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Texas Folklife

Texas Life and Culture

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What Is Folklife?
Folklife is the accumulated traditions practiced or appreciated by members of a group who share a common history or way of life. A group's traditions may include a wide range of skills and knowledge, from customs and belief to stories and songs, from music and dance to crafts and other decorative handmade objects. Generally, traditions are learned informally and passed on from one person in the group to the next, often orally, by imitation, or in performance.
Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. For 29 years, Texas Folklife has honored the cultural traditions passed down within communities across Texas and explored their importance in contemporary society. Texas Folklife has been called “one of the state’s true cultural treasures” by the Austin American-Statesman for the accessible, joyful arts experiences we provide.
What We Do
Texas Folklife produces programs throughout the state that bring Texas traditions to life for new generations, including:
    • Performances • Community Residencies • Exhibitions • Education programs & Curriculum Materials • Apprenticeships • Radio and television projects

  • Cristina Ballí is a bilingual cultural manager with expertise in Texas-Mexican border culture and Mexican-American music history. She is coauthoring a book on sustainability of conjunto music, a Texas-Mexican syncretic traditional music based on accordion and bajo sexto, a 12-string Mexican guitar. She directed the NEA-funded radio projects “Stories from Deep in the Heart” and “Border Voices” as well as the state-wide “Big Squeeze” accordion contest. Previously Ballí was director of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts...

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  • Charlie Lockwood studied Ethnomusicology at Vanderbilt University, where he explored the music traditions of Ghana, Uganda and South Africa.  In 2006, Charlie conducted field research in Khayelitsha, a township of Cape Town, South Africa, working with youth theater for development activists and learning gumboot or isicathulo dance.  He earned an M.A. in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he played the '...

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  • Michelle, a native of Brownsville, Texas graduated in 2011 from UT-Austin with a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film and a concentration in Latino Media Studies. Mejia has participated as an assistant & youth radio producer for the Stories from Deep in the Heart program since 2009. She has also photographed and assisted in the production of special events including The Big Squeeze and the Tejano-Conjunto-Norteno Convening in the cities of Austin, Houston, Seguin, San Antonio, and...

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  • Becky Bingman coordinates Texas Folklife's Apprenticeship program and has been involved the arts and education community for 25 years. Before joining Texas Folklife, Becky worked with the Kentucky Collaborative for Teaching and Learning, where she organized artist workshops for teachers, and developed arts programming and curriculum materials for Kentucky Educational Television. She has a long-standing interest in indigenous and unschooled artists. As gallery director at Appalshop, the nationally known media arts...

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  • Sheree Scarborough practices the art of helping people and organizations tell their story. Whether through oral history, writing, public relations or marketing, she helps craft the word and gets the word out. Sheree has contracted with Texas Folklife since 2009 to promote the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest and the Accordion Kings & Queens Festival, and has recently expanded her work with...

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  • Dr. Margolies (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan College.  His research examines a wide array of interdisciplinary topics in history, ethnomusicology, and folklore, including legal and musical spatiality, migrant music and transnationalism, and the application of sustainability to Conjunto music in Texas and morin khuur in Mongolia. 

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  • In 2005 Jaclyn received a B.A. in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Cultural Studies from the Evergreen State College. As an undergraduate she spent majority of her work-study and internship experience working in museums and libraries. Jaclyn has studied abroad in southern Spain for a total of 11 months. She has over four years of professional experience working in higher education. Currently, she's pursuing her Masters of Science in Information Studies, Archives and Records...

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  • Tomas Salas was born in Houston, Texas and grew up living in several small towns and bigger cities along the IH 10 and IH 35 corridors, including San Antonio and El Paso. His family finally settled in Austin where he graduated from Travis High School and...

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  • Sharrone is a long-time creative entrepreneur and student of life whose guess word is "curious." You can often find him embarking on some new, exciting, never-before-seen enterprise or rocking out with his band, Brother Wolf and the Carnivores. In addition to music, Sharrone is a voracious writer of both poetry and prose and gladly shoulders the design responsibilities of his many projects. When he has time to catch his breath, he often likes to read Wikipedia for far too long.

  • Kevin Parme joined Texas Folklife in 2014 to manage the organization’s social media outreach. Prior to this, he spent a year as a Sales and Marketing intern at Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label of the national museum. As a guitarist and songwriter, he has released three limited edition, vinyl-only releases under the band...

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Moira Foreman Porter (Chair)  |  Austin, TX

Evy Ledesma Galán (Co-Vice Chair)  |  Austin, TX

Amancio Chapa, Jr. (Co-Vice Chair)  |  La Joya, TX

Amy Mitchell (Co-Vice Chair)  |  Austin, TX

Heyden Walker (Secretary)  |  Austin, TX

Johanna Arendt |  Austin, TX 

Ray Carrington III  |  Houston, TX

Gus Voelzel III  |  Austin, TX

Dick Holland  |  Austin, TX

Carmen Luevanos |  Austin, TX 

Susan Morehead  |  Austin, TX

Dagoberto Ramirez  |  La Joya, TX

Armando Sanchez  |  Houston, TX

Charlotte Spencer |  Austin, TX 

Lynne Storm  |  Austin, TX


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