Company of Folk was founded and incorporated in 2007 through a partnership of folklorists and humanities experts interested in researching, preserving and presenting local and folk culture of the Chicago region. Company of Folk now extends that mission to a wider region that includes Illinois and the Upper Midwest.
Company of Folk cultivates partnerships that build strong communities through advocacy, documentation, and creative production. We believe in expanding opportunities for the growth of cultural, artistic, and civic knowledge in our multiple and diverse communities as a tool for promoting greater equity. This effort requires grassroots participation and extensive efforts to facilitate understanding of local perspectives and needs, as well meaningful advocacy to enhance local resources, traditions, art forms, and people.
Since its founding, Company of Folk has provided general consulting to the Illinois Arts Council Ethnic and Folk Arts programs: including technical assistance; curating and co-producing the Midwest Folklife Festival in Illinois; and, fieldwork. We also produced the acclaimed Folksongs of Illinois CD series, worked to provide greater visibility to the many archival folklife collections across Illinois, researched extensively significant labor traditions and those who practice them, and developed important curricular resources that compliment our projects, programs, and exhibitions.