FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas Libraries have been approved for a $25,000 grant through the Grants for Arts Projects, which will support Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts’ Community Scholars Program.

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts is a statewide outreach program of the University of Arkansas Libraries. This project will provide free training across the state centered on equipping and empowering Arkansas communities to document, present and sustain their traditional culture and arts.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said Ann Eilers, acting chair for the National Endowment for the Arts. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts’ Community Scholars Program will be modeled after the Kentucky Arts Council’s longstanding and successful training of the same name.

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts will host three trainings throughout the project year in different geographic regions of Arkansas in partnership with hosting organizations and/or individuals. Each training will include five sessions designed to introduce folklore and folk art, teach oral history and fieldwork skills and provide examples for how communities can archive or showcase their research.

“The NEA’s support will help us grow a network of Community Scholars across the state who are aligned with our own mission to document, present and sustain Arkansas’ rich cultural heritage,” said Virginia Siegel, coordinator for Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts. “Community Scholars are already the experts of their communities and we hope this program will provide resources to strengthen these experts’ toolkits.”

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