Adirondack Folk School is dedicated to the arts, crafts, and culture of the mountainous Adirondack region. In the old town hall on Main Street in Lake Luzerne, one can learn the handiwork that made the region famous for its “Adirondack Style,” including Adirondack chair building, twig furniture, boat building, and paddle making.
Affiliated with the Episcopalian Diocese of Alabama, since 2007, the folk school has been set among Camp McDowell’s 1,100 acres of forests and fields. Emphasis in the program is on personal renewal while learning from master artisans. In class groups of no more than eight students, instructors keep alive historical craft and music styles during the two- to four-day workshops. A full meal and lodging plan is available at the camp.
The Alaska Folk School is a program of the Northern Susitna Institute, a non-profit educational organization near Anchorage that promotes “real learning in the real world.” Broad course areas include fiber arts, fine arts, food craft, woodworking, construction, and outdoor skills. Recent one-day classes included Fungi Forage, Blues Guitar Basics, and Field Sketching from Nature.
The Appalachian Folk School in Mountain City, Tennessee, was founded in 2010 by Warren Doyle, a retired professor with a lifelong interest in folklife. Building projects for the school were finished in 2011 with the completion of a spacious open-air dance pavilion, and include residential facilities. Classes are offered annually from March through October, and in addition to the main focus on “Appalachian Trail Hiking Institutes,” helping people realize their dream of hiking the Trail, there is contradancing, non-violence communication workshops, and courses offered with other institutions such as Albion College. The school also hosts a national contradance week, poetry readings, house concerts, and is open to programs about social and environmental justice issue offered by like-minded people who would would like to lead low-cost, residential programs of their own.
Broad course categories, with an emphasis on the skills of the Puget Sound, include wood arts, ceramic arts, fiber arts, metal arts, living arts, and music. Classes range from a single session to several months. Students learn to make their own nails in blacksmithing, sing a cappella in “Sing Your Soul Alive, “ and shape furniture in the drawknife clinic.
Aspire Artisan Studios and Folk School in Waconia, MN, was established in 2015 by Geraldine Johnson, at the historic Andrew Peterson Farm, with the goal of enriching the community by bringing together instructors and students of all ages, to learn, teach, and collaborate, exploring the unique talents and artistic abilities of each, using the highest standards of quality. PA AA group of passionate artisans specialize in teaching traditional and authentic hand-arts while preserving historical crafts. Classes for both adults and youth are offered from May - October, and in 2018 include: blacksmithing, calligraphy, sewing, woodworking, quilting, block printmaking, textile printing, and much more.
Located on 64 acres in the heart of the Avon Hills Conservation Overlay District of central Minnesota, the Avon Hills Folk School offers experiential learning in a non-competitive, inter-generational environment that creates the opportunity for community to happen. We seek to create and nurture an environment that allows people to discover, learn, and create by providing a venue for local, regional artists and craftspeople to share and teach their craft with others.
Created by a group of music educators and community members, the school offers workshops and lessons to all ages and abilities, Bellingham Folk School hosts weekly events that encourage those curious about folk music to play and learn together.
Philadelphia Community Farm was established as a nonprofit in 1989 and continues with the vision and mission of restoring health and vitality to people, animals, plants and the earth. In addition to the farm itself, classes are offered at the school with the motto: “Enlighten, enliven, be….” They focus on teaching curiosity, engaging in mindfulness, writing, art, movement, music.
Learning takes place all over Washington’s stunning Olympic peninsula. “Endangered” rural arts and living skills are the focus, including farmstead cheese, tracking wildlife, hot water solar, root cellars, and fire making, offered in one- or two-day class formats.
Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, in Galax, Virginia, preserves and promotes the cultural heritage of southwest Virginia by offering classes, events, and exhibits for all ages and skill levels in traditional music, heritage crafts, and contemporary arts. The school includes a gallery and gift shop, studios, and classroom space, offering classes and studio space for music, painting and drawing, fiber arts, stained glass, pottery, jewelry, and woodworking. Our philosophy is that art is for everyone and everyone is an artist.
Circle Pines Center in Southwest Michigan, was established during the Great Depression as an outgrowth of the Ashland Folk School, one of the first folk schools in the U. S. With roots in the Quaker tradition, in peace activism and the civil rights movements of the 1960’s, CPC has gradually evolved with an environmental mission to demonstrate cooperative ways of life, cooperative alternatives for climate change action, and for economic and social issues. Programs include a children's summer camp, a year round retreat center with programs for families, children and adults, an annual music festival, a “People’s Institute,” and weekend “Workbees.” The CPC is located on 294 acres of rolling hills, hardwood and pine forests, with frontage on Stewart Lake, and miles of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing, diverse wildlife and an organic garden and orchard.
The Clearing was founded by Danish architect Jens Jensen to be a “school of the soil,” where students learn in close communion with nature. The summer school program, running May through October, features week-long classes of 25-35 students each, with a great diversity of subjects from fine arts to writing to sports and building. Communal meals and activities are an intentional part of the learning experience.
Located on a fifth-generation farm with a log home, Cloverdale emphasizes a non-competitive and supportive learning atmosphere. Broad areas of instruction include music, art, crafts, cooking, gardening, and dance. This year’s particular offerings include Hardwood Paddle Making and Basic Blacksmithing, offered in two-day weekend formats. A bed and breakfast is on site, including a full country-style meal to start your day.
Crooked Lane Farm Folk School is a learning community devoted to lifelong learning for individuals and families, committed to preserving, growing, and celebrating the rural community through education and the arts. The school offers meaningful activities that encourage creativity, personal growth, and a chance to learn just for the sake of learning.
Located on the homestead of a 19th-century Florida pioneer, The Crowley Folk School exists to “inspire the hands, heart, and mind by teaching folk arts, crafts, and skills useful for the home and farm.” Workshops are held on Wednesday evenings and weekends.
When Danish settlers founded the town of Tyler at the end of the 19th century, they made it a priority to build a brick folk school that would continue the traditional learning of their homeland. That dream continues today in the form of three week-long camps each summer, where families can come to enjoy dancing, crafts, discussions and singing.
Broad areas of skill learning include agricultural, natural history, arts and crafts, and traditions of rural Wisconsin. Students can learn how to ride horses, fish for trout, make an earthen oven, and herd sheep and goats in one-day to one-week formats. Individuals and families alike are welcome to discover many different sustainable skills in a supportive environment.
Northland residents have a new place to learn a craft or hobby with the opening of the Duluth Folk School. It's mission is to teach skills, arts and crafts that enrich personal lives and the community, while having fun, and while at first, the Duluth Folk School will be "nomadic" in its location, as the folk school grows, eventually a permanent home will be purchased or constructed. The first classes were offered starting in May 2016.
At Elmcrest, one focus is to promote agri-tourism through the folk school’s various classes around the general theme, ‘Sample the Simple Life. The school is located on a tree farm, and recent courses have included quilting and scrapbooking.
Located in the boundary waters area of Minnesota, this is a new school offering its first courses in 2015. The focus is on north woods crafts and skills, and the promotion of the community’s unique heritage and culture formed by French voyageurs, Finnish and Slovenian loggers and fisherfolk. They hope to be a folk school like those that are “havens for interaction and renewal, …(with a) mission to inspire, not compel…inter- generational and non-competitive with no grades and no credits…encouraging learning for life instead of for exams.”
The new Finnish American Folk School has begun offering classes as of January 2017 with the mission of helping to reinvigorate the authentic ethnic activity of the Finnish community of the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, particularly in arts and culture.The folk school is a part of the Finnish American Heritage Center of Finlandia University, and to start will be offering classes in traditional Finnish boat making and the re-introduction of an ancient one-stringed Finnish musical instrument – the virsikannel.
The Flora School Education Center, housed in the historic Flora School building built in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in Flora, OR. The school closed in 1975 with one remaining student, but reopened in 1997 to house the education center, whose mission is to restore the building while promoting pioneer skills and historic agriculture. Today, restoration is on-going, as is instruction in pioneering skills, through courses and programs such as: beginning and intermediate blacksmith classes; quilting; “Milk & Cookies the Pioneer Way” (milk the cow, make raisins, churn butter, use a wood cookstove and griddle, split wood, make vanilla and baking powder); earth oven building; “Cooking with Cast” (learning to use and care for Dutch ovens); sausage making, batik, and making soft and hard cheeses. In addition, there are fund raisers and events such as plays, work parties and New Year’s Eve gatherings!
Folklore Village has been engaged in lifelong learning opportunities for over 40 years, but 2018 will be the first year that a folk school crafts program will be added to the list of other activities which in the past have primarily featured folk dance and traditional music. This first year of the folk school will feature handcrafts from Scandinavian countries, through 1 – 5 day classes, including building a Norwegian log cabin, Scandinavian turn-shoe making, building a Finnish 5-string Kantele, Saami-style bracelets, Danish Aebleskiver baking, and so much more. Besides the new folk school, students can take advantage of weekend learning events such as Cajun Music and Dance Weekend, or Fall Swedish Weekend - which features Swedish fiddling, dance, and nyckelharpa instructions.
The mission of the Florida Maritime Museum (FMM) is to collect, preserve and share traditional knowledge, cultural artifacts and personal stories specific to Florida’s maritime heritage. The Folk School enables FMM to take this mission a step further with hands-on classes formulated to not only learn and preserve classic skills, but to share stories, build community and grow appreciation for the history of Cortez and the greater surrounding area.
The Folk School of Fairbanks, founded in 2011, has recently offered such classes as spinning creative art yarns, bowl carving, campfire cooking, and baking in a Dutch oven. In addition to their regular courses, they also have the “Week in the Woods” and the “Week on the River,” unique multi-generational hands-on learning experiences.
The mission of the Folk School of KDHX in St. Louis, Mo, is to build community through music. They offer a range of classes and workshops for all ages, day and evening classes, both at their facility in St. Louis, and at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, Illinois, as well as sponsoring special events and concerts. The emphasis is on folk music.
The mission of Forest Folk School is to preserve, perpetuate and promote the ancestral arts by offering intergenerational learning experiences that will enrich lives, build community and inspire the hands, minds, spirit and soul of all who partake. Courses include canoe making and archery, and facilities include an arts / traditional skills reference library, and a timber frame blacksmithing and tool making shop.
Frank Hamilton Folk School, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to teaching, preserving and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Atlanta and Southeast regional areas. The school offers classes in guitar, banjo and fiddle.
Figaro's Farm is a homesteading farm in the far northeast corner of the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, a farm resembling a sprawling cottage garden, stuffed with flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
Melissa Laurita Kohl, a former city person, and the prime mover of the folk school, is a respected herbalist, artist, and passionate plant and critter lover who founded Fungi Flora Folk School on the farm in 2015. The classes quickly began to fill up attracting participants from far and wide, classes in identifying, growing and using herbs from traditional and modern perspectives. The laughter, good tea, and yummy herbal food fill winter nights with jovial company and inspiring tales of herbal wonders. Fungi Flora has joined forces with Brookview community center in Barnet which provides classroom space as well as lodging. Some classes are offered on the web, and there is also a 6 – month apprenticeship available.
Set in the beautiful woodlands of the Pocomoke Forest, with its collection of historic nineteenth-century buildings and Nassawango Iron Furnace, Furnace Town is a learning center for the study of our history and it provides a concrete basis for ideas and traditions that help inform who we are and where we came from. The Furnace Town Folk School promotes and preserves the stories, skills and knowledge of life in the nineteenth-century on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hands-on classes, demonstrations, and workshops are taught by artisans from Furnace Town in blacksmithing, broom making, cooking, dance, gardening, music, printing, shape note singing, spinning, weaving, and more. The Folk School provides creative and meaningful opportunities to explore and examine life from a time gone by.
Students take a ferry from Vancouver to reach Heartwood Folk School on Pender Island. Courses include time-honored traditional agricultural arts (growing herbs, raising poultry), but also practical mechanical skills (small engine repair, solar panel installation).
With roots in the Danish Folk School tradition, Highlander now serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the U.S. South. Through popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, helps to create spaces where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible advance a multi-racial, inter-generational movement for social and economic justice in our region.
Homer Folk School is a community gathering place and collaborative learning environment that teaches traditional knowledge and hands‐on skills with respect for the web of life. Classes may range from Alternative Energy Systems to Wilderness Skills to boat building. You can choose a one-day, week-long, or weekend courses in a broad variety of areas.
With the motto: “Education for a handmade life,” the school offers interesting classes and a supportive community, whether you're planting your first seedling or building a solar array. Among their offerings: courses in herbal medicine, glassblowing, gardening, beekeeping, raising chickens, mushroom growing, making utensils, cheese making….and many more.
At Human Nature School we foster a deep connection to and awareness of the natural world, ourselves, and each other. Through teaching and practicing wilderness awareness and primitive living skills, we support others of all ages in awakening their innate ability to thrive in the natural world. Nature connected people see and feel as though they are native to their places. We inspire people to realize the true richness of nature and to build long term relationships with people and the land with a goal of one day living within a nature-centered community full of healthy, joyful people in a healthy ecological picture.
John and Olive Campbell laid the groundwork for one of the oldest folk schools in North America (founded 1925), searching for a way to feature the handiwork of the mountain people of Appalachian North Carolina. The more than 860 weekend and weeklong class offerings cover 48 subject areas. Food and lodging (twelve houses plus a campground) are available on campus, and community events include square dances, concerts, non-profit events, and auctions.
Kowana is the Miwok Indian word for music, and that is the focus of many of the classes here. Celtic music workshops, instrumental workshops where the goal is assimilating new skills into one’s playing, and in addition farm-to-table cooking classes, painting classes - and a variety of other kinds of subjects in the context of a location in the middle of a national forest.
Colorado’s first folk school focuses on living skills, crafts, and music. In addition to workshops offered in these areas, two other key programs are also offered. The first is a Monday to Friday summer camp centering on a particular art (such as Bakers & Potters, or Bee Guardians & Candle Makers). The second is a homeschool program “for curious children,” ages 6 to 9 and 10 to 14.
Lost Creek is a full-service paddling outfitter and guide service that also offers workshops helping connect people with the natural world. Located at the western entry to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, classes are available not only in water-related sports like kayaking and paddle boarding, but also in traditional skills like hide tanning and drum making. Courses are offered at their off-grid house and workshop or at various other adventure locations.
Dulcimer, Ukelele, Mandolin, Guitar, Fiddle, Voice, Banjo, Music theory, among other subjects, the mission is connecting the deep roots of Kentucky's music traditions with its promising and lively future through lessons, performances, and a supportive community. Louisville Folk School offers small group classes for everyone age 11 through adult, from complete beginner through advanced.
The Michigan Folk School aims to renew traditional folk arts, and many of its one- to three-day courses have a decidedly homestead feel, such as Organic Fruit Trees, Savory Sourdoughs, and Natural Beekeeping. The central campus is located on a homestead farm outside of Ann Arbor, among thousands of acres of farmland and forests. Courses are offered at various locations in the vicinity.
This folk school is held in the mountains at Camp Mikell, which is part of the Episcopal diocese of Atlanta. Artisan classes include Tile Mosaics, Stained Glass, Wood Turning, and Weaving, Creative Writing, Live Fire Grilling, Felting, Soal making, and many more, offered in a three-day weekend format.
New Wind Folk School in Port Washington, WI, was started in 2011 on a theme of environmental care and concern, especially with respect to climate change. Part of their mission is “to keep storytelling alive through a variety of contemporary expressions that reflect upon and record our moment in time as we record it.” For information on specific courses and occasions, check the Facebook page.
The school was founded as a community initiative, and has maintained an emphasis on traditional skills of the northern countries. Their wide array of course offerings includes boat building, timber framing, sailing, and northern ecology. The learning style is inspired by the Scandinavian "folkehøjskole" where learning is valued for its own sake.
This school features traditional Ozark crafts, gardening, and music, with titles such as Sheep to Shawl, Wood Turning 101, Leatherworking, and Soapmaking. Students also enjoy local music, movies, and crafts in the nearby town of Mountain View. Housing is available at the Cabins at Dry Creek, located in a wooded area next to the school.
Since 1970, Peters Valley has hosted its classes in the historic buildings of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Beginners and advanced artisans alike can study Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Fiber Arts, Fine Metals, Photography, Printmaking, and Woodworking each year. Over 125 two- to five-day workshops are offered from May to September.
A great diversity of workshops are held at the Ploughshare’s teaching and research homestead near Waco. Homestead and Garden, Kitchen and Homemaking, Woodworking, Traditional Crafts, and Music and Art are all subjects one can explore through on campus or online classes. When on campus, sip coffee at the Cafe Homestead and see craftsmen work their skills at the Homestead Craft Village.
In June of 1994, the Pocosin Arts Folk school was created as a private, non-profit, educational center whose mission was to connect culture to the environment through the arts. Now known as Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft, it is located a few steps from the banks of the Scuppernong River, surrounded by the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and has operated a teaching studio and gallery on Main Street in Columbia since 1995. Pocosin Arts' diverse programs, include: public school enrichment; after school children’s programming; weekend workshops; week long workshops; weekly adult and youth classes; artist’s residencies; clubs and guild programming; contract work with schools both private and public, and Albemarle Ecological Field Site; and participation in festivals and fairs. With the recent completion of new Riverside Studios and Lodge, there are now accommodations for program participants at the extended workshops.
This folk school is located in Michigan’s largest state park, in the Porcupine Mountains, known locally as the “Porkies.” Some of this year’s one- to two-day classes include Traditional Finnish Folk Dancing, Birch Bark Containers, Portable Outdoor Chairs, and Soap Making. The school has a place-based program and offers workshops all year around in topics concerning the ecology and history, as well as the support of, the Porkupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Port City Folk School's mission is to build community and a lifelong love of music. Music is meant to be shared with others. When musicians get together to jam they become better players and find a community of supportive friends in the meantime.
Portland Folk School is a community based project to connect people with skills with people who want to learn. We help individuals and our community find the hidden art in meeting everyday needs. Inspired by the 19th-century Danish thinker N. F. S. Grundtvig, the Portland Folk School seeks to provide all ages with ways to learn informally, in a non-competitive atmosphere, studying music, cooking, gardening or even woodworking and handwork.
Passionate about the power of craft for personal worth and a strong regional community, Prairie Mountain Folk School offers experiential learning opportunities in the heritage trades. Students participate in non-competitive, intergenerational learning that provides a vital platform for the survival of heritage skills for future generations. Nestled in the northeast corner of Oregon, between the Zumwalt Prairie and Wallowa Mountains, Prairie Mountain Folk School is the perfect place to create with your hands.
Raspberry Island Folk School is located in McGregor, MN, on Big Sandy Lake, 2.5 hours north of the Twin Cities. Gary and Janet Hill are the only human residents of historic Raspberry Island, and have been offering classes in blacksmithing and pottery for several years, gradually expanding to a broader range of classes taught by well-known and sought-after instructors in the folk arts. Present offerings include: forging decorative and useful items; band weaving; wheel-thrown pottery; Norwegian knife and sheath making; birch bark weaving; wooden spoon carving; etc. The folk school has rustic accommodations on the island and can also recommend nearby accommodation on the mainland. Classes fill quickly.
Ruthie Glass, a certified herbalist and teacher in St. Petersberg, Fl, began offering classes at her folk school in December 2016. What began with hikes, workshops, and camps to engage children in nature, now includes classes in skills like wild-crafting, growing food, preserving food, medicine making, hand-crafting, creating from scratch. The classes integrate art, music, and storytelling along with naturalist skills, and have focused on soap-making, hand-crafting gifts, medicine making, hiking, outdoor skills, botany, cooking, and food preservation.
Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, is a non-proﬁt school of arts and crafts, founded on October 14, 2004 by local artists and community members, led by their founding board. It offers one- to multi-day workshops in rustic crafts and fine arts, as well as children's programs and a number of retreats. Offerings include 200 adult workshops per year, a robust summer children’s program, a Winter Writers Series, and a host of annual special events. Part of their mission is to assure the preservation of their incredible collection of historic buildings that give the school its name. These have been reroofed, rewired, repaved, reconstructed, and expanded, and include student/guest lodgings and an outdoor theater venue, Alley Stage.
Beginning February 2018, Southern Appalachian Folk School is offering classes in a wide variety of folk arts. The vision of SAFS is to be a Folk School with the mission of preserving the spirit of the Southern Appalachian Mountains by inviting the world to participate in the arts, crafts and stories of our mountain culture. Among the initial offerings will be Basket making, wood whittling, making cane blow guns, and chair caning. As SAFS grows, it will purchase equipment that will allow offering such classes as metal working, wood turning, pottery, and quilting. The initial goal is to offer weekend retreat-like classes. The hope is eventually to create a walkable, residential campus that offers workshops and classes that encourage open participation and learning.
The Southern Indian Folk School in historic Madison, Indiana, was established in 2014 to help promote the traditional craft of the area while engaging the public in creative education. The family-friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere allows for all ages and all skill levels to learn together and from each other. Their mission included teaching folk crafts to help garner an appreciation for today's world, reminding us of a simpler time and place in history, where stories were shared over tables surrounded by friends and family while working on creating something functional and beautiful.
It is the mission of the Steel City Folk School to create a community of learning in the Pittsburgh area that will nurture the Mind, the Body, and the Heart by providing opportunities to explore new skills and ideas in a curious, caring and welcoming community. The organization is in its infancy, and while looking for a permanent home for on-going short and long courses, is beginning with a number of Pop-Up events to share ideas and explore the interests of the larger community.
Three Pines Farm is a fifth-generation family farm, rich with history and beauty, nestled in the heart of the Cedar Valley of Iowa. We support artisans, build community, learn with joy, and preserve craft. We aim to connect people with more mindful, inspired, creative, and slower ways of living. To connect the community with the artisans surrounding us – the baker, the crafter, the farmer, the chef, the artist – and supporting them in the process. And, ultimately, connecting people with a more inspired, revitalized, and vibrant version of themselves.
Villages gets its name from the places where classes are held: throughout the towns of scenic Van Buren County. Several classes are offered each month throughout the year in one- to two-day formats. Villages will give you a learning vacation and teach you how to make just about anything you could imagine, from cheese and pies to chairs and tools.
A new school opening in the historic township of Waterford, in the Washington DC area, asks people to step away from their screens for three days and focus on learning traditional crafts and skills. The Waterford Heritage Crafts School offered its first classes in August 2016, giving students a chance to receive a hands-on introduction to archaeology, to learn how to restore antique windows, make quilts and mix and apply lime mortar.
The school is an initiative of the Waterford Foundation, a 73-year-old organization that was created to help preserve the 18th-century village in western Loudoun County. Foundation officials hope that the school, based at the Waterford Old School on Fairfax Street, will attract students who are looking for alternatives to social media, online games and endless screen time.
We are a new collective folk school based in Minneapolis offering classes on traditional crafts, wilderness skills, and sustainable living. The classes offer in-depth learning opportunities ranging from a few hours to multiple days, and all courses provide hands-on learning and are facilitated by instructors with multiple years of experience in their field.