• Organization TypeIndependent/None
  • Staff26-50
  • HeadquartersUnited States
  • Founded1961

American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum is the premier institution devoted to the creative expressions of self-taught artists, past and present. Since 1961 the American Folk Art Museum has been shaping the understanding of art by the self-taught through its exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. As a center of scholarship and by showcasing the creativity of individuals whose singular talents have been refined through experience rather than formal artistic training, the museum considers the historical, social, and artistic context of American culture. Its collection includes more than seven thousand artworks dating from the eighteenth century to the present, from compelling portraits and dazzling quilts to powerful works by living self-taught artists in a variety of mediums. The field of American folk art was first defined at the turn of the twentieth century by collectors, professional artists, critics, dealers, and curators whose search for an authentic American art seemed to be finally answered in works that presented a nuanced picture of national identity, faith, progress, ingenuity, community, and individuality. Under the umbrella of “folk art” the field expanded to also include artists working in the present. For the last twenty years, the term self-taught has more regularly come to address these artists, whose inspiration emerges from unsuspected paths and unconventional places, giving voice to individuals who may be situated outside the social mainstream. Those individuals have been active participants in the shaping of American visual culture, influencing generations of artists and establishing lively artistic traditions. The museum serves as an important source of information and scholarship in the field and hosts a wide array of events for every level of interest. Programs including lectures, panel discussions, and symposia make experts and cultural leaders accessible to the public. A variety of workshops and live musical performances are offered in the galleries each week, and school, summer camp, teen, and adult programs take place throughout the year. The museum is dedicated to making the study of folk and self-taught art available to and meaningful for all.
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Company Offices

  • United States (headquarters)
  • New York
  • 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street)