The Rosemaling in the Upper Midwest collection documents the Norwegian-American folk painting tradition of rosemaling in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and the greater Upper Midwest region. Phil Martin and Jean Johnson of the Wisconsin Folk Museum interviewed rosemalers, while Martin and Lewis Koch photographed them and their work. Martin and Johnson borrowed, commissioned, and purchased artifacts, and produced several versions of a rosemaling exhibit, representing the work of more than 50 rosemalers. The first exhibit was installed in 1988 at the Folk Museum, and the last one ran into 1995. The book and exhibit catalog, Rosemaling in the Upper Midwest: A Story of Region and Revival, also resulted from this research.
Leonard Finseth (1911-1991) was a Norwegian-American folk fiddler, farmer, and factory worker from Mondovi, Wisconsin. In addition to maintaining the family farm, Finseth played and participated in fiddle festivals throughout the Midwest and published two albums of Norwegian folk music, The Hills of Old Wisconsin and Scandinavian Old Time Folk Fiddler from Wisconsin. The Finseth collection's recordings are a mix of concerts, personal recordings, and recordings of old time fiddlers who influenced Finseth. There are a large number of old time fiddle songs, with special emphasis on Norwegian tunes. Also present are photographs, newspaper articles, a reminiscence by Finseth of his World War II experiences, and other items.
A joint venture to reach out to economically restrained and underserved areas, the Michigan-Wisconsin Border Project was coordinated through the Wisconsin Arts Board's Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March and Michigan Traditional Arts Program coordinators Marsha MacDowell and Yvonne Lockwood. Five fieldworkers explored the five Wisconsin border counties of Iron, Vilas, Forest, Florence, and Marinette in summer 1994, prepared preliminary documentation on over a dozen traditional artists, and submitted reports on each county's cultural activities and needs. Through 1995, six Michigan Traditional Arts Program researchers reviewed its extensive ethnographic archives, research resources, and numerous cultural agency reports, and contacted knowledgeable sources for Michigan's four border counties of Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee. The two surveys resulted in overlapping listings of artists, traditional artists, local historians, museums, galleries, businesses and ... Read More
Records from three surveys of southeastern Illinois folk arts, conducted by half a dozen fieldworkers through the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) School of Fine Arts, document over 150 traditional artists and musicians. The first survey (1976-1977) canvassed the southeastern sixth of the state and resulted in a 1977 EIU Sargent Gallery exhibition that included artist demonstrations. Many of the featured artists also appeared in the 1977 Festival of the Arts Celebration on the Charleston, Illinois campus. A follow-up survey (1978-1980) narrowed the view to traditional artists within a 50-mile radius of campus and contributed to EIU's 1979 Festival of the Arts Celebration. The third survey (1983-1985) focused on traditional musicians and folk artists chiefly in and around Danville and Decatur in Vermilion and Macon counties. Documentation from the surveys, now housed at the Tarble Arts Center on the EIU campus, also informed a 30-minute TV documentary about three of the region's folk ... Read More
Robert Andresen (1937-1995), a graphic designer by trade, was a musician and self-taught folklorist from Duluth, Minnesota who throughout his lifetime amassed a large body of records, recorded interviews, radio shows, subject files, popular country song folios, photographs, and published articles related to folk music in the Upper Midwest. He also hosted Northland Hoedown, a 1980s radio show that aired on KUMD of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, WOJB in Reserve, Wis., KAXE in Grand Rapids, Minn., and WDAY in Fargo, N.D. Recorded interviews and research documents related to Upper Midwestern old-time musicians, such as Walter Eriksson, Leonard Finseth, Sulo Hackman, the Plehal Brothers, and Otto Rindlisbacher, figure prominently in this collection as do fiddling music and regional contests.
Ethnographic documentation (1996-1997) used by the Cedarburg Cultural Center (Cedarburg, Wisconsin) to organize a substantial traveling exhibition (1997-1999) focused on the panoply of folk arts throughout the state, including musical instrument building, basketmaking, quiltmaking, and decoy carving, consisting of manuscript materials, audio recordings, graphic materials, and electronic media.
This collection contains documentation from Phillip Zarrilli and Deborah Neff's 1986-1989 fieldwork regarding New Glarus, Wisconsin and its Swiss summer festivals, plus materials from Ric Segovia's 1999-2000 research on the same topic. Extensive video and sound recordings capture interviews with over 80 people and numerous members of choral and musical groups involved in the village's festivals and plays, including Polkafest in May, the Heidi play and Little Switzerland Festival in June, Volksfest (Swiss Independence Day) in August, both English and German versions of the Wilhelm Tell play and the Tell parade over Labor Day weekend, and Schwingfest in late September. The documentation concerns the history of New Glarus, stories of immigration from Swiss residents, and the history of the town's public performances produced entirely by local volunteers, illustrating the importance of the festivals to the economic health and social cohesion of the community. Actors, play directors, ... Read More
Folklorist James P. Leary worked with two Ho-Chunk student fieldworkers, Michelle Greendeer and Randy Tallmadge, to interview and photograph eight traditional Ho-Chunk master traditional artists in 1994. They documented black ash splint basketmaking, beadwork, drum-making, fingerwoven sashmaking, moccasin and regalia-making, ribbonwork, quillwork, and contemporary work in oil painting and sculpture. Overseen by Ho-Chunk elder Kenneth Funmaker Sr., then Director of the Hocak Wazijaci Language and Culture Preservation Committee, the project culminated in a photo-text exhibit, a two-day art show, and a booklet featuring the traditional artists.
This project is one of numerous documentary efforts to capture the essence of the Goose Island Ramblers, an old-time "Norwegian hillbilly" band that was active in the greater Madison, Wisconsin, area, including Dane and Iowa counties, from 1963 through 1975 and again from 1990 to 1999. Folklorist James P. Leary interviewed band members Bruce Bollerud, George Gilbertsen, and K. Wendell Whitford, and with Phil Martin newly recorded songs, and produced a commercial recording, Midwest Ramblin'. Materials available from this project include original sound recordings, photographs, news clippings, published ephemera, and manuscripts from the band members.
Supported by the Wisconsin Folk Museum and informed by the region's folklorists, the Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Project resulted in the ethnographic documentation of 16 Woodland Indian traditional artists from the Upper Midwest in 1994-1995, acquisition of approximately 50 pieces of their art work, an exhibit that featured the artifacts, a traveling photo-text exhibit that toured four Woodland Indian nation centers, a summer-fall artist demonstration series, and a Down Home Dairyland radio program. Folklorist James P. Leary recorded and transcribed the interviews with the artists, while photographer Lewis Koch photographed them and their work. The featured artists represented Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Meskwaki, Ojibwa, Oneida, and Potawatomi traditions including appliqu233; and dressmaking; black ash splint and birchbark basket-making; varied types of beadwork; rabbit fur blanket-making; birchbark canoe-making; cradleboard-making; cornhusk doll-making; flute-making; icefishing ... Read More
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