Since its founding in 1987, Philadelphia Folklore Project has documented, supported, and presented Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture to sustain living cultural heritage in communities. Annually, the Folklore Project offers exhibitions, concerts, and workshops to artists and communities. The organization conducts ongoing field research into community-based local arts, history, and culture, and preserves a record of Philadelphia's folklife in its archive. Projects that Center funding has supported include Dance Happens Here, which presented dancers who share their cultural lineage through movement; a community documentation training program; and the development of the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change, which addresses urgent issues of violence against women in Philadelphia’s growing Liberian community through performances. In 2017, the Folklore Project received Center funding to present Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer, a concert of new compositions, written and performed by three generations of women who bring contemporary meaning to klezmer music. In 2021, the organization received a Re:imagining Recovery grant to strengthen Philadelphia Folklore Project’s mission to sustain the vitality of folklife and living cultural heritage through collaborative community archives and multimedia storytelling projects through reorganized staff structures, upgraded digital tools, and a newly envisioned folk art and social change fellowship.
The Philadelphia Folklore Project will work closely with local Liberian artists to develop "pop-up" public performances that interpret the Liberian immigrant experience through music and song. The city is home to some 35,000 Liberians, including many immigrants who have experienced war, loss, and displacement in recent years; the pop-up performances will take place in identified areas where Liberians live and gather, including shopping centers, cab stands, and churches. The Chorus for Change project will give talented women in this community the agency and wherewithal to openly discuss these histories with their fellow Liberians, as well as related issues of domestic and gender violence, through forms in which they have fluency, bringing tradition to the forefront in an unexpected way. Liberian women will drive the project in a concentrated effort to forge dialogue between genders and generations about violence in Liberian history, and to encourage others to share their own stories, with the potential to inspire meaningful social change.