East Central and Southeastern Illinois Folk Arts Surveys Collection, 1976-2003

Scope and Content Note

The folk arts documentation consists of field reports, logs, correspondence, grant reports, administrative files, and sound and video recordings from the three surveys and related exhibits/productions. Also included is EIU festival documentation from 1989 to 1994. These records are housed in the Tarble Arts Center office and adjoining vault. Indexes and logs created by the fieldworkers provide access to most of the fieldwork in the collection. The majority of the documents remain in their original boxes, however some files related to the slide portion of the records have been integrated into the Arts Center's filing cabinets.

The sound recordings consist of 7-inch reel-to-reel tapes and audiocassettes. Most sound recordings, created on Sony portable stereo cassette and Nagra IV portable stereo equipment, contain field interviews and include live performances from EIU's annual Festival of the Arts celebrations. The reel-to-reel tapes are primarily from the first two surveys. Audiocassettes are mostly dubs, but also include: 11 commercially-produced tapes from the series “Showcase of Folk Arts” which contain profiles of traditional artists featured during EIU's 1992 festival; and 6 tapes which are copies of a 1988 radio/television show featuring folk artists produced by Western Illinois State University. Audiocassettes are housed in cases within old card catalog file drawers inside the vault, and reels (in original boxes) and BETA tapes (in polypropylene cases) are housed in a metal filing cabinet in the vault.

Color slides (35 mm), both fieldwork and studio shots, dominate the graphic images within this collection. Ten binders contain roughly 2,600 fieldwork and exhibit slides, and an additional 2,000 or so have been integrated into the Art Center's general slide collection, housed in a large slide cabinet. A slide tray holds images used in a c. 1984 presentation entitled “Folk Artists in East Central and Southeastern Illinois: A Profile.”

The 9 VHS videotapes relate to festivals held in the 1990s, while the 25 Beta videotapes primarily concern the 1992 festival. The one film is labeled “Collection of Wood Carvings Assemblage located at Tarble Arts Center by Ferd Metten, Teutopolis, IL. Prepared by Gene Wingler, summer 1984.”

Duplicates of a portion of this collection, interviews conducted with traditional artists from 1976 to 1979, were deposited at the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress.

At the direction of Tarble Director Mike Watts, student workers have begun compiling data sheets, slides, clippings, and other research materials from across project collections into four binders, organized alphabetically by artist, labeled “Folk Arts Project Index.” Also, since 1995, Vaughn Jaenike, former Dean of the School of Fine Arts and principal investigator on the early projects, wrote a “Folk Arts Documentation & Collection Index” that serves as a broad guide to the folk arts collection.