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The New York Folklore Society, in partnership with the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, offers technical assistance and professional growth services to the folk arts field.

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Mentoring and Professional Development Program for Folklife and the Traditional Arts

Folklife and traditional arts programming requires professional knowledge and technical skills in many areas, including fieldwork, artist self-management, marketing and publicity, concert production, interpretation and presenting, editing, graphic design, exhibit design, documentation, archives, and organizational management. People involved in this work need to keep current with developments in the field.

The Mentoring and Professional Development Program provides opportunities for organizations and individuals engaged in or planning folklife and traditional arts programs in New York State to work with consultants who offer expertise in the needed area. In this way, folklorists and other professional staff, folk artists, and leaders of community-based cultural organizations give or receive knowledge and develop their own or others’ professional and technical skills, helping everyone in the field become more successful in their work.

Program Components

SHORT-TERM CONSULTANCIES—Short-term consultancies support mentors’ providing technical or other professional assistance to individuals or organizations engaged in or planning folk arts programming. The standard compensation rate for the mentor is $300/day plus travel (total award not to exceed 3 days or $1,200, including consulting and travel). All applications are received on a rolling basis throughout the year; the ordinary turnaround after review is within six weeks. Applicants hoping for a quicker response should check or otherwise indicate “quick response” on their application.

ONGOING CONSULTANCIES support mentors’ providing multiple visits over time to provide continuing technical assistance for ongoing processes and projects in folklife and folk arts programming. Standard compensation for the mentor is $300/day plus travel; generally, the ongoing consultancy will not exceed 5 days or $1,800, including consulting and travel.

FOLK ARTIST MENTORING—Opportunities for master folk artists to mentor or advise other folk artists in their traditions through short-term consultancies. These mentorships are designed to provide for initial or short-term contacts only, and can include time with the mentor as well as travel for both mentor and apprentice. For longer term apprenticeships, contact the New York State Council on the Arts, Folk Arts Program.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXCHANGES—An additional category of Mentoring and Professional Development application supports travel within the state or region to attend conferences and meetings, observe exemplary programs, and interact with colleagues/mentors in a more general way. (Travel and/or registration expenses only; generally does not exceed $400.00; one application per year allowed in this category.)
Find out about:
Read Midge Stock’s Report on a NYFS Mentoring Project
Iroquois Basketry Thrives

Mary Adams of Akwesasne Reservation on the New York/Canadian border received a New York Folklore Society mentorship to teach Iroquois basketry to Midge Stock of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca.
Mohawk split and sweetgrass basket

Mohawk splint and sweetgrass basket from Akwesasne. Photograph courtesy of Traditional Arts of New York.

Mentoring Brochure Download the Mentoring Brochure (PDF)

SPANISH language version of Mentoring Program Guidelines (PDF) available here.

The Mentoring and Professional Development Program is made possible with funds from the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Council on the Arts

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