The Western Folklife Center is dedicated to exploring, presenting and preserving the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the American West. We celebrate the wisdom, artistry and ingenuity of western folkways through exhibitions, educational programs, national radio and television programs, research and preservation projects, our website, and our premier event, The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We nurture connections among rural and ranching cultures globally, exploring universal themes in working traditions and artistic expression, which we believe are vital links to the past, present and future of the American West.The Western Folklife Center: “A Place of Personal Meaning”
For our most engaged participants, the Western Folklife Center and its programs create a place of deep personal meaning.* We connect people to the authentic cultures of the West, and all aspects of our work, from programming to board development to marketing to fundraising, must be grounded in authenticity.
* Our programs help articulate a sense of place for the West.
* Our work nourishes the soul and challenges the intellect. It engages the emotions and the mind.
* Our work is a touchstone for the past, yet grounded in the present with a vision for the future of the West.
* We provide a sense of belonging and connection for both a local and a far-flung audience, and we bring together people with a similar sense of personal meaning and interests.
* Our efforts to research, document, present and preserve the expressive culture of the people of the West are vital to the region and the nation.
* Our programs entertain and engage. The experiences we provide are both intimate/private as well as expansive/public. Inclusive and egalitarian values are an important element in our work.
* Our work helps communities in the rural West realize and appreciate their cultural assets.