Community Scholars in the Portland Metro at IRCO

Thanks to the diligent fieldwork of folklorists Nancy Nusz, Douglas Manger, and Makaela Kroin, OFN was able to invite several recommended community scholars from the Portland Metro for our first training workshop of its kind. Twelve of us gathered on Sunday, June 3, 2018 to talk about our traditions, our cultures, and how to document them. We learned about Asian Indian fashion and henna, Mexican ballet folklórico, and more.  After introductions and some pointers about ethnography, we paired off to interview each other about the meaningful objects everyone was asked to bring. After much intense conversation, curious questions, and laughter, the group created a wonderful collective pop-up exhibit, complete with labels. Sushmita Podar took charge of creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement that showcased the diversity of backgrounds and the many things we all value.

Thanks to all who took part, including folklorist Tiffany Purn; OFN intern Brandie Roberts; historian Nikki Mandell;  business owner, Bollywood dancer,  and henna expert Sushmita Podar; librarian and community worker Rita Martinez-Salas; folklórico dancers Kenya Marquez, Gloria Vilchis, and Kelly Cowan; and Washington Co. Cultural Coalition members Sharon Morgan and Nancy Schick. This workshop was funded in part by a Folk & Traditional Arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Attendees group photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFN at the 2018 FisherPoets Gathering

Cloudy weather couldn’t dim our enjoyment of the FisherPoets Gathering

Every year, the FisherPoets Gathering brings together fishermen from around the world to Astoria, OR during the last weekend in February to share their poetry, prose, and song and to celebrate the commercial fishing industry. This year’s FisherPoets Gathering featured over 100 performers at 8 different venues, workshops, a poetry slam, and the ever-popular Saturday night poetry contest. For the 5th year running, Oregon Folklife Network staff, students, and volunteers were all there to help document the weekend.

OFN Executive Director Riki Saltzman, Graduate Assistant Brad McMullen, OFN Program Manager Alina Mansfield, students Brandie Roberts and Kayleigh Graham, and volunteer folklorist Tiffany Purn spent the weekend experiencing the events and interviewing fisherpoets, documenting their poetry and their commercial fishing heritage. We got to see a number of fantastic performances from fisherpoets like Harlan Bailey, Rich Bard, Moe Bowstern, Meezie Hermansen, Tom Hilton, Cary Jones, Rob Seitz, and Cowboy Poet-in-Residence Ron McDaniel.

One event that stood out for first-timer Kayleigh Graham was the Strength of the Tides workshop, which focused on empowering women fishermen (their gender-preferred term) and other women who work in maritime industries. Strength of the Tides was well supported outside of its workshop too, with the movement getting shout-outs at performances throughout the weekend and lots of sightings of the new t-shirt.

For graduate student Brandie Roberts, another first-timer who described it as a weekend of “heartfelt expression,” what really stood out was her interview with fisherpoet Harlan Bailey. She writes, “For [Harlan], as with many others, gathering as the collective Fisherpoets means creating a space that staves off alienation and allows transformation – from the quotidian to the symbolic, and the mundane to the meaningful. Harlan Bailey will be back next year, and I’ll be in the audience to cheer him on.

(From L to R) Brandie Roberts, Brad McMullen, ED Riki Saltzman, Kayleigh Graham, & Tiffany Purn

As always, the FisherPoets Gathering is a great chance for fishermen to celebrate their industry and the art that they create in isolation and share as a community. The OFN is proud to attend every year and help document the stories of the men and women of the commercial fishing fleet, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s gathering!

Former OFN Staff Member Makaela Kroin Gets Job with Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission

It is with great excitement that we announce that Makaela Kroin, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s Folklore Program and the former program manager at the Oregon Folklife Network, has accepted a position as a public folklorist with the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission hired Kroin as the manager of the Folk & Traditional Arts Program. Founded in 2004 by public folklorist, Dr. Jens Lund, the Folk & Traditional Arts Program planted deep roots in state parks across Washington. Kroin, who started in January 2018, Makaela replaces Deborah Fant (one of OFN’s former contract folklorists), who retired in September 2017. Ryan Karlson, Parks’ Director of Interpretive Services, says “We are quite excited to have Makaela Kroin coming to Washington State Parks to lead our Folk & Traditional Arts Program. We look forward to building new partnerships and the reach of Folk & Traditional Arts programming within our diverse state park system.”

Kroin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Smith College, a Master’s Degree in Information and Communication Science from Ball State University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Folklore from the University of Oregon. During her time as Oregon Folklife Network’s Summer Folklore Fellow (2016) and Program Manager, Kroin conducted fieldwork, produced exhibits, coordinated public programs, wrote grants, and did extensive community outreach.

Kroin credits her mentors at the University of Oregon and the OFN for her success, “I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with world class scholars in the Folklore Program at the University of Oregon as well as the dedicated staff and interns at the OFN. It was the practical experience that I gained through internships and fellowships at the OFN that gave me the professional skills, the extensive network, and the confidence to flourish in the field of Public Folklore.”

At Washington State Parks, Kroin is responsible for coordinating the statewide Folk and Traditional Arts program and related community partnership development efforts. In 2018, she will oversee a packed schedule including annual events and festivals such as the Salish Sea Native American Cultural Celebration, Cambodian Cultural Celebration, and the American Roots Concert Series, as well as a collaboration with New Old Time Chautauqua to tour Washington State Parks and small towns in the North Central and North regions of Washington as well as the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation.

Willamette Valley Folklife Survey Project Folklorists, Spring 2018

Amy Howard

Amy Howard received a BA in Anthropology from Brigham Young University and an MA in American Studies and Folklore from Utah State University. Her love of folklore fieldwork began in 2007 on an undergraduate field study in Guatemala. Since then, she has interned at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, coordinated public programs, and worked on multiple documentation projects in Utah and Idaho. In 2013, she collaborated with other fieldworkers documenting and producing a book on quilting traditions in the Bear River Heritage Area. In 2015, she and two of her students documented artistic, occupational, and recreational traditions in the Southeast Idaho Snake River Plain for the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Together they created an exhibit and organized public performances at the Idaho Museum of Natural History. She is currently documenting traditional Mexican music in Southern Idaho, also for the ICA. She has worked at Idaho State University as an instructor since 2014, teaching courses in folklore, English composition, and Spanish. Contact: maxwamy@isu.edu 


 

Alina Mansfield

Alina Mansfield, OFN’s Program Coordinator, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Folklore and Mythology from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in Folklore from the University of Oregon. As a master’s student, Mansfield produced a documentary about material culture and costume making in Biloxi, Mississippi’s Mardi Gras festival. Mansfield served as OFN’s Summer Folklore Fellow, where she co-produced OFN’s 2017 publication, Oregon Traditional Arts Apprenticeship MasterArtists: 2012-2016, and managed OFN’s Oregon Culture Keeper’s roster. Mansfield holds a concurrent position as Archivist in the Randall Mills Archive of orthwest Folklore. Previously she was a Circulation Supervisor at UC Berkeley’s Doe/Moffitt Libraries. Contact:alinam@uoregon.edu


 

Thomas Grant Richardson

Thomas Grant Richardson (MA, Indiana University, ABD Indiana University) is an independent folklorist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has done ethnographic fieldwork across the western United States, the American midwest, Appalachia, Canada, and Scandinavia.He has worked for New Mexico Arts, Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe), Utah Folk Arts Program, Missouri Folk Arts Program, and the Minnesota Arts Board. He previously served as the Curator of Education and Outreach at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol TN/VA. He is also currently working with the Vermont Folklife Center and a team of fieldworkers to re-launch a fieldwork gear review site aimed at the needs of ethnographers. Contact: tgrantrichardson@gmail.com

2018 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program application now available, due April 1

We are currently accepting applications from master artists and their apprentices for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP). One of the Oregon Folklife Network’s cornerstone programs, TAAP assists master artists in teaching and passing on their living traditions to promising apprentices from the same cultural background. Master artists receive stipends to cover costs of focused, individualized training and a final public presentation. OFN hosts a biannual awards ceremony in Salem where legislators and government officials recognize master artists.

Download the application on our website and submit by April 1st.

Artists from a number of different traditions have participated in TAAP over the years. For a full list of participants, check out our Oregon Culture Keepers Roster – just type “TAAP” into the keyword search to see the full list. The 2017-2018 recipients are Palestinian embroiderer Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, horse trainer Tonya Rosebrook, Persian storyteller Azar Salehi, and Hanis Coos weaver Sara Siestreem.

OFN is honored to support these master artists in their efforts to keep and pass on their cultural traditions to the next generation. Keep your eye on our Vimeo and YouTube pages for upcoming interviews with these artists – and be sure to check out the interviews with some of our previous master artists while you wait!

Funding for TAAP comes from the National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts discipline and Oregon Arts Commission. The Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund provided further funding for our 2018-19 awardees. Additional support from the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Cultural Trust and the University of Oregon makes this program possible.

TAAP Artist Profile: Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim

 

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim is master Palestinian embroiderer. Born in the city of Safad in northern Palestine, her family fled to Syria and Jordan in 1948. After attending boarding school in Ramalla West Bank, Abbasi-Ghnaim returned to Syria to attend Damascus University, where she majored in art history. In 1980, her family immigrated to the United States. Abbasi-Ghnaim has dedicated herself to practicing and teaching her traditional craft. She has lectured and taught about Palestinian traditions at the University of Massachusetts, the Oral History Center of Cambridge, Portland State University, and Lewis and Clark College. She has collaborated with the World Affairs Council of Oregon and the Middle East Studies Center to participate in the “Teach the Middle East” forum, a set of workshop designed to train youth and K-12 educators about Middle East culture and arts. Since 2000, Abbasi-Ghnaim has taught workshops and classes in public schools in Beaverton, Milwaukie, Gresham, and Portland.

Palestinian embroidery features minute cross-stitching, most easily compared to counted cross-stitch. But the craft involves much more than a decorative art; stitches and design combine to tell stories with colors, symbols, and patterns. Abbasi-Ghnaim continues a centuries-old tradition that Palestinian women have employed to record their cultural observations. As Abbasi-Ghnaim explains, “Embroidery is the unwritten language transferring stories from woman to woman in silence. Needle and thread are the tools for documenting the history of their lives … The stories behind the patterns, the colors of the thread, and the fashion of traditional Palestinian dress are just as important as learning the cross-stitch and is something that can only be preserved through teaching and mentoring the younger generations.”

Abbasi-Ghnaim earned Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program awards with Oregon Folklife Network in 2012, 2014, and 2018 and worked extensively with the OFN’s predecessor folk and traditional arts programs in prior years.

To learn more about Feryal, check out her daughter’s book, Tatreez and Teahttps://tatreezandtea.com/

TAAP Artist Profile: Obo Addy

Obo Addy (January 15, 1936-September 13, 2012), Ghanaian Drumming, Portland (Multnomah), 2012

Obo Addy was a dynamic musician, generous teacher, and gifted composer. The son of a Ga wonche (medicine man), Addy was designated a master drummer at the age of six in Accra, Ghana. His life’s work was to share his culture through music, dance, and drum.

During childhood, he recalled, “I was constantly surrounded by … drumming, dancing, and singing …. My siblings and I listened, observed, and helped as needed when my father performed various spiritual ceremonies and rites. From these proceedings I learned about the power of music, drumming, and rhythms. In rituals, I first learned to play bell. Later, I was allowed to play drums. In between these events and lessons with my father, I played on my own and with other musicians at social gatherings in town. As a small boy, I knew that I wanted to be musician.”

In 1969, the Arts Council of Ghana employed Addy as a Ga master of the national music. He and his brothers performed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and toured internationally until Addy moved to Portland, Oregon. Addy was one of the first native African musicians to bring worldbeat (a fusion of traditional folk music and Western pop music) to the west. In 1978, he and his wife, Susan Addy, created Homowo African Arts and Cultures to promote Ghanaian music. Addy, who taught at Lewis and Clark College, created programs and curriculum to demonstrate the connections between African and African American music and dance, which he taught and performed around the United States.

In 1996, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Obo Addy a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States. His numerous recordings include Wonche Bi (2002) and Afieye Okropong (2003), released on the Alula label. In 2011, Homowo became the Obo Addy Legacy Project to further honor his contributions.

To learn more about the Obo Addy Legacy Project, check out their website: http://oboaddylegacyproject.org/