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Folklife & Traditional Arts
About the survey
The South Carolina Arts Commission’s Folklife and Traditional Arts program, in collaboration with the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, has launched the Survey of South Carolina’s Tradition Bearers. Five folklorists have been contracted to identify traditional artists and folklife practitioners throughout the state.
Tradition bearers practice traditional arts handed down from generation to generation in an informal manner and not in a classroom. A special aspect of the survey involves work with refugees who have been resettled in S.C.
Individuals or organizations who know of tradition bearers or refugee communities are invited to contact Rusty Sox, at RSox@arts.sc.gov or 803-734-8899.
Download a copy of the survey results for the first 18 counties. (PDF)
Maria E. Arroyo has a doctorate degree in school psychology (Quito-Ecuador, South America) and is also a graduate of the S.C. Arts Commission's Institute for Community Scholars. Maria has been invited to present at conferences around the state and the U.S. about the advantages of biculturalism in an ever-changing society. Besides her daily work, Maria compiles traditions in El Recado newsletter, from the first generation of Spanish speaking families that have settled in the Lexington County area.
Sarah Bryan is a folklorist and fiddle player and a native of Myrtle Beach. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's Curriculum in folklore (MA, 2003), she has been a fieldworker and writer for the North Carolina Folklife Institute, based in Durham, since 2005; is the editor of the Old-Time Herald, a magazine about traditional Southern string band music; and has done extensive oral history research in Myrtle Beach and Horry County for Chapin Memorial Library and the Chapin Foundation. The most recent edition of Bryan's travel guide, “Moon North Carolina,” was published in 2010, and she is currently working with the North Carolina Arts Council on the book “African American Music Trails,” about the heritage of black musicians in eastern North Carolina.
Laura Marcus Green is an independent folklorist, writer, and consultant. With colleague Amy Skillman, she co-directs “Building Cultural Bridges,” a national initiative encouraging interdisciplinary support for refugee and immigrant arts and heritage through publications, presentations and community-based workshops. She is also conducting a folklife survey of immigrant cultural organizations and traditional artists in northern Louisiana for the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and is working with the Iowa Arts Council on a folklife survey of southeastern Iowa.
Previously, she founded the Arts for New Immigrants Program at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRC) in Portland, Oregon, and was program associate at the Fund for Folk Culture. Recent work focusing on refugee and immigrant arts and heritage includes curating the exhibit, “The Comforts of Home: Crafting a New Life in the Treasure Valley” at the Idaho State Historical Museum, in collaboration with the Idaho Arts Commission and the Idaho Office for Refugees. She has presented her work with refugee and immigrant traditional arts at numerous professional meetings and has worked with the state folk arts programs of Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Green holds a Ph.D. in folklore and anthropology from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore and cultural geography from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tim Prizer received his master's degree in folklore in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is now a doctoral student in anthropology. His M.A. thesis explored the responses of turpentine woodsmen in south Georgia and north Florida to the decline of their industry, looking especially to former workers' efforts to commemorate and preserve the memory of the turpentine industry in the wake of its demise. His more current research retains the focus on memory and preservation but looks more specifically at efforts on the part of museums, arts agencies, and humanities organizations in the U.S. South to employ various forms of technology in the interest of cultural preservation and representation. Tim has worked as a public folklorist for the Georgia Council for the Arts, the South Georgia Folklife Project, and the Southern Arts Federation.
As a folklorist, Skillman advises artists and community-based organizations on the implementation of programs that honor and conserve cultural traditions, guides them to potential resources, and develops programs to help build their capacity to sustain these initiatives. Drawing on extensive research and documentation in traditional cultures, Skillman has developed a variety of public programs to honor and bring attention to the issues of importance to these communities. Her work has included an oral history/leadership empowerment initiative with immigrant and refugee women in Central Pennsylvania including an exhibit, theatrical production and curricular materials. Previous refugee and immigrant arts projects include developing refugee cultural profiles for a Pennsylvania Department of Education-funded CD-ROM for teachers; an interactive website for youth featuring the folk arts of newcomers; a national interdisciplinary conference on refugee and immigrant arts; and numerous other exhibits, publications and documentary films.
Under contract with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Skillman currently serves as manager of the Pennsylvania Folklife Archive and director of the folk arts infrastructure program. Skillman received her master’s degree in folklore and folklife from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1979 and her Bachelor of Arts from St. Lawrence University in a self-designed major in cultural minorities and the immigrant experience.