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.
Led by 2014 Pew Fellow Fatu Gayflor, the Liberian Women's Chorus for Change addresses urgent issues of violence against women in Philadelphia's growing Liberian community. The members of the chorus will adapt existing folk songs and write new ones in traditional styles, in the hopes of subverting historical narratives in which women are blamed, stigmatized, or victimized. The Chorus' goals are to foster conversation through song, generate collective strength to act, and offer options and resources for change. The Philadelphia Folklore Project will present the Chorus in local Liberian neighborhoods as well as in concerts at World Cafe Live and other venues. The Philadelphia Folklore Project received a 2013 Discovery Grant to explore the impact of the Chorus' work.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*