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THE NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY BOARD

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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ABOUT THE NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY

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


Gabrielle M. Hamilton, President
Christopher Mulé, Vice-President
Puja Sahney, Secretary
Jessica Schein, Treasurer
Ellen Fladger
Anna Mulé
Gregory S. Shatan
Connie Sullivan-Blum
Kay Turner
Tom van Buren



Gabrielle Hamilton Gabrielle M. Hamilton, President, 2010–2014
Gabrielle M. Hamilton is a folklorist with extensive expertise in the Indigenous and Hispanic traditions of the Americas. She is director of Education and Public Programs at the Flushing Council on Culture & the Arts. She previously served as a program director and archivist at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. 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 (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. Hamilton has 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) 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.

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Christopher Mulé, Vice-President, 2012–2014
Christopher Mulé is currently the deputy director of the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) and director of the Folklife Program there. He was a programs assistant/ ethnomusicologist at Traditional Arts Indiana and a graduate assistant at Sound and Visual Audio Instruction Laboratory. In addition, he served as the NYSCA intern with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in 2007.
Christopher Mule'

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Puja Sahney Puja Sahney, Secretary, 2013–2014
Puja Sahney recently graduated with a PhD in Folklore from the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She also has a Master’s in American Studies with a minor in Folklore from Utah State University. She is currently working part-time as a Folklife Associate at Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) and as a Folk Arts Associate at Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). Her scholarly interests include the study of domestic architecture, women studies, religious practices, and foodways.

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Jessica Schein, Treasurer, 2010–2014
Jessica Schein was born and bred in New York City. She has a BA in accounting from Brooklyn College and an MBA in finance and accounting from Columbia Business School. She now works as a part-time accountant/controller for several small nonprofit organizations in New York City, having been in financial positions for nonprofits and large corporations. She has had a lifelong interest in folklore, well before she even knew that such a field existed.
Jessica Schein, NYFS Board Member

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Ellen Fladger
Ellen Fladger is head of Special Collections/Archivist for the Union College’s Schaeffer Library, Schenectady, NY. She holds a Master’s in folklore from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Folk Cultural Studies and post-Master’s certificates from Columbia University’s School of Library Science. She serves as a consultant for archival projects throughout New York State.

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Anna Mule' Anna Mulé
Originally from Upstate New York, Anna Mulé is now the director of Digital and Social Media and adjunct professor at Wagner College, where she manages the website, produces multimedia promotional pieces, directs social media strategies, and teaches video storytelling. She has a dual MA in Journalism and Folklore & Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, and has worked at StoryCorps, the Brooklyn Arts Council, Traditional Arts Indiana, and the Archives of Traditional Music. Anna focuses on public and multimedia presentations of folklore, and freelances as Media Folk (mediafolk.org).

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Gregory Shatan
Greg is a Partner with the global law firm Reed Smith LLP, based in New York, NY, where he is the Deputy Chair of the Global Tech Transactions Team. 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. He also handles a variety of Internet law issues, with a particular focus on the new gTLDs. Greg counsels clients on intellectual property matters, primarily relating to trademarks, copyrights, domain names, software, and right-of-publicity matters. 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.
Gregory Shatan

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Dr. Constance Sullivan-Blum Connie Sullivan-Blum
Constance Sullivan-Blum holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Binghamton University. Her dissertation research explored the same-sex marriage debate in mainstream Protestant churches located in the Southern Tier of New York. This research inadvertently exposed her to the culture and traditions of the Southern Tier, and she promptly fell in love with the area. It has been a long-term affair, and Connie has now been doing research on the region for 13 years. Connie has served as the folklorist at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes for the last four years. During that time, she has researched local traditional arts including Italian-American crochet lace and the embroidery of South Asian immigrants, Finger Lakes fiddling traditions, folk dance traditions, African-American a cappella Gospel, and folktales from the 1972 Flood.

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Kay Turner
Kay Turner, director of Folk Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council and adjunct professor, Performance Studies Department, New York University, has directed the Brooklyn Arts Council’s (BAC) folk arts program since 2000. Turner works with Brooklyn traditional artists practicing in a range of disciplines—music, dance, material arts, narrative, and other verbal arts. Since coming to BAC, Turner has 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 upcoming in spring 2012, Half the Sky: Brooklyn Women in Traditional Performance. Turner recently 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 new book (with Pauline Greenhill) is Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (forthcoming Fall 2012, Wayne State University Press). Kay remains dedicated to her own artistic pursuits in singing, songwriting, collaborative performance works, and alternative curatorial initiatives.

Kay Turner, NYFS Board Member

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Tom Van Buren, NYFS Board Member Tom van Buren
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. The following year, he organized the exhibit, “Set in Stone” that presented field research conducted over the previous decade, beginning with work done by folklorist Amanda Dargan. Currently, he is developing a 2013 exhibition on boat builders, in partnership with Long Island Traditions.

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