Folklife encompasses the everyday knowledge, art, and lore that are shared within communities whose members share a common language, ethnic heritage, religion, occupation, or geographic region. Our folklife changes as people change, as our environment changes, and as groups interact. Folklife includes forms as new as hip hop and as ancient as Native American basket weaving.
Folk and traditional arts do not include folk-inspired art, which is produced by individuals and groups who are not part of the cultural community that originally developed the art form, even if the quality of the art is excellent.
A culture keeper, sometimes referred to as a folk and traditional artist, actively practices, passes on, and preserves the living cultural traditions of the community to which they belong and is recognized and acknowledged as a culture keeper by their community.
Folklife in Oregon is incredibly varied. The state is home to such diverse folkways as old-time fiddle music and saddle making, Palestinian embroidery and Czech egg decorating, Mexican folklórico dance and charro roping skills, Sengalese drumming and Somali Bantu henna, Chinese puppeteers and Vietnamese foodways, Umatilla dentalium piecework and Bosnian crocheted lace.