What are Folk Arts?
Folk arts are shared expressions and ceremonies that form culturally specific traditions. They can be defined by occupation, geographic region, language or religious practices and are passed down from generation to generation or through a specific community. Folk Arts may be handicrafts, music, dance, religion, and even foodways!
The Folklife Program for New Jersey’s mission is to encourage various communities to identify unique cultural practices and traditions preserved by our residents. The Folklife Program for New Jersey both preserves folk traditions and presents regional master folk artists. We share and celebrate the cultural diversity in central NJ by presenting a variety of public programs and through studying and archiving these traditional art forms.
Each year, the Middlesex County Office of Arts & History plans a brand-new season, but also brings back a few popular favorites. Annual programs have included: Pysanky – Ukrainian Easter egg decorating workshop, Palaspas – Filipino weaving of the palms for Lent, and traditional Irish Music and Dance.
We also celebrate cultural traditions through storytelling and present culturally specific narratives that have been passed from generation to generation. They provide a sense of values, community, place, work, or play. These programs are periodically presented at East Jersey Old Town Village in Piscataway and at the Lodge in Thompson Park in Jamesburg/Monroe Township.
All folklife programs are open to the public, and are held at various sites throughout the county in the evenings and on weekends. Our programs are designed to address the public’s needs and are offered free of charge! All of our facilities are handicapped-accessible and our publications are available in Braille and large print. Sign Language interpreters are available upon request.
Programs are made possible through funding by Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State.
Contact the Middlesex County Office of Arts & History for a current schedule of folk arts events at 732-745-4489 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit our mobile website by texting culture to 56512.