Assimilation Nation Podcast: Old Songs New Opportunities.

The Assimilation Nation Podcast sits down with Kelly Armor the Director of Education and Folk Art at The Erie Art Museum to talk about the art museums Old Songs New Opportunities program and their new CD project Simba La La.

To learn more about Old Songs New Opportunities visit their page on the Erie Art Museum website here.

Old songs provide new opportunities


A job training program for refugees isn’t something typically associated with an art museum.

“It’s not really an exhibit based program, but it fits in beautifully with our folk art program,” Kelly Armor, education and folk art director for the Erie Art Museum said.

The program focuses on living artists in the community.  While the museum does have a folk art collection, Old Songs New Opportunities (OSNO) is a unique extension the program.

The refugees who participate learn how to use songs from their own cultural background and other backgrounds with young children.  The songs are learned in both English and the native language.  Then, with instruction on how to use the songs in classrooms, those who participate in the three-month program can then take an internship.

Internships are set up through OSNO and are considered the final portion of the program.  They are held in educational centers, such as St. Martin Center early learning program and the Multicultural Resource Center (MCRC) childcare, with mostly three or four year-olds.

The ultimate goal of the program is find the participants permanent jobs following the internship.  For this reason, the program offers resume building workshops and interviewing advice as well. Continue reading