Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI), established in 1998, forms the center of our public folklore and ethnomusicology expertise. TAI identifies, documents, and promotes Indiana’s traditional arts through collaborations with Indiana artists and arts organizations.
Indiana is a state rich in creativity and cultural traditions. Whether folk arts long valued in Indiana, or creative practices recently brought to our state, TAI’s public programs and research projects work to support and champion traditional arts in the lives of Hoosiers. Our on-going initiatives include TAI’s apprenticeship program, the Indiana Heritage Fellowships, and our Rotating Exhibit Network, which freely tour to libraries around Indiana. In addition to these ongoing programs and services, TAI engages in special initiatives such as creative aging programs, traditional arts surveys, and public programs in state parks and festival throughout Indiana.
Research underpins the work that Traditional Arts Indiana does in the state. From interviewing musicians, craftspeople, dancers, cooks, and storytellers to photographing community celebrations, creative processes, and musical performances, we strive to better understand the traditional arts and creative practices support community life. Our research methods include longform interviews with tradition bearers, photographing artists at work, and recording the social and creative contexts that surround the expressive practices we study. Through this ethnographic fieldwork, we identify and document the traditional arts in communities throughout Indiana, with a collaborative eye and a willingness to assist communities in their culture work.