Through personal narratives and multimedia imagery, Montgomery Traditions celebrates the thriving folk and traditional arts community that exists in this region of Maryland. As the most diverse jurisdiction in the State, Montgomery County is home to traditional artists from nearly every continent in the world.
At this website, you will hear stories by artists practicing forms of theatre, dance and music that are centuries old and deeply rooted in and reflective of that ethnic group’s shared standards of beauty, values, and culture. Learn also about modern artistic expressions like the Gumboot and Pantsula dances of South Africa developed in the 20th century. Hear the journey tales of artists coming to a new country, and their desire to resurrect in this new place the unique music, dance, theatre, stories and culture of a homeland now far away.
The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is honored to present the stories of these remarkable artists to a broader public. To learn more about these eleven artists and arts groups, as well as other folks and traditional arts in Montgomery County, visit our Folk and Traditional Arts Registry . AHCMC is a non-profit arts agency dedicated to providing leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars and inspires participation in the County’s rich cultural assets.
About this Website
AHCMC engaged multimedia producer, John Murph, to produce the incredible stories featured on this website. Mr. Murph uses a digital storytelling program called Soundslides. Mr. Murph was assisted by interns Jack Slattery (University of Maryland) and Violet Cavicchi (Vassar College). The website was developed by the phenomenal team at Wood Street Inc. using Word Press.
The artists and arts groups portrayed in this website were participants in a survey of the folk, ethnic and traditional artists, organizations and events in the Montgomery County initiated by the AHCMC, in concert with Maryland Traditions, a program of the Maryland States Arts Council . The field survey, overseen by ethnomusicologist Mark Puryear, resulted in a significant collection of audio interviews, videos, and still photography. This website features only a small portion of that collection which will be mined for additional stories in the future.
About the Field Survey
Initiated in 2006, the field survey was led by ethnomusicologist Mark Puryear with assistance from folklorists Jason Morris and Juan Dies. The purpose of the survey was to identify and document a significant number of artists, venues and organizations that practice and support folk and traditional arts. The project lasted four years with funds from Montgomery County, the Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
About Montgomery County
Montgomery County is one of the most diverse jurisdictions in Maryland. In fact, 46% of the State’s Asian population and 44% of the State’s Latino population resides in Montgomery County. Public school officials report a student body that includes children from over 164 countries speaking 184 languages.
Montgomery County’s population has grown more diverse over the last decade, becoming a majority-minority county for the first time, according to recently released 2010 U.S. Census data. The figures are based on 50.7 percent of residents identifying themselves as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander or an ethnicity other than non-Hispanic White. Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley noted “that places in America that are attractive to new people are the places that will prosper. The increase in the non-White population is a solid foundation. Most new businesses will be started by diverse people. This will add to the retailing, services and cultural diversity of the county, which benefits everyone.”
About the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County
The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is a non-profit, local arts agency providing leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars and inspires participation in the County’s rich cultural assets. AHCMC supports the County’s vibrant cultural community through grants, capacity building, marketing, and development. Since 1976, AHCMC has been the County’s designated agency to disburse grants to arts and humanities organizations and individual artists and scholars and to help fund enriching cultural activities in our County (see past grant awards ). Through outreach programs and services, AHCMC provides the infrastructure and support necessary to maintain a robust creative community that includes over 350 cultural organizations and 1200 artists and scholars.