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Wood Sign Carving
What are traditional arts?
For a traditional artist, being true to the past is usually more important than change or innovation. Therefore, the techniques and forms of traditional arts tend to change very slowly. Though each generation adds their special gift to the tradition, the sense of what is beautiful and well done is defined more by the community than by an individual artist's personal creative vision. Because of this, traditional arts often become symbols of identity and pride for a community.
Traditional arts encompass folk arts. These are local "grass roots" artistic activities that are usually taught informally. A fiddle player may learn by playing along with older musicians at local community dances, a quilter may learn by helping her mother, a woodcarver may learn by helping out a neighbor, and a storyteller usually draws upon real life experiences growing up in a particular region or neighborhood. Folklife embraces a much wider range of cultural activities including food traditions, occupational skills, ways of speaking, and celebrating.
The NH State Arts Council’s Traditional Arts Program seeks to be responsive to how communities define themselves and their traditions. Because of limited resources, we place emphasis on supporting tradition bearers that have a direct connection to the community or group from which a tradition emerged.
Here are just a few of the traditional art forms that can be found in New Hampshire:
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