Announcing the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions: celebrate at a free all-day party in Seattle on Saturday, March 3.
I wrote some corporate journalism for Humanities Washington as a part of my internship in the communications office. In this announcement story, I was tasked with explaining the concept of “cultural traditions” and “folk art”—and representing their importance. You can read the whole story on their website.
But what are cultural traditions? While the name “folk and traditional arts” or “cultural traditions” may evoke a dry, historical connotation for some, [anthropologist Kristin] Sullivan insists that is not the case.
“I think of cultural traditions as any practices or objects/material culture that are reflective of the life or identity of a community, and that are practiced over time—often generations,” she said.
While a focus on cultural tradition means highlighting traditions that originated in Washington State, that’s not the CWCT’s exclusive focus. The CWCT also hopes to conserve “all traditions that are carried on in Washington—those of immigrant populations, both long-established and more recently arrived.”
ArtsWA executive director Karen Hanan explains that these traditions are a part of everyday life for everyone. For her, that’s what makes the work of the CWCT not just exciting, but a priority.
“Everybody has come from a culture. Everybody has things that they are carrying on and passing on, regardless of where they’re from. They’re all valuable: they’re the richness of our different lives all woven together in this wonderful tapestry that makes a state like Washington as alive with history and stories as it is,” she said. “It’s fundamental, and supporting it is critical.”