Skip to main content
  • Story Circle: What Must Be Done Now – Folklife Festivals, Community Commitments, and Re-Envisioned Futures

    When: Thursday, October 15, 7–7:45 p.m. ET
    Where: Streaming online
    Category: Narrative Session
    Real-time captioning available

    Watch and comment on Facebook or YouTube

    In the age of COVID-19, widespread demands for transformative social justice, and urgent calls for environmental sustainability, do folklife festivals matter? Can they help communities shape a largely ill-defined “new normal”? How are festival producers addressing immediate organizational challenges while safeguarding long-held commitments to the communities they serve? How are festival leaders using this moment to (re)envision the future of their work? 

    Join us for a wide-ranging conversation about the impact of the “fierce urgency of now” on folklife festivals with Maribel Alvarez, Tucson Meet Yourself Program Director; Kelli Faryar, Northwest Folklife Executive Artistic Director; and Amy Grossmann, North Carolina Folk Festival President and CEO. Sabrina Lynn Motley, Smithsonian Folklife Festival Director, moderates.


    This event is presented as part of the American Folklore Society’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

    American Folklore Society logo

    About the Participants

    Maribel Alvarez is an anthropologist, folklorist, writer, and curator. She holds the Jim Griffith Chair in Public Folklore at the Southwest Center and is associate research professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. She founded the Southwest Folklife Alliance, which produces the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival and more than twenty other programs connecting heritage practices, artisanal economies, foodways, and traditional arts to community planning and neighborhood-based economic development.

    Kelli Faryar was appointed as Northwest Folklife’s executive artistic director in August 2017 after a ten-year tenure. She expanded programming with the addition of the Indie Roots program, the annual Seattle Children’s Festival, Our Big Neighborhood year-round program, and the launch of the Youth Residency. She oversees Northwest Folklife’s annual Cultural Focus program, which showcases diverse community groups from the Pacific Northwest.

    Amy Grossmann is president and CEO of the North Carolina Folk Festival, a three-day celebration of folk and traditional arts that has been held annually in Greensboro since 2015. Amy’s career in the nonprofit arts sector has focused on building and growing programs that celebrate diverse expressions of culture from across the world. Prior to arriving in Greensboro, she held roles with major cultural institutions across the country, including the National Council for the Traditional Arts in Maryland and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.