Susan Lankin-Watts in concert. Photo by Alan Lankin.
Liberian Women's Chorus for Change: Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Zaye Tete, and Tokay Tomah, 2013. Photo by Anna Mulé, courtesy of the Philadelphia Folklore Project.
Participants at a Philadelphia Folklore Project tatreez workshop, in conjunction with the exhibition Tatreez: Needlework of Palestinian women from Philadelphia, curated by Nehad Khader. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Folklore Project.
Palestinian needlework (tatreez) artists Wafai Dias, Maisaloon Dias, Alia Sheikh-Yousef, and Nehad Khader look at work. Tatreez patterns from women’s home villages, now occupied or destroyed, are assertions of Palestinian history. From the exhibition Tatreez: Needlework of Palestinian women from Philadelphia, curated by Nehad Khader. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Folklore Project.
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.