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Director of Folklife

Organization: Staten Island Arts
Date Posted: 1/12/2019
Date Needed: 3/15/2019
City: Staten Island
Location: New York
Country: United States
Primary Category: Public Folklore, Non-Profit
Salary: $50,000.00 yearly
Type of Position: Full-Time
Experience Requirement: 1-2 years

Description & Details

Staten Island Arts, an arts service organization and presenter that is the arts council for Richmond County, seeks a Resident Folklorist to run its year-round Folk & Traditional Arts Program. Reporting to the Executive Director, Staten Island Arts Folklife works directly with traditional artists and their communities to present, document, and safeguard the traditional cultural resources found throughout the borough. The Folklorist’s main objective is to promote, celebrate and sustain traditional and folk art practices indigenous to the ethnic communities and social groups of Staten Island. By means of programming, advocacy, technical assistance and fieldwork documentation, the Folklorist helps local communities and folk artists to gain public recognition; sustain and share their traditions, both within their respective communities and via borough and city-wide dialogues; improve their ability to subsist via their craft (individual artists); and raise awareness and interest in folk arts programming throughout the borough of Staten Island.

Responsibilities: Through a community-based approach to research and programming the Folklife program/staff folklorist plants the seeds for self-sustaining projects and programs that allow folk arts to thrive on Staten Island. Another objective is to further bridge understanding and collaborations between contemporary arts and Folklife. Job responsibilities include:

  • Documentation/Archival work: Conducting regional fieldwork to identify and document Folklife practitioners; assisting communities and artists with their technical needs; formulating public programming that grows organically from community interest, capacity and need, featuring those local folk artists who are active on the island.
  • Public Programming: Planning and presenting at least 4 significant public programs based on field research each year. Producing programing includes several phases:  research and planning; fundraising; dates, times, locations; working with marketing staff to create advertising and publicity; participant confirmation; tracking program budget/financials; program design and logistics; onsite coverage; and follow-up.
  • Achieving Equity: Participate with Staten Island Arts’ borough-wide audience initiative to support increased equity through expansion of access to regrant funding, racial training and diversity in the realms of programming and audience representation. Includes attending professional development workshops, providing technical assistance to local organizations and individual artists, networking between local community and audience development consulting team.
  • Technical Assistance: Providing technical assistance to local artists and organizations in the form of long and short-term partnerships/fiscal conduits with local community grass root organizations and projects; grant research and application assistance; consulting on administrative affairs; acting as liaison between local folk artists and larger presenting institutions and funding sources; and holding periodic Folklife Meet-Ups for networking and career building purposes.
  • Advocacy: Networking with local and regional organizations, attending community folk art related events on and off of Staten Island, advocacy at the national, state and City level for folk art funding and appreciation, membership, conferences, and publications with the American Folklore Society, New York Folklore Society, American Anthropological Association (Applied Section) and Society for Ethnomusicology.
  • Organization-Wide Events: Assisting the arts council staff in organization-wide activities such as large-scale festivals of public art, fundraising events, and networking meetings.

The staff folklorist is a full-time salaried position. Weekly hours fluctuate with demands of programs and frequently involve evening and weekends, both for the folk arts program and for general arts council programs. Annual salary: commensurate with experience. Start Date: as soon as possible; start date may be negotiated with the strongest candidates.  

Qualifications: Applicant should have an advanced degree in folklore or a related field and have experience creating and producing public programming. Candidate should have field research skills (interviewing, recording, transcribing, photography/videography) and be computer literate (MS Word, Excel, Gmail, internet). Candidate should have experience producing and managing digital content (database and web-based archival platforms, Word Press web updating, Adobe CS 6 Suite, Final Cut, I-movie, and social media accounts).

Additional skills include ability to work with a wide variety of artists/organizations, knowledge of Spanish and/or languages other than English, grant writing/fundraising experience, and a familiarity with the cultural traditions of Staten Island’s diverse communities.


How to Apply / Contact
Interested candidates are encouraged to apply via email to Executive Director Elizabeth Bennett. Please submit a cover letter, resume, a brief writing sample and 3 references to Hard copy submissions may be sent to Ms. Bennett at: P.O. Box 50197, Staten Island, NY 10305.

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