What happened to the Folk School?
The Folk School, as a full-fledged music school, is no longer a program of KDHX.
There are a few reasons for this.
1. When the Folk School merged with KDHX in 2012, the idea was that the two organizations could leverage the resources of the other to support the program fully. Folk School would lend an organized education arm to the program offerings of KDHX, and KDHX would lend its marketing, communications, administrative, and educational grant funding resources to support Folk School programming. Unfortunately, KDHX was never able to lend the expected resources to Folk School programming, which meant the school’s offerings diminished over time.
2. The Folk School offered educational programming that didn’t fully serve the communities of KDHX. “Folk” music is a niche that not everyone connects with as a way to learn to play music. Folk School programming served only a small portion of the KDHX communities, and by 2018, KDHX realized that if we were to continue to offer musical education, we needed to offer programming that could connect to more students.
3. When talking to community members through our 2020 strategic planning process, it because clear that KDHX had an opportunity to re-evaluate our educational offerings to make sure they were serving the needs of the community. KDHX began to cut back on Folk School programming at that time, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic created restrictions around gathering in person.
4. In 2022, the lease on the Folk School building ended, and KDHX chose not to renew, choosing to allocate the resources being used for the Folk School back to our radio programming.
Current Folk School programming consists of two virtual programs funded by a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. The two programs are a weekly workshop and a monthly fiddle tunes jam. All Folk School programming will cease on June 30, 2023, when the school fulfills the programming requirements for the final grant cycle that ends at that time.
The Folk School served thousands of people in the St. Louis area from its inception in 2001 until today. The mission of the Folk School - to build community by providing educational programs that promote the learning, teaching, renewal, and perpetuation of traditional music and folk arts - resonated with KDHX’s mission to build community through media. While the Folk School, as it’s been known, is ending, KDHX remains committed to providing education through our programming and will continue to evaluate how we best serve the communities of KDHX through education.