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Arkansas Folklife Program receives grant from National Endowment for the Arts

May 30, 2008 -- Arkansas State University has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Arkansas Folklife Program.

The Arkansas Folklife Program, a statewide program, collaborates with the Arkansas Arts Council. This NEA grant marks the fourth year of support for the statewide folklife program. The grant provides support for a variety of projects coordinated by Arkansas Folklife Program director, Dr. J. Michael Luster.

Arkansas has a long history of folklore research and presentation. In his position as director of the the Arkansas Folklife Program, Dr. Luster utilizes research completed on topics as diverse as old-time and bluegrass music, blues, storytelling, folk arts, and foodways.

The results of research on the state's traditions and tradition-bearers will be presented to the public through educational programs, media projects, concerts, ASU’s own Delta Blues Symposium, and other events coordinated by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at ASU and by the Arkansas Arts Council.

Luster has worked to nominate various Arkansas folk artists for the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor for traditional artists. Arkansas has not had one of its citizens honored with the award since 1985. Luster also assists with programming for ASU’s Delta Blues Symposium for 2009, organized by ASU’s Department of English and Philosophy. Luster’s work includes the expansion of the successful Blues-in-the-Schools program through additional funding made available via a grant from the Arkansas Arts Council. He has also written a successful grant to the Arkansas Department of Heritage on behalf of the Arkansas Craft Guild Education and Support Association to fund the creation of a craft apprenticeship program.

“I’m working to meet with as many of my colleagues as possible both in and out of state to learn about what projects are working and to look for new ways to serve the people of Arkansas,” Luster said.

For more details about the Arkansas Folklife Program, to request talks or programs, or to suggest leads or topics, please contact Dr. Luster via e-mail at To subscribe to “ArkFolkNet,” send an e-mail message to




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