Goodbye and Congratulations to Adrienne Decker, our former Assistant Folklorist:

Oregon Folklife Network and The University of Oregon’s Folklore program wishes Adrienne Decker all the best in her new position as Folk Arts Representative at the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, based at the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Art.

Former Assistant Folklorist for the Oregon Folklife Network, Decker received her Masters degree from the Folklore Program at University of Oregon in 2014. Decker, an integral part of the OFN team, was the lead on several projects, including a grant that helped to fund the FisherPoets Gathering and a National Heritage Fellow nomination. Her most recent contribution was to curate “Buckaroo Traditions of Oregon,” an exhibit currently on display in the OFN's "Window Gallery" in our Knight Library office.

Decker, who is very much enjoying her new position, works working to give rural communities and folklife a bigger voice amongst the acclaimed arches and various valleys of Utah’s landscape. Good luck, Adrienne! We miss you!

For more news on Adrienne, click here.
Meet Josh Ehlers, our new Assistant Folklorist:

Please join us in welcoming to OFN's new Assistant Folklorist, Josh Ehlers. Josh grew up Palisade, CO, a peach orchard and winery town. After high school, he set off for the rainy Northwest. In 2013, Ehlers became one of the first to graduate with a BA in Folklore from the University of Oregon, which recently instituted an undergraduate Folklore program. 

Josh decided to become a folklorist while sitting in an English class. The major was new and spoke to his interest in understanding people and what drives their passions, creativity and heritage. He went on to study drag queens, ravers, punk rockers, rites of passage, and “outsider” groups. 
Josh's goals at OFN include creating more accessible public programming and building our network with partners and groups around the state.
Fieldnotes: Columbia River Gorge Survey
Nancy Nusz
Clockwise: Ranchers Jamie Wilson and Cathy Brown; Arlene Rucker with wheat weaving; Ron Wilson with leatherwork; Donna Bates with wheat product. Photos courtesy of Nancy Nusz

To understand how the land and environment help to shape the traditions of daily lives, one simply has to take a trip to Sherman and Gilliam counties. Steep rolling hills, defined by narrow, winding ravines with swift flowing rivers, limited rainfall, and constant wind are steadfast companions of those living in the region. Over generations, people have learned how to fashion a living out of this land and how to enjoy this unique place. Grandparents, parents, friends, co-workers, and neighbors have all contributed to the history, crafts, specialized work, fun, stories, and more that speak to a special way of life among the ranchers and farmers of these north central Oregon counties. Read More

Nancy Nusz is an independent folklorist who has been conducting fieldwork for the Oregon Folklife Network's Columbia Gorge Regional Folklife Survey, which is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.

FisherPoets Gathering: 18 Years and Growing
Julie Meyer
Clockwise: FisherPoet Performers at the Astoria Event Center, photo courtesy of Julie Meyer; Austin Tomlinson Performing, Maryna Ajaja performing, photos courtesy of Makaela Kroin.

For eighteen years running, the Annual FisherPoets Gathering has transformed Oregon's quaint seaside town of Astoria into a festive reunion of fishers, fisherpoets, their audiences and friends in celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s unique maritime heritage.  Fisherpoets congregate each year on the last weekend in February to perform expressive pieces about the joys and perils of commercial fishing, a dangerous occupation that brings fresh fish to tables around the world, and reflects the region's unique food shed, landscape, and historic trade.  Men and women involved with all aspects of the industry, from set-netters to cannery workers, hook audiences with their lively performances of song, poetry, and prose – a special form of community self-documentation. 
With six venues filled to bursting for each performance, the gathering still maintains a family reunion feel. New and familiar members of this tight-knit community deepen their ties between performances, catching up news, sharing stories, and trading tricks for writing, rhyming, and turning a phrase. 
2015 marks OFN's third year of partnership with the FPG. OFN staff helped bring American Sign Language interpreters to increase access to the event and secured new funding from the Oregon Arts Commission to compensate the dedicated event coordinators who annually volunteer hundreds of hours to this ever-growing event. OFN Executive Director, Riki Saltzman, brought six UO Folklore graduate and undergraduate students to document the event and conduct interviews with several of the poets; for some, this was their first fieldwork experience.
Zoe Steeler, an undergraduate Folklore major and OFN’s new Folklife Assistant, wrote in reflection, “This first taste of fieldwork was something good, something tangible that I feel like I can hold onto. I look forward to future fieldwork, armed with the knowledge that this is something I can and want to do.”  
Stay tuned for updates on OFN’s fall 2015 exhibit on the FisherPoets Gathering! And if you just can’t wait to attend the 2016 FPG, check out the offerings “In the Tote” or the direct links to performers on the FPG website.
Clockwise: Showroom with Bob Powell Peforming, Lara Lee Messersmith-Glavin performing, photos courtesy of Makaela Kroin; Gear Shack and Event Sign, photo courtesy of Sarah Wyer.
OFN Staff Out and About

OFN staff travel the state regularly. We invite you to contact us for a visit if one of us will be near you this month.

Executive Director, Riki Saltzman

April 17-19: Regional Survey with Nancy Nusz, Columbia Gorge
April 22-24: Oregon Heritage Conference, Coos Bay

Program Manager, Emily West
April 22-24: Oregon Heritage Conference, Coos Bay

Be a part of our efforts to nurture Oregon’s diverse cultural heritage. Consider a tax-deductible donation today!
Support OFN!
Upcoming Grants

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions
Due May 5

Oregon Cultural Trusts Development Grant
Due May 15
Call for Artists

Caldera Artist in Residence
Applications due June 15

The Afterlife of Trees Exhibit
Entries due October 1
Annual Depoe Bay Crab Feed and Wooden Boat Show
April 18-19

10th Annual McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival
April 25
In the News:

StoryCorps App

Karen Women of Portland
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