The Alabama Center for Traditional Culture

The Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, a division of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, was created in 1990 to further the agency's mission to research, document and preserve the state's folk cultures. ACTC administers all grants pertaining to the folk and traditional arts, as well as, producing educational products and programs that identify, preserve and present Alabama folklife. ACTC activities support artistic excellence and provide access to the unique, multi-cultural traditional arts of Alabama, often in an educational context.

Folklife is comprised of those traditional expressions of culture that have grown from generation to generation among the many communities that have settled in this state--communities that share the same historical experience, ethnic heritage, language, occupation, religion, or geographic area.

Folklife includes folk arts such as traditional crafts, music and dance, as well as, regional foodways, folk architecture, beliefs, storytelling, myths, and medicinal practices, etc. Because it is a product of an historical and geographical process, Alabama folklife, in its many facets, uniquely reflects the personality of our state and values and aesthetics of its communities. The unique folk expressions of Alabama identify and symbolize those communities that have originated them and nurtured them, enlivening and giving meaning to the lives of Alabamians.

We have a rich heritage of folk traditions that is often overlooked, taken for granted and misunderstood. They define what it is to be an Alabamian. Given the diversity and wealth of Alabama's folklife, we strive to broaden an understanding of our community-based traditions so that all Alabamians can be proud of this shared inheritance.

The Objectives of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture

  • To identify, through research and fieldwork, folk traditions in communities and among individuals throughout the state of Alabama.
  • To bolster, though projects, initiatives, grants-making and technical assistance, the cultural activities of those traditional communities throughout the state where expressions of Alabama folklife exist.
  • To make the power, beauty, diversity and significance of Alabama's folklife expression more accessible to all citizens of the state.
  • Produce, through research, publications, touring exhibitions, media productions, concerts and festivals, school programs and symposia, an array of folklife products and activities.
  • Serve as a partner, collaborator and resource to colleges and universities, local arts agencies, libraries, schools, museums and other cultural organizations throughout Alabama.
  • Administer grants pertaining to the folk and traditional arts including project and presenting grants to help organizations identify, document and present Alabama's folklife and Folk Art Apprenticeship Grants to assist master folk artists in teaching their skills.

The Alabama Center for Traditional Culture strives to preserve and present Alabama folk culture and to further an understanding of this cultural heritage. To achieve this goal, the Center also identifies and documents Alabama's folklife and helps others to do so through funding from the Alabama Folklife Program.

The Alabama Folklife Program

The Alabama Folklife Program provides funding assistance in these general areas:
  • Folklife Projects - provides matching support for organizations.
  • Technical Assistance Grants – small grants.
  • Folk Art Apprenticeships - provide teaching grants for folk artists and their students
  • Partnerships and Initiatives - The Alabama State Council on the Arts has and will continue to work with other organizations who share the goal of interpreting and documenting Alabama folk culture. These efforts include media documentation, festivals and publications.
  • Presentations - provides grants to assist in the presentation of folk artists.

For more information, please refer to the Grant Guidelines.