Adirondack Folk School is dedicated to the arts, crafts, and culture of the mountainous Adirondack region. In the old town hall on Main Street in Lake Luzerne, one can learn the handiwork that made the region famous for its “Adirondack Style,” including Adirondack chair building, twig furniture, boat building, and paddle making.
Affiliated with the Episcopalian Diocese of Alabama, since 2007, the folk school has been set among Camp McDowell’s 1,100 acres of forests and fields. Emphasis in the program is on personal renewal while learning from master artisans. In class groups of no more than eight students, instructors keep alive historical craft and music styles during the two- to four-day workshops. A full meal and lodging plan is available at the camp.
The Alaska Folk School is a program of the Northern Susitna Institute, a non-profit educational organization near Anchorage that promotes “real learning in the real world.” Broad course areas include fiber arts, fine arts, food craft, woodworking, construction, and outdoor skills. Recent one-day classes included Fungi Forage, Blues Guitar Basics, and Field Sketching from Nature.
Broad course categories, with an emphasis on the skills of the Puget Sound, include wood arts, ceramic arts, fiber arts, metal arts, living arts, and music. Classes range from a single session to several months. Students learn to make their own nails in blacksmithing, sing a cappella in “Sing Your Soul Alive, “ and shape furniture in the drawknife clinic.
Created by a group of music educators and community members, the school offers workshops and lessons to all ages and abilities, Bellingham Folk School hosts weekly events that encourage those curious about folk music to play and learn together.
Learning takes place all over Washington’s stunning Olympic peninsula. “Endangered” rural arts and living skills are the focus, including farmstead cheese, tracking wildlife, hot water solar, root cellars, and fire making, offered in one- or two-day class formats.
The Clearing was founded by Danish architect Jens Jensen to be a “school of the soil,” where students learn in close communion with nature. The summer school program, running May through October, features week-long classes of 25-35 students each, with a great diversity of subjects from fine arts to writing to sports and building. Communal meals and activities are an intentional part of the learning experience.
Located on a fifth-generation farm with a log home, Cloverdale emphasizes a non-competitive and supportive learning atmosphere. Broad areas of instruction include music, art, crafts, cooking, gardening, and dance. This year’s particular offerings include Hardwood Paddle Making and Basic Blacksmithing, offered in two-day weekend formats. A bed and breakfast is on site, including a full country-style meal to start your day.
Crooked Lane Farm Folk School is a learning community devoted to lifelong learning for individuals and families, committed to preserving, growing, and celebrating the rural community through education and the arts. The school offers meaningful activities that encourage creativity, personal growth, and a chance to learn just for the sake of learning.
Located on the homestead of a 19th-century Florida pioneer, The Crowley Folk School exists to “inspire the hands, heart, and mind by teaching folk arts, crafts, and skills useful for the home and farm.” Workshops are held on Wednesday evenings and weekends.
When Danish settlers founded the town of Tyler at the end of the 19th century, they made it a priority to build a brick folk school that would continue the traditional learning of their homeland. That dream continues today in the form of three week-long camps each summer, where families can come to enjoy dancing, crafts, discussions and singing.
Broad areas of skill learning include agricultural, natural history, arts and crafts, and traditions of rural Wisconsin. Students can learn how to ride horses, fish for trout, make an earthen oven, and herd sheep and goats in one-day to one-week formats. Individuals and families alike are welcome to discover many different sustainable skills in a supportive environment.
Northland residents have a new place to learn a craft or hobby with the opening of the Duluth Folk School. It's mission is to teach skills, arts and crafts that enrich personal lives and the community, while having fun, and while at first, the Duluth Folk School will be "nomadic" in its location, as the folk school grows, eventually a permanent home will be purchased or constructed. The first classes were offered starting in May 2016.
At Elmcrest, one focus is to promote agri-tourism through the folk school’s various classes around the general theme, ‘Sample the Simple Life. The school is located on a tree farm, and recent courses have included quilting and scrapbooking.
Located in the boundary waters area of Minnesota, this is a new school offering its first courses in 2015. The focus is on north woods crafts and skills, and the promotion of the community’s unique heritage and culture formed by French voyageurs, Finnish and Slovenian loggers and fisherfolk. They hope to be a folk school like those that are “havens for interaction and renewal, …(with a) mission to inspire, not compel…inter- generational and non-competitive with no grades and no credits…encouraging learning for life instead of for exams.”
The Folk School of Chattanooga is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate a thriving community of musicians and music supporters in Chattanooga through educational programs and public events, with a primary focus on traditional music of our region.
The Folk School of Fairbanks, founded in 2011, has recently offered such classes as spinning creative art yarns, bowl carving, campfire cooking, and baking in a Dutch oven. In addition to their regular courses, they also have the “Week in the Woods” and the “Week on the River,” unique multi-generational hands-on learning experiences.
The mission of the Folk School of KDHX in St. Louis, Mo, is to build community through music. They offer a range of classes and workshops for all ages, day and evening classes, both at their facility in St. Louis, and at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, Illinois, as well as sponsoring special events and concerts. The emphasis is on folk music.
The mission of Forest Folk School is to preserve, perpetuate and promote the ancestral arts by offering intergenerational learning experiences that will enrich lives, build community and inspire the hands, minds, spirit and soul of all who partake. Courses include canoe making and archery, and facilities include an arts / traditional skills reference library, and a timber frame blacksmithing and tool making shop.
Frank Hamilton Folk School, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to teaching, preserving and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Atlanta and Southeast regional areas. The school offers classes in guitar, banjo and fiddle.
Students take a ferry from Vancouver to reach Heartwood Folk School on Pender Island. Courses include time-honored traditional agricultural arts (growing herbs, raising poultry), but also practical mechanical skills (small engine repair, solar panel installation).
With roots in the Danish Folk School tradition, Highlander now serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the U.S. South. Through popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, helps to create spaces where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible advance a multi-racial, inter-generational movement for social and economic justice in our region.
Homer Folk School is a community gathering place and collaborative learning environment that teaches traditional knowledge and hands‐on skills with respect for the web of life. Classes may range from Alternative Energy Systems to Wilderness Skills to boat building. You can choose a one-day, week-long, or weekend courses in a broad variety of areas.
With the motto: “Education for a handmade life,” the school offers interesting classes and a supportive community, whether you're planting your first seedling or building a solar array. Among their offerings: courses in herbal medicine, glassblowing, gardening, beekeeping, raising chickens, mushroom growing, making utensils, cheese making….and many more.
Located in the Finger Lakes region of western New York, Ironwood wants to foster vibrant communities by encouraging creativity and sustainability. To that end, the school offers such intriguing titles as “Living Food Series,” “Introduction to Homebrewing,” and “Sheep to Scarf.”
John and Olive Campbell laid the groundwork for one of the oldest folk schools in North America (founded 1925), searching for a way to feature the handiwork of the mountain people of Appalachian North Carolina. The more than 860 weekend and weeklong class offerings cover 48 subject areas. Food and lodging (twelve houses plus a campground) are available on campus, and community events include square dances, concerts, non-profit events, and auctions.
Kowana is the Miwok Indian word for music, and that is the focus of many of the classes here. Celtic music workshops, instrumental workshops where the goal is assimilating new skills into one’s playing, and in addition farm-to-table cooking classes, painting classes - and a variety of other kinds of subjects in the context of a location in the middle of a national forest.
Colorado’s first folk school focuses on living skills, crafts, and music. In addition to workshops offered in these areas, two other key programs are also offered. The first is a Monday to Friday summer camp centering on a particular art (such as Bakers & Potters, or Bee Guardians & Candle Makers). The second is a homeschool program “for curious children,” ages 6 to 9 and 10 to 14.
Lost Creek is a full-service paddling outfitter and guide service that also offers workshops helping connect people with the natural world. Located at the western entry to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, classes are available not only in water-related sports like kayaking and paddle boarding, but also in traditional skills like hide tanning and drum making. Courses are offered at their off-grid house and workshop or at various other adventure locations.
Dulcimer, Ukelele, Mandolin, Guitar, Fiddle, Voice, Banjo, Music theory, among other subjects, the mission is connecting the deep roots of Kentucky's music traditions with its promising and lively future through lessons, performances, and a supportive community. Louisville Folk School offers small group classes for everyone age 11 through adult, from complete beginner through advanced.
The Michigan Folk School aims to renew traditional folk arts, and many of its one- to three-day courses have a decidedly homestead feel, such as Organic Fruit Trees, Savory Sourdoughs, and Natural Beekeeping. The central campus is located on a homestead farm outside of Ann Arbor, among thousands of acres of farmland and forests. Courses are offered at various locations in the vicinity.
This folk school is held in the mountains at Camp Mikell, which is part of the Episcopal diocese of Atlanta. Artisan classes include Tile Mosaics, Stained Glass, Wood Turning, and Weaving, Creative Writing, Live Fire Grilling, Felting, Soal making, and many more, offered in a three-day weekend format.
The school was founded as a community initiative, and has maintained an emphasis on traditional skills of the northern countries. Their wide array of course offerings includes boatbuilding, timber framing, sailing, and northern ecology. The learning style is inspired by the Scandinavian "folkehøjskole" where learning is valued for its own sake.
This school features traditional Ozark crafts, gardening, and music, with titles such as Sheep to Shawl, Wood Turning 101, Leatherworking, and Soapmaking. Students also enjoy local music, movies, and crafts in the nearby town of Mountain View. Housing is available at the Cabins at Dry Creek, located in a wooded area next to the school.
Since 1970, Peters Valley has hosted its classes in the historic buildings of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Beginners and advanced artisans alike can study Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Fiber Arts, Fine Metals, Photography, Printmaking, and Woodworking each year. Over 125 two- to five-day workshops are offered from May to September.
A great diversity of workshops are held at the Ploughshare’s teaching and research homestead near Waco. Homestead and Garden, Kitchen and Homemaking, Woodworking, Traditional Crafts, and Music and Art are all subjects one can explore through on campus or online classes. When on campus, sip coffee at the Cafe Homestead and see craftsmen work their skills at the Homestead Craft Village.
This folk school is located in Michigan’s largest state park, in the Porcupine Mountains, known locally as the “Porkies.” Some of this year’s one- to two-day classes include Traditional Finnish Folk Dancing, Birch Bark Containers, Portable Outdoor Chairs, and Soap Making. The school has a place-based program and offers workshops all year around in topics concerning the ecology and history, as well as the support of, the Porkupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
It is the mission of the Steel City Folk School to create a community of learning in the Pittsburgh area that will nurture the Mind, the Body, and the Heart by providing opportunities to explore new skills and ideas in a curious, caring and welcoming community. There are two primary areas of coursework, to nurture the Mind through Awareness, and the Body through Artifacts (crafts). The organization is in its infancy, and while looking for a permanent home for on-going short and long courses, is beginning with a number of Pop-Up events to share ideas and explore the interests of the larger community.
Villages gets its name from the places where classes are held: throughout the towns of scenic Van Buren County. Several classes are offered each month throughout the year in one- to two-day formats. Villages will give you a learning vacation and teach you how to make just about anything you could imagine, from cheese and pies to chairs and tools.
Two Rivers Folk School classes are held Waldorf schools, with a focus on environmental sustainability, helping find local solutions to worldwide environmental issues, and reconnecting communities to one another and to the land. The courses provide means for the sharing of practical arts, applied technologies, theoretical wisdom, and the capacity to intuit the sources of awareness and intention, with workshops that endeavor to: Embed values of quality experience, materials, tools and a holistic understanding of our world; Provide intergenerational instruction for many of the workshops; Integrate the society and the arts; and Promote enduring spiritual values.
A new school opening in the historic township of Waterford, in the Washington DC area, asks people to step away from their screens for three days and focus on learning traditional crafts and skills. The Waterford Heritage Crafts School offered its first classes in August 2016, giving students a chance to receive a hands-on introduction to archaeology, to learn how to restore antique windows, make quilts and mix and apply lime mortar.
The school is an initiative of the Waterford Foundation, a 73-year-old organization that was created to help preserve the 18th-century village in western Loudoun County. Foundation officials hope that the school, based at the Waterford Old School on Fairfax Street, will attract students who are looking for alternatives to social media, online games and endless screen time.
Their mission is to inspire people to teach and learn some of the skills, techniques, knowledge, and crafts of everyday life to add to the vibrant, creative force of Whatcom County’s urban and rural countryside; to build resilience and strength by empowering people. Whatcom offers a range of classes in arts and crafts, cooking and food preparation, culture and social structures, farm and garden, health and wellness, home building, woodworking, mechanical and technical skills, music, dance, theater arts, outdoor skills and sciences, and personal development.
We are a new collective folk school based in Minneapolis offering classes on traditional crafts, wilderness skills, and sustainable living. The classes offer in-depth learning opportunities ranging from a few hours to multiple days, and all courses provide hands-on learning and are facilitated by instructors with multiple years of experience in their field.