Past Programs

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.

Citizen Folklife 2017

Citizen Folklife has mobilized artists, grassroots organizations, community advocates, youth, and ethnic media journalists with strong ties to folk and traditional art forms by providing training, resources, microgrant funding, and mentoring to research and share observations of folk arts practices within their own communities. 

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Festivals Traditional Style 2016

In the summer of 2016, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC)’s Folk Arts program had a presence at six community festivals. BAC’s event tents provided friendly neighborhood gathering places for festival-goers to dive into the cultures that drive our borough. From July through September, BAC hosted hands-on workshops, discussions on cultural issues, interviews with artists, and presentations and performances by local groups.

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Folk Feet Dancing Community 2015

From May 30 through July 26, BAC will celebrate Folk Feet’s 10th anniversary through a series of public programs that will fuse past participants of Folk Feet with emerging traditional dance forms and communities in Brooklyn. In keeping with Folk Feet’s rich tradition, each free public program will feature a mix of teaching workshops and dance showcases.

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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