Folk and Traditional Arts
Folk and Traditional Arts are defined as those artistic traditions characteristic of specific ethnic, religious, linguistic, occupational, or regional groups. These arts are shaped and shared within families, neighborhoods, and communities. They are passed down from one generation to another and learned through ongoing participation in community-based activities, and through observation, practice or apprenticeships with elders and masters rather than through classes, books or other means of institutional instruction.
Folk and Traditional Arts Program Director: Dana Payne, 717-525-5544 or
Learn more about the PCA's 2022-2023 open application for Folk and Traditional Arts partners.
Learn about the PCA's open call for panelists for the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeships review process (PDF)
The PCA has established three ways to provide resources and services to the Folk and Traditional Arts field in Pennsylvania:
1) Folk and Traditional Arts Partnership
The goals of the Folk and Traditional Arts Partnership are to investigate, document, present, sustain, and promote the folk and traditional art of Pennsylvania in order to celebrate our diverse heritage. This system of local and regional organizations forms a mutually supportive network and specializes in, or includes, a focus on folk and traditional arts. Current Partnership organizations collectively serve 40 counties by promoting the creation and documentation of folk art; engaging the public in understanding the quality, breadth, and diversity of folk and traditional arts across the state; conducting critical discovery fieldwork in under-represented communities; and providing technical assistance for folk and traditional artists through workshops and gatherings.
Lorraine Felker, a fiber artist, pictured here in her studio at the Walk In Art Center. Felker completed an apprenticeship with master weaver Patti Delman to learn willow basketry, a traditional folk art of the region.
Christine Luschas demonstrates her craft of designing European etched eggs.
Folk and Traditional Arts Partner Organizations
Eric Claypoole with his hex symbols at the 70th annual Kutztown Folk Festival.
Apprenticeships in Folk and Traditional Arts are grants from the PCA which support the learning of traditional arts within cultural communities across the state. Each grant award provides funding to a partnership between a master traditional artist and a qualified apprentice, enabling them to work together to share and develop advanced techniques or repertoire.
Apprenticeships in Traditional Arts grants are offered annually in
both performing or craft traditions. Artists who receive the award are also profiled on the statewide
Folk Art Infrastructure website.
Folk and Traditional Arts Regional Partner Organizations: A Folk Arts Partner in your region can provide assistance with completing your grant application and preparing your work samples. The Partner nearest to you can be identified here (PDF).
In this photo: master artist Mensura Berberovic works to teach Bosnian ballads.
In this photo: Dina Meng, a master artist of Chinese watercolor and calligraphy.
3) Arts Organizations and Arts Programs (AOAP)
AOAP track supports eligible PA Folk and Traditional Arts organizations that provide programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania.