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Be Driven by the Arts
Folklife & Traditional Arts
SC Arts Commission Folklife & Traditional Arts Program
The Folklife and Traditional Arts Program is designed to encourage, promote, conserve, and honor the diverse community-based art forms that make South Carolina distinct. The major initiatives of the program serve both established and emerging cultural groups that call South Carolina home.
What are Traditional Arts?
The traditional arts are art forms and practices that contribute to the shared identity of a particular group. This group may share a common ethnic background, language, religion, region, occupation, etc. Lineage and continuity are key to identifying traditional art forms, which reflect a community's values, aesthetics, and experiences.
While an artist may be very skilled in a particular art form, it is their identity as a member of a specific community and the manner in which the art form was learned that indicate whether the artist is a traditional artist. Traditional artists are not self taught and do not learn from books, magazines, workshops or classes; instead, their art forms are learned and handed down as part of their community's cultural life.
Grants funded by the Folklife and Traditional Arts Program are used to strengthen traditions within a community and educate people outside of a particular community about the traditional art and its significance.