TAI Informational Meeting: On-Ramp

Are you an Indiana Artist? Looking to build your business/entrepreneurial skills? The Indiana Arts Commission has recently jumpstarted a new exciting program for Indiana artists! On-Ramp is a 3-day intensive workshop dedicated to helping local artists build their business and entrepreneurial skills. You will be certified upon completion of the course, and it is basically free! 

Traditional Arts Indiana will be hosting an informational meeting about the new accelerator Friday, February 23rd from 3:30-5:00pm at the Brown County Public Library (Room A)! 

Email ksuiter@indiana.edu to RSVP! Space is limited!

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BFA12: The Beauty of Folk Arts with Ed Kirschner

The Beauty of Folk Arts podcast is brought to you by Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures in Bloomington. This podcast features director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Jon Kay, and his graduate assistant Dom Tartaglia, interviewing the late Ed Kirschner, owner of The Creche Shop in Oldenburg, Indiana. Ed discusses how he makes his handmade nativity stables and the significance of nativities scenes both in his own life and in his hometown of Oldenburg. 

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2017-2018 TAI Apprenticeship Awardees

This year, Traditional Arts Indiana is very excited to have revitalized The TAI Apprenticeship Program. This initiative supports the continuation of cultural practices in Indiana communities by funding up to six apprenticeship pairs each year. This enables apprentices to learn essential knowledge and skills in traditional art forms from master artists.

We would like to announce and congratulate our 2017-2018 apprenticeship pairs!

Tony Artis and Andre Rosa-Artis, Marion County, African drum making

Debra Bolaños and Alejandra Bolaños & Alyssa Calderon, Lake County, Ballet Folklórico and Danza Azteca (Mexican folklore dance)

Daniel Cain and David Guffey, Posey and Vanderburgh Counties, hoopnet making

Larry and Samuel Haycraft, Pike County, hoopnet making

Katrina Mitten and Saiyah Miller, Huntington County, Miami and Great Lakes beadwork embroidery

Jason Nickel and Iris Nickel & Paolo Ansaldo, Brown and Monroe Counties, blacksmithing

Beginning in 2016, TAI director Dr. Jon Kay and Jennie Williams, PhD student in the IU Dept. of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, worked together to design and promote an application, lead informational sessions about applying, and to structure the program itself. As Jennie puts it, “I’m so excited to finally see this apprenticeship program take off in a big way. I’m looking forward to this first round of apprenticeships and to witnessing the program grow to further support talented artists as they pass their traditions on to the next generation.”

This program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

Questions about the apprenticeship program or application process can be sent to TAI Director Dr. Jon Kay. Contact him via email at jkay@indiana.edu or office phone at (812) 855-0418.

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Traditional Arts and Creative Aging Public Meeting

Jon Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana, will be leading a public meeting regarding TAI’s new initiative titled “Traditional Arts and Creative Aging.” Parking is available in the larger parking lot located at the end of East Gould Street. We are very happy to announce this exciting new initiative, so stop by next Thursday to learn more! This event is free and open to the public!

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TAI News: Traditional Arts Indiana jumpstarts Traditional Arts and Creative Aging Project

Traditional Arts Indiana will pilot a new initiative that aims to employ folk arts to support and improve the quality of life of older adults in local communities. While the program will eventually roll out to 11 counties in south central Indiana, the first installation will begin in Brown County.

“Traditional Arts and Creative Aging” will work to address the health and wellness of older adults in the state. To begin, TAI will interview older adults and document their creative practices. These discussions will serve as the basis for the production of a Traditional Arts and Aging Activity Guide formatted specifically for elders, providing information and possibilities for improving their lives through creative practice.  Lastly, TAI will finish with a traveling exhibition about traditional arts and aging; the exhibit will be loaned for free to public venues and agencies in the region.   

Jon Kay, who grew up in Brown County and currently directs Traditional Arts Indiana, is leading this two-year initiative. “I am excited to kick off our ‘Traditional Arts and Creative Aging’ project in Brown County,” Kay says. “Over the past decade, I have interviewed so many retired fiddlers, quilters, stone carvers, and other artisans, who I think have a lot to teach us about how to have a rich and vibrant life in your later years. My hope is that this project will leverage their wisdom and talents to improve the quality of life for other older adults.” This program builds upon TAI’s strong foundation in folk arts research and creative aging fieldwork, and is informed by Kay’s recent book Folk Arts and Aging (Indiana University Press, 2016).

A public meeting will be held at Brown County Public Library in Rooms B and C on Thursday, September 28, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Parking is available in the larger parking lot located at the end of East Gould Street. For more information about Traditional Arts Indiana and its programs, contact 812-855-0418 or tradarts@indiana.edu.

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Meet our Graduate Assistants!

Dom Tartaglia is a PhD candidate in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. He has obtained degrees in both Anthropology and Classical Civilizations from the University of Cincinnati, and a Masters of Arts in Folklore from Indiana University. His dissertation work examines eating contests and the construction of identity at various festivals in the United States. Dom was an Assistant Instructor at Indiana University for three years, where he taught Introduction to Folklore and Folklore in the United States. He was born in Red Bank, New Jersey but grew up in Toledo, Ohio.


Micah Ling is a first-year MA student in Folklore. She holds a BA in Art History & Visual Culture with an additional major in Arts & Humanities and a minor in Museum Studies from Michigan State University. For the past four years, Micah has been working for the Michigan State University Museum as a cultural/historical collections specialist and for the Michigan Traditional Arts Program as the public programs coordinator, the latter of which piqued her interest in public folklore. A cellist, vocalist, and banjo player, she is a member of Earthwork Music Collective, a group of Michigan musicians focused on building community through social and environmental justice and education. Her research interests include material culture (specifically textiles and utilitarian objects), Scandinavian folk painting, adornment and beautification traditions, and rural American culture & music.


Katlin Suiter holds a B.S.in Arts Management, and minors in Art History and Spanish from Indiana University. She is currently pursuing both her Masters of Arts in Arts Administration and Masters of Public Affairs through IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Katlin has worked for the Eskenazi Museum of Art for two years as an Events Coordinator, focusing on audience engagement and public programming. She also interned at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, coordinating and planning events for the museum. Her research interests include audience engagement, cultural and arts policy, urban development, renaissance and baroque (specifically painting and sculpture), and digitization of the museum industry. Katlin will be working in Outreach and Programming.

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Gustav Potthoff Exhibition at Wells Library

Traditional Arts Indiana is proud to present a special exhibition entitled Gustav Potthoff: Art & Healing, War & Remembrance. This exhibition showcases the life and works of Gustav Potthoff, World War II veteran and resident of Columbus, Indiana. Gustav Potthoff painted to remember his fellow prisoners of war who built the Bridge over the River Kwai and the Hellfire Pass during World War II. Concerned that the more than 16,000 who died constructing the bridge over the River Kwai and the infamous Hellfire Pass would be forgotten, Gustav turned to painting to tell people his story and to make peace with his wartime memories. 

This exhibition will be on display until the end of the year in the Herman B. Wells Library, located at Indiana University. Be sure to check it out before it’s gone!

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2017 Indiana State Fair Master: Bill Bailey

Traditional Arts Indiana will be at the Indiana State Fair again this year to help celebrate the art and work of the Indiana State Fair Masters. This year we have put together a brochure and display honoring the life and work of our long time friend, and 2017 State Fair Master, Bill Bailey. A fixture at the Indiana State Fair for many years, Bill Bailey coordinates the entertainment in the Pioneer Village, inviting musicians, storytellers, and other entertainers from around the state to perform on the village’s two rustic stages. His relationship with the fair began in 1991, when he played percussion with a band in the village—but Bill is no ordinary percussionist. A self-proclaimed “idiophonist,” he makes his rhythmic music with spoons, washboards, and a variety of other everyday items.

Bill played percussion throughout his school years, but sold his drums when he went to college, remaining “music-less” for a while.  Then in 1976, a couple that played old-time music moved next door, and he was inspired to try his hand at the mandolin, guitar, and harmonica—yet percussion continued to call to him. He picked up playing the spoons, and eventually began tapping out his syncopated rhythms on a washboard and a variety of other resonate objects such as a wooden shoe, triangles, and horse shoes. Before long, Bill was playing multiple styles of music including old-time, blues, and jug band.


In 1991, Bill played with a couple of bands that were performing in the fair’s Pioneer Village. He was hooked. Each year he returned and played with a variety of musicians. In 2003, Gerry Gray, the original music coordinator for the village, chose Bill as her replacement. He continued to book the old-time and dulcimer music that had been featured at the fair since the 1970s, but he also expanded the program to include a greater variety of traditional music and other forms of entertainment. One successful program that he helped develop was a tribute to the WLS National Barn Dance, which featured the music and theatrical routines of the popular radio show in the early 20th Century. For six years, large audiences came to see this reenactment show.


Besides his work at the Indiana State Fair, Bill serves as a musical ambassador for the Columbus Washboard Company, the last manufacturer of hand-built washboards in North America. Bill paints and outfits their boards, transforming them into musical instruments. The company sells dozens of Bill’s musical boards, which they ship all over the world. Each year, Bill also travels to Ohio to perform at their Washboard Music Festival to promote this unique musical genre.

Today, in addition to his own musical pursuits, Bill continues to coordinate the entertainment at the Pioneer Village. From old-time country, bluegrass, gospel, and blues, to storytelling and fiddling contests, the stages at the village help create a nostalgic atmosphere where fairgoers can escape the pressures of contemporary life. And while he makes sure the Pioneer Village stage shows run smoothly, visitors can still find Bill Bailey tapping out his upbeat rhythms and entertaining audiences.


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2017 Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest

Saturday, August 12, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Pioneer Village Opry House

Every year, TAI sponsors the fiddle contest at Indiana State Fair to promote traditional music practices of Indiana and to bring people together to hear some toe-tapping fiddle tunes. The fiddle contest brings the music community together to celebrate the different talents and various styles of fiddlers from all over the state.

Participants of all ages are welcome to compete, within four age divisions: 11 & under, 12-17 years old, 18-59 years old, and 60 & above.

Our three judges represent a wide range of traditional fiddling styles and benefit from a combined experience of over 100 years. Points will be awarded on the basis of: 

1. Rhythm
2. Bowing technique
3. Intonation
4. Phrasing
5. Creativity
6. Old Time (Not included in overall score) 

Click the link below for more information about the contest and to register!

2017 Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest Registration Form

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TAI Apprenticeship Program Information Sessions

This week, there will be three opportunities to attend free information sessions about the new TAI Apprenticeship Program. Starting in September 2017, up to six master artists will be selected to receive a $3,000 honorarium to teach their traditional art to an apprentice, passing on important traditional knowledge to the next generation within their community.

These brown bag lunch presentations are casual Q&A information sessions intended for artists who may wish to apply to the apprenticeship program or anyone interested more generally in the work of Traditional Arts Indiana. We welcome attendees to bring a lunch if they would like since the sessions at Crown Point and Indianapolis start at noon. The dates and start times of the events are listed below:


South Shore Arts at the Artful Garden
611 N. Indiana Avenue, Crown Point, IN


Indiana Arts Commission, Conference Room 4
Government Center
100 N. Senate Ave.
Indianapolis, IN

Parking in Indianapolis: Park in the Government Center Parking Garage at 401 W Washington Street. Turn in your ticket at the workshop and your parking will be validated. Enter the Indiana State Government Center South building at the public entrance and follow signs for the Conference Center. We are meeting in Room 4.

The Monroe County Public Library, Meeting Room 1C
303 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN
5:30-6:30pm (*Evening event*)

Paper applications will be distributed at these events and we welcome attendees to bring any questions they may have about the program or the application process. We look forward to seeing you there!

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