Folk Arts

Folk Art is the work of skilled artisans, traditional performers, storytellers and others whose practice builds on a foundation of community or family-based culture, or occupational trades learned in apprenticeships with skilled masters. Folk Arts are typically not learned in art schools, conservatories or dance academies, but from parents, grandparents, skilled mentors and community based teachers. These artists may not strive for original expression itself; but their art expresses something very deep about their roots and the tradition of their practice. In celebrating folk traditions, ArtsWestchester acknowledges and honors the skilled arts of our region and the places of origin of Westchester’s many immigrant communities. The region’s cultural diversity is a great asset to our community, and an important means of sharing and breaking down barriers between neighbors and communities.

ArtsWestchester’s Folk Arts Program began in 1996, documenting a vital work tradition in the region: the work of past and contemporary stonemasons. Since then, the program has presented at least half a dozen public programs each year, documenting and highlighting the diverse cultures of Westchester, collaborating with partner organizations throughout the county and offering promotional and cultural development services to artists, community groups and cultural organizations committed to the preservation and cultivation of folk arts.

If you are a Westchester-based traditional artist or community member interested in developing folk arts programming, please contact us for more information on how we may be able to serve you. To make an appointment, please contact our Director of Folk Arts, Aaron Paige at [email protected] or call 914.428.4220 x 329.


Graffiti and Hip Hop: When Street Art Becomes Public Art Becomes Gallery Art

“Murals are the people’s blackboard.” –Pablo Neruda

In conjunction with ArtsWestchester’s exhibition, From the Streets, we are proud to present a series of Folk Arts events, curated by Elena Martinez, Folklorist with City Lore and the Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center.


Meet the Mural Kings: “The Mural Kings” documentary screening,
followed by a Q&A with T ATS CRU (BIO, NICER, BG183) and Director, Mark Kotlinki
Saturday, April 29, 7PM | $10 | ArtsWestchester’s Gallery

Go behind the scenes with legendary muralists and graffiti artists, TATS CRU. A viewing of the acclaimed feature documentary “TATS CRU: THE MURAL KINGS”, exhibiting TATS CRU artists (BIO, BG183, and NICER) will join Director Mark Kotlinki for a Q&A.


Stories & Sounds from Back in the Day with Hip Hop Pioneers Grandmaster Caz and DJ Grandwizzard Theodore
Friday, June 16
, 7PM | $10  | ArtsWestchester’s Gallery

Join us for a night of performance and storytelling with songwriter, MC, and DJ, Curtis “Grandmaster Caz” Brown — an icon of early hip hop as a member of the Cold Crush Brothers. Caz will be accompanied by Grand Wizzard Theodore, the DJ credited with the “scratching” technique.


The Sisterhood of Hip-Hop
Saturday, June 17, 4PM | $10 | ArtsWestchester’s Gallery

Throughout the history of hip-hop, female performers and artists have pushed the boundaries and stereotypes of the art form to prove it isn’t just a man’s world. “The Sisterhood of Hip-Hop” will feature a lesson in part dances from “back in the day,” a panel discussion with graffiti artists and b-girls, and will be followed by a DJ and dance performance. Participating artists include DJ Perly, Karen “KayLove” Pedrosa, Peaches Rodriquez, and  Deena Clemente.


Around Westchester County
ArtsWestchester is proud to support and publicize the work of our affiliate cultural organizations around Westchester County in celebrating the diverse cultural traditions of our county.

Across America
The mid Atlantic region, New York State and the New York metropolitan area

CALL TO ARTISTSTraditional Music

ArtsWestchester is always looking for musicians, dancers, singers, storytellers and material artists with a skill learned through family or the community.

Practicing folk or traditional artists, please send information about your work to:

ArtsWestchester Folk Arts Program
31 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601

914.428.4220 x 329
email: [email protected]

The Folk Arts program receives support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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