The Oregon Folklife Network is delighted to announce that after a very long search, Dr. Rachelle (Riki) Saltzman has accepted the position of Executive Director. Riki brings extensive experience in both public and academic folklore to the position, which requires her to oversee all OFN programs and operations. She has an excellent track record in public sector folklore at the state level, having served as the Folklife Coordinator, Grants Administrator, and Accessibility Coordinator for the Iowa Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, for the past seventeen years. Previous to this position, she worked broadly in the field of public folklore at private non-profit and state agencies in eight states–including Tennesee, Mississippi, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania–where she directed folklife festivals and other public programs, organized conferences, curated exhibits, conducted research, and received grants from the NEA and NEH as well as from state and non-profit organizations.
This is an exciting development for the Oregon Folklife Network, which after less than two years in operation is already making a significant impact in the state of Oregon and at the University of Oregon with its mission to document, sustain, and promote Oregon’s folklife and cultural heritage through research and public programming. This year’s highlights include:
- Launching NEA-funded Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program that funds the passing of traditional arts to new practitioners within their communities. We elicited 38 applications from nearly 40% of Oregon’s counties.
- Launching NEA-funded Native Language Arts Apprenticeship Collaboration with Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Northwest Indian Language Institute. Project integrates language revitalization and basketry revitalization to teach traditional basket-weaving in the Chinuk language to a wide age-range of tribal members.
- Developing a Community Self-Documentation Tool Kit with partners at the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Latino Heritage Collaboration, and Washington County Museum. Kit provides free online resources and fee-based workshops for communities to document their own histories and heritages
- Developing a Folklife in Education committee that has already undertaken two initiatives: a teacher-centered Continuing Education conference/workshop in Fall 2012 and a pilot “Culture and Education Alliance” (based on the Kentucky “Cultural Consortium” model) for mutual support between local cultural organizations and K-12 school districts.
Riki will begin full-time at OFN July 2. In addition to the public programming expertise that she brings to OFN, Riki has also sustained a rigorous scholarly agenda. We are excited to read A Lark for the Sake of Their Country , her recently published book that examines the role of upper and middle class strike breakers in defining Englishness during the 1926 General Strike (Manchester University Press). With this combination of applied and academic excellence, Riki will not only provide strong oversight to the OFN, but will serve as a mentor to Program Manager Emily Afanador, internship supervisor, and instructor for students of folklore and arts administration.
Lisa Gilman (and the rest of the OFN gang)