Folk Arts

Brooklyn Arts Council is proud to help nurture Brooklyn’s traditional artists and preserve our borough’s diverse heritage through our folk arts program.

 

Preserving Traditional Arts

Brooklyn Arts Council works with Brooklyn’s traditional artists and their immigrant communities to preserve and present arts expressive of the borough’s diverse living heritage—folk song, storytelling, social dance, foodways, material culture and more. BAC’s folk arts program is directed by a professional folklorist and associates trained in fieldwork techniques—interviewing, photographing, community engagement skills and collaborations. Fieldwork is part of every project that eventually becomes a series of events and programs, but it’s also a part of learning about traditional communities and arts in Brooklyn. The following samples provide an introduction to the way that folklorists do fieldwork.

Presenting Traditional Artists

We regularly present traditional artists in concerts, workshops and panels; help them identify and apply for grants; consult with members of local communities to help preserve traditional ecologies; and educate the public about traditional lifeways.

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.

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.

Tradition as Resistance

Traditional art forms thrive and persist throughout the borough of Brooklyn, born out of histories of struggle and opposition that make these artists no stranger to the tensions of the current socio-political climate. During a time when the news cycle overwhelms and inflames and it has become far too easy to focus on the negative, Brooklyn Arts Council invites you to pause and take in the traditions around us. 

TRADITION AS RESISTANCE opens a window to diverse, traditional art forms of Brooklyn’s immigrant communities.  A concert brings to the stage musicians from Syria, working to preserve the musical traditions being destroyed in the war in Aleppo. A day of learning convenes folk artists for an open forum of reflection on today’s political issues. The rich history of Trinidadian steelpan drumming comes to life on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. And finally, at the peak of summer, a day-long festival in Prospect Park brings the community together to celebrate one message: that artists are strong, art is powerful, and tradition is resistance.


UPCOMING EVENTS:


Folk Arts Funders

BAC Folk Arts Programs are made possible, in part, through public funds from: National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council; and the Brooklyn Borough President's Office. Major foundation and corporate support is provided by Lily Auchincloss Foundation and TD Bank.