project leader
Bernice H
207 W Center St
(Downtown Fayetteville)
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the project

Folk School of Fayetteville is both an idea and a physical place.  We strive to create a space that fosters musical connection and offers regular learning opportunities for our community.   Here at the Folk School of Fayetteville we come together to learn, listen, share and thrive.  

We believe in free and low cost learning and community gatherings.
As an organization we have and will continue to offer music jams (free), workshops, and provide space for music lessons.  
If someone wants to play music, we will help in that endeavor.  

Access to an Instrument Shouldn't be a Barrier.  
Many do not have the ability to play music because they do not have an instrument, or their first experience was with a low quality "beginner" instrument.  A bad quality instrument has deterred many potential music makers!  We hear from many who wish they could play music, but don't know where to start.  The instrument library is the first step to learning about what is possible.

Through the Folk School's instrument lending library, a person can try several instruments until they find the best fit and then borrow it.  As they get to know their instrument they can continue to expore all of Folk School's in-house instruments and amps, and try out different gear to go along with their instrument.  This saves money, as precious dollars are not wasted on an instrument or amp purchased with high hopes but end up a failed vision.  

The more music makers in the world, the better our world will be.
Through the Folk School's instrument lending library, people are able to explore their talents and find an instrument that will bring them joy.
That joy gets shared and brings positive change to their lives and those they live with.

Keeping Up with the Instruments
Folk School of Fayetteville has a growing collection of instruments that have been donated by generous members of the community.    Some of the donated instruments are ready to play, but some need minor repairs, new strings, and a case before they go out in the hands of a student.

Instrument maintenance can be expensive, especially if neglect has led to damage.  It's like maintaining a vehicle: they work best when the oil is changed regularly, tires are rotated, filters are changed, and so on it goes.  It is the same with musical instruments.  With regular instrument playing comes wear & tear, and the need for regular maintenance.  The expenses add up: strings, bows, crack repairs, sound posts, neck resets, fret repairs, piano tunings, etc.  
Thankfully we have excellent luthiers and technicians in our music community that can do this work.  


  • Your contribution will make it possible to expand the diversity of offerings available to the community. 


  • Your contribution will help FSF keep up with the costs of maintaining the instruments in our lending library and ensure that folks have a great experience with their borrowed instrument.  
  • Your contribution ensures that access to an instrument is not a barrier for learners.
  • Your contribution will help make music a vital part of our community.

the steps

We currently have several dozen instruments ranging from guitars, to banjo, to cello, and keyboards.  Some just need minor repairs, others may be in the repair shop for a few weeks.  Instruments are currently being catalogued in our lending software, which will make it easier to check-out and keep up-to-date notes for each instrument.

In the coming weeks, several instruments will be restrung, tuned, and put in a case to be sent home in the hands of learners in our community.

why we're doing it

Music creates connection.  
Must is "instrumental" in building and sustaining community.  Music speaks beyond borders and cultures and brings people together when words may otherwise fail.  It brings together people of varying backgrounds and demographics, with differing perspectives on the world.  By sharing a musical space, musicians and audiences find commonality.  Traditions and new ideas are shared.  The connections made through music are impactful and lasting, not only in our community, but in our state and beyond.

Whether it's a child learning piano or an expert guitar player, music sparks joy.  And we could all use joy in our day.   


FOLK SCHOOL OF FAYETTEVILLE is a 501(c)3 non-profit music organization popularly known as Fayetteville Roots.

For over 13 years we have carried out a mission to connect community through music and food. Over that time we have fostered concerts & community/educational events in Northwest Arkansas.  It is an honor to be a part of this music community, and a joy to create opportunities for connections and learning.

In 2022 one of our signature events, the Fayetteville Roots Festival, was paused.  2023 brings a new chapter and a new location for our organization. The Folk School of Fayetteville, now located in the historic Walker Stone House near the Fayetteville Square, opened late May 2023 with space for lessons, classes, workshops, jams, and more.

What is a Folk School and why do you need to know about it?
Folk Schools originated as a way for communities to learn from each other, especially vital to communities that didn’t have access to “formal education”.    Folk Schools create an environment that encourages People teaching People, rather than a classical education approach of Professor and Student.
Folk School of Fayetteville is continuing this model by providing space for musicians to learn from each other, for new players to learn, and for long time musicians to develop new technique and skills — and this is available to ALL the FOLKS (people).  Folk School is open to all genres, identities, and cultures, and is excited to host music that is as dynamic and varied as our community.

Folk School of Fayetteville's guiding principles:

  • Create opportunities for the music community
  • Support and present multi-varied music genres, identities, & cultures
  • Commit to free & low-cost community learning
  • Creative re-use of existing urban spaces
  • Collaborate with the community & local music/arts organizations
  • Low waste & low impact sustainable events 



Final budget


$22,000 instrument acquisitions, repair costs, and upkeep expenses

$6,000 cases and accessories

$2,400 registration software + ongoing maintenance

$4,000 expenses for 2024 community engagement events


TOTAL RAISED = $35,174.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (4%) $806.96

Original budget


Considering the number of instruments in the lending library, we need help keeping those instruments in good working order.  Below is an example of instrument expenses:

$500 - Setup for a violin ~$100, cost for 3 violins and care for minor repairs.

$250 - Setup for a cello, including new strings

$1,500 - Guitar repair work for an individual instrument ~$75, with several guitars to care for with various needs, that quickly adds up

$2,000 - Piano tunings each season for the in-house pianos ~$480 each, 4 tunings annually.

$2,000 - Electronic gear repairs range anywhere from $200-500, estimate for several amps to service

$1,200 - Accordion repairs ~$400 each, x3

$400 - Percussion instruments require new drum heads, sticks, various hardware

$400 - New pads/corks/keys and setup for wind instruments ~$100 each (saxophone, trombone, flutes)

$1,200 - Supplies to prepare each instrument for loan + the cost of our lending software ~$100 each month, x12

$3,000 - Protective cases for all instruments in the lending library.  ~$300 average cost, projecting 10 cases in first year

$9,000 - Wholesale account with leading instrument makers to acquire additional instruments in high-demand categories and unique instruments needed for the lending library.  Estimated cost of $500-$1000 per instrument.   Projecting 12 new instruments in first year

Total need: $21,450

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee 8% N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee 4% $612.24
TOTAL TO RAISE $30,612.24

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here, and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


The above costs are the bare minimum and for what we currently have in-house, as instrument needs arise and the donations continue coming in, the cost of maintaining the lending instruments will also increase.  Having a reserve fund ensures we can service new instruments as they arrive and care for those that come back after being borrowed.  Anything over $21,500 will be put into the reserve funds for anticipated instrument donations in 2024. 

As you can see, it can be quite expensive to own an instrument.  That is why the Folk School is excited to have an option for new music makers, a resource that saves them money as they are exploring which instrument suits them best.  Plus, this gives them an understanding of what it takes to own an instrument and the care it will require.  Folk School of Fayetteville does not require a rental payment for instruments.  Our lending library is a free resource for the community as they explore their musical expressions





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