The story of the Arizona Folklore Preserve is the story of a dream-come-true for Mr. Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s Official State Balladeer. Dolan wanted a place where the songs and stories celebrating Arizona and our western heritage and culture could be performed and preserved.
Originally Dolan thought this center should be located in Fountain Hills, near Phoenix. However in 1990 he and his former wife Rose visited southeastern Arizona’s Huachuca Mountains. They fell in love with this beautiful area, rich in history and folklore, and subsequently bought 15 acres in Ramsey Canyon.
Dolan founded the Arizona Folklore Preserve, and in June, 1996, started performing at the Moffett House, a small 1920s ranch house located on their property. The tiny Moffett House Theater accommodated an audience of at most 30 closely-packed patrons.
In 2000 Dolan joined with the University of Arizona South to build his dream, the current Folklore Center with its state-of-the-art theater. The new building opened on Mothers’ Day, 2001, and is located on 4 of the original 15 acres. Dolan’s partnership with the University of Arizona South ensures the Arizona Folklore Preserve will continue to exist far into the future.
Artist-in-Residence Dolan Ellis performs at the Arizona Folklore Preserve one weekend a month. Guest artists entertain at Preserve shows the remaining weekends.
Our shows are perfect for Arizona residents and for visitors to our state. While they entertain, they also tell about:
- Arizona’s place in history
- Scenic attractions
Guest artists who perform at the Arizona Folklore Preserve must meet these criteria:
- Talented, whether as singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, storytellers or poets.
- Their performance must be of a type that engages the audience.
- Their performance must have a cultural content.
- Shows are weekly Saturday and Sunday matinees.
- With rare exceptions, show time is at 2:00 p.m.
- Reservations are recommended. To make a reservation for one of our shows, click here.
Come early and relax in the serenity of Ramsey Canyon:
- Bring your binoculars and watch the birds, including the hummingbirds that are so prevalent here.
- Watch the deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife.
- Enjoy a picnic lunch.
- Resident Artist Dolan Ellis performs regularly at the Arizona Folklore Preserve
- Many of our artists have CDs or books available in our unique bookstore.