Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts Launches Folk Life Web Series

This month, Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts will launch a series of web presentations and lectures focusing on Arkansas folk art, traditions and folk life. Folklorist Jan Rosenberg will kick things off by showcasing gospel music and folk education in southern Arkansas from 3-4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21, on Zoom. Registration is required. The series will continue through October 2022, with events occurring on the third Thursday of each month. All sessions are free and open to the public. Recordings of presentations will be hosted on the lLibraries YouTube channel.

Upcoming presentations will cover topics ranging from beekeeping to astrology and feature information on Arkansas folk artists, tradition bearers, folklorists and authors.

“In the time I have spent talking with many different people who work with or as tradition bearers in Arkansas, many people have asked if there would be a way to share their knowledge, their folk art and their traditions with a wider audience,” said series organizer and Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts staff member Lauren Willette. “Facilitating an online platform has allowed me to feature and reach people across the state of Arkansas.”

Rosenberg has been involved in folk education since 1980, using fieldwork and school ethnography to develop and present the curriculum. She is a founding member of the Folklore and Education Section of the American Folklore Society. As Folklife Coordinator for the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council between 1990 and 1996, she conducted extensive fieldwork in 12 southwestern Arkansas counties and worked with residents to create programs highlighting the traditional cultures of the region. It was through this work that she was exposed to a deep affinity for the traditions of Southern Gospel, Country, and African American songwriting. She is particularly interested in the use of folk life at the beginning of the progressive education movement.

“In addition to programming, I pursue research into the historical nature of folklore and education and have posted on those links,” Rosenberg said. “The missions of education and folklore are strikingly similar, the main distinction between the two being in the forms of transmission. In education, the school is the source of learning, whereas in popular life, it is family and community. Yet in all of them there is an importance attached to personal knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. Teachers have used folklore in their lessons since forever. folklore and education, in my view, must continually advance this point.

All 2022 Arkansas Folklife web series sessions will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.

  • May 19: Folk Art Presentations by Current Master Artists of Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program: Pat Bergman, blacksmith; Sage Holland, glassblower and pearler; and Allison Williams, musician.

  • June 16: James and Vera White will share the history, stories and songs from Elaine, Arkansas regarding the 1919 Elaine Massacre.

  • July 21: Maria Christina Moroles and Lauri Umansky will present their upcoming memoirs on Moroles’ life and work as founder and leader of Santuario Arco Iris.

  • August 18: Astrologer Maureen Richmond will present an overview of the historical origins of astrological practice.

  • September 15: Beekeeper Justin Lowe will present the basics of beekeeping and his work at Rural Route Farms.

  • October 20: Folklorist Rachel Reynolds will discuss holiday cooking traditions in the Ozarks and offer tips for making a classic holiday dish.

Questions regarding the 2022 Arkansas Folklife web series can be directed to Lauren Willette at [email protected]

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts is a statewide program of the University of Arkansas Libraries dedicated to building cross-cultural understanding by documenting, presenting, and supporting the living traditional arts and cultural heritage of Arkansas.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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