Color photos of two dancers dressed in bright African patterned clothes. They lead a workshop and participants can be seen in the background
Photo: Kulu Mele artists demonstrating West African dance (and drumming, not seen in the photo) at the Baltimore Rhythm Festival. Credit: Ira Bond.

Mid Atlantic Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects grants fund projects designed to support the vitality of traditional arts and cultural communities in the mid-Atlantic region. 

Non-profit organizations in DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, USVI, PR, or WV which seek to engage folk and traditional artists, practitioners, or culture bearers in community-based projects are eligible for funding in amounts from $1,000 to $7,000. The majority of project activities must take place within the mid-Atlantic region. Eligible project activities include but are not limited to performances, public art collaborations, workshops, trainings, exhibitions, fieldwork, and artistic collaborations. Projects must include some publicly accessible component, including but not limited to a performance, event, exhibit, video, podcast, Q&A session, public interest meeting, archival collection, website, or report.  

Mid Atlantic encourages projects that cross sectors, state or territory borders, or connect organizations, artists, or practitioners within one state or territory. In alignment with Mid Atlantic Arts’ strategic vision to promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, applications for projects that support or engage underserved or underrepresented artists, practitioners, traditions, or constituents are strongly encouraged.  

Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects 2023-2024 Timeline  

  • Applications open April 17, 2023 
  • Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects grants webinar, May 3 at 2pm EST 
  • Applications must be received by June 6, 2023, at 11:59pm EST 
  • Applicants will be notified of grant award approval by August 31, 2023 
  • Project activities will take place from September 1, 2023-June 30, 2024 

Questions? Contact Joel Chapman, Program Associate, Folk and Traditional Arts, at jchapman@midatlanticarts.org.  

Folk and Traditional Arts Community Project grants are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.   


The guidelines below are for information purposes only. The deadline for the 2023-2024 program was June 6, 2023.

Download 2023 Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects Guidelines as a PDF (link opens in a new window) 
Download 2023 Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects Guidelines as an accessible Word document (click link to download) 

Download a preview copy of 2023 Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects Application as a PDF (link opens in a new window) 

View a recording of the informational webinar for the 2023-2024 Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects Grants held on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Current Grantees

2023-2024 Grantees


Native Roots Farm Foundation
The Beauty Around Us: Indigenous Knowledge, Native Plants, & Art

“The Beauty Around Us” focuses on traditional Indigenous decorative arts to meaningfully build awareness of Native communities, highlight Indigenous relationships with the natural world, and deepen individuals’ relationships with the environment. 

District of Columbia

Atlas Performing Arts Center
Navidad Flamenca: A Celebration of Hispanic Holiday Traditions

Navidad Flamenca is a captivating and immersive cultural event held at the prestigious Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. This extraordinary project showcases the vibrant traditions of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in Hispanic cultures worldwide through captivating performances of flamenco music, dance, and enchanting storytelling. This project serves as a vital platform for preserving and sharing the rich heritage of Hispanic cultures, while also providing a welcoming space for individuals to celebrate their homelands and traditions in the greater metropolitan area of D.C.  


Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
Baltimore Rhythm Festival

The 2023 Baltimore Rhythm Festival at the Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School will include three stages, three workshop spaces, over 50 vendors, children’s activities, and participatory rhythm jams. It will present folk and traditional arts performers from an array of musical and dance forms including West African, Afro-Caribbean, South Asian, Irish, Latin, and Middle Eastern styles, as well as jazz, gospel, hip hop, spoken word, Afrobeat, R & B, and more.  

New Jersey

Camden Fireworks, Incorporated
Storytelling Quilts: Communal Textile Traditions 

Quilting is woven into the fabric of Black history in the United States; Camden FireWorks will support the FireWorks’ guild (Firehouse Quilters) in their work to introduce quilting to new audiences. The project, “Storytelling Quilts: Communal Textile Traditions,” will result in an art exhibition of story-telling quilts produced by the Firehouse Quilters. 

New York

Arts Westchester, Inc.
The Arts of House Ballroom 

“The Arts of House Ballroom” is a multi-part program series that explores the rich and resilient performance traditions of the NY metro area’s Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ Ballroom community. The series addresses the underrepresentation of queer and trans cultural expressions, not only in the field of folk arts but the arts sector at large. It brings Ballroom’s expressive forms into new arts and culture spaces, raising public awareness of Ballroom’s cultural heritage while ensuring that Ballroom community members are the stewards and interpreters of their heritage. 

Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University
Old/New Threads Exhibition: Empowering Women Refugees 

“Old/New Threads” is a traveling exhibition exploring the intersections of traditional art, economy, and community-building through the artists of Stitch Buffalo, a textile-arts based organization located in Buffalo, New York, dedicated to the empowerment of resettled refugee women. The exhibition will offer a variety of traditional textile artworks made by refugee artists and will be displayed at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, then travel to two other Mid-Atlantic region museums.  

Henry Street Settlement
Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter by Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet

“Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter” is an ongoing collaborative process and project of Emily Johnson, Karyn Recollet, and Abrons Arts Center that reflects on fire as a technology of Indigenous sociality. Centering Indigenous protocol and knowledge, the project amplifies Indigenous artists and community organizers, inviting them to gather with community to share stories and performances in honor and protection of the land, water, and air of Lenapehoking. 

Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Inc.
Riddim Section 2024

Riddim Section is an innovative concert series that explores and amplifies the music of the Diaspora. Its goal, is to complement and broaden the slate of music concerts at JCAL, widely known for monthly jazz programming and annual festival. Running February to June 2024, the community-based musicians in Riddim Section cover such styles as Afrobeat, Calypso, Chutney, Kompa, Reggae, and R&B as they draw life and inspiration from the cultures of Queens—a place where 2.4 million African-American, Caribbean-American, Indo-Asian, African, Latinx, Caucasian, Native American, and Indigenous artists and audiences live, work and play. 

Jiva Performing Arts
“Lessons From My Mothers”

“Lessons from My Mothers” is a new solo work that combines classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance, theater, and spoken word to retell Indian women’s stories of immigration. Artistic Director, choreographer, and performer Sonali Skandan will collaborate with acclaimed director and dramaturg Arpita Mukherjee and longtime partners, composers/musicians Bala Skandan and Shiv Subramaniam, to create the work. This artistic collaboration and the creative process will be shared with the public (targeting Asian Americans and recent immigrants and students/aspiring young artists) through a two-day workshop, an open rehearsal, and a free preview performance in June 2024.  

Living Traditions, Inc.
The Ninth Annual Brooklyn International Music Festival

The Ninth Annual Brooklyn International Music Festival (BIMF) will highlight the living, diasporic musical traditions of various immigrant communities through public performances, workshops, and lectures over three days on three stages. BIMF seeks to bring the music of underrepresented immigrant communities to center stage and showcase how musical traditions are sustained and evolve within communities removed from their places of origin. BIMF aims to promote cultural equity, allows audiences to witness diverse immigrant musical traditions in one place, brings together communities from different cultures, furnishes a space for cultural exchange and dialogue, and provides a context to understand the folkloric process of renewal, re-imagination, and preservation at the heart of cultural survival. 

Mind Builders Creative Arts, Inc.
Mind-Builders Community Folk Culture Program 

Since 1988, the Dr. Beverly J. Robinson Community Folk Culture Program (CFCP) has trained local at-risk teens as beginning folklorists by teaching them how to identify local artists and traditions from their own communities, and then to document and preserve their work. CFCP components include weekly workshops, research and field trips, and public presentations by the students, who earn a stipend for successful program completion.  

Nusantara Arts, Inc.
Enhancing West New York’s Access to Balinese Music Education and Performance

Nusantara Arts Inc. will grow the vitality and viability of the “Semar Pegulingan” and “Gender Wayang” Balinese gamelan music program through regular rehearsals with master Balinese musicians and a new “baleganjur” ensemble. 

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Inc.
BEATNIX: A Monthly Online Program Highlighting LatinX Artists in the Beatnik Tradition

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe will maintain and expand the programming series “BEATNIX,” curated and hosted by Caridad De La Luz, a.k.a. LA BRUJA, Executive Director and Emmy award-winning poet. “BEATNIX” preserves the power of the spoken word and oral tradition by featuring BIPOC/Latinx artists across the globe, giving them a platform to share their art.  

O Team
La Rueda de Oro Project – Puerto Rican and Colombian Afro Indigenous Interdisciplinary Project 

La Rueda de Oro Project focuses on the teachings of the foundations of Afro-Indigenous Colombian folk music and dance known as Cumbia and Bullerengue, from the Caribbean Region of Colombia, and Bomba, an Afro-Indigenous Puerto Rican folk music and dance. 

Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Inc.
Story Circle Café: Flushing 

Teachers & Writers Collaborative will host a series of oral history storytelling workshops for senior residents who are first- and second-generation immigrants in Flushing, Queens, led by Marsha Gilden. Participants will practice the oral tradition of preserving history through storytelling through group exercises that tap into their cultural practices and traditions. The stories of participants will be shared at a public event hosted by Selfhelp Services in Flushing and online through an interactive website. 

Works and Process, Inc.
The History of Beatbox

Brooklyn, NY-based The Beatbox House, featuring world champion beatboxers, will compose, rehearse, and perform a new performance, “The History of Beatbox.” The project focuses on three distinct generations of beatbox development/innovation, starting from its old school roots in the Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s, followed by its reemergence with global manifestations in the 1990s to mid-2000s, and carried to the present day excitement of youth defining new sounds and drawing international crowds to battles and concerts. This performance of new music, celebrating the history of the development of beatboxing, is a first for global beatboxing culture. 


Arts Council of Erie
Use the Groove: Folk Songs for Strong Kids, Classrooms, and Communities 

New American musicians share their traditional songs and empower childcare teachers to use them to build community and teach social skills in their classrooms. Artists build skills working in school settings. Song traditions are preserved. Teachers learn that music is a powerful tool. Young children and their families benefit from authentic, multicultural songs that reflect newcomers to our region and develop motor, language, and social skills through song.  

Bottle Works-Ethnic Arts Center
Arts, Literature, and Music: A Celebration of Black Art and Stories 

“Arts, Literature, and Music: A Celebration of Black Art and Stories” is a collaborative project aimed at exploring and celebrating art, literature, and music that encapsulates the stories of Black America. From May 30 to July 13, the Bottle Works’ main galleries will feature the artwork of renowned folk artist Jim McDowell and his father, which is free and open to the public. In addition to the exhibit, Bottle Works will host several sub-events: a pottery workshop for underserved youths and adults, a concert night highlighting Blacks contributions in music, and a Black writers’ workshop with local/regional writers telling of importance of storytelling and cultural preservation. 

The Pennsylvania State University 
Move Mix Festival: an opening celebration of Bhangra and Latine music and dance 

The Move Mix Festival will lift up South Asian and Latine artists that practice traditional and contemporary music and dance, namely Bhangra and Venezuelan/Latin folk. 

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation
Steel Town Storybuilders: Heritage Arts Workshops in Communities

The Steel Town Storybuilders project is a community-based folk and traditional arts workshop series that showcases the work of new American immigrant artists and introduces their practice to rural communities throughout the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. The series will include nine free workshops that introduce a particular cultural tradition, as well as the community surrounding it, through the creation of a collaborative artwork that will remain with partner organizations in each community. 

Puerto Rico

Museo de las Americas, Inc.
Highlighting the Value of our Folk Arts

The Museo de las Americas in Puerto Rico, as part of its community program and to strengthen the permanent exhibition “The Popular Arts of Puerto Rico and the Americas,” will carry out a series of activities under the project “Highlighting the Value of Our Folk Arts.” In addition to offering workshops and musical activities that help preserve and promote traditional craft, the Museum will document artists and artisans with interviews and conversations in their podcast, “Portales.” 


Center for Cultural Vibrancy
Support for the Baltimore Old Time Music Festival 

The Baltimore Old Time Music Fest will highlight the role of African American, African, and Queer artists within the old time music and dance communities and build stronger connections within South Baltimore’s Black community. 

Semilla Cultural
The Banyan Tree of the Americas: Music Evolution in the African Diaspora Symposium 

This project aims to support community building through a free symposium including panel discussions, workshops, performances, and cross-genre improvs. Panels will provide the history of Afro-Puerto Rican bomba, aligned with music and dance genres that are practiced in Virginia. This will bring historical and fundamental knowledge on Puerto Rican bomba and connect bomba to local history through its African roots. 

Shenandoah University
The Book of Life

“The Book of Life” project will engage members of Northern Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and the Panhandle region of West Virginia in a shared cultural experience that creatively explores the history, music, and traditions of Rwanda. The project includes community drumming; a workshop/demonstration for first-year university students; and two live public performances of “The Book of Life,” a new work based on letters written by survivors and perpetrators of Rwanda’s genocide. In this powerful, critically acclaimed work, Rwandan writer and activist Odile Gakire “Kiki” Katese joins Ingoma Nshya, The Women Drummers of Rwanda, to share a deeply moving perspective on life, loss, and recovery, in a performance filled with music and hope. 

Front Porch CVille
Exploring Our Roots

The Front Porch will produce a series of events that trace the roots of international folk traditions to the contemporary, local music scene and expose multifaceted artistic traditions to new audiences. 

Venture Richmond, Inc.
2023 Richmond Folk Festival

This year the Richmond Folk Festival will present Cheres, a Ukrainian music ensemble that presents the traditional music of western Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountains. Through multiple festival performances and cross-cultural discussion/demonstration sessions, Cheres’s participation in the festival will have lasting impacts in the Richmond community by increasing awareness of and support for Ukraine’s living cultural heritage at a time when it is facing an existential threat. 

West Virginia

Positive People Association
The 3-Building Mural Project on 8th Avenue

The “Past to our Future” three-building public art project will visually transform a neighborhood street that was once the coordinate of a thriving Black community, demonstrating how investment in civic assets and marginalized communities can be a powerful initiative towards racial reconciliation, cultivating trust, and connecting people of all backgrounds. 


If you are interested in serving as a panelist for Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects, please email Program Director Ellie Dassler at edassler@midatlanticarts.org with your name and a short bio for consideration.  

2023-2024 Program Panelists 

Junious Brickhouse  
Silverspring, MD  
Junious is an internationally recognized scholar practitioner dedicated to the sustainability of Hip Hop Cultures. As a researcher, folklorist, cultural ambassador, mentor, and logistician, Junious currently serves as Director of Next Level, driving the strategic direction of the program’s cultural diplomacy and global conflict transformation initiatives. He comes from a 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout this time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership in both areas.  

Dr. Anna Morel O’Brien  
Culpepper, VA  
Annamarie Morel is an independent folklorist who works in museums and non-profits. She currently works for Folkstreams as the communications manager, and Treasure Island Museum. Morel received her PhD in American Studies from Penn State University, with a certificate in Ethnography & Folklife, and concentrations in Popular & Folk Culture, and Media Studies & Visual Culture. 

Isiah Smallwood  
Elmira, NY  
Isaiah is a son, a proud husband, a brother, a leader, and more. While he considers himself a student still, most of his peers call him an artist. He is a gospel and R&B artist who leads a faith team at one of the local churches, teaches audio production at a local community center, and was a recent recipient of a NYSCA-sponsored Rural & Traditional Arts Fellowship. He has been involved in many church choirs and worship teams, and even began pursuing music at the collegiate level. He has a very deep love for all types of music but is particularly drawn to R&B, Gospel, and Soul.  

Manage Your Grant

Changes in Project Proposal 

Any changes in the content, schedule, or budget of your project as proposed must be submitted in writing for approval prior to being implemented. Requested changes must be submitted to Jamie Melius, Grants Manager, at  jmelius@midatlanticarts.org

Funding Acknowledgement and Crediting 

Acknowledgement and Crediting requirements were included as Exhibit A of the Grant Award Agreement. 

Grantees must clearly acknowledge support from Mid Atlantic Arts through use of both the credit language and logo as outlined below. Use of the Mid Atlantic Arts logo does not replace the credit language. Copies of the required crediting materials must be submitted as part of the final report. 

Credit and Logo Usage Details 

The following statement and the Mid Atlantic Arts logo MUST appear in all programs, websites and press releases produced by the funded organization or its agents in relation to the funded project. In addition, the following statement and the Mid Atlantic Arts logo should be included whenever possible, either jointly or separately as necessary, in all flyers and postcards, email communications, season brochures, social media posts and calendars, and any other print or electronic promotional and publicity materials produced by the funded organization or its agents in relation to the funded project. 

  • This statement must be used in its entirety and cannot be altered in any way. 

This program is made possible through the Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Website Link 

Grantees are required to include a link to the Mid Atlantic Arts website at www.midatlanticarts.org when crediting Mid Atlantic Arts on their website. This link MUST remain active during the entire length of your grant period with Mid Atlantic Arts. You are requested, but not required, to embed the link in Mid Atlantic Arts’ logo. 

Final Reports 

Final report requirements and instructions were included as Exhibit B of the Grant Award Agreement. 

Grantees are required to submit a final report which is due thirty (30) days after the end of the grant period on record as listed in the Grant Award Agreement. 

Final reports are to be completed online at https://midatlanticarts.smartsimple.com/ 

For questions about your grant and the crediting or final reporting requirements, contact Jamie Melius, Grants Manager, at jmelius@midatlanticarts.org.