
We offer professional development services to artists including opportunities to exhibit and sell, teach and present, apply for grants and studio space, and network with other artists and arts advocates.
We are engaged in ongoing research and documentation of folk and traditional arts in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and FolkArt PA. Interested in our recent fieldwork? Click here to read about last season’s interviewed artists and here to access a searchable database of artists in our network.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Write to us at email@example.com
How can I become involved in the Folk Art Alliance?
Are you an artist? Click on the button at the top of the page to sign up for our mailing list or email firstname.lastname@example.org You’ll receive invitations to all of our events including our Semiannual Artist Gatherings. At these gatherings, we share information about available professional development opportunities, hear from artists about their current projects, and set new projects in motion.
Interested in our festival? Click on “Upcoming Events” within the Events tab above to register. Registration is free thanks to our wonderful sponsors and artists keep 100% of profits from sales. The festival coincides with the already popular First Saturday Open House series at the Walk In Art Center and admission is free to the public!
Are you an arts advocate? Join the Community Advisory Committee, which brings together sectors of the regional community to support the Folk Art Alliance in a variety of ways from artist identification, to collaborative projects, marketing, development, and more. The committee meets on a quarterly basis, call (570)732-3728 for more information.