What is the Folkus Project?
The Folkus Project was created in the fall of 2000 as a community arts organization presenting folk music concerts and workshops in the Syracuse (N.Y.) area. Its founder and programming director was Joe Cleveland, who was one of Syracuse's hardest working advocates for folk music before moving to Boston in 2009.
"Folk music is not a money-making endeavor," said Cleveland at the time, "and so we can't depend on venues that are trying to earn a living to sponsor it. Folk and other non-commercial musics are all about grassroots, community support. With the Folkus Project, we now have a way to harness that support to make music in and around the Salt City."
The Folkus Project was created with the help and support of Syracuse's legendary Happy Endings Cake & Coffeehouse. For the 10-plus years that it existed, Happy Endings, and owners Shelby and John Crowley (shown at right), provided Syracuse's most welcoming, supportive, and stable home for folk and acoustic music. The Folkus Project's concert presentations today, though no longer staged at Happy Endings, directly continue a legacy begun by John and Shelby and the whole Happy Endings cosmos. (Shelby passed away in September 2005. All of Syracuse folkdom misses her.)
Today, the Folkus Project is a legally registered nonprofit organization, sponsoring folk/acoustic shows at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society on East Genesee Street in Syracuse (just this side of Dewitt). Also, Folkus helps present and promote a monthly "second Saturday" series at the Westcott Community Center (corner of Euclid Avenue and Westcott Street). Between Labor Day and Memorial Day each year, approximately 30 shows are presented. In addition, occasional workshops are sponsored (such as banjo performance workshops by Tony Trischka), in coordination with concert appearances by artists who do such things.
The Folkus Project's current board of directors includes:
- Dana Cooke, president, booking coordinator
- Paul and Marilou Murphy, production coordinators
- Jane Hoteling , treasurer
- Diana Luscombe, volunteer coordinator
- Steve Pfanenstiel, publicity/promotion volunteer
- Susie Weiss, memberships/sponsorships
- Lynn Oatman, press relations, secretary
- JoAnn Cooke, concessions director
- Jackie Downing, lead volunteer
- Jeff Pelletier, lead volunteer
- Doug Randall, lead volunteer
We are almost always searching for new volunteers and board members. Won't you join us? Folk music exists outside of the commercial mainstream and needs the focused attention of a community to survive. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.