About . . .
Lynn Martin Graton is a fiber artist and folklorist living on Hawaiʻi Island. With a background in ceramics and sculpturee, her current artistic work focuses on fiber arts including loom weaving, textile surface design, and a range of basketry traditions including traditional coconut baskets learned from master weavers on the islands of Guahan (Guam), Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Fiji and Tahiti.
Photos by Margo Vitarelli
Lynn's artwork has been featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions in Hawai’i and is in the permanent collections of the East-West Center and the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and Arts. An active photographer, her images have appeared in a number of exhibitions and publications including the covers of two Smithsonian Folklife Festival program books.
Her professional career was spent as a public sector folklorist working primarily for state arts agencies – the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (1983-1998) and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts (1998-2014). From 2014 to 2019, she worked as Program Manager and Researcher for the historic Sanborn Mills Farm in central New Hampshire. Her role as a folklorist involved researching and documenting tradition bearers, curating exhibitions and concerts to honor tradition bearers, producing audio recordings and publications, and organizing major folklife festival programs, including four in connection with the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She has been a consultant for a number of cultural organizations in Hawai`i and U.S. mainland and served as a grant review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and several state arts agency programs. Based upon this experience, she is available for consulting in the areas of nonprofit capacity building, research and documentation of traditional cultures, event planning and management, and craft education.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Pacific Island Studies with an emphasis on Pacific art history from the University of Hawai`i in 1981, received under scholarship from the East-West Center. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with an emphasis in ceramics and sculpture and certification in Secondary Art Education from the University of Guam in 1976-1977. From 1971 to 1974 she attended Sophia International University in Tokyo, Japan studying oriental art history and learning from traditional Japanese potters. Lynn was born in Frankfurt, Germany and has lived in Japan, the continental U.S., Guahan (Guam), and the Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, her travels have taken her to England, Ireland, France, Holland, Italy, Thailand, India, Nepal, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Tahiti, American Samoa and Fiji.
More details . . .
While serving as Folk Arts Coordinator for the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (1983 – 1998), Lynn’s projects included funding Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants, serving as researcher and curatorial advisor for Hawaii’s statewide showcase at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1989,and Festival Director for expanded restaging of that program held the following year at Magic Island on the island of O`ahu. She was the craft coordinator for Hawaii’s first official delegation to the Festival of Pacific Arts held in Pape`ete, Tahiti in 1984 and produced a number of audio recordings including Na Mele Paniolo (1987) and Musics of Hawai`i – an anthology of original recordings representing musical traditions in the islands (1995). Additionally, she curated two major exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art - Na Paniolo o Hawai`i (1986) – a showcase of traditions surrounding the ranching communities in Hawai`i and Traditions We Share (1998) - a celebration of Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grantees. Both exhibits included substantive publications.
Her efforts in Hawai`i also included the production of educational music compilations for the University of Hawaii’s Research & Advisory Group – Japan, A History in Music and China, Understanding Its Past Through Music. With Cheryl Sproat, she co-produced two music CDs featuring National Heritage Fellowship recipient Clyde “Kindy” Sproat - Clyde Halema`uma`u Sproat Sings and Nā Mele o Kupuna. Released under the independent label of Pololu Productions, the liner notes were nominated for Na Hoku Hanohano awards.
While working at the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, major projects included serving as the New Hampshire-based curator for the state’s presentation at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and for the subsequent restaging in New Hampshire in 2000. She developed an award-winning website (www.nh.gov/folklife), curated the major exhibit Shaping Our Heritage that showcased the work of Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant recipients and their traditions, and published a number of audio recordings, including Choose Your Partners, documenting contra dance music and released on Smithsonian Folkways.
From 2008 to 2014, Lynn served as acting Executive Director of the New Hampshire state arts agency and stewarded the agency through major programmatic adjustments made necessary by severe budget reductions. She oversaw the development of a five-year strategic plan, secured major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and assisted in staving off legislative efforts to eliminate the agency.
Most recently, Lynn served as Programs & Research Manager (2014 – 2019) for Sanborn Mills Farm (www.sanbornmills.org), a traditional New Hampshire farm and nonprofit organization centered around water-powered mills and dedicated to the preservation of 19th century Northern New England folklife and agricultural knowledge. Her research involved site visits to over a dozen national craft programs to identify best practices in administration, program focus, marketing strategies, and the infrastructure needed to support craft education. Her administrative contributions included advising on capital building projects and nonprofit compliance, developing a communications strategy, overseeing workshop planning & implementation, and housing and food service procedures. Additionally, she oversaw strategic planning convenings to explore national and regional issues around traditional craft and draft animal education.
To request a copy of Lynn's full resume, click here.
For images from Lynn's past folklife projects & exhibitions, click here
For a video interview with Lynn at her 2021 solo exhibition - Thresholds - Journeys with Fibers & Fronds, click here.