friends and neighbors initiative

The Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Friends and Neighbors Initiative (NVFolkFAN) is about you—your family, your neighbors, your friends, your community. Everybody has folklife, whether they know it or not. Simply put, it’s the knowledge, traditions, activities, skills, and homemade products that are shared by a particular people or group—a “folk community”.

You may identify with many different groups or communities. Every person is unique. And so, depending on where you are and who you are with, you may express different aspects of your own “cultural identity”. Chances are that you have more than one “folklife” to share.

The NVFolkFAN Initiative celebrates the ways that cultural identity is expressed and adapted, artistically and aesthetically, within and between cultural communities, through the arts.

We will explore festivals that present community traditions such as music, dance, crafts, foodways, costumes, rituals, celebrations, holidays, and occupational skills. We will meet people in those diverse “folk communities” who are known and respected for the knowledge and skills that they keep, share, and pass along to the next generation.

We invite you to join us in a quest to “find your folklife”—and to share it with your friends, your neighbors, and your families.

The Nevada Folklife Archives are a great place to begin your exploration. Folklorists in the Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Program have been photographing folklife in Nevada since 1985. Today that archive has been “digitized” and contains more than 40,000 images to be shared via our online Flickr archive, with new content added weekly. We are tagging our photos of folklife and folk arts in Nevada with #NVFolkFAN, and invite you to do the same.

Festivals and events that feature folklife and folk arts in Nevada can be discovered on our “Find Your Folklife!” page, updated weekly. Many of these are annual events that have been documented over the years by Nevada’s folklorists. The Nevada Arts Council offers grants that can support presentations or performances featuring folklife and folk arts at events like the ones in the calendar listing.

Follow the Folklorists” as we venture out of the office in search of folklife and folk arts in Nevada! We’ll be sharing our experiences online, and setting up a table at events with information about the NV FolkFAN Initiative and other programs of the Nevada Arts Council.


Folklife fieldwork for 2019 included a visit to the sauce competition at the Eldorado’s Great Italian Festival in Reno.

Follow the Nevada Arts Council on Instagram for a weekly glimpse of new fieldwork uploaded to the Nevada Folklife Archives.