Not a whole lot of news for this week, but here are the highlights:

  • Key Ingredients: America by Food, the Smithsonian’s collaborative traveling exhibit with the Federation of State Humanities Councils will tour Georgia over the next several months. Follow this link for the story and schedule/
  • The Oklahoma Folklife Festival is happening this Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21, at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
  • Georgia Wier has returned from Washington, DC, where she presented African storyteller Opalanga Pugh and drummer Askia Toure of Denver, Colorado, at the Folklife Concerts series at the Library of Congress. Craig Miller of the Utah Arts Council traveled to DC with the Beehive Band as part of the same series earlier this spring. Thanks to all for representing folklife in the West!
  • As most of you already know, our good friend Marirose Morris, who worked very hard to reestablish a state folk & traditional arts program based in Cheyenne, has announced her race for House District 9 Representative for the State of Wyoming!! We are all cheering for you Marirose! You will be an incredible asset to the Wyoming legislature.

There you have it.  – Ross


Here are some news bites for the first week of June 2008:

  • The good people behind Hollow Earth Radio here in Seattle made a series of field recordings of buskers and other sidelines at the Northwest Folklife Festival last month.
  • Burgoo! Legendary Stew of the South is a new foodways documentary (featuring folklorists!) that will air later this month on the public television station KET in Kentucky. If we can’t watch it online, maybe my friends will be good enough to tape a copy for me. Sarah Milligan, this means you!
  • The 37th annual Texas Folklife Festival happens this coming weekend, June 13-15, 2008 in San Antonio. Read the news here.
  • From the Orlando (FL) Sentinel: “In celebration of the 2008 Florida Folk Festival that took place recently on Memorial Day weekend, the State Archives of Florida is offering historic recordings of all the Florida Folk Festivals from 1954 through 1979 for free online listening and downloading…..” I’ve only been able to do a little bit of poking around these new offerings, and I hope to articulate some deeper impressions of their site in the next few days, but for now I’ll say that this looks like a positive direction for digital folklife collections in general.
  • Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions was interviewed for today for her community documentation initiatives.
  • Bob Fulcher, a folklorist with the Cumberland Trail State Park in Tennessee, helps explain a recent digitization project involving some rare acetate discs recorded by the late Latham Wyrick.
  • By way of Jens Lund: the 2008 Leavenworth (WA) International Accordion Festival is happening June 19-22. This looks awesome! Thanks, Jens.
  • And courtesy Elaine Thatcher: the third Mountain West Songfest & Symposium, sponsored by Utah State University’s Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, the USU Music Department, in cooperation with the Cache Valley Center for the Arts, takes place in Logan June 27 & 28. Thanks Elaine!

One of the reasons I had for moving AWSF to a blog format is so our members can more easily keep track of each other’s happenings and, through the magic of Google, other news concerning public folklore and folk arts on the Web. From this point forward, I will attempt to create a post like this every week. For now, here’s a list of tidbits for the month of May:

  • La Labor: The Paintings of Roel Flores opens at the Brownsville (TX) Heritage Complex June 26 and is organized by Texas Folklife Resources. Story in the Brownsville Herald.
  • Things are settling down in Seattle following the shooting at the 37th Northwest Folklife Festival last weekend. Three festival-goers were injured, but aside from that I hear that the festival was delightful. This article (and this one) gave me a good feel for what I missed while I was back in Kentucky last weekend. Oh – and Amy Mills broke her ankle practicing with a dance group on Wednesday evening prior to the festival. She’ll be on crutches for a while, but she is in good spirits overall. Here’s to a fast recovery, Amy!
  • The Texture and Weave of Traditional Art opened last Wednesday at the Nevada Arts Council offices in Carson City. Pat Wells explains in the Nevada Appeal.
  • The 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival beings June 25 in DC. This year they’re celebrating Bhutan, Texas, and NASA.
  • The Kitchen Sisters had a story on NPR this week featuring Basque heritage from their occasional Hidden Kitchens series.
  • The infamous Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in DC has purchased the building next door and will be opening a bar. Here’s Mike Licht’s coverage.
  • We had the good fortune of hosting photographer & filmmaker Bill Daniel at the Western Folklife Center two years ago for a screening of his documentary Who Is Bozo Texino?. This is one of my absolute favorite films about traditional art. Bill’s giving a similar screening and discussion at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth this Wednesday….. and he has apparently been awarded a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship for his documentary work. Good job, Bill!
  • Now I’ve seen it all: Alan Lomax mentioned in Popular Mechanics. Actually, this is a somewhat interesting article on cultural tourism down the blues highway.
  • Amy Skillman and Laura Marcus have published their study “The Art of Community: Creativity at the Crossroads of Immigrant Cultures and Social Services,” and were interviewed for a feature on the Americans for the Arts Blog!
  • Georgia Wier introduced storyteller Opalanga Puch at the Music of America series at the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center.
  • Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has taken on the role of Keynote Speaker for the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering next January! Here’s coverage from the Elko Daily Free Press.
  • “The UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is to sponsor
    two Maasais and an expert from the National Museums of Kenya to go the
    United States for intensive training in documentary techniques and
    archival skills at the American Folklife Center and the Center for
    Documentary Studies.” Read more on the Maasai effort here and on the WIPO initiative here.
  • Jack Loeffler has published a new book, Survival Along the Continental Divide: An Anthology of Interviews. Read an interview with Jack here.
  • Fascinating foodways! “”Beef State,” a co-production of NET Television and the Nebraska State
    Historical Society (NSHS), is a new hour long documentary on the history
    of the beef industry in Nebraska airing statewide at 6 p.m. on June 1
    and repeating at 8 p.m. June 2 on NET1 and in high-definition on
    NET-HD.” Read more here.
  • Alabama state folklorist Anne Kimzey interviews photographer Mark Gooch on documenting Alabama folk artists on the Alabama Arts Radio podcast.
  • NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipients for 2008 have been named here.
  • Mike Christensen has launched an exhibit at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. Masses to Masses: Art of the Yan’an Cave Artist Group which focuses on art during China’s Cultural Revolution. The exhibit is up through the end of June; read the SLC Tribune’s coverage.
  • (We’re getting into old news now, but…) Matachines danced at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque earlier this month. Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article featuring Claude Stephenson here.

There you have it. Enjoy.
– Ross

Click on this link below for an agenda of our meeting next month in Port Townsend (Word doc format).

2008 Meeting agenda

Or…. just keep reading:

Saturday, April 12 – Arrivals and dinner on own

Sunday, April 13
9:00-12:00 Mapping cultural resources
Jon Corbett, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-4:00 Workshop on interpretation
Chuck Lennox, Principal, Cascade Interpretive Consulting, Seattle
4:00-4:15 Break
4:15-5:00 Interpretation and folklorists
Pat Wells, Folklife Program Director, Nevada Arts Council
Dinner on own

Monday, April 14
9:00-9:30 Housekeeping, brief introductions
9:30-10:30 Agricultural and culinary tourism I
Katherine Baril, WSU Jefferson County Extension Director
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:00 Agricultural and culinary tourism II
Mark Preiss, Reserve Manager, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Whidbey Island, Washington
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:30 Evergreen College Longhouse presentation
Laura Grabhorn, Assistant Director, Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at the Evergreen State College;
2:30-3:30 Changes at NEA—
3:30-3:45 Break
3:45-4:15 National Heritage Fellowships and other ways of recognizing western artists
Georgia Wier
4:15-5:00 Bea Roeder Award committee – Ross Fuqua
AWSF Dinner
Before or after dinner: Sharing technology—recording and photography—bring your gear and share experiences with others

Tuesday, April 15
9:00-9:15 Housekeeping
9:15-11:15 Digital archiving
John Fenn, University of Oregon;
11:15-11:30 Break
11:30-12:00 WFC Regional Programs: 25th Anniversary of the NCPG, Upcoming Regional Tour, Food/Sense of Place Project – Meg Glaser, Christina Barr, Tamara Kubacki;
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:00 AWSF website discussion – Darcy Minter and Ross Fuqua
2:00-3:30 Miscellaneous short topics – Regional food and culture programs – Christina Barr, Willie Smyth
3:30-3:45 Break
3:45-4:45 Planning next year’s meeting – Elaine Thatcher
Dinner on own
Evening Sharing video/audio products

Wednesday, April 16

Thursday, April 17
Travel home

Announcing the Annual Conference of Western States Public Sector Folklorists
April 13-16, 2008

Sponsored by the Association of Western States Folklorists, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Western States Arts Federation

The Association of Western States Folklorists (AWSF) is pleased to announce that its Annual Conference is being held April 13-16, 2008 in Port Townsend, Washington. This conference is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).

Please register for the conference using the attached form, or call WESTAF at 303/629-1166 to request an AWSF conference registration form. Send the completed form and registration fees no later than Friday, April 4th to: Jennifer Toews at WESTAF, 1743 Wazee St, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202. Please make checks payable to WESTAF; MasterCard and Visa are also accepted. Registration forms may also be faxed to 303/629-9717, or sent via e-mail to

The conference will be held at Centrum, located at Fort Worden State Park, in Port Townsend, WA. If you have not yet made lodging reservations and would like to stay at Centrum, please contact Peter McCracken at

We hope to see you in Port Townsend.