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What is Folklife? 

Folklife is comprised of traditional arts and skills that are passed down informally by word of mouth or customary example among groups of people who inherit them from family and community members. Some forms of folklife overlap with conventional arts disciplines such as music, dance, craft, or literature, while others include customs, celebrations, games, and occupational lore. Tennessee folklife includes older, regional forms that have been here for a long time, as well as traditional arts brought here recently by immigrant groups.

What does the Folklife Program do? 

We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and individuals across the state to document, preserve and present Tennessee’s ethnically diverse cultural heritage. In addition to offering partnership support and project grants, the Tennessee Folklife Program acts as a clearinghouse for information on the state’s folk culture and traditional artists. We offer technical assistance to individual folk artists as well as museums, festivals, community groups and researchers.

What does the Folklife Program fund?

We offer grant support for organizations that work with folklife traditions and projects such as festivals, concerts, exhibitions, publications, museum acquisitions, documentary recordings, heritage trails, and professional development for folk artists. The Folklife Program does not support strictly historical projects such as oral history. Our priority is to work with cultural expressions in ways that best benefit and reflect their communities of origin.

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