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The New York Folk Arts Roundtable provides a professional development opportunity for those working in the field of folk and traditional arts.

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New York State Folk Arts Roundtable

Originated by the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Folk Arts Roundtable is over 25 years old and provides a professional development opportunity for those working in the field of folk and traditional arts. For several years, the roundtable was organized with the assistance of the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County; in 2011, the New York Folklore Society became the convening organization for the New York State Folk Arts Roundtable.

Annually, approximately 45 folklorists and community scholars gather for three days of training and discussion of issues relevant to the work of folklorists and traditional arts advocates. Everyone attending the Roundtable actively participates through discussing their own experiences with folk arts programming, and by attending sessions of general interest to the folk arts field. New program ideas and collaborative projects often develop out of discussions and experiences at the Roundtable.

2014 FOLK ARTS ROUNDTABLE December 2–4, Troy, NY
The Roundtable will be held at three venues in Troy. Our headquarters hotel for lodging, nightly jam sessions, and the final sessions on December 4th is the Best Western Franklin Square Inn, located at One Fourth Street in downtown Troy. A welcome lunch at Noon on Tuesday, December 2nd and the What We’re Doing small group roundtables will take place a few blocks from the Best Western at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, with the opening session at the Arts Center beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3rd will be devoted to a workshop on video documentation, “How to Cover the Action,” which will take place at the Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Avenue, Troy. We will all gather in the lobby of the Best Western at 9:00 a.m. to carpool for the short drive to the Sanctuary. Lunch will be provided at a nearby location in North Troy, and we’ll finish the video workshop at 4:30 p.m. Roundtablers will reconvene at the Best Western at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 4th for a session about current projects and future directions for the New York Folklore Society, followed by presentations of what’s up at the New York State Council on the Arts and a statewide project to train year-round folk arts programs to digitize their documentation, edit this material and prepare it in a form suitable for the internet and social media. We will conclude with a wrap-up session evaluating this year’s Roundtable and planning the 2015 Roundtable, to be held in May. See program.

SEE PHOTOS from the 2013 Roundtable

2013 Roundtable
For the past two years, the Roundtable has met in Saratoga Springs. In 2012, the Roundtable was planned in conjunction with two other affinity groups: the Mid-Atlantic Folklore Association and the Folklorists in New England (FINE), expanding the attendance to number in attendance to approximately 80 individuals and including folklorists from as far away as Washington, DC, and Maine. Focused on a theme of sustainability, the group spent one day exploring southern Washington County and its use of traditional arts and agriculture to sustain the local economy. The New York Folklore Society is especially appreciative of Sally van de Water of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for her work as co-chair of the event, for Todd DeGarmo’s organizing the day in Washington County, and of Empire State College and Hubbard Hall in Cambridge for providing additional meeting venues.

Besides professional development opportunities, the New York Folklore Society hosted a charity auction of donated art and publications. A highlight of the 2012 Roundtable Auction was the addition of custom-made bobble head dolls by Eileen Condon which featured noted New York State folklorists.

Robert Baron bobble head doll
Bobble Head Doll of NYSCA Folk Arts Director, Robert Baron, displayed by Emily Socolov.


auctioneer Kay Turner
NYFS board member, Kay Turner, providing her expert auctioneering skills.

Mid-Atlantic Folklorists’ Retreat and New York Folk Arts Roundtable
“Sustaining Culture: A Regional Conversation”
Saratoga Springs, New York
May 23–25, 2012
“Sustaining Culture: A Regional Conversation,” brought together folk and traditional arts practitioners, professionals and enthusiasts from the mid-Atlantic region and New England. The meeting included professional development workshops, a conversation with local cultural activists, documentary film screening, and field trips, along with the opportunity to meet informally with peers. Public sector and academic folklorists, community scholars, tradition bearers, students, and others interested in traditional culture were welcome to attend.

The Retreat was a project of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the Folk Arts Program, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Folklore Society, and Folklorists in New England. For more information, contact Sally Van de Water, Program Associate, Folk & Traditional Arts at 410/539-6656 x 107 or sally@midatlanticarts.org.Mid-Atlantic Arts Folklorists

READ Todd DeGarmo’s article, “Local Sustainability in the Battenkill Valley”: Focus of Folklorist Retreat in Washington County, in Voices, 38-1-2.

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