Folk Arts

What are folk arts? Folk arts are names for the arts that are rooted in community traditions, in collective experiences. This means that while individuals make up folklore, new stories, songs, or sayings, these arts endure because they name the experiences of many people. When we share stories at the end of the day, recall a proverb that gets to the heart of a situation, or eat traditional foods at holidays, we are using our own folk arts.

Calling these arts "folk" is a way of naming what is collective, community-based, or a peoples' tradition. It is a way of distinguishing arts that represent more than an individual point of view. The term is also used because, in this country, the creative expressions of ordinary people are not always seen as art, or as significant, or as part of a tradition. Because mainstream and elite notions of art generally marginalize the majority of world cultural and artistic traditions, the notion of "folk" art is a way of making equal room for all peoples' habits of expression and creativity.