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Kansas Folk Art Traditions

Kansas has a rich and diverse folk art heritage. Within the state, artists continue to practice art forms that are passed on from parent to child, worker to work, and neighbor to neighbor. Knowledge is taught by word of mouth or by example. Kansas folk arts are traditional in that they are part of an unbroken thread that can be traced back through time. No set time period is necessary, however, for a particular behavior to become part of the folklore. Instead, an art form must have existed long enough to enable variations to develop. Once something is "in tradition" it no longer exists in a standardized form. Instead local variants can be found.

Folk art is community bound, tied to groups or communities. Ethnic, religious, occupational, and familial are but a few of the communities in which people maintain memberships. To provide continuity in people's lives, some communities extend over time and distance thereby creating a traditional culture. The folk arts of a group have been selected and supported by a number of people within the community. A folk art is the product of a series of choices made by individuals, which in turn have been accepted by the group. folk culture therefore represents the sum total of a community's choices, linking the present to the past.

Traditions is a series of brochures that focus on the folk arts of Kansas. The series was published in 1993 by the Kansas Historical Society in conjunction with the Kansas Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program. The Apprenticeship Program was cosponsored by the Kansas Arts Commission, with partial funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Entry: Kansas Folk Art Traditions

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 2010

Date Modified: August 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.