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National Council for the Traditional Arts Announces New Executive Director

December 5, 2023

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND – The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Blaine Waide has been selected as the organization’s new executive director. Waide joined the NCTA staff in 2013, starting as a member of the programming team and rising to a senior leadership position in 2018.

Waide succeeds Lora Bottinelli, who recently completed a five-year tenure that carried the organization safely through the COVID-19 pandemic and launched an important initiative to present recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship (the nation’s highest honor bestowed to folk and traditional artists) in National Parks throughout the country.

George Holt, NCTA Board Chair, notes, “Blaine brings an abundance of experience, ability, and vision to the leadership position of NCTA, and we’re excited for the future of the organization in his capable hands.”

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the NCTA,” Waide adds. “For 90 years, our mission has held consistent: to lift up the nation’s finest traditional artists in programs that build bridges across cultures and communities. It’s a unique and rewarding approach that requires collaboration and partnership across many sectors of a community. This is what has always drawn me to the NCTA, and I’m excited to carry the work forward as we look ahead to our 100th anniversary.”

Prior to joining the NCTA, Waide served as state folklorist of Florida (2011-13), where he directed the Florida Folklife Program. During his tenure, he launched several education-outreach programs, including annual Folk Forums that featured demonstrations from traditional artists in local libraries and museums and a folk-artist residency in collaboration with the Center for the Music of the Americas at Florida State University. He also co-edited and co-produced the award-winning reissue of Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977-1980 (Dust-to-Digital).

Waide has over 20 years of ethnographic experience, and since 2011, has programmed highly successful large-scale, multicultural traditional-arts festivals in White Springs, Florida; Lowell, Massachusetts; and Richmond, Virginia; as well as National Folk Festivals in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Salisbury, Maryland. Highlights of his time with the NCTA include directing festival management of the Richmond Folk Festival since 2013, as well as National Folk Festivals in Greensboro, NC (2015-17), and Salisbury, MD (2018-22). He has also advised on or arranged numerous programs at National Parks nationwide, as part of the NCTA’s cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. Waide has published articles in the North Carolina Folklore Journal and Over the Edge: Pushing the Boundaries of Folklore and Ethnomusicology (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), as well as book reviews in the Journal of American Folklore.

He is a former managing editor of Sing Out! magazine, and has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

He earned a Masters of Arts in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)

A leading non-profit in the field for 90 years, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the U.S. Stressing excellence and authenticity, the NCTA presents the nation’s finest traditional artists in major festivals, tours, concerts, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, media productions, school programs, cross-cultural exchanges, and other activities. It works in partnership with communities throughout the United States to establish sustainable traditional-arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. Over 7,000 hours of the NCTA’s archival audio recordings dating from the 1930s are permanently housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The NCTA champions the interests of folk and traditional artists and organizations in the arena of public policy. ncta-usa.org

For more information contact:

National Council for the Traditional Arts
8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 450
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-565-0654
info@ncta-usa.org

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