Folk Art PA

Making It Better

Making It Better was a traveling exhibition from the winter of 2010 to the spring of 2012 that told the stories of over 30 master artists whose work can heal the sick, challenge social inequity, assist in meditation, and help communities both grieve and celebrate. Coming from every corner of Pennsylvania, the art represented a wide array of traditions such as African dance, stone wall construction, Native American clay flutes, Pysanky eggs, contemporary blacksmith work, woodcarving, and Vietnamese funerary portraits. All are integrated into people's lives and important enough to be shared and passed on. This exhibit demonstrated that although many traditional arts are rooted in centuries' old practices; they are thriving and meeting the needs of communities today.

Explore the links above for images of objects from this exhibit, biographies of all the artists, essays that offer in-depth explorations of exhibit themes, artist audio interviews, and resources for educators. While you browse, we invite all our visitors to think about the question: "How do your artistic traditions make a difference?"

Making It Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today was created by the Institute for Cultural Partnerships in collaboration with the Erie Art Museum, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Northern Tier Cultural Alliance, Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, Community Partnerships Resource Conservation and Development Council, and with assistance from the Philadelphia Folklore Project.

Funding support comes from PicturePA, a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council from their National Endowment for the Humanities’ We The People Initiative on American History.

Special thanks to all the artists for loaning their treasured objects and sharing their stories.  They play a vital role in our neighborhoods and communities, and they inspire the work we do.

Exhibition Fabrication: Erie Art Museum
Exhibition Design: Riverhill
Audio Production: Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area