Northwest Folkife

Cultural Focus

Every year, Northwest Folklife engages a Northwest community to showcase as part of the cultural focus throughout the year. The annual Cultural Focus is highlighted in all of our year-round programming, including the Northwest Folklife Festival in May. Working with a Cultural Focus Committee, we curate our programming to best highlight the year’s focus through live music, dance, art, food, panels, and community gatherings.

2021 Cultural Focus – 50 Years of Northwest Folklife: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Northwest Folklife’s 2021 Cultural Focus 50 Years of Northwest Folklife: A Look Back, A Look Ahead celebrates the milestone anniversary of 50 years of stories, songs, and traditions of the Pacific Northwest region with a year-long, community celebration. As we look towards a half-century mark, we celebrate the ways in which folklife is a part of each of our lives – past, present, and future. These stories are the powerful expressions of culture, that strengthen us as a community by connecting us to our roots, grounding us firmly in the present, and supplying us with a sense of identity and purpose for a future, together.

Previous Cultural Focus Programs

Living Legacies
Youth Rising
Echoes of Aztlán and Beyond: Mexican American and Chicana/o Roots in the Northwest
Festál Turns 20
The Power of the Human Voice through Song
Beats, Rhymes and Rhythms: Traditional Roots of Today’s Branches
2014 India and its People
2013 Washington Works
2012 The Next Fifty: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Seattle Center and Its Legacy
2011 Northwest Stories / Bulgarian Community Celebration
2010 Northwest Folklife is Community!
Thirteen groups that have become important to the Festival over the past 39 years (African American Gospel, All Ages, Bluegrass, Croatian, Filipino, FolkFloor Volunteers, Hungarian, Indian Dance, Jewish, New Old-Time, Northwest Folk Dancers, Inc., Ukrainian, Washington State Fiddle & Dance)
2009 The Centennial Celebration of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, 1909-2009
2008 Urban Indians
Native Americans Living off the Reservation
2007 Borderlands
An exploration of the communities that lie on either side of the International Boundary between Washington State and British Columbia
2006 Arab Communities of the Pacific Northwest
2005 Generation to Generation: Passing on our Traditions
Masters artists and apprentices from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
2004 Traditions from the Horn of Africa
Communities from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti
2003 East Meets West: Maritime Culture of the Atlantic Northeast and the Pacific Northwest
2002 East Meets West: Forest and Woodlands Culture of the Atlantic Northeast and the Pacific Northwest
2001 Han Madang: Korean American Communities of the Pacific Northwest
2000 Carnival Arts of the Caribbean