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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 danpayne@pa.gov 






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 heritageThis 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 32 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 in her studio at Walk In Art Center.jpg
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.jpg
Christine Luschas demonstrates her craft of designing European etched eggs.

Folk and Traditional Arts Partner Organizations

 
BOTTLEWORKS I ARTS ON 3RD AVENUE
Serves: Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Bedford
Website: bottleworks.org
Phone: (814) 536-5399
 
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS RC&D
Serves: Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union
Phone: 717-248-4901
 
ERIE ARTS & CULTURE
Serves: Crawford, Erie, Warren
Phone: (814) 452-3427 

PHILADELPHIA FOLKLORE PROJECT
Serves: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
Phone: (215) 726-1106
 
RIVERS OF STEEL
Serves: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington, Westmoreland
Phone: (412) 464-4020

WALK IN ART CENTER
Serves: Carbon, Berks, Schuylkill
Phone: (570) 732-3728


Eric Claypoole with his hex symbols at the 70th annual Kutztown Folk Festival.jpg 
Eric Claypoole with his hex symbols at the 70th annual Kutztown Folk Festival.
 


2) Apprenticeships

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.

Download the 2020-2021 Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Guidelines and Application (PDF)

ATA - Master Artist Mensura Berberovic - Bosnian Ballads.jpg
In this photo: master artist Mensura Berberovic works to teach Bosnian ballads.

ATA - Master Artist Diana Meng - Chinese Watercolor.jpg
In this photo: Dina Meng, a master artist of Chinese watercolor and calligraphy.

 


3) Arts Organizations and Arts Programs (AOAP)

The AOAP track supports eligible PA Folk and Traditional Arts organizations that provide programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania.