“WHAT WOULD JANE DO?” SUSTAINING FOLKLORE VILLAGE’S FUTURE THROUGH COLLECTIVE MEMORY
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Type of Work63 p.
ProgramMA in Cultural Sustainability
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Cultural sustainability -- Capstone (Graduate)
In 1967, folk dancer Jane Farwell opened a rural and traditional arts organization in the middle of Southwest Wisconsin. She called it Folklore Village, “a happy personification of fine recreation, combining game, music, and folk materials .” As described on the organizational website, “Jane created a unique philosophy of recreation that blended seasonal celebrations, ethnic traditions, and emphasizes the importance of rural communities, family, and people of all ages creating their own "fun.” Over the years since, Folklore Village has grown as a community where traditional dancers can learn ethnic dances from leaders in the Folk Dance field. Some members of this community have been around since its initial founding fifty years ago. Despite these deep roots, funding for Folklore Village has been on the decline: donations are steadily dropping 20% each year. Between the financial difficulties and the aging Folklore Village community, it has become clear that collecting and preserving community knowledge must be part of the conversation about sustaining the organization’s future. Using Farwell’s philosophy, “Live, Preserve, Teach,” which Farwell suggests as a way for people of different cultural backgrounds to come together and connect via cultural exchange , and melding it with Oldenburg’s theory of “The Great, Good Place , where people from different communities can come together to form a “Third Space,” this paper, framed through my experience as an intern being trained to present rural arts programming, will look at how “third spaces”, spaces that meet the middle ground between work and home, can be used to preserve and sustain community. In creating this archive for the organization, I propose that it will act as a “third space” within Folklore Village, giving people contributing to it a place to connect with one another over a shared history with the organization.
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