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The Western Folklife Center is both a local and a regional cultural center with an exhibit gallery, 300-seat theater, 20-seat black box theater, saloon and a gift shop. Based in Elko, Nevada, the Center is dedicated to documenting and preserving the arts of culture of the American West. It is also best known for the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January, as well as exhibits focusing on contemporary cowboy craftsmanship, ranch life and American Indian art. Exhibits, performances and workshops take place all year.

The Center is located in the historic Pioneer Building, a structure that began as a tent called the Pioneer Saloon in 1868. The building was completed in 1913 and served as a social center for the town. Today, it houses the completely unique Western Folklife Center, offering a wealth of programs and exhibits celebrating the traditions of people who live and work in the American West. Over the years, the Center has produced numerous educational exhibitions based on original research and fieldwork, and has made a significant impact on public awareness and support for the diverse cultures of the West.

In addition to its own exhibitions, the Folklife Center hosts traveling exhibitions in its Wiegand Gallery and also in the G Three Bar Theater. The Center?s past exhibits have featured subjects such as Hispanic traditions of Christmas and cowboy life, Native American arts and crafts, documentary photography, the legacy of cowboy poetry and music, and the renaissance of contemporary handcrafted cowboy gear. National programming for both television and public radio is also produced as well as CDs and DVDs. The Folklife Center launched a podcast in 2006 that includes cowboy poetry and music. Through festivals, concerts, readings, workshops, and tours, the Center hopes to broaden understanding of this cultural group and inspire rural communities across the region to embrace their western roots.
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