Northwest Folklife

About Northwest Folklife

Who We Are

Northwest Folklife is a 501(c)(3) heritage organization that celebrates the diverse tapestry of arts, cultures, and traditions emanating from a global Pacific Northwest. Since 1971, NW Folklife's work has been rooted in the shared humanity of connection and creative expression and is driven by intergenerational, intercultural experiences. Our staff collaborates with more than 100 Community Coordinators—including respected artists, educators, tradition bearers, and cultural leaders throughout the region— to envision, sow, and nurture collective opportunities, including the 53-year-old Northwest Folklife Festival, our Annual Cultural Focus (2024 -"Meraki"), the Cultural & Creative Workforce Development Program, Youth Engagement through Arts and Heritage (Y.E.A.H) program, and Our Big Neighborhood partnerships. Our programming continues to expand and evolve, reclaiming "folk" as the vibrant, wise, and present future that resides in all of us.

We envision strong communities united by arts and culture.

Our Vision

Strengthening our communities through arts & culture

Our Mission

Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Core Values

  • Northwest Folklife believes the arts revitalize people and communities and is dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage and its continued growth and development.
  • Northwest Folklife understands that everyone is a bearer of folk arts and that it is as important to participate in the arts as it is to observe them.
  • Northwest Folklife encourages communities to share their cultural arts, believing that interaction with new audiences enriches the community as much as the audience. When people share aspects of their culture, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes and increase respect for one another.
  • Northwest Folklife relies on the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest to inspire programs and collaborates with these communities to develop public presentations of their culture.

What We Do

Northwest Folklife programs are committed to access for all, removing all financial barriers to create the most inclusive, wide-reaching experiences for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in the region. Our accessible programs are made possible by your contributions.

Northwest Folklife creates inclusive, wide-reaching experiences for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in the Pacific Northwest. All are welcome to our community powered programs thanks to your generous contributions.


Northwest Folklife strives to strengthen our communities through uplifting the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest region 365 days a year. Our year-round programs include our Community Coordinators program, the Northwest Folklife Festival, Annual Cultural Focus, Youth Engagement through Arts and Heritage (Y.E.A.H) program, and the Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program.