Although the OFN arrived at the University of Oregon in 2010, Oregon has long had a public folklife program. Today, the University of Oregon provides financial and collaborative support from the Folklore Program, the Special Collections and University Archives (Knight Library), and the Arts Administration Program. The Knight Library provides OFN's office space, while Academic Extension provides administrative and fiscal oversight.
From 1977-2009, statewide services supporting folklife and traditional arts in Oregon were provided under the aegis of several organizations, first at the Oregon Arts Commission, next at Lewis and Clark College, and then at the Oregon Historical Society. The Oregon Folklife Program ceased program operations in June 2009, due to financial difficulties at the Oregon Historical Society. The Oregon Folklife Program was known for the exemplary leadership of its professional folklorists who planned and implemented high quality programs across the state.
In Fall 2009, the Arts Commission contracted with community cultural development consultant Bill Flood, to facilitate a planning process for a new and sustainable system for providing folklife services in Oregon. The Network model was created to build broad programmatic, institutional, and financial support for the state's public folklife program.
The Oregon Folklife Network, a new model for state, non-profit, and university partnership, opened its doors at the University of Oregon in Fall 2010. OFN represents an exciting collaboration of statewide agencies, grassroots organizations, and University resources. The Network continues to be a work in progress as we redefine our model and work with students, Tribes, and communities across the state. Check out Programs and Projects to see what we’re doing around Oregon.