36th Annual Folk Arts Roundtable

36th Annual Folk Arts Roundtable

Our 36th annual Roundtable has officially wrapped! This year we were joined by 35 of our colleagues at the Hotel Syracuse, the Roundtable’s Birthplace. It is poetic that while revisiting the Roundtable’s roots we welcomed a record number of new peers. We are thrilled to have folks representing organizations like Imamou Lele, Big Eyed Enterprises, and JouvayFest in our New York Folklore family.  

Monday morning began with a workshop hosted with Local Learning and led by teaching artists Juan Gutierrez-Rodriguez and Julia Gutierrez-Rivera of Los Pleneros de la 21. Juan and Julia started with an energetic demonstration of the Bomba y Plena and ended with discussions of best practices for artists. Folklorists brainstormed ways to support a network of Folk Arts in Education in New York.  

In the afternoon we dove into our Roundtable tradition, What We’re Doing Presentations. Presentations took place over Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s sessions were followed by a conversation about the state of the field in New York, led by New York Folklore board members; Kay Turner and Maria Kennedy. The Roundtable’s first day came to a close at a delicious group dinner at Eritrea Ethiopian Restaurant 

We were honored to be guests of the Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center, in Liverpool on Tuesday. At the Center, Frieda Jacques a clan mother from the Onondaga nation kept our group at rapt attention with her tour. Frieda’s tour was followed by Tim Frandy’s presentation on working with Indigenous communities. After a second round of What We’re Doing Presentation, roundtablers headed to an impromptu group dinner at Salt City Market – complete with a presentation by market staff about the good work by Allyn Family Foundation and Salt City Market. Thank you to roundtabler, artist, and Syracuse resident Nada Odeh for organizing the dinner.  

As we prepared to part ways on Wednesday, the Roundtable concluded with a discussion of advocacy, and strategy concerning forward movement as a field, as well as statewide initiatives by groups like Local Learning, Long Island Traditions, and of course New York Folklore’s Technical Assistance program and Voices. Remember Rountablers: Spread the word about the services that New York Folklore can provide to traditional and folk practitioners!   

For more information about Technical Assistance or Voices, please contact New York Folklore. For more information about self-guided audio tours by Travel Storys contact Nancy Soloman at Long Island Traditions.  

Thank you to everyone who joined us in person and virtually! We are looking forward to the next Roundtable in the spring of 2022 back in Syracuse!  

Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival

Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival

The Capital District (Albany and Rensselaer Counties) Upstate Regional Initiative is ending with a BANG this Fall. On October 3rd from Noon to 5 pm join us in Albany’s Washington Park at the Lake House Amphitheater for the Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival. The festival will feature the artists, tradition bearers and musicians identified by our Community Fieldworkers Ladan Nikravan, and Edgar Betelu.  

Artists will display and demonstrate their work throughout the day for visitors to engage and participate. Demonstrations will include; African Hair Braiding, Iconography, Wood Carving and more!  Adults and children will have the chance to try their hand at crafts inspired by these traditions in workshops and activities. 

Woodcarved bluebirds

Photo of Carved Birds by Majaliwa D Maulidi. Photo by Ladan Nikravan.

Chinese papercut of an ox

Chinese Papercut by Anping Liu. Photo by Anne Rappaport

Musical performances by the Wa Lika Band and Mundeo Nuevo will bring the day to a close starting at 3pm! See the full performance schedule below.  

11:30 am Washington Park Drummers  

12 pm – 1pm  Karen (Myanmar) Harp by Pinya Aung   

1 pm –2pm Mixed Roots  

2 pm – 3pm Pakastani Music by Shaman Awan and Aurelius John  

3pm – 4pm Wa Lika Band  

4 pm – 5pm Mundo Nuevo 

The full festival program is available here: Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival Program

Patrick sits at keyboard and plays

Photo of Mbaya Patrick Kasongo of Wa Lika Band. Photo Courtesy of the Artist. 

The Upstate Regional Initiative is a program initiated by the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. The project was developed to conduct field documentation and programming in counties underserved by the Folk Arts program of NYSCA, with the goal to serve as a catalyst for community-based projects and to identify artists and cultural traditions within these regions. The initiative continues in 2021 in the Mohawk Valley  

The Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail

The Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail

Driving through upstate New York you are likely to pass barns, houses, and other buildings with large painted squares. Images range from stars, flowers, bear paws, canoes, houses, and even the occasional pineapple!   

What are these works hanging on houses, barns & other structures?? They are quilt barn squares!  

Quilt Barn Squares are painted on wood and range from a 2’ x 2’ up to an 8’ x 8’ square. Though they also appear smaller in (indoor!) home décor and pins. Designs reflect traditional quilt patterns and influences. Examples of designs are the Mariner’s Compass, Cross Kayaks, and School House Rocks.  

A collection of many smaller decorated squares. The last row of squares spells out Mayfield.

The Mayfield Mural was a community effort including the School District, Fire Department and the Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail

You may spot them all over the state, but the Mohawk Valley has its very own Quilt Barn Trail – The Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail. Founded by Liz Argotsinger in 2014, the Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail has grown to over 150 quilt barns. Many of the images along the way are traditional designs with the potential to be replicated on sewing machines.     

Creating a square begins by taking a piece of MDO board (medium density overlay) and attaching a frame to the back. This step ensures no screws need to go through the finished front while hanging it. The piece is then primed, painted and the square is ready to be hung!   

Along the trail, you will see squares created by Liz, including a traditional square, The Dresden Plate as well as an original square, Hops and Barley, featured at Stump City Brewing in Gloversville, NY.  

A square featuring three barley leaves intertwined. Behind the leaves is a blue square. at each corner there is a green hop bud

Hops and Barley at Stump City Brewing in Gloversville. By Liz Argotsinger.

Driving the Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail is a great way to get out see the beauty of the Mohawk Valley and its artists!   

For more information about the Fulton Montgomery Barn Quilt Trail, you can visit their website, Facebook page, or YouTube video.  

Website: http://www.fmquiltbarntrail.com/   

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fulton-Montgomery-Quilt-Barn-Trail-456846717778409   

YouTube: Fulton Montgomery Quilt Barn Trail 

Header Image is Reflections by Liz Argotsinger.