A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Looking for Summer Plans? Try a Visit to the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival!

If you never have been, you should treat yourself to an amazing 10 day annual event on the national mall in Washington, DC. It is free, family friendly, rich in educational experiences, and truly enriching. This year, the festival runs from June 25 - 29 and July 2-6 between the Smithsonian museums. There are two large programs this year, China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa!

The first program, China: Tradition and the Art of Living will take visitors beyond the news headlines and ubiquitous mass-produced goods to highlight creativity, heritage, and masterful skill. It will show China as a country of diverse communities whose experiences reflect regional, occupational, and religious distinctions. And it will honor the people who, despite current change and pressures, are working to continue and adapt traditional culture in ways that are meaningful today. Through a variety of formal and informal strategies, communities are sustaining a rich range of traditions, including those that have been disrupted or threatened by such forces as war, natural disaster, and migration.

The second program, Kenya: Mambo Poa!, reflects a country of deeply rooted traditions and a vibrant cultural crossroads. Some of the oldest artifacts of human communities have been discovered in Kenya, making the East African country truly a cradle of humanity. Occurring just after the fiftieth anniversary of Kenya's independence from the British Empire, the Kenya: Mambo Poa! program will present the ways in which the people of Kenya are balancing protection of their valued cultural and natural heritage with the challenges and opportunities for change in the twenty-first century.
Festival visitors will be able to interact with exemplary craftspeople who work with everything from clay to soapstone to recycled materials, learn about important fossil discoveries by taking part in a model dig site from the Great Rift Valley, run with Kenya's Olympic athletes, dance to both traditional and contemporary music from many regions of the country, discover how Kenyans live among and work with some of the most magnificent wildlife on the continent, and experience Kenyan life in the United States.

The festival is one of the world's most remarkable festivals that attracts approximately one million visitors every year. Surrounded by Smithsonian museums that are also free, it is a great time of year for a family visit to Washington, DC. There are a number of special events too on the 4th of July...including special concerts, the national symphony performance, and the celebrated fireworks display.

To learn more about the festival visit: http://www.festival.si.edu/
All photos of Smithsonian Folklife Festival website.