Applications are now being accepted for this paid opportunity, supported through the Internship program of New York Folklore and the New York State Council on the Arts. The Folklore Graduate Student Folk Arts Internship provides opportunities for graduate students in folklore to learn first-hand about public folk arts programming and field research while completing a project that will benefit both the host organization and the folklorist intern.
Any student enrolled in a masters or doctoral graduate folklore program may apply. Folklorists who graduated from a graduate folklore program in the past two years may also apply.
Interns will be expected to undertake a special project linked to their learning program for graduate study which will also benefit the host organization. This year one internship is available, to be hosted by GLOW Traditions, located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. GLOW Traditions is a shared program with the Arts Council for Wyoming County, the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts, and the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council which is directed by Karen Canning. GLOW Traditions is located in a predominantly rural area of western New York between Rochester and Buffalo, with a service area encompassing around 2200 square miles.
The duration of this internship is 8 weeks, 30-35 hours per week. It will occur from late May through August, 2022.
How to Apply:
A driver’s license and use of an automobile is required. A dedicated office at the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts in Mt. Morris, NY will be made available for the intern. Karen Canning will assist in securing housing in a centralized location, possibly in Geneseo, NY. A stipend of $5000 will be provided to the intern.
To apply, submit a resume’ or CV and a letter describing the potential benefits of the internship for the applicant’s career goals as a public folklorist. For current graduate students, please reflect on the internship’s relationship to your graduate learning program. The application letter should also indicate how previous experiences in programming, field research and/or administration would contribute to the organization hosting the internship. Following the internship, the intern and the host organization are both required to submit a report evaluating the internship.
Applications must be received by midnight on Sunday, March 13th and decisions about the successful candidates will be made by March 28. Applications must be submitted electronically to Laurie Longfield at New York Folklore [email protected] (please do not contact GLOW Traditions for information about these internships). Additional information can be obtained by contacting Ellen McHale, Executive Director of New York Folklore, [email protected]
Stories That Cook: Art, Memories and Recipes
This is a two-year project, recently funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, that will include a series of arts workshops, an exhibit, and a cookbook created by artists, farmworkers and their families in western New York. It is a collaboration between GLOW Traditions and another GVCA program, Creative Artists Migrant Program Service (CAMPS). CAMPS was founded in 1975 at the Geneseo Migrant Center, with a mission to offer free art workshops to migrant farmworkers and families in Western New York, who are currently predominantly Hispanic. GLOW Traditions has consistently worked with these communities for more than 15 years to document and present traditional arts, music, dance, foodways, and celebrations such as the Día de Muertos and Tres Reyes. This project will spotlight and honor the rich cultural gifts that reside in our agricultural community, from generational farm families to newer farmworkers, and celebrate points of connection among diverse cultures in the region. The intern will assist GLOW Traditions staff with interviews of farmers and farmworkers to gather foodways and family histories, and work with ongoing data entry of recipes and contextual materials for the book preparation.
A history of GLOW Traditions:
The folk arts program was established in 1985, one of the first in New York state. Dr. Bruce Buckley, a noted scholar and folklorist who had retired from the folklore program at Cooperstown/SUNY Oneonta, came to Wyoming County and began his second career in public folk arts documentation and programming. His work forms the basis of our archive of traditional arts, which contains interviews and slides of more than 200 artisans in our region from 1985 to the present day. Folklorist Kathy Kimiciek led the program from 1988-1990, and in 1996 Karen Canning became the staff folklorist for the region encompassing Wyoming, Livingston, Genesee and Orleans (GLOW) Counties. In 2013, the program was officially renamed, GLOW Traditions, to further emphasize the connection between partnering arts councils in surrounding counties: ACWC, Livingston Arts and the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.
In May and June 2021, I had the opportunity to share in food, fellowship, and history with members of the Armenian community at St. Peter’s. The relatively secluded church is a thriving cultural center for many Armenians in the Upper Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. As I drove up Assepian Avenue on the way to the Church, I felt that I was leaving my world behind, as the busy highways and traffic were replaced with a welcoming committee of trees and greenery, which opened to reveal the magnificent church building. In front of the church is a small memorial garden and monument erected in the memory of those who died in the Armenian Genocide, a tragic holocaust that remains an indelible and defining aspect of Armenian identity and heritage.
As soon as I got out of my car, I could hear the sounds of community. The men, who are members of the Knights of Vartan fraternal organization, began to prepare the large pit grills for cooking chicken and Hye burgers. In the distance, the tinkle of dishes and excited voices sounded from the kitchen in the lower floor of the Church building. The sounds mingled with the perfumes of cooking spices, baking sweets, and charcoal smoke, as the grills were warmed to start the festivities for the Friday Flavors of Armenia.
According to Paulette Doudoukjian, wife of St. Peter’s Church pastor, Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, this is the church’s second year of running the Friday Flavors of Armenia series. Since 1910, St. Peter’s has put on an Armenian festival every June, as a celebration of summer, Armenian food, faith, and culture. In normal years the festival would run for two days, and would feature vendors, musicians, dancers, and an incredible variety of foods both savory and sweet. Like many other church and cultural celebrations, the festival was shut down for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just shy of the festival’s 110th anniversary. As a testament to Armenian perseverance, Paulette and the other members of the Women’s Guild came up with a novel idea: a drive-thru festival that would allow them to continue serving the Armenian and non-Armenian communities, while maintaining social distancing and mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. The new variation, Friday Flavors of Armenia, was a success, and the drive-thru option may remain as a fixture after the pandemic is over.
Although the menu was somewhat reduced, the flavors and the quality of the food were still top notch. Each week featured two entrees: an Armenian Chicken Dinner and a Hye Burger Platter.
The Hye Burger is made from a mixture of beef, lamb, spices and aromatics. According to Sonya Moroukian, a master baker and one of the cooks for the festival, this dish is a great way to introduce people to Armenian flavor profiles, especially for those who may not like an all-lamb main course. The Hye Burger is a fusion version of the Losh Kebab, which in normal years would be grilled right alongside the burgers. What makes this burger extra special is that it is served with an Armenian coleslaw of purple cabbage, carrots, and a proprietary dressing that adds a kick to the burger itself. The Armenian Chicken is marinated in a yogurt sauce, similar to tzatziki.
To accompany these dishes, the Women’s Guild makes an incredible rice pilaf. The secret, according to Paulette and her colleagues, is in its simplicity. The pilaf is made with butter, pepper, rice, chicken stock, and egg noodles. As Paulette was explaining the process of how to make the pilaf, she and her son Jonah were mixing the dish in large industrial-size pans—large enough to feed an entire village.
Aside from the entrees, the women also put together incredible desserts and a la carte items. For this year’s festivals, the women, under the direction of Sonya Moroukian, have made trays upon trays of Paklava (also spelled Baklava) and Kadayif. These classic desserts are staples of Armenian food culture.
For the Paklava, the bakers roll out and layer phyllo dough, nuts, and spices in large sheet pans. Depending on who is baking them, there can be multiple layers of nuts. After baking to a golden brown color, the Paklava is then doused with a simple syrup made of water, sugar, and lemon juice that brightens and highlights the rich flavors of the pastry.
According to Serena Moroukian and her mother Sonya, making Paklava together as a family is a rite of passage for a young woman, given the difficulty of folding and preparing the pastry dough, and layering everything together. Depending on the occasion, the dough is sometimes store bought, or it may be made from scratch, an arduous process. Leftovers from the baklava trays are sometimes crushed up and mixed with ice cream to make Baklava Sundaes, which are another major treat.
Kadayif is a creamy dessert made with a sweetened, cream cheese-like filling, shredded phyllo dough and simple syrup. This dessert takes patience to bake and also freezes well.
The last dish on the menu is Eech (pronounced similarly to the English word each). It is a hearty food that is made of cracked bulgur wheat, onions, tomato sauce, (occasionally) stock, spices, and a topping usually made from sweet and/or spicy peppers and parsley. This dish demonstrates a part of the wide variety of food that is found in Armenia, based on the terroir and availability of ingredients in different regions. Each is a vegan dish and can be enjoyed hot, cold, or room temperature. It can be eaten alone, as a salad accompanying a meal, or as Raffi Moroukian lovingly described, as a breakfast dish mixed with scrambled eggs.
I am incredibly grateful to the members of St. Peter’s Armenian Church community for allowing me to talk to them, to learn about their culinary culture, and to share in the enjoyment of food with them. A special thank you to Lori Payette at the parish office, Fr. Stepanos and Presbytera Paulette Doudoukjian, Sonya, Serena and Raffi Moroukian, and the members of the St. Peter’s Women’s Guild for their generosity, friendliness, and willingness to talk about their culture.
On May 1, 2020, New York Folklore and folklore programs across New York State will launch a collaboration to present traditional arts and culture from throughout New York State. Each weekday in May, from 4:00 -4:30 p.m., traditional arts activities will be presented through a livestream from New York Folklore’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/New-York-Folklore-76410462500/
“May 2020: 20 Folk Artists/20 Days” amplifies the artistic excellence found within New York’s communities. To view this daily initiative, simply tune in to New York Folklore’s Facebook page each weekday in May from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. to experience a free, live-streamed event by one of New York State’s folk artists or tradition bearers.
The initiative showcases the artistic excellence and diversity of traditional arts and culture in New York State. Folk arts and cultural expressions are nurtured and perpetuated within communities. They are shared by those who have common regional affiliations, ethnic heritage, occupations, avocational interests, gender, and many other identifiers of interconnection. Artistic excellence is determined by a shared community aesthetic with innovation occurring within the bounds of the interests and concerns of the shared community.
Partners: Coordinating and partnering organizations from throughout New York State include the following: New York State Fiddlers Hall of Fame, Glow Traditions, Long Island Traditions, Los Pleneros de la 21, Arts Mid-Hudson, Brooklyn Arts Council, Arts Westchester, Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Rochester Institute of Technology, and The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE). Presenting folklorists and cultural scholars include Karen Canning, Andrew Cowell, Hannah Davis, Julia Gutíerrez-Rivera, Elinor Levy, Jorge Arévalo Mateus, Ellen McHale, Chris Mulé, Aaron Paige, Naomi Sturm-Wijesinghe, Emily Socolov, Valerie Walawender, and Christine Zinni.
Foods on the St. Joseph Table of Bernice Falsone Hotchkiss. Photos by Christine Zinni.
Bernice Falsone Hotchkiss, of Mt. Morris, NY, has been preparing a St. Joseph’s Table for more than 50 years. Originally learning from older women in her family, she prepares more than 15 distinct dishes of fried vegetables, fish, salads, pasta, breads and sweets to comprise a full meal. Her expression of the tradition has a unique twist: from about 1990, because participants had aged and could not always travel to her home, she had transformed her table into a take-out affair. Bernice, her sister, and several women work for two to three weeks to prepare all the dishes. Then various children, grandchildren and friends deliver the meal to shut-ins, friends, and family. Her highest number of deliveries was in 2012, with just over 200 meals. She currently prepares between 70-80 meals.
Originating in Sicily in the 16th Century, the Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated as one of the Saints’ Days within the Catholic Calendar. In a day dedicated to the family, Saint Joseph is honored through the creation of an elaborate altar of breads and baked goods, made as an offering to the Saint in recognition of his assistance at a time of family crisis.
Below is a video portrait of the making of a St. Joseph’s Table, filmed in 2019 by Christine Zinni:
Bernice Hotchkiss and her St. Joseph’s Table
This year’s NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable took place in Utica from April 3-5. The NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable is a professional development meeting and convening that draws the state’s folklorists and traditional arts professionals for three days of issue-focused meetings and professional development presentations in a Roundtable format. Each attendee is an active participant, sharing their own experiences and expertise in thematic sessions. In 2019, Roundtable themes included foodways and arts in education, including both k-12 education as well as strategies for engaging a diverse adult audience with arts learning. The NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable is a program of the Folk Arts Program of NYSCA, planned each year in collaboration with New York Folklore.
Since 2012, the Roundtable has been located each year in different communities around New York State, taking advantage of the opportunities accorded by different regions and urban areas in New York State to delve into traditional arts and cultural expressions. In each location, participants of the Roundtable are presented with best practices for folk arts engagement. In Utica, participants of the Roundtable visited the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees to learn about Utica’s unique experience with refugee resettlement. They explored the city’s diverse foodways offerings, and discussed arts in education with Lisa Rathje of Local Learning : the National Network for Folk Arts in Education.
Roundtablers enjoy a meal at Karam’s Middle East Bakery
This year’s 36 attendees came from throughout New York State, with special invited guests being Millie Rahn of the Lowell National Folk Festival in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Lisa Rathje of Local Learning. Participants of the NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable are folklorists and cultural arts professionals who work within folk arts contexts in arts agencies, museums, libraries, and university settings. They form a vibrant folk arts network that helps to elevate folk cultural expressions throughout New York.