(event) Thirty Years of Folklife in Texas - 30th Anniversary Celebration

Event Category: 
Texas Folklife Event
Event Date: 
Sat Sep 20, 2014 - 5:00AM

Texas Folklife 30th Anniversary Celebration Launch

Saturday September 20, 1:00 to 5:00 pm

Music, Refreshments, Exhibit, and Lectures at Texas Folklife Gallery

Exhibit of 30 years of Texas Folklife’s work – vintage posters, photos of master folk artists and apprentices, prior exhibits and performances, and more.  Curated by Rebecca Bingman.

Lecture Series funded by Humanities Texas

Kay Turner, PhD"Illuminating Irritation: A Personal History of Feeling That Folklore is THE Answer"

Dr. Turner, former Folk Arts Director of the Brooklyn Arts Council, has a Ph.D. in Folklore and Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin. In addition to her work at BAC, she teaches courses on gender, theory of time and performance, and oral narrative theory in the Performance Studies Graduate Program at New York University. She is a co-founder of Texas Folklife.

Cristina Ballí and Daniel Margolies, PhD - “Sustainability in Conjunto – the Biggest Comeback Story of Texas Music”

Ballí, Executive Director at Texas Folklife in Austin, is a bilingual cultural manager with expertise in Texas-Mexican border culture and Mexican-American music history.  Prior to directing NEA-funded programs at Texas Folklife, Balli was director of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito where she directed the opening of the San Benito Historical, Conjunto, and Freddy Fender Museums.  

Dr. Margolies (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan College.  His research examines a wide array of interdisciplinary topics in history, ethnomusicology, and folklore, including legal and musical spatiality, migrant music and transnationalism, and the application of sustainability to Conjunto music in Texas and morin khuur in Mongolia. 


1:00 – music, refreshments, and exhibit viewing

2:30 pm – Lectures by Kay Turner, Cristina Balli & Dan Margolies

3:30 pm – to 5:00 pm – continued music & refreshments 


     This year marks Texas Folklife’s 30th anniversary. The non-profit began in 1984 with a handful of committed, young folklorists who sought to preserve the traditional culture of the state. Since that time, Texas Folklife has preserved and presented the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State, honored the cultural traditions passed down in communities across the state, and helped to explore those traditions importance in contemporary society.

     The organization has come a long way in fulfilling the early dreams and aspirations of its founders. Texas Folklife carries out its mission with a vibrant mix of performances, exhibitions, community residencies, apprenticeships, and educational programs that reaches an audience of over one million annually throughout the state. Some of the most popular performances and programs include the Big Squeeze, an annual contest for accordion players 21-and-under that encourages the preservation and celebration of the national instrument of Texas; Accordion Kings & Queens Festival, held at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston every year is a free, public concert featuring some of the biggest stars and legends in Texas roots music; “Stories from Deep in the Heart,” an award winning radio program; “A Place At the Table,” a statewide survey of regional foodways; fascinating, eclectic art and photography exhibits, and celebration on subjects as varied as polka, conjunto, quilts, and saints.      

     Today, Texas Folklife and its mission are supported by prestigious arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, Humanities Texas, and the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. It is supported by private foundations, including the Grammy Foundation, the Houston Endowment, and the Stillwater Foundation. And it has made powerful friends and partnerships with national and statewide organizations and venues, including the Library of Congress, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Texas Music Office, Bullock State History Museum, UT Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc., Latino Cultural Center, Austin History Center, Austin Independent School District, Texans for the Arts, Elisabet Ney Museum, Asian American Resource Center, as well as many privately owned businesses.

     “I urge all of our friends and all lovers of traditional arts, culture, and music to join us in this moment of joyous celebration,” said Executive Director Cristina Ballí. “We are grateful to our members, sponsors, partners, participants, and visitors who have helped us meet our mission to honor and celebrate the traditional art and cultures of Texas for the past 30 years. We dedicate this anniversary to you. We do not intend to rest on our laurels, but instead it is our goal to continue developing our connections to communities across the state to further help preserve Texas’s cultural treasure and present that treasure to an ever-expanding audience all over the world.”

   The “Thirty Years of Folklife in Texas” Celebration is generously funded by Humanities Texas, the board and members of Texas Folklife, and the Stillwater Foundation.