Folklorist Emily Hilliard will present the West Virginia Folklife Program.

State folklorist Emily Hilliard will bring the West Virginia Folklife Program, a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council, to the Pocahontas County Opera House Thursday, April 19, for a public interest meeting.

“What is Folklore?” will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Hilliard is conducting a statewide fieldwork survey to assess and document current folklife activity in West Virginia.

“Folklife traditions are community-based creative expressions,” she said. “Those can include traditional music and dance, foodways, material culture, faith-based expressions, occupational lore and more.”

Hilliard will give a brief presentation on the discipline of folklore and her current work in West Virginia, and will take feedback from the audience on local traditions, traditional artists and tradition bearers in their community.

Hilliard stresses the importance of community involvement in this folklife survey.

“This work is about honoring and supporting the creative contributions of West Virginians. We welcome public input on those traditions and tradition bearers valued by local people.”

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

Emily Hilliard may be reached at hilliard@wvhu or 304-346-8500.  The Folklife Program also has a toll-free Folklife Hotline, 1-844-618-3747, where the public may share information about local traditional artists, craftspeople, musicians, home cooks or elders, or contribute a song, story or other piece of folklore or community tradition.

The West Virginia Humanities Council is a nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors whose members are drawn from all parts of West Virginia. It is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported by the NEH, the State of West Virginia, and by contributions from the private sector. The purposes of the West Virginia Humanities Council are educational, and its mission is to support a vigorous program in the humanities statewide in West Virginia.