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!  

NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable in Utica

NYSCA New York State Folk Arts Roundtable in Utica

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.