What is the Oregon Folklife Network?

Dentalium hair ornaments2_TAAP project work_Minthorn

Umatilla Dentallium Hair Ornaments
Modesta Minthorn, 2012 TAAP Apprentice

The OFN represents a collaboration of diverse and statewide culture and heritage partners to document, support, preserve, and promote Oregon’s traditional art forms and cultural practices. Unlike the state arts agency, historical society, not-for-profit, or even other university-based models for state public folk arts programs, OFN exists thanks to a variety of community, Tribal, and operational partners (Oregon Arts Commission*, Oregon Cultural Trust*, Oregon Heritage Commission*, Oregon Historical Society*, Oregon Humanities, Oregon State Library, and the broad resources of the University of Oregon*) and a variety of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and those noted with an asterisk (*). Those resources enable OFN to document Oregon’s folk and traditional artists and provide technical assistance to artists, organizations, Tribes, and communities; create new opportunities for folk artists to present their works; and produce high quality public programming about Oregon’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

The Oregon Folklife Network serves as a hub for statewide folklife activities in partnership with our operational partners and community partners, including Oregon Tribes, community-based cultural organizations, museums, regional cultural alliances, local arts agencies, K12 schools, universities and colleges, and public libraries.

Our Mission

The Oregon Folklife Network makes a meaningful difference in Oregon communities and Tribes by documenting, supporting, and celebrating our diverse cultural traditions and by empowering our tradition-bearers.

What Is Folklife?

Folklife–also known as folklore, folk art, or traditional art–encompasses the everyday knowledge, art, and lore that are passed within communities through imitation, conversation, and practice. These are arts rooted in the cultural life of a community whose members share a common language, ethnic heritage, religion, occupation or geographic region. Our folklife changes as people change, as our environment changes, and as new and established groups interact. Folklife includes forms as new as hip hop and as old as Native American basket weaving.

Open Call: Folk Artists and Organizations

In addition to the resources on this site, Oregon Folklife Network staff is ready and willing to consult with you or your organization about folk and traditional arts ideas, plans, and opportunities.

Assistance can range from a simple e-mail or phone conversation, to more in-depth consulting. Reimbursement for travel (at state rates) or staff time (at $25/hour) may be requested for consultations that require substantial time; however we make every effort to keep such costs to a minimum.

For assistance with folk & traditional arts, contact:

Riki Saltzman, Executive Director

Emily Afanador, Program Manager

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