We're excited to introduce the newest members of our board who have doubled both its size and capacity in a short time. They are Bryan French of Duluth Folk School, Kerri Hamos of Folk School Fairbanks, Scott Hayden of Adirondack Folk School, Ryan Sartor, the new Treasurer of the board, Kirsten Skoglund of Marine Mills Folk School, and Terri Van Orman of Folklore Village.
Bryan French is the Director and Co-Founder of the Duluth Folk School. He brings a diverse skill set to the table, from sustainability in higher education, to musical theater, to human resources management. Bryan has been a professional photographer, an adventure guide and a naturalist.
The Duluth Folk School, founded in 2016, offers a wide range of classes, including traditional skills, arts, and a variety of craft disciplines. Located at the western tip of Lake Superior, the Duluth Folk School is located in the middle of the city, and is on the edge of the great North Woods.
I am the Program Director at The Folk School in Fairbanks, AK, and I have held this position for almost 4 years. I have three kids, ages 13-19, and have spent most of two decades as a homeschool parent. We have lived in Alaska since 2010, and in between raising kids and working for The Folk School, I enjoy camping and hiking, knitting, reading, and hanging out with our dogs.
The Folk School in Fairbanks had its beginnings in 2007, and slowly grew from one summer program into a year-round school. We offer classes and programs for all ages in a variety of disciplines, including art and craft, outdoor skills, woodworking, sciences, cooking and DIY. We value the utilization of materials that are readily available in the local boreal forest, and seek to promote stewardship of our surroundings through education and connection to the interior Alaska landscape. We strive to cultivate creativity and sense of accomplishment while developing skills in a community of lifelong learners.
I’m the Executive Director of the Adirondack Folk School. I am an Eagle Scout who grew up in the Bangor, Maine area. I enlisted in the US Army upon graduating high school and went to college on the GI Bill. Prior to 2016 when I joined the Adirondack Folk School, I served as an executive for the Boy Scouts Upstate New York area for over 13 years. My wife Cristina and I have 2 amazing kids, Lucas and Olivia, a 3rd Grader and a Kindergartner who keep us on our toes with their many activities and sports. Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy hiking, reading, cooking and volunteering in causes I believe in deeply.
The Adirondack Folk School, (AFS) was founded in 2010 by Jim Mandle in conjunction with a dedicated group of community leaders and volunteers to bring something special to the Lake Luzerne community. Our school is nestled in the lower foothills of the Southern Adirondacks along the Hudson River. The Adirondack Folk School celebrates and preserves the culture and heritage of the Adirondacks and promotes creativity and self-reliance by teaching the arts, crafts and traditions that define our legendary region. AFS is made up of local artisans, crafts people, and volunteers, offering a non-competitive education experience, focusing on the student. The beauty and natural abundance of this environment influenced the skilled artisans that created the pack basket, twig furniture, birch bark containers, the Adirondack chair, the guide boat, and the Adirondack lean-to. These are the home furnishings, boats, and decor still found in cabins, lodges, and homes today throughout the region which have helped create the unique “Adirondack Style.”
My goal in joining the FEAA board is to help to promote and publicize our wonderful folk school movement. I want to help connect as many people with the thousands of unique classes being carried out every year in our 90+ schools throughout the country. We offer a unique opportunity for anyone who wants to learn something or make something for the pure joy of learning with expert artisans in dozens of craft areas. It is my belief that there are hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country who would benefit from our programs and that something special our schools have to offer.
After growing up in Chapel Hill, NC, Ryan used the combination of volunteering, school and travel to see more than 30 countries, work with small groups all over the world, and then live and work in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Since 2011, Ryan has been a bookkeeper and stay-at-home dad in Berea, KY, a place strongly connected to the Folk School movement. He's been actively involved on numerous boards at local levels and an active member of the Wilderness Education Association in the past, and he looks forward to the good that this movement can, and will, do in the midst of many local communities across the globe.
Kirsten lives in Minnesota with her dog Joy and cat Buddy and LOVES TO KNIT! “I LOVE people. I love to learn their story, learn about their dreams, and meet them where they are. I love to work hard to help them meet or surpass their goals. I love problem solving and thinking outside the box. I love helping people become the best version of themselves.”
Kirsten has been a lifelong learner, focusing on everything fiber arts. After a career in Community Mental Health, and Human Resources, in 2009 she started a successful retail shop selling yarn, fiber and gifts with her sister. The shop was open for 10 years. She taught many different classes while working within the fiber community. She was responsible for all aspects of her business, marketing, staffing and finances.
Kirsten has served in many volunteer roles in her community. Past roles include local School Board Member for 10 years, Allina Health System Board Member for 13 years, Community Environmental Committee, 5 years. Kirsten was the founder of the Mahtomedi Area Farmers Market, creating a gathering place for farmers, nonprofits and community members.
Building community is extremely important to her, in both professional and volunteer positions. Now her involvement is Marine Mills Folk School continues to extend her love of community building while being encouraged to learn new things every day.
My name is Terri Van Orman, and I am the Executive Director of Folklore Village. We conduct a variety of folk educational events throughout the year, including weekend-long, themed learning experiences, and six sessions of our new Folk School. I have been involved in folk education since the 1990's when I started my own grass-roots weaving workshops at the Ozark Folk Center. Thinking it would be so much more fun to have other folk artist workshops going on at the same time, I helped institute the "Ozark Folk School" which flowered into 20+ folk arts workshops in music and crafts. After becoming the Director of Crafts Programming there, I expanded the original week-long experience into an all-year extension. Moving on from the Folk Center, in 2009, I became Executive Director of the Arkansas Craft School, again managing folk arts education experiences year-round. I have served on the boards of the Arkansas Craft Guild, and the Arkansas Arts Council, and as a panelist for the Wisconsin Arts Board. I contracted for consultation work on a proposal for a Maryland Folklife Center, and have taught about craft at the college-level. My writing about craft has been published by both Ceramics Monthly and Handwoven magazines; and my master's thesis focused on the craft and music traditions of Mountain View, Arkansas.
Folklore Village, an arts and culture organization preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, has actually been in existence since 1947, when our founder, Jane Farwell instituted the Festival of Christmas and Midwinter Traditions, now in its 73rd year - which will be presented virtually for the first time this year due to the pandemic. Our mission statement is "to provide opportunities for individuals and communities to honor, experience, and support ethnic and traditional folklife." We do that through concerts, barn dances, special "socials" such as a Maypole dance or a Sankta Lucia day, children's field trip programming, and primarily through adult educational experiences in folk dance, folk music, foodways, and craft, including our latest folk school initiative. We are located on 94 acres - our founder's original family farm, in the beautiful Driftless region of Southwestern Wisconsin. Our infrastructure is composed of our main activity center, Farwell Hall, the late 1800's Farwell family farmhouse, the 1882 Plum Grove Chapel, the 1893 Wakefield Schoolhouse, a couple of rustic bunkhouses for student lodging, various outbuildings, and surrounding gardens and grounds. We also manage about 65 acres of restored prairie land. We serve communities extending from the hyper-local, to the regional, national, and even international. Our website is www.folklorevillage org.