Folk Arts Archive

Brooklyn’s evolving folklife is documented and preserved in BAC’s folk arts archive, online and by appointment at BAC. Traditional, ethnic, and diaspora arts express and preserve cultural custom, history, memory and identity.

Dance Kings of black Brooklyn Renaissance by Etienne Frossard

Physical Folk Arts Archive

Our physical folk arts archive (1988-present) is located in BAC’s office. Make an appointment with Folk Arts Director Christoper Mulé to visit and explore the archive. Highlights include rare audio recordings, transparencies and analog video documenting early folk arts projects (1988-2003), Williamsburg Bridge 100th Anniversary materials, and September 11 Memorial Project materials including photographs, films, poems and songs; and extensive documentation of traditional dance in Brooklyn (1988-2012).

Spotlight from the Physical Archive: Black Brooklyn Renaissance

The Black Brooklyn Renaissance Digital Archive (73 CDs/DVDs) documents over 30 concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, workshops and other public programs that brought to light and celebrated how Black artists have contributed to the Brooklyn's significance as a center of Black culture in New York since 1960. An accompanying oral history project recorded interviews with over 80 Brooklyn artists, community leaders and other people who have played influential roles in Brooklyn’s African-Diasporic cultural community over the last 50 years.

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Online Folk Arts Archive

The online folk arts archive (2003 – present) provides a record of BAC’s past projects, including video clips, photos, artist bios, event calendars, and program PDFs. Included: Williamsburg Bridge 100, Folk Feet, Brooklyn Maqam, Days of the Dead in Brooklyn, Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, Black Brooklyn Renaissance, Half the Sky Festival.

Click through the links below to explore our online folk arts archive.

The Sweetest Song Festival

Brooklyn Arts Council’s The Sweetest Song Festival (TSS), is a month long focus on Brooklyn’s traditional singers and song styles. From April 26 through May 27, The Sweetest Song will present 12 concerts and 8 singing master classes at various Brooklyn venues. The programs will explore a range of singing traditions as practiced and performed in Brooklyn’s immigrant and diaspora communities and engage New Yorkers in a creative, cross-cultural exchange with some of the finest traditional singers living in Brooklyn.

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HARBORLORE FESTIVAL: Dance, Music, Storytelling

Harborlore Festival is a series of 12 free dance, music and storytelling events throughout Brooklyn exploring the role of water in the artistic traditions of the borough’s diverse immigrant and diaspora communities in a post-Sandy world.

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Half The Sky Festival: Brooklyn Women in Traditional Performance

From April 21 – June 10, 2012, BAC explored gender and diaspora in Brooklyn women's traditional genres with six weeks of concerts, performances and workshops.

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Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn: Traditional Storytellers and Their Tales

A series of public programs and workshops featuring folktales, fairy tales, ghost stories, saints’ legends, personal experiences, spoken word, talking drum, narrative dance, and more from Brooklyn storytellers.

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Black Brooklyn Renaissance

Black Brooklyn Renaissance (February 2010 - February 2011) featured performances, exhibitions, symposia and workshops, a conference, an oral history project and an archive. BAC joined forces with artists and organizations across the borough to make Black Brooklyn Renaissance a truly collaborative and holistic endeavor.

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Folk Feet Dance Workshops

Folk Feet Dance Workshops focus on teaching the movement repertoire of specific traditions. Each workshop also provides an overview of the dance’s cultural setting, such as the costume, music and crafts that traditionally accompany it

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Days of the Dead

In August 2008 BAC Folk Arts initiated a year-long project called Days of the Dead in Brooklyn, Diverse Traditions of Mourning and Remembrance (DODB)

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Folk Feet

Traditional dance is one of the least served areas of the arts in the United States. As a result, many traditional dance groups lack sufficient funding and remain unknown.

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Brooklyn Maqam

Ahlan wa Sahlan! Welcome to Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival, featuring local musicians, bands, and dancers presenting Arab music traditions from Egypt, Yemen, Israel, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, and Lebanon.

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September 11 Memorial Projects

Beginning in 2005, BAC Folk Arts director Kay Turner initiated annual programming to commemorate September 11, 2001 and also to explore, document, and discuss various memorial traditions, especially those performed in Brooklyn.

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BAC Folk Arts is sponsored by Con Edison.

BAC programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Brooklyn Delegations of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York City Council and its Brooklyn Delegation