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Aims and Activities of the Artas Folklore Center

Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 28.09.2006:

The work of the Artas Folklore Center falls into three main areas: preservation and documentation of heritage, tourism and recreation, and community outreach which are inextricably bound. Read below picture for details.

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Preservation and Documentation of Tangible and Intangible Heritage

• Development of ways to protect the natural heritage, landscape and environment of the village and its surroundings

• Purchase and renovation of historic buildings to ensure their preservation for use by the community

• Collection of books and other materials on Artas history, heritage and folklore Palestinian for the research center

• Collection and preservation of traditional artifacts to display in Artas’s typical village home/museum

• Collection and preservation of the oral history and genealogies of the village, thus completing the many earlier studies

• Preservation and dissemination of the rich customs and traditions of the village and Palestinian rural life in general: agriculture; food preservation and culinary traditions; folklore (dance, chants, folktales, jinn tales etc.) handicrafts

Tourism and Recreation

• Conducting Nature and Heritage Walks which highlight the unique ecosystem of the Artas area, its history and its folklore

• Enlivening events with folklore shows which are true to the authentic, traditional forms

• Celebrating the agricultural heritage of Artas through its Annual Lettuce Festival.

• Providing home-cooked Palestinian meals in a traditional setting.

Community Outreach

• Creating awareness, interest and pride in the villagers about their unique heritage

• Development of income-generating projects for the Artas Folklore Center and village as a whole—particularly in heritage- related projects

• Encouraging youth to undertake studies which can aid the Artas Folklore Center and the village of Artas to develop and prosper

To achieve its goals, Artas seeks cooperation and partnership with a wide variety of local and international individuals and organizations in both public and private sector, including the fields of Architectural Restoration, Traditional Crafts, Oral History, Family History and Genealogy, Tourism –including Alternative/Cultural/Educational/ Anthropological and Eco-Tourism, Educational Institutions, Wildlife and Nature, Heritage and Folklore Recreation, Museum management–particularly “living museums” and those specializing in recreation of past life, Media, Interfaith organizations and Women’s Studies.

Target groups

Artas has something to offer to a wide range of target groups, both Palestinian and foreign. Palestinians include Artas villagers, people from the Bethlehem area and other areas of Palestine. Foreigners include long or medium term foreign residents of Palestine, their spouses and their families; exchange groups, volunteers and tour groups.

Tailored Activities

Arrangements can be made to practice Arabic, or learn cooking or embroidery in this idyllic rustic setting, as can tours or hikes for special interest groups whether their favorite gadget is a pen, paintbrush, camera or pair of binoculars.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer opportunities abound for those who want an inside look into Palestinian rural life in this fascinating village, and want to make a difference to those whose lives they touch.

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