Folk Arts

The ARTS Council’s Folk Arts program supports folk art traditions practiced in the Southern Finger Lakes through public programs, documentations, and advocacy.  With funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and working with the New York Folklore Society, we are part of a network of Folk Arts programs throughout New York State.


What are Folk Arts?

Folk Arts connect people.  Folk Arts celebrate the shared history and culture of local communities.  Folk Arts extend creativity beyond formalized genres of art and music to include the everyday expressive practices of life and work. Folk Artists draw on traditions and repertoires passed on through generations. In the Folk Arts Program, we prioritize programming, documentation, and advocacy that support the continuation of traditional art forms within local communities.



Documentation allows the Folk Arts program to identify artists and communities in our region who might otherwise go unrecognized for their artistic traditions.  Documentation records stories and art forms and adds to our public heritage. Documentation is the first step in the process of creating public programs and creating pathways for advocacy. Through interviews, oral histories, photography and video, we continually add to a growing archive of Folk Arts practiced in our region. Do you have a story to tell or an art form to share? The Folk Arts Program wants to take note.


Public Programs

Public Programs allow us to showcase the Folk Arts alive in our communities today. Through festivals, concerts, museum exhibits, lectures, and workshops, our public programs help bring Folk Arts practiced in individual communities into a larger public arena.  Our longest-running and largest public program, The Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival, provides a venue for musicians young and old to play Old Time music together. The festival also highlights the artists and cultural groups we continue to work with throughout the year. Do you want to join in? The Folk Arts Program welcomes you to attend our events.



Folk Arts aren’t always included or recognized within the larger scope of funding and support within the Arts.  Culturally-based, immigrant, and local communities sometimes struggle to access support for the creative work that makes their lives unique and vibrant.  The Folk Arts Program works to provide pathways to grants and funding, public visibility, and technical assistance for communities who are working to maintain their creative heritage. Do you have a need? The Folk Arts Program is here to help.


Meet the Folk Arts Coordinator

Dr. Maria Kennedy has been working in the field of Folklore for many years.  Beginning with a summer job at Conner Prairie Living History Museum as a teenager, she has pursued and MA and PhD in Folklore from Indiana University.  Before coming to The ARTS Council, she worked at Traditional Arts Indiana. With personal interests in the heritage of cider and wine making, she is delighted to delve into the Finger Lakes area’s rich agricultural and culinary heritage.


Explore the pages in our Folk Arts section of the website to discover our many programs past and present.

Information on The ARTS Council’s Folk Arts program can be accessed by contacting Maria Kennedy, Folk Arts Coordinator, at 607-962-1332 x206, or [email protected].