New York Folklore Adds New Staff and Board

New York Folklore Adds New Staff and Board

Here we grow again! 

As we look towards new projects and programs for 2021 and in the future, New York Folklore is growing  – with new leadership and members for the Board of Directors, and with the addition of several new staff members and partnerships.

In partnership with Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, we are pleased to announce a shared position of Outreach Coordinator to the Folk Arts in Education Network in New York State.  Suzanne Kolodziej is an arts educator who brings vast experience to the role.  She holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Arts Education and she worked previously as the outreach coordinator for Cornell University’s East Asia Program.  Concurrent with her work at Local Learning/New York Folklore, Suzanne also works at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, where she is a Teaching Artist, Museum Educator, and Program Assessor in the Expanded Learning Collaboration with the Rochester City School District.

Due to the concerns with the spread of COVID-19, New York Folklore’s NYSCA Upstate Regional Initiative has gone through some revisions, rendering the ongoing project to be stronger and more connected to community.  Because of delays caused by the pandemic, we are also working concurrently to document and conduct folklore fieldwork in more than one region of the state.  We are pleased to welcome Anne Rappaport as a full-time staff folklorist to the New York Folklore staff, working within the Mohawk Valley communities of Montgomery, Fulton, Southern Herkimer, Oswego and Southern Hamilton Counties.  New York Folklore also welcomes three part-time community fieldworkers to work within Albany and Rensselaer Counties: Ladan Alomar, Khizra Awan, and Edgar Betelu.   These talented individuals have complementary skills and interests and they are working together to provide a better portrait of the cultural traditions found within the greater Capital District. New York Folklore will also have an intern beginning in May 2021. 

Reyers Brusoe, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky in the department of ethnomusicology/musicology will be interning with New York Folklore during the summer months. New York Folklore’s reach has expanded and we look forward to continuing to serve folk and traditional arts in New York State. Photo of a performance of the Jamestown Swedish Dancers with members of the Allegheny Dancers as part of a program of the Upstate Regional Initiative, 2015. Photo by Ellen McHale

NYSCA and NYF Collaborate on Upstate Regional Initiative

NYSCA and NYF Collaborate on Upstate Regional Initiative

New York Folklore says a fond farewell to Hannah Davis, who has been our Upstate Regional Representative for the past three years. Her work with us wraps up this month, with a maple presentation at the Rome Art Center. In February, Hannah presented two programs in conjunction with the Munson Williams Art Institute in Utica. The first, taking place at Utica’s First Friday, highlighted the coffee and tea traditions of Utica’s Dominican, Lebanese, and Bosnian communities and the second took place as part of the Munson Williams Proctor “Art Alive” program and highlighted four fine Oneida and Onondaga artists:

Chris Thomas, Beaver Clan – Singer

Adah Shenandoah, Wolf Clan – Dancer

Cameron Shenandoah, Wolf Clan – Dancer

Brittany Ninham, Turtle Clan – Dancer

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. In the three years of Hannah’s documentation (2015-2018), she traversed eleven New York Counties, including Cattaraugus, Chatauqua, Tompkins, Cayuga, Seneca, Yates, Allegheny, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Broome, and the cities of Binghamton, Rochester, Utica, and Rome. The fourth and final year of this documentation project takes place in 2019 with survey work being conducted in Madison, Cortland, Chenango, and Otsego Counties.