Folk Art describes a wide range of objects that reflect the craft traditions, and traditional social values, of various social groups. Folk art is generally produced by people who have little or no academic artistic training and use established techniques and styles of a particular region or culture. Along with painting, sculpture, and other decorative art forms, some also consider utilitarian objects such as tools and costume as folk art. For the most part, “Folk Art” would exclude works executed by professional artists and sold as “high art” (or “fine art”) to the society’s aristocratic elite.

The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico has the largest collection of international folk art in the world. The collection, on permanent exhibit in the Museum’s Girard Wing, was donated by Alexander Girard.

There has been an increase in work by self taught folk artists over the past 15 years, possibly because of the growing number of retired people with time to spend on new ventures. This ‘Grassroots Art’ movement is most visible in the states of Kansas and Wisconsin. The movement has been popularized on public television by the show Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations produced by KCPT in Kansas City, Missouri. A category of art that overlaps with Folk Art is Naïve art.

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