The Hütte restaurant in the Swiss village of Helvetia

West Virginia Folklife Program

The West Virginia Folklife Program is dedicated to the documentation, preservation, presentation, and support of West Virginia’s vibrant cultural heritage and living traditions. West Virginia Folklife is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Folk & Traditional Arts Program. The West Virginia Folklife Program employs West Virginia’s first state folklorist to carry out this work.


Often defined as the “art of everyday life,” folklife refers to art and culture that is based in and reflective of traditional knowledge and connection to community.


The mission of the West Virginia Folklife Program is to document the diverse folklife traditions of West Virginia and advance understanding and appreciation of traditional culture through the development of public programs, publications, and other media.


West Virginia Folklife also seeks to reinforce cultural heritage and living traditions by supporting and expanding opportunities for traditional artists, performers, and tradition bearers; assisting communities and community scholars throughout the state in the development of plans and projects to strengthen their own cultural traditions; and contributing and facilitating collaboration among those individuals, organizations, colleges and universities, and state government programs engaged in folklife activities.


Call Emily Hilliard at 304.346.8500 or email for further information.


Visit the West Virginia Folklife Program blog.


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Find more about folklife in West Virginia at e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia


Listen to West Virginia Folklife Concert with Jim Costa and Zoe van Buren

West Virginia old-time musician, local historian, and collector Jim Costa, and folklorist Zoe van Buren gave a program at the Humanities Council on January 25, 2017. Costa shared stories of his collection of 18th and 19th century farm tools and objects of everyday life and performed on harmonica, accordion, banjo, dulcimer, and fiddle with special guests Kim Johnson and Pete Kosky. UNC Folklore student Zoe van Buren presented on her work documenting Costa's collection.

Listen to the program here »