About us


To be a community of inspiration, learning and renewal honoring the work of hand, eye and mind through engagement with master artisans and musicians.

The Arbutus Folk School, based in Olympia, Washington, will provide enlivening learning experiences through a wide-range of classes, courses, programs and events focused on historical as well as modern methods and technologies and their application in a variety of areas.  The Arbutus Folk School proudly admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

The primary target for our classes will be adults but we will have many learning opportunities for kids as well, particularly through our youth summer camp program and intergenerational activities.


  • Create a rich, positive environment that inspires lifelong learning in a non-competitive environment
  • Promote and preserve the knowledge, skills, crafts and stories of the past and present
  • Help students recognize and develop their creativity, talents and interests in a student-centered environment that affirms individual differences
  • Foster the concept of intergenerational learning
  • Provide creative and meaningful opportunities for individuals, families and groups
  • Seek to develop genuine collaboration with the school’s teacher-artists, promote public participation in and appreciation of their craft
  • Seek to advance cultural knowledge of skills and methods indigenous to the Puget Sound region

Depending on the subject, the classes will vary in length, number of students and cost.  Some classes may be taught in a single session or some may meet several times a week for several months.  The school will offer weekend intensive classes, retreats and weeklong camps.

Our core program areas at this time are:

  • Wood Arts
  • Fiber Arts
  • Ceramic Arts
  • Metal Arts
  • Music
  • Living Arts

Meet the Board 

A Short History

What is a Folk School?

Why Arbutus?

Project Status

Contact Us