About

Photo by Piper Hanson

Photo by Piper Hanson

What is Northwest Folklife?
Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest: community-powered, thanks to donors, sponsors and volunteers. Essential to Folklife is self-expression: communities bring their traditions, artists showcase their talents and audiences of all ages share in the magic.

Northwest Folklife presents ‘living traditions:’ arts and culture as a way of life. From daily creativity to family traditions and community customs, folklife is a part of each our daily lives. Echoing the US Library of Congress’ definition: “’folklife’ is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation.”  These Northwest Folklife programs afford access for all to participate together with no financial barrier, creating the most inclusive, wide-reaching arts experiences for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in the region:

Photo by Piper Hanson

Photo by Piper Hanson

Northwest Folklife Festival
Contra and Cajun dancing; Polkas and poetry, films and fiddles; sea chanties, spoon playing and Scandinavian storytelling: the possibilities are endless, representing the arts and culture of the region over Memorial Day Weekend at Seattle Center. In 2015, the Festival featured 133 community showcases, 5,000 performers on 25 stages, 160 street performers, 90 hours of participatory dance, Kid’s Discovery Zone, and about 235,000 folks in attendance.

Seattle Children’s Festival
Northwest Folklife’s Seattle Children’s Festival is a one-day, multi-cultural festival held on Seattle Center grounds, “Celebrating Our Big Neighborhood.” Music, story-telling, dance, cooking, crafts and more spark curiosity and promote cross-cultural understanding, exploration, and acceptance. More than 25 performances and 5 indoor venues, with over 3,000 parents and kids in attendance. In its second year, this year’s date is October 11, 2015.

Photo by Piper Hanson

Photo by Piper Hanso

Folklife Presents
Curated, family-friendly cultural arts performances have featured Dog Pound B-boys, La Peña Flamenca de Seattle, Sohoyini Dance – African Drum & Dance, Kalahi Philippine Dancers, and many others.

Northwest Folklife is Community
The Pacific Northwest is home to an extraordinary group of communities—ethnic, familial, occupational, religious, and regional—and we believe it is important to celebrate and help sustain the traditions of all of those groups. Doing so revitalizes people and communities and helps preserve cultural heritage for years to come. We believe that when people share their way of life, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes and increase respect for one another.

Explore artist interviews, video, and recordings at www.nwfolklife.org/blog.

Northwest Folklife was founded in 1972, with the first Northwest Folklife Festival. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our Tax ID # is 91-1311548.