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 Pinto Guira making guiramaking lacemaking a mandala

The New York Folklore Society board of directors is a diverse group of people, bringing a varied set of skills to the organization.

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NYFS Board of Directors

Our goal to “recognize and incorporate the perspectives and contributions of diverse audiences/constituencies throughout every level of the New York Folklore Society; its programs, and services” necessarily includes those who serve on our board of directors. We continually seek greater ethnic diversity in our governance. In keeping with the original intent of the society’s founders, we also strive to include board members who represent the geography of New York State...We include folklorists, archivists, arts administrators, business people, university professors and administrators, and accountants. Serving on our board of directors requires membership in the New York Folklore Society, as well as a commitment to the nurturance of New York’s cultural traditions.
—Ellen McHale, Executive Director

Tom van Buren, President
Christopher Mulé, Vice-President/Secretary
John Braungard, Treasurer
Gabrielle Berlinger
Gregory S. Shatan
Naomi Sturm
Kay Turner
Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Past President

Tom Van Buren, NYFS Board President Tom van Buren, President (2015–2017)
Tom van Buren is director of the Folk Arts Program for ArtsWestchester, the arts council of Westchester County, New York. A folk arts and music presenter with extensive public sector folk arts experience in field research, performance programs, and media productions, he earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland (2001), writing on the practice of music and dance in the Francophone West African immigrant community of New York City. His areas of cultural expertise include also expressive cultures of the Caribbean, and the Middle East, as well as the wider topic of cultural migration and transnational communities. From 1994 to 2003, he worked on cultural programs related to immigrant communities of the New York metropolitan area for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, including concert and festival productions and audio-visual documentation projects. From 1996 to 2000, he was project director of the Dominican Community Cultural Initiative which founded the Quisqueya en el Hudson Festival in Washington Heights, New York. He was co-editor/compiler of the Global Beat of the Boroughs CD series for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, for which he also produced two other albums: Badenya: Manden Music in New York City (2002) and Quisqueya en el Hudson: Dominican Music in New York (2004). Since 2003, he has produced public programs for ArtsWestchester, including concerts, festivals, and material arts exhibitions featuring primarily immigrant community-based artists of the lower Hudson Valley. He has also curated exhibition of material arts, including “Folk Arts of the Spirit,” presenting folk religious expressions in 2007, “Set in Stone” (2008) that presented field research conducted over the previous decade, beginning with work done by folklorist Amanda Dargan, “From Shore to Shore: Boat Builders and Boat Yards of Westchester and Long Island” (2013), in collaboration with Long Island Traditions, and ”Hatitude: the Milliner in Culture and Couture” in 2014). He has also directed performing arts seasons for ArtsWestchester since 2009, and three years of the White Plains Jazz Festival.

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Christopher Mulé, Vice-President (2012–2017) and Secretary (2015–2017)
Christopher Mulé joined the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) in March 2014. He earned his MA in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to formally joining BAC, he served as the Deputy Director and Director of Folklife at Staten Island Arts (formerly COAHSI). In addition to BAC, Mr. Mulé serves on the Board of Directors for the Ghanaian Association of Staten Island, a Liberian service organization called Napela, and as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the New York Folklore Society (NYFS).
Christopher Mule'

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braungard John Braungard, Treasurer (2015–2017)
John is originally from a small town near Syracuse, New York, where he attended Le Moyne College, graduating with a BS in Accounting in 1997. He entered the post graduate world at Colgate University where he worked in their business office for two years. His next move was to the Albany area where he returned to school to obtain a second BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. At the same time, he was fortunate enough to work part-time for the New York Folklore Society in Schenectady as their Business Manager.

Two years later, upon graduating from the University of Albany in 2001, he was hired at Hudson Valley Community College to work in Contracts and Grants. He subsequently became Bursar for the college and has been working there in that capacity since. While working at Hudson Valley he earned his MBA from the University of Albany with a focus in Information Management.

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Gabrielle Berlinger
Gabrielle Berlinger received her PhD in folklore studies at Indiana University-Bloomington and is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for the “Cultures of Conservation” initiative at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Over the past 10 years, Gabrielle has worked in applied arts and cultural education organizations in both public and academic sectors in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Indiana, New York, and Israel. Her work focuses on the nature and significance of vernacular architecture and common landscapes, as well as the role of ritual in the formation and fragmentation of multicultural societies. Gabrielle’s dissertation, based in a multiethnic, working-class neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, Israel, was an ethnographic study of the temporary ritual dwellings built for the annual Jewish festival of Sukkot. Currently in New York, she is conducting a project at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to document the preservation process of the Museum’s 19th-century tenement building. This study brings together issues of historic preservation, social history, and museum anthropology in the reconciliation of material and cultural conservation needs.
Gabrielle Berlinger

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Gregory Shatan Gregory Shatan
Greg is a Partner with the law firm Abelman, Frayne & Schwab, based in New York, NY. His practice focuses on intellectual property and technology transactions and IP/IT issues in mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions. Greg’s practice also encompasses complex agreements relating to intellectual property and technology, as well as licensing and endorsement matters for leading entertainers and public figures. Greg counsels clients on intellectual property matters, primarily relating to trademarks, copyrights, domain names, software, and right-of-publicity matters. He also handles a variety of Internet and domain name law issues, with a particular focus on the new gTLDs. Greg is active in ICANN, which runs the domain name system of the Internet, where he is President of the Intellectual Property Constituency. Greg graduated from Wesleyan University in 1981 with a BA in Music and Sociology/Psychology. While at Wesleyan, he was the president and music director of WESU-FM. Greg holds a JD from Columbia Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia-VLA Journal of Law & the Arts and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He lives in New York City with his wife Deborah and their sons, Nick and Max. Each summer, Greg plays baritone saxophone with the Columbia Summer Winds, a community wind ensemble affiliated with Columbia University.

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Naomi Sturm
Naomi Sturm is a folklorist/ethnomusicologist with an expertise in the indigenous and mestizo traditions of the Americas as well as the NYC immigrant experience and folklore indigenous to the City’s diverse communities. Presently, she is the Director of Folklife at Staten Island Arts (formerly COAHSI). Sturm holds a Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Bowdoin College with a double major in Spanish and Latin American Studies as well as a minor in Dance. Her graduate work in Ethnomusicology was heavily influenced by Cultural Anthropology and Folklore, and her field research and academic writing deals extensively with: 1) issues of ethnic identity and the maintenance of traditional arts, ritual practice, and expressive culture across national borders in New York City’s immigrant communities and 2) the ethics of presenting and archival institutions in the Americas. While in graduate school she served as the Assistant to The Center for Ethnomusicology where she worked in the Columbia housed Laura Bolton Archives and coordinated, managed and programed colloquiums and performances for the department.

As a long time intern for the Community Cultural Initiative (CCI) program of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD), Sturm worked with Gabrielle Hamilton, Eileen Condon, and Emily Socolov to conduct field research used to identify folklife practitioners and assess the artistic needs within NYC’s Mexican, Peruvian, Colombian, Chinese, and Haitian communities. She has also served as the program coordinator and audio-visual specialist for Pachamama Peruvian Arts, an archivist for City Lore, and is a co-founder of the NY Quechua Initiative, a grassroots cultural project that supports the growth of NYC’s Quechua (indigenous language from South America) speaking community through workshops, cultural events and language classes.
Naomi Sturm, NYFS Board member

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Kay Turner, NYFS Board Member Kay Turner
Kay Turner, adjunct professor, Performance Studies Department, New York University, is President-Elect of the American Folklore Society (2015–2018). She is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a winner of the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for Public Folklore service. She directed the Brooklyn Arts Council’s folk arts program from 2000–2014. Turner worked with Brooklyn traditional artists, practicing in a range of disciplines—music, dance, material arts, narrative, and other verbal arts. She initiated a number of field research-based projects resulting in public programs such as Praise in the Park: Musical Expressions of Faith, Local Eyes: Folk Photographers in Brooklyn, Williamsburg Bridge 100th Anniversary Celebration, Folk Feet: Celebrating Traditional Dance in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Maqam: Arab Music Festival; Days of the Dead in Brooklyn: Diverse Traditions of Death, Mourning and Remembrance, Black Brooklyn Renaissance, 1960–2010, Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn: Traditional Storytellers and Their Tales, and in spring 2012, Half the Sky: Brooklyn Women in Traditional Performance. In 2011, Turner completed a seven-year long, annual September 11th Memorial series, which included the 2006 exhibition of over 300 photographs in Here Was New York: Twin Towers in Memorial Images and culminating in 2011 with a reconsideration of the importance of ephemeral memorials in the legacy of September 11th. In October 2011, she held the first annual Brooklyn Folk Arts Day, a gathering of over 125 artists, local organizations, funders, elected officials, and professional folklorists interested in preserving and presenting Brooklyn’s traditional culture.

Turner began her public folklore adventure in the mid-1980s in Texas, where she served as interim director of the Folk Arts Collections at the San Antonio Museum of Art and co-founder (with Pat Jasper and Betsy Peterson) of Texas Folklife Resources (TFR), one of the first stand-alone, non-profit arts organizations in the nation dedicated exclusively to regional folk arts and folk life. During her tenure at TFR, Turner co-curated Art Among Us/ Arte Entre Nosotros: Mexican American Folk Art of San Antonio; Hecho Tejano: Six Mexican-American Sculptors; and Handmade and Heartfelt: Folk Art of Texas, which toured Texas arts institutions, bringing the work of 80 traditional Texas artists to public attention. Turner also teaches courses on gender, theory of time and performance, ghosts and their ontology, ephemerality, and oral narrative theory in the Performance Studies Graduate Program at New York University. She holds the PhD in folklore and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Among her publications are Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars (Thames and Hudson), an extended treatment of her dissertation on Texas-Mexican women’s home altars in south Texas and Baby Precious Always Shines: The Love Notes of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (St. Martin’s Press). Turner’s essay “September 11 and the Burden of the Ephemeral” was published in Western Folklore in 2009 and her latest book (with Pauline Greenhill) is Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (Wayne State University Press). Kay remains dedicated to her own artistic pursuits in singing, songwriting, collaborative performance works, and alternative curatorial initiatives.

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Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Past President
Gabrielle M. Hamilton is a folklorist with extensive expertise in the Indigenous and Hispanic traditions of the Americas. Presently, she is director of Education and Public Programs at the Flushing Council on Culture & the Arts (FCCA) at historic Flushing Town Hall in Queens, developing educational programs in partnership with local immigrant artists as well as international artists. These programs weave the arts into core subject areas, and introduce students and the general public to high quality folk arts, world music, dance, theater, and exhibitions from Queens and around the world. She previously served as a program director and archivist at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (1999–2011). At the Center, Ms. Hamilton conducted research and founded the program FolkColombia Música y Danza in collaboration with master artists in New York’s Colombian community. She founded and directed the initiative Pachamama Peruvian Arts (PPA) (based in Queens) which develops the Peruvian traditional performing arts in partnerships with local community organizations through weekly educational classes, workshops, and presentations. This program is a vital part of the New York Latino landscape, and is now an independent nonprofit organization. She served as PPA’s Board Chair from 2009–2014. Hamilton served as acting director and senior researcher of the Repatriation Office at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian; conducted extensive research on the Native collections at Utah State University (where she received her Master’s Degree in folklore under the direction of Barre Toelken, PhD), served as a Folklore Specialist for the Utah Arts Council, and currently serves as a consultant for Blood Tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy, where she is an honorary member. She also has lived and taught on the Navajo Reservation and in American Samoa; and has conducted folklore residencies for schools, museums, arts councils, and prisons.
From the Inside Out Photo program in Times Square, 2014

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NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org