November 14th, 2022
Lesson written by the Florida Geographic Alliance.
Folk Art & Culture:
Culture & Community
Many of us use the terms culture and community interchangeably. We think of them as one and the same, but are they?
If you think they are different, you are right! Anthropologists spend a lot of time thinking about culture and describing the cultures of people around the world. Culture is learned. It is all the patterns of behavior and belief that we absorb from the moment we are born as members of a human family. Food preferences, sleeping arrangements, language, dress style, art, and religious beliefs are all part of culture. We have little choice when it comes to culture. We have already absorbed much of our culture before we even enter school, but what about community?
A community is a group of people living in the same locality and under the same government. As adults we often choose the community in which we live for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it‘s close to where we work or go to school. Maybe we have friends or family there. Perhaps the cost of housing is affordable or the community is near a place we enjoy such as a lake or the beach.
The members of a community do not necessarily share the same culture. As a matter of fact today many communities are multicultural, that is they are composed of people who identify with different cultures or ethnic groups. People may speak different languages, belong to different religions, prefer different types of food, and enjoy different leisure activities.
Both community and culture are crucial parts of our identities. This Florida Geography Awareness Week, the theme is Folk Art and Culture: My Florida Identity. These five days of fun geographical activities and lessons will explore the ways in which students can understand their identity as Floridians through folk art: a topic where community and culture often intersect! Follow along with FLGeoWeek to learn how folk art relates to geography, identity, Florida, and YOU.
Florida Folk Art is closer than you think! An excellent resource for learning about folk art and the communities that produce it are local and state festivals.
Festivals are often celebrations of culture, including art, food, music, language, industry and many more. Folk art appears at the crux of these celebrations through vendors, decor and entertainment, offering a peek into the unique cultures and community members hosting these events.
Have students peruse this list of Florida Festivals coming up in 2022-2023. Have them identify any they would like to attend, and explain why. Bonus points to any students who really go!
With our emphasis this week on the arts and how they contribute to our identities as Floridians, we cannot ignore that Florida has a visual identity of its very own!
You may recognize the art on the Florida flag, or know that our state's nickname is "The Sunshine State". But did you know that Florida has many other symbols as well? We have a state flower, a state animal, a state song - even a state gemstone!
All of these symbols come from somewhere, and learning the history of these symbols can help us understand how art shapes our experiences of culture, community and geography.
Download the document below to learn more about these symbols and fun activities to do with your students!
Additional resources for today's theme:
Previously on #FLGeoWeek: