B.A. University of Pennsylvania, 1978
M.A. University of Pennsylvania, 1980
Andrea Graham has worked as a public folklorist for over 35 years, 30 of those in the Intermountain West. She conducts field research on Wyoming folklore and traditional culture; produces public programs such as exhibits, festivals, workshops, websites, and publications; teaches the public sector class and field schools; manages the internship program; assists students with folklife and oral history projects; and serves as a resource on folklife topics and projects for other organizations.
Andrea’s current research project is on community halls in Wyoming. These iconic rural and small-town buildings were organized and constructed as gathering places for dispersed agricultural communities, and many still host meetings, 4-H clubs, holiday celebrations, wedding receptions, voting, and potluck suppers. Over 40 halls have been identified to date; a small exhibit on halls in the eastern part of the state is planned for spring 2017, and fieldwork will continue for several more years. Another project in preliminary stages focuses on fiber art traditions, which are a rich and growing part of Wyoming’s cultural landscape, and also rooted in the long history of sheep ranching in the state.
A previous project called “Art of the Hunt” focused on the entire range of hunting and fishing lore and traditions. Fieldwork included documentation of gunsmiths, fishing rod makers, fly tiers, bow makers, saddlers, decoy carvers, knife makers, guides, outfitters, taxidermists, camp cooks, and many others. Craft skills, occupational traditions, and stories are just a few of the rich elements of Wyoming’s hunting culture encompassed in this research. The project culminated in a year-long exhibit at the Wyoming State Museum that opened in the summer of 2014, produced in cooperation with the Folk & Traditional Arts Program of the Wyoming Arts Council. The project was supported with grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, and the Wyoming Humanities Council.
Before moving to Laramie in 2009, Andrea worked as an independent folklorist based in Idaho, doing freelance fieldwork and programming projects in California, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. She served as the Folklife Program Coordinator for the Nevada Arts Council from 1990 to 2000, and worked for state and regional folk arts programs in Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida at the start of her career. In addition to her work at UW, she also works on contract as the Traditional Arts Program Coordinator for the South Dakota Arts Council, a position she's held since 2002.