Traveling Exhibition

From Generation to Generation


From Generation to Generation highlights significant and beautiful traditional art that exists in a diversity of communities and homes across the state of Illinois. Telling the stories of ten artists, the featured art forms represent a wide variety of traditions such as duck decoy carving, Irish fiddle, Mexican murals, and African American Quilts. Every artist is part of a larger tradition, and their stories prompt questions that ask all of us to consider What will I pass along?


guide logoThis website includes artist biographies, additional video and audio media featuring the artists, and resources for educators and host sites. An overview of the curriculum can be found here, and individual artist pages and activities can be found on each profile. Please contact Company of Folk staff if you want to learn more about any of the artists or art forms featured in the exhibit. 


Return here often to see updates on when the exhibit and programs featuring these artists and others will be near you. Company of Folk members will automatically receive tour updates and VIP opportunities to meet the artists. Contact us for more details.




2015 Tour is Announced!


From Generation to Generation will be touring sites throughout the Chicago Metro in 2015 with a particular focus upon educational outreach. Contact us to learn more!


January –March 2015: Changing Worlds

April-June 2015: Orland Park Public Library

July-Sept 2015: Better Boys Foundation

Oct-Dec 2015: McKinley Park, Chicago Public Library Branch




Western Illinois Museum and Western Illinois University Library (Sep 11-Nov 21, 2013)

University Museum, Southern Illinois University (Jan-Mar 2014)

Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University (Apr-Jun 2014)

Bishop Hill Heritage Association (Jul-Sep 2014) 

Black Hawk College (Oct-Dec 2014)



Contact Lisa Rathje to learn about hosting opportunities in 2016 at rathje.lisa (at)  


From Generation to Generation: Folk Arts of Illinois was produced by Company of Folk with partial support by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Our public programming for the exhibit is also supported in part by the Illinois Humanities Council. Our exhibit advisory council provided invaluable insight at the outset of the project and continues to inform on-going touring and programming work: Company of Folk board members Barry Dolins, Ann Oleinik, Ryan Lewis, and Jackie McGrath; Traditional Arts Indiana Executive Director Jon Kay; and others from throughout the state of Illinois, including: Bill Singerman, Yahvi Pichardo, Jennifer Kirker, Kay Rippelmeyer, Susan Dickson, Susan Twomy, and Sue Scott.


We would like to share a special thanks to the artists who shared their time, stories, and photographs. We applaud the work they do to ensure vibrant and strong Illinois Communities.


Exhibit Curators: Lisa Rathje & Clark “Bucky” Halker, Company of Folk
Exhibit Design: Lance Tawzer of AngryPop Designs
Website Design: Tom Greensfelder