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Museum & Folk Art Forum 

Please note that our Museum & Folk Art Forum has been postponed. 

Click here to learn more.

Are you looking for ways to build your audience? Do you want to create new ways to engage your visitors?

Join us for live performances and demonstrations that will model how museums are working with folklorists and traditional artists to build audience and community engagement.

Sessions include:

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empandas Summer Festival at The Museum at Eldridge Street

Hannah Griff-Sleven, Folklorist; Elena Martinez, Folklorist, Bronx Music Heritage Center, City Lore; Julie Tay, Vice President & Executive Director, Mencius Society for the Arts; Chelsea Dowell, Director of Public Engagement, Museum at Eldridge Street. 

The Museum at Eldridge Street uses an 1887-built landmark synagogue to tell the story of immigration, Jewish culture, and architectural preservation in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The museum's signature event is a summer festival - the Egg Creams, Egg Rolls, and Empanadas Festival. The one-day event welcomes 10,000 people and unites the three predominant immigrant cultures in their dynamic Lower East Side neighborhood. Museum staff, key community partners and the festival's founder discuss successes, challenges, and the importance of inclusivity and adaptability in creating a cultural festival.

The Indigenous Music and Arts Festival, Exhibitions, and Longhouse Programs at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site 

Michael Galban, Curator; Peter Jemison, Artist and Historic Site Manager, and Iakonikonriio Tonia Loran-Galban, Artist and Senior Native Interpretive Guide, Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site about their Indigenous Music and Arts Festival, exhibitions, and programs at the Seneca Bark Longhouse.

Our goal for the forum will be to present ways in which Indigenous culture bearers strengthen the ways in which museum and gallery settings interpret our story. Ganondagan has been a model for successful public programming for over 35 years. The way we re-invent, restructure and improve our messaging about Native people is one way in which we can continue to cast our message to a wide audience as well as stimulate the faithful visitor to return again and again.

Gather Together: Quilting Niagara

Edward Yong Jun Millar, Curator of Folk Arts, Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Parrish Gibbons Herzog, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Kenan Center and Nancy Smith, Co-President, Kenan Quilters’ Guild will explore the exhibition and program series Quilting Niagara through each partner's perspective. 

This presentation will explore the 2020 exhibit and program series Gather Together: Quilting Niagara, a partnership between the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, the Kenan Center, and the Kenan Quilters’ Guild. Three themes approached through the perspective of each project partner guide this session: the fieldwork-forward approach to exhibit development, building a layered collaborative model between cultural institutions to promote cultural tourism, and tapping into community knowledge and skills for project management.

Mexican Culture, American Art, Community and School Education

Mary Mix, Director of Education, and Amy Ruza, Youth and Family Programs Educator, The Rockwell Museum, Constance Sullivan-Blum, Executive Director, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes and Leonel and Dolores Rosario, Folk Artists about The Rockwell’s Day of the Dead programming.

Rockwell Museum educators, Mexican folk artists and an Arts Council Director, will share the development of the Museum’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) school programming and community cultural event that has grown and transformed since its inception sixteen years ago. The program creates an opportunity for students to connect an artistic experience with cultural traditions integrated into classroom education. 

The culminating Dia de Los Muertos celebration is a public community collaborative event about the origins and meaning behind this Mexican holiday. Leonel and Dolores Rosario will construct and discuss a traditional Oaxacan Ofrenda.  

Evolution of a 30 Year Partnership

Madaha Kinsey-Lamb, Executive Director, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center and Diana N'Diaye, Cultural Specialist and Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife about the Will to Adorn program.

Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center and The Smithsonian’s Will to Adorn Project have been working together expanding their mutual learning with a collective aim to sustain, support, and validate the cultures of their communities and of the broader African Diaspora. At the heart of this work are masterful tradition-bearers who are identified by folklorists at the Dr. Beverly J. Robinson Community Folk Culture Program at Mind-Builders and documented as they develop effective strategies for educating and engaging community youth. One of the  project‘s first interviewees, milliner Mrs. CeJunel Lewis will join the Forum virtually from her millinery shop in the Bronx. Her two young adult daughters will present center stage sharing their story of learning this tradition from their mother, and displaying some of the thousands of designs that Sister “CJ” and they create.

Performing Traditions

Simon Shaheen, Violinist, Oudist, Professor of Strings, Berklee School of Music.

Simon will perform and discuss how he builds cross cultural understanding through teaching and performing traditional Arabic music. Shaheen is one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers, and composers of his generation. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while forging ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. Shaheen was honored in 1994 with the prestigious National Heritage Award. In addition to performing with his two bands, Qantara and the Near Eastern Music Ensemble, Shaheen tours as a solo artist internationally and as a lecturer throughout world promoting awareness to Arab music. 


    $55 for Members of MANY and NY Folklore

    $65 for Cultural Professionals

    Registration includes lunch and closing reception.

    The forum will be held in the Huxley Theater at the NYS Museum from 10:00 AM - 6 PM.

    Click here to register

    Click here for other pre-conference programming.

    Cancellation Policy

    All requests for refunds must be made in writing via e-mailand received before March 20, 2020. A full refund, less a $40 administrative charge, will be issued. Refunds requested after this date will not be granted, including requests made based on absence due to illness, late arrival for courses and/or weather conditions.

    2019 Egg Rolls, Egg Creans & Empanadas Festival, Museum at Eldridge Street

    Iakonikonriio Tonia Loran-Galban, Artist and Senior Native Interpretive Guide, Seneca Art & Culture Center, Ganondagan State Historic Site

    Simon Shaheen, Violinist, Oudist, Professor of Strings, Berklee School of Music

    2019 Dia de Los Muertos Ofrenda at The Rockwell Museum

    Quilts from the 2020 exhibit and program series Gather Together: Quilting Niagara

    Reserve your room at the Conference Hotel

    The Hilton Albany is our conference hotel located steps away from the NYS Museum, New York State Capital, New York State Education Building, and more!

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    The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

    Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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