New Statewide Folk Arts Project Delivers Free Art, Music to the Homebound

Feb 28, 2018

Award-winning Little Egg Harbor-based singer-songwriter, music educator and social worker Valerie Vaughn announced last week the launch of the Homebound Folk Arts Project, which she has helped to facilitate through the Jersey Shore Folklife Center at the Tuckerton Seaport to bring free arts instruction and social stimulation to people who can’t easily get out to live events and workshops on their own.

The two folk arts offered are basket weaving and flattie decoy painting, in four weekly one-hour home visits during which the resident learns and works on a technique that will culminate in a completed project. Caregivers in the home are invited to participate, too.

Vaughn explained the statewide program is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as administered by the New Jersey Council on the Arts and based on Vaughn’s guidelines for training the participating artists, which occurred Feb. 6.

Though the administrative aspects of the project differ from Vaughn’s usual role as the one touring and performing herself, she is grateful to be involved at all, since her own recent health challenges have prohibited her from working in the ways and at the pace to which she is accustomed.

“This is an absolutely awesome concept and program that is ready to go right now,” she said.

The program supports the connection of folk artists and homebound individuals through a series of free, in-home performance, demonstration, or instructional interactions – sessions designed to broaden community engagement opportunities for both artists and participants. This project will broaden the understanding of how the arts can greatly impact the daily lives of individuals for all who are involved.

Vaughn is eager to get this news out to the community and into the homes of the homebound, she said. “This can go on for years if the community reception is good.”

Talk about a win-win-win-win situation:

The homebound participants benefit from social interaction, skill building, and feeling connected to their surrounding art community. For families and caregivers, it’s a shared experience and a welcome change in an activity unrelated to the resident’s health status. For the organization serving the homebound population, it provides a resource for improving the well-being of their clientele through engagement with the arts. To the artists it’s an additional avenue to practice their art and pass along traditional folk art knowledge.

“Together, these experiences strengthen multiple communities and expand awareness and appreciation of the arts and the positive affect art has on those who are provided the opportunity to engage with it,” the literature summarizes.

With permission from participants, the program will be documented and shared on social media as well as organization websites to inform the public and show how the arts can positively impact the community in which they live.

Interested homebound community members, family members and caregivers of homebound individuals, or organizations that serve the homebound community can inquire about the Homebound Folk Arts program by contacting Julie Hain, Jersey Shore Folklife Center director, at or 609-296-8868, extension 117. —V.F.

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