IFAM: What is folk art?

  • FOLK ART is rooted in traditions that come from culture and community.
  • FOLK ART techniques may be self-taught or learned in a school or family setting.
  • FOLK ART employs an infinite range of physical materials, as well as the immaterial vehicles of dance, music, spoken word, and food.
  • FOLK ART is made by hand for both for community use as well as for sale to external audiences.
  • FOLK ART is a living discipline, constantly changing and transforming. It reflects the lives of its diverse makers with varying combinations of history and tradition, cosmology and myth, beauty and wit, creativity and personal expression, as well as observations and descriptions of the world around us.
  • FOLK ARTISTS make the decisions about what they make and sell. This freedom keeps tradition alive with each new generation that embraces it.
  • FOLK ART is of, by, and for all people. It expresses ways in which communities and individual makers shape and express nuanced systems of identity, gender, class, power, belief, economics, aesthetics, and creativity.