Folk and Traditional Arts

​​​​​​​​The folk and traditional arts of Wisconsin have grown through time within the many cultural groups and communities that make up the state’s residents—communitites that emerge from shared ethnicity, language, religion, occupation, recreational pursuit, or geographic region. These artistic practices are shaped by the aesthetics and values of a shared culture and are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community through observation, conversation, and practice.​ This area of emphasis seeks to enhance the appreciation and ensure the continued vitality of the folk and traditional arts of Wisconsin.​​​​

Who May Apply

Any organization that fulfills the general eligibility requirements is eligible to apply to this component if its proposed project meets the “Goals of the Folk Arts Component.” This may include cultural and community groups, tribes, local arts agencies, museums, or libraries.

Goals of the Folk Arts Component

The goals of this component are:

  • ​​to identify, assist, and honor the finest traditional artists;
  • ​to support the cultural activities of traditional communities in which such artists flourish; and
  • to make the significance of Wisconsin’s multicultural heritage available to the wider public.

This component does not seek to stem the flow of artistic change or innovation within the traditions.

Types of Activities Funded

The Folk Arts component encourages projects involving community or family-based arts that have endured through generations, carry with them a community aesthetic and demonstrate artistic excellence within that aesthetic. Examples include projects that:

  • ​​present traditional arts and artists in festivals, concerts, exhibits, and workshops;
  • present folk and traditional arts and artists through various media: film, video, audio, radio, still photographs, websites and digital media, and
  • provide services to the field of folk arts through conferences, surveys, and assistance to local programs.

Types of Activities Not Funded​​​

In addition to activities listed here, the following are examples of projects not funded through the Folk Arts component:

  • ​​​research, except as a necessary part of a presentation project;
  • the purchase of equipment such as cameras or tape recorders;
  • book publishing (although exhibit catalogues or pamphlets may be supported as part of a project);
  • projects that attempt to reenact long-ago life styles, e.g., historical festivals or pageants;
  • theater or dance companies that dramatize or choreograph traditional folk-inspired dance and music;
  • projects involving contemporary studio crafts, acoustic music composers or song writers; or
  • ​ethnic arts learned in fine arts or academic institutions.

For more information on Creative Communities - Folk Arts,​ please call Kaitlyn Berle (608-266-8106)​.​