Folklife Center

The Prosperity of Heritage: Federal and State Agencies fund Tastefully South Jersey Projects

Perkins Center for the Arts is the proud recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities  (NEH) Common Heritage Grant and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities  (NJCH) Incubation grant for our Tastefully South Jersey Exhibition and Workshop Series.  Tastefully South Jersey is an exploration into folk art and culture through the lens of food traditions in Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden. The three-county engagement will celebrate diverse food arts through African American, Eastern European, Latin and Caribbean cultures.  The project is conducted by the Folklife Center at Perkins Center for the Arts.

Ukrainian Linen passed down through three generations

Ukrainian Linen passed down through three generations

In every family, there are a few people who end up with the family “stuff.”  But it’s the precious stuff of traditions, legacies and family heirlooms. The $5,000 NJCH award supports research to unearth artifacts and family stories that explore the ways in which foodways are a connecting thread to trace the commonalities and differences among groups in the same community. The$12,000 NEH grant funds three Heritage Preservation Days in the tri-county region in the spring of 2018 and at our special events during the culminating Collingswood, NJ exhibition in July and August.  Community members will be invited to bring  photographs, cooking instruments, recipes, pottery, glassware, news articles, herbal remedies, heritage farming and to share stories associated with their treasures.  Attendees will be gifted a digital copy of their artifacts and stories as family keepsakes.  See article on NEH Website.

Isaiah Beard, Digital Data Curator at Rutgers University will train Perkins Center for the Arts staff on the process of digitization in the month of February.  In celebration of the diversity in South Jersey, Heritage Preservation Days will be held through the collaboration of our  partners, Gloucester County Library, Burlington County Library and the Homestead Youth Association.

 

 

Parks and Play

Whiff! Wiffle Ball Cup Tournament is an exemplar of Public Lore and Play in our Parks

Play is as ancient as time. It is a necessary element of our socialism and interwoven into our daily lives.  We engage in informal playful banter:  playing jokes, playing upon one another, playing both ends against the middle, playing second fiddle, playing your cards well, playing fair, playing by the rules.  Our play easily moves from words to action.  Our public parks and town streets are virtual playgrounds.  We are rolling from summer into a fall full of play through festivals, exhibitions, performances, and tournaments hosted in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties.

St. Anthony’s Italian Festival will be held in Glassboro on September 16. Dolls of Distinction Exhibition is at Smithville Park in Eastampton through September 17.  The Camden County Fair is in Blackwood, NJ September 23 and 24.   Here at Perkins Center for the Arts, we are ready to “play ball.”

The Annual Wiffle Ball Cup  Tournament in its 5th year,  makes its home base at the public arboretum in Moorestown.  The  September 9th Tournament is a great exemplar of utilizing public grounds for play.  On the evergreen lawn 24 teams engage in the power of play for the coveted Wiffle Ball Trophies designed by artists from Perkins Center for the Arts Pottery Studio. 

Wiffle Ball was first conceived in 1953 in Fairfiled, Connecticut when David Mullaney was watching his son play a version of stick ball with a broom handle and a perforated plastic golf ball. His grandson and friend had given up on baseball  because there were not enough team members or open fields and much too many broken windows.  But the inefficiency of the golf ball and stick, made the 12-year old’s arm feel like jelly.   Mullaney designed a ball that was easy to curve but hard to hit.  When someone struck out, you would hear, “Wiff!”  Thus, was born Wiffle Ball.  The game was designed to play in congested areas, like urban streets and back yards. Wiffle Ball Tournaments have been played in the U.S. and Europe since 1977.

At the Perkins Arboretum, it starts when 2 teams of 5 step to the field for the challenge in four locations on the park grounds. The tournament begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00. The teams are diverse and range in ages.  For the first time last year, one finalist team consisted of some mighty proud pre-teens.  The grounds become a play yard full of festivities and public lore with a bounce house, arts and crafts and face painting for youth.  The activities continue after crowning the winners and the evening opens to the game of corn hole.

For more information on The Wiffle Ball Cup Tournament, visit our website. For More information  on Play Events throughout Burlington, Gloucester and Camden Counties visit New Jersey Events by County.

Bottles, Walls & Palaces

bottles-walls-palaces-hdr

The Folklife Project is supported by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. This project developed out of the recognition of our shared belief in the value of diversity in our State, which is one of our most significant and valuable characteristics. We invite you to learn more about this project now and as it continues to develop.

bottlesWorking in Gloucester for this project, we initially focused on parts of the county defined by the larger cities and towns. These include Swedesboro, Glassboro, Woodbury, and Paulsboro. Where possible, we followed leads into the smaller surrounding towns too. So for example, while working in Glassboro we also visited and talked with people in Clayton and Elk Township, as well as Pitman and Barnsboro. While working in Woodbury, we met with people in Deptford Township and in Thorofare and National Park. While working in Paulsboro, we made visits in Gibbstown and Bridgeport. And from Swedesboro, we visited Wenonah, Mullica Hill, Harrison Township, and parts of Greenwich Township along Kings Highway (Rt. 551). By the way, Kings Highway is a richly significant historical corridor in Gloucester County. We’ll report more on that and on all of these places later, as this web page develops.

“Bottle Walls & Palaces” Map & Brochure

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Moorestown
395 Kings Highway
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone: 856.235.6488
Toll Free: 800.387.5226
Fax: 856.235.6624
create@perkinscenter.org

Collingswood
30 Irvin Ave
Collingswood, NJ 08108
Phone: 856.235.6488
Toll Free: 800.387.5226
Fax: 856.235.6624
create@perkinscenter.org

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