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Style · November 30, 2021

Curator, filmmaker talks about folklore’s importance

Click above to watch the interview with Tom Davenport.
Folklore is extremely difficult to define. It’s so ubiquitous and it’s so close to you that you kind of take it for granted.
— Tom Davenport
Living on a Delaplane farm, he carved out a living making films, mostly about country life and folklore.

The National Endowment for the Arts this month honored Tom Davenport as one of nine National Heritage Fellows for 2021.

The award recognizes Mr. Davenport’s films — made with his wife Mimi and others — and his Folkstreams initiative to help independent filmmakers preserve and distribute their work.

In this video, the 82-year-old explains his life’s work and the importance of folklore.

It forms part of “The Culture of America: A Cross-Country Visit with the National Endowment for the Arts 2021 National Heritage Fellows.” Emmy-winning actor Jimmy Smits hosted the virtual trip across the country, taking viewers into the homes and communities where the nine fellows live and work.

“Folklore is extremely difficult to define,” Mr. Davenport says. “It’s so ubiquitous and it’s so close to you that you kind of take it for granted.”
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