The National Folk Organization was formed in 1986 to preserve, promote and provide opportunities in the folk arts. The NFO was founded by Vytautas F. Beliajus,  Mary Bee Jensen, George Frandsen, and L. DeWayne Young.

The NFO was organized to unite individuals and organizations that support folk arts in the United States. Membership includes members of recreational folk dance and music groups, performing ensembles, researchers, choreographers, managers, teachers, foundations, institutions, camps, community ethnic festivals, and international festivals that host folk ensembles from abroad.

The National Folk Organization holds annual national conferences to network and promote activities of those involved in the folk arts of the USA. Workshops are provided throughout the USA on a regular basis for teachers and dancers. The organization newsletter, “NFO News,” links the NFO membership as well as associated organizations. The international folk festival organizations of CIOFF (Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels) and the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) have strong affiliations with the National Folk Organization of the USA.

Past Presidents of NFO

Mary Bee Jensen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1986-1987
Alexander P. Durtka . . . . . . . . . . . 1987-1989
George Frandsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1989-1991
Rolf Kaufman  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1991-1993
Virginia Topitzes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1993-1995
Edwin G. Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1995-1997
Elizabeth Hanley  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1997-1999
Charles West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1999-2001
Vonnie Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2001-2003
Greg Lund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2003-2007
Bruce Mitchell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2007-2009
Katherine St. John. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2009-2011
Bill Lidicker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2011-2013
Ed Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2013-2016

Each year at its annual conference, the NFO also honors those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the field by the presentation of the Heritage Award.  For a complete list of honorees, click here.

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