The Alabama Folklife Association is a statewide nonprofit that began in 1980 and remains dedicated to Alabama's folk and traditional arts.
What makes Alabama unique? Is it the people, the food, the buildings, the crops, the languages, the music, the clothes, the baskets, the quilts, or the ghost stories? One thing is for sure, Alabama is home to many diverse cultures and ways of life that symbolize our experiences, geography, resources, beliefs, values, aspirations, and artistic traditions.
For over 30 years, the Alabama Folklife Association (AFA) has been serving the state of Alabama with exhibits, education programs, workshops, lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations, publications, and concerts that preserve and present the folk and traditional arts of the state.
The AFA supports artists, illustrators, and design specialists with jobs.
The AFA creates jobs for folklorists who conduct research and in 2010, the AFA established the Joyce H. Cauthen Fellowship Fund and today 5 Fellows are documenting folklife in Alabama including three graduate students, who recently completed their degrees and are currently pursuing careers in folklore.
Through a 2.5 year grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources that receives monies from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the AFA has secured long-term funding for the Archive of Alabama Folk Culture (AAFC). Now folklife collections on Alabama can stay in Alabama at the AAFC located in our state's permanent repository, the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
The AFA contributes to cultural conservation and heritage tourism by recognizing and promoting Alabama unique lifeways in communities throughout the state as valuable resources to be preserved and developed.
For many years the AFA directed the Sampler Stage at City Stages providing a venue for local, traditional musicians and singers representinig diverse genres to perform. Through annual events, CDs and special programs, the AFA continues to showcase Alabama's traditional music.
The AFA is a partner program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts and works in collaboration with the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture (ACTC) to produce many products for sale at the online bookstore and sold to buyers from all over the world.
Today, the Alabama Folklife Association has a full-time Executive Director, Mary Allison Haynie. We also have new members who serve on the AFA Board of Directors.