Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.
In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make a $30,000 award to the Oregon Folklife Network to continue its ongoing statewide Folklife Survey which began in 2013. The NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in this funding round.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one from Oregon Folklife Network represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”
OFN’s Executive Director, Riki Saltzman, commented, “We are thrilled to have this support to continue our documentation of Oregon’s living cultural heritage. This award will fund Oregon’s folklife survey in Union, Wallowa, Baker, Grant, Wheeler, Crook and Deschutes counties.”
During the next year, through July 2016, the Oregon Folklife Network will work with veteran folklorist Douglas Manger to identify culture keepers in eastern Oregon. Manger will also be mentoring emerging folklorists as he documents regional, ethnic, and occupational folklore of Asian, Latino, and European groups as well as such occupations as ranching, logging, mining, hunting, railroad and orchard working, farming, fishing, and other waterways traditions along with foodways, music, quilting, rodeo-related activities, cowboy poetry, saddle making, trapping, storytelling, and more.
The OFN’s statewide survey has so far identified over 80 folk and traditional artists in 11 counties along the Columbia River Gorge and Southern Oregon as well as at the Klamath Tribes, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, and the Burns Paiute. OFN not only preserves this documentation in archives for research and education, but partners with local and state organizations to refer tradition bearers and folk artists for programs in parks, arts organizations, libraries, or festivals.