Folklife Program

Shoshone Beaded Medallion, Shawn Collins, South Fork, Elko County, NV

Folklife is…

  • the music and dance of our communities
  • the things we make
  • the celebration of daily and special events
  • the work we do
  • the ways we learn
  • the expressions of faith and fellowship
  • the places we call home


The Folklife Program promotes appreciation of Nevada’s folklife and traditional arts by producing projects, publications, exhibitions, recordings, and films; documenting living traditions that are resident in Nevada; maintaining the Nevada Folklife Archives of photographs, recorded interviews, field notes, and folk art objects; and  supporting arts-related activities undertaken by individuals and organizations who have successfully competed for grants and awards.

Home Means Nevada and Nevada Stories – our online video series – feature Nevada’s living folk cultures, folk artists, and cultural art practicioners.

The Nevada Folklife Archives – more than 40,000 photographic images and over 500 audio interviews recorded by the NAC folklorists since 1986 – document Nevada’s living folk cultures and communities. Digitized images are being uploaded to a new public access website on Flickr, and original slides and negatives from 1986-2000 are being transferred to the American Folklife Center in Washington, D. C. for safekeeping.


FY19 ARTIST RESIDENCY EXPRESS GRANTS (community and cultural arts residency programs)
Folk and traditional artist residencies and hands-on learning activities may be eligible for funding through the NAC’s Artist Residency Express (AREX) grant program. Master artists available to conduct a residency may also be listed in our Artist in Schools + Communities Roster. Read more

Living Traditions Grants fund master folk artists and cultural organizations to support exemplary traditional arts projects in Nevada. Non-competitive grants of $1,500 are awarded to projects that demonstrate significant impact within a particular tradition or cultural community. Applications are being accepted for projects taking place before June 30, 2019. Read more

The Artist Fellowship recognizes exceptional individual artists for excellence in their work with a $5,000 grant. In 2019 the NAC will open the Fellowship to folk and traditional artists in all disciplines. Note: Folk and Traditional Arts applications are judged separately from those in the Contemporary Arts. Read more


The Folklife Program conducts cultural surveys to discover folk artists and folklife activities, and to document cultural communities that are resident in Nevada. We can help municipalities and non-profit organizations to design and implement research, documentation, and community engagement projects. Contact the Folklife Specialists in Carson City and Las Vegas for information.

Coming soon…

The Folklife Program can provide workshops in marketing, self-promotion, public presentation and exhibition, and other topics for cultural organizations and folk or traditional artists. Presented in partnership with an arts or cultural organization, workshops can range from half-day to multi-day training. Contact the Folklife Program for more information.


Rivers & Headwaters is a regional folklife fieldwork project to identify and document tradition bearers and traditional activities related to rivers, headwaters, and watersheds in western United States. Our focus has been the Muddy River, which empties into Lake Mead and the Colorado River. Irrigating the Moapa Valley with water from the Muddy River made agriculture possible for the early Mormon pioneers. Among the crops that they brought to the area were pomegranates. Descendants of those pioneers still live in the area, as do the pomegranates. This film examines the pomegranate harvest, juicing, jelly making, and the Pomegranate Arts Festival.


Technical assistance to individual artists and organizations includes consultation on folklife festivals, exhibits featuring traditional arts, and other public programs. Folklife Specialists also make artist referrals, conduct cultural inventories, and advise on developing competitive grant applications.
  • Folklife Director, Patricia A. Atkinson, 775.687.7103 or email
  • Folklife Specialist, Rebecca Snetselaar, 702.486.3739 or email