The Alabama Folklife Association (AFA) was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a $50,000 direct grant as part of the $50 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) economic stimulus recovery package.
The House of Representatives and Senate approved the ARRA February 13, 2009. The National Endowment for the Arts notified the AFA of its stimulus grant award July 2.
The AFA is one of nine Alabama nonprofit arts organizations awarded grants to support the preservation of jobs that were threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn. The $50,000 stimulus grant will be used to employ a folklife archivist for one year in a position within the Archive of Alabama Folk Culture at the Alabama State Archives in Montgomery.
This special archive was created in March 2006 in collaboration with the AlabamaCenter for Traditional Culture and the Alabama Department of Archives and History to preserve and makes works accessible to the public done by folklorists and other cultural scholars in Alabama. The archivist will preserve audio and video recordings of folklife materials created or collected by the Alabama Folklife Association and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Recordings will be converted to digital format for access and long-term preservation in the Archive of Alabama Folk Culture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
The archive has been on hold since July 2007 when the original archivist moved out of state and subsequent state budgetary shortfalls prevented filling the vacant position. With this grant, the position will be filled and the preservation of important an historical folklife collection will resume. The AFA has already announced the position, received applications and plans to hire the archivist to begin work by September 1.
The AFA is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes knowledge and appreciation of Alabama folklife through activities such as festivals, conferences, fieldwork, videos, recordings, publications and its journal, Tributaries. Projects of the AFA are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and proceeds from the "Support the Arts" car tag program as well as by corporate sponsors and individual members across the United States.