National Endowment for the Arts acting chair Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of its first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019-2020. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $55,000 to the Oregon Folklife Network to support a folklife survey on Oregon’s north and central coast. Art Works is the National Endowment for the Arts’ principal grantmaking program.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal and to celebrate,” Carter said in a press release.

“Oregon Folklife Network is so pleased to have another year of NEA support for our documentation of Oregon’s living cultural heritage,” said Riki Salttzman, the network’s executive director, in the release.

With the newly secured funding, Oregon Folklife Network will work with folklorists Douglas Manger and Joe O’Connell to identify culture keepers in cultural, occupational, regional, and religious traditions in the Northwest and Central Oregon Coast counties of Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, as well as the coastal sections of Lane and Douglas counties.

Saltzman said that the researchers are looking to include folk and traditional artists from a range of heritage groups, including but not limited to, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Latinos, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and Europeans. They are also hoping to document examples of the areas’ occupational folklore, including chainsaw carving, hunting, dairy farming, commercial fishing, clamming, shrimping, and other waterways traditions. The folklorists will also document foodways, music, storytelling, and other relevant folk expressions.

An ongoing project, the statewide survey has so far identified over 355 folk and traditional artists in 28 counties as well as in the Klamath Tribes, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, the Burns Paiute, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Oregon Folklore Network partners with local and state organizations and Tribes to refer tradition bearers and folk artists for programs in parks, art organizations, libraries, or festivals. They also preserve this documentation in their archives.

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