Tucson Meet Yourself is different from other large events: it is a “folklife” festival. This means that our focus is on presenting artists and communities that carry on living traditions rooted in a group’s own definition of identity, artistry, and cultural significance.
The festival has been held each year in Downtown Tucson, Arizona since 1974. TMY was founded by University of Arizona folklorist and anthropologist Dr. James “Big Jim” Griffith, who in 2011 was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with a prestigious recognition as a “National Heritage” treasure. After 38 years, the festival continues to thrive and expand while always remaining true to its mission.
In addition to the annual festival, TMY leads several other projects year-round. Through the development and upkeep of the James & Loma Griffith Arizona-Sonora Folklore Digital Archives we are committed to creating a permanent, accessible, worldwide record of the incredible diversity of cultural practices in our region.
In 2011-12 we are launching our first neighborhood folklore asset-mapping project with the San Ignacio Yaqui Council in Old Pascua, a historic barrio in Tucson.
We also co-present lectures, exhibits, and workshops with several partner organizations throughout the Tucson metro area. Our partnership with Sabores Sin Fronteras, a binational alliance between farmers, ranchers, and food activists led by the famous ethno-botanist Gary Paul Nabhan and the University of Arizona is a major part of TMY.
In 2010, TMY underwent a major transformation that doubled the size of the festival, revamped all internal systems, hired staff, and increased local support. TMY funnels the revenue generated at the festival directly back into the local economy. In 2010, participanting ethnic clubs and nonprofit associations raised collectively $250,000 through their sales at the festival.