Island of Salvation Botanica, Piety Street, Bywater neighborhood, New Orleans

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, nor a desire to emulate "fine art", 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.[1]

Antique folk art is distinguished from traditional art in that while it is collected today based mostly on its artistic merit; it was never intended as a category to be art for art’s sake. Examples include: weathervanes, old store signs and carved figures, itinerant portraits, carousel horses, fire buckets, painted game boards, cast iron doorstops and many other similar lines of highly collectible "whimsical" antiques.

Characteristically folk art is not influenced by movements in academic or fine art circles, and for the most part, folk art excludes works executed by professional artists and sold as "high art" or "fine art" to the society's art patrons.[1]

Other terms that overlap with folk art are naïve art, popular art, outsider art, traditional art and even working class art. As one might expect, all these terms have different connotations; but they are all at times used interchangeably with the term folk art, for which a satisfactory definition has proven hard to come by.

Noted folk artists

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 West, Shearer (general editor), The Bullfinch Guide to Art History, page 440, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, United Kingdom, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2137-X

External links

Museums, festivals and organizations in the U.S.

Museums and collections in the U.K.

  • Compton Verney has the largest collection of British folk art in the country, acquired for the gallery in 1993 to prevent it being split up and sold abroad

Folk Art

Indian folk art

Research resources