Founded in 2000, the Americana Project is an innovative music and arts education program with broad community outreach. It is a collaboration between Sisters Folk Festival, Creative Educational Resources, and the Sisters School District.
Young people in Sisters are mentored by national, regional and local guest artists. Insight is shared on the creative process, life as an artist, as a touring musician, and everything in between from the business practices in the arts to job opportunities well beyond Sisters.
From 2014-2019, with support from the Oregon Community Foundation and as a collaboration with the Sisters School District, SFF successfully implemented “Studio to School” a 5-year music and arts education initiative to provide consistent, equitable and high-quality visual art and music education programming for all students k-8.
The Americana Project inspires youth to explore insight, skills and experience in the creative process and creativity, develop critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and higher-level thinking through the arts and music education.
Through our partnership with the Family Access Network (FAN) and My Own Two hands fundraising efforts, students receive scholarships for continuing education opportunities in the arts.
Additional programming implemented and currently in Sisters School District today are visual art classes for all students k-6, an elective 7/8 art class, a 5th grade general music keyboard lab, and Ipad technology lab, professional development for teachers, artist residencies and an after-school strings program.
Through their exposure to guest artists, the luthier program, and participation in My Own Two Hands, students expand their thinking to see the arts as a lens through which to view and live their lives.
The Americana Project classes at Sisters High School include opportunities for self-expression through music. Students learn to play guitar, write songs, perform, record and the fundamentals to engineer their own music. A middle school component is offered as introduction to instrument playing and the vast world of “Americana” music.
Students learn to serve in the community by volunteering at SFF and Americana Project events, an important component of their service-learning experience in the program.
Americana Project students have released 16 compilation cd’s of original music written and performed by young artists every year, from 2003-2019, with a unique video presentation in 2020.
Through the Community Luthier program, students learn to build custom guitars and ukuleles through a partnership with CTE teacher Tony Cosby, Bowerman guitars, Breedlove Guitars, SFF and the Sisters School District. Past students have built over 400 handmade guitars and 175 handmade ukuleles.