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Folk Arts

The Folk Arts Program encourages the preservation and continuation of traditional culture and traditional/folk art throughout North Dakota. This is done through fieldwork that identifies and documents traditional art forms. This work is often used in exhibits, recordings, and other projects conducted by the NDCA. A number of books and enhanced CDs featuring traditional arts and culture are available for purchase through the NDCA. Accredited Summer Folklore and Folk Arts Classes are offered to K-12 teachers and the general public interested in learning more about folklore and folk art.

~ Grant Program available through Folk Arts includes the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship.

~ BLOCH, an interactive global art project featuring a large tree trunk, is making one stop at each continent and North Dakota has been selected as the North American location. It is currently being housed at In The Chips in Moorhead before making appearances at the Downtown Fargo Street Fair (July 17-19), Napoleon and the Nokota Horse Conservancy in Linton (July 25), Taylor Horsefest (July 26), Fort Totten Days, Spirit Lake Indian Reservation (July 27), Rugby (July 28), Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation (July 29-31), and the Hjemkmost Center in Fargo/Moorhead (August 3). The core of this unique project is a large tree trunk called Bloch, which originates from an ancient Swiss tradition where the last tree felled for the season travels to several villages before being sold to the highest bidder. Swiss artists Com&Com have purchased Bloch with the intent expanding this tradition to reach the entire globe. It has traveled to Europe and Asia before coming to North America. The goal of Block is to create a dialogue among people, using artistic expression to develop a worldwide conversation about tradition, people and customs. As Bloch travels to each continent, local artists will contribute to Bloch and add their story or mark to the tree. For more information, pictures and updates, be sure to visit on the Bloch-Blog at http://www.bloch23781.com/home; or on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/comcomart?fref=ts.

~ North Dakota recipients of the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellows were featured in a free performance at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium on October 4, 2012, the recipients were Paul & Darlene Bergren, Dog Sled and Snowshoe Designers and Builders from Minot, ND. To view photos and watch the concerts, visit www.arts.gov/honors/heritage/gallery2012/gal.php?event_current=awards.

~ Online Folk Artist Documentaries and Lesson Plans
The following documentaries were produced by the North Dakota Council on the Arts in partnership with Prairie Public Broadcasting, the Bush Foundation, and the Spirit Room Gallery.  Four lesson plans (one pre, two while viewing, and one post viewing) for teachers and students are associated with each documentary.  The lesson plans are based on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s Standards and Benchmarks. Schools and teachers are encouraged also to utilize these documentaries, lesson plans, and featured artists themselves with the NDCA’s Artist-in-Residence and/or Teacher Incentive grant programs. For more information visit http://www.nd.gov/arts/grants/AIRguidelines.html; or http://www.nd.gov/arts/grants/TIguidelines.html.

  • A Lyrical Life: The Struggle and Hope of South Sudan (approximately 26 minutes):  This documentary introduces people to the culture, history, music, and dance of the Ma’di people of southern Sudan and northern Uganda. Through three traditional songs, the issues associated with the struggle of South Sudan are revealed; centuries-old conflicts over religion, slavery, race, genocide, displacement, war, and refugee status. “Hope” refers to the reconciliation process taking place in Africa and in America in places like North Dakota where the featured musicians now live. www.ndstudies.org/media/a_lyrical_life_the_struggle_and_hope_of_south_sudan
  • Lesson plans with Benchmarks and Standards for Grades 9-12: English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Music, www.nd.gov/arts/arts_ed/images-pdfs/LyricalLife.pdf
  • Kalendo is a track and music video from the enhanced CD Achikadidi: Traditional Ma’di Music of Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda produced by the North Dakota Council on the Arts in 2003. The song was a favorite of Ma’di militiamen who fought in the 1980s in Sudan’s civil war. It describes the weariness of war and the desire to return to a life of farming. Watch the YouTube video via this link.
  • Turtle and Pretty Crane (approximately 9 minutes):  This documentary features renowned Mandan and Hidatsa storyteller and flute player Keith Bear from Drags Wolf Village on the Forth Berthold Indian Reservation of north-western North Dakota.  The traditional story told is included also in greater detail on the NDCA produced CD Morning Star Whispered.  The narrative is described by Keith as an American Indian “Romeo and Juliet.” www.ndstudies.org/media/prairie_artists_keith_bear_turtle_and_pretty_crane
  • Lesson plans with Benchmarks and Standards for Grades 9-12: Music, English Language Arts, and Social Studies, www.nd.gov/arts/arts_ed/images-pdfs/TurtleAndPrettyCrane.pdf
  • God Given: Cultural Treasures of Armenia (approximately 10 minutes):  The exquisite metal repoussé artistry and life experiences of Norik Astvatsaturov, formerly of Baku, Azerbaijan, now an American citizen in Wahpeton, North Dakota, reflect in microcosm the history and culture of Armenia.  Armenia is an ancient country in Eurasia’s mountainous Transcaucasian region within an area often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Civilization.’  Because of its position as a crossroads between East and West, Christian and Muslim, Armenia’s existence is marked throughout by turbulent occupation and persecution stemming, in part, from cultural and religious intolerance.
    www.ndstudies.org/media/prairie_artists_norik_astvatsaturov_god_given_cultural_treasures_of_armenia
  • Lesson plans with Benchmarks and Standards for Grades 9-12: Visual Arts, English Language Arts, and Social Studies, www.nd.gov/arts/arts_ed/images-pdfs/GodGiven.pdf
  • Online lesson plans for The Blue Heron Who Stayed for the Winter from the enhanced CD My Relatives Say: Traditional Dakotah Stories as Told by Mary Louise Defender Wilson:  This teacher’s guide will introduce your students to the stories, legends, culture and language of renowned storyteller Mary Louise Defender Wilson and the Dakotah tribe.  The narrative describes what happens to a blue heron who struggles with the dangerous winter conditions of the Northern Great Plains while other species of birds rally their own unique skills to help the blue heron survive.  Four lesson plans (one pre, two while listening, and one post listening) for teachers and students are associated with the story.  The lesson plans are based on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s Standards and Benchmarks.  Schools and teachers are encouraged also to utilize this enhanced CD, lesson plans, and featured artist with the NDCA’s Artist-in-Residence and/or Teacher Incentive grant programs. For information on Artist-in-Residence and Teacher Incentive visit www.nd.gov/arts/grants/AIRguidelines.html; or www.nd.gov/arts/grants/TIguidelines.html.
  • Lesson plans with Benchmarks and Standards for Grades K-6: English Language Arts and Social Studies, www.nd.gov/arts/arts_ed/images-pdfs/BlueHeronWhoStayedForTheWinter.pdf
  • For more information on the CD and to hear a sample of the story visit www.nd.gov/arts/whatsnew/publications_recordings.html.

For more information, contact Troyd Geist at (701) 328-7590 or tgeist@nd.gov.

 
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