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In Good Hands 

A Portrait of State Apprenticeship Programs in the 
Folk & Traditional Arts, 1983-1995 

by Susan Auerbach 


Cover: Maine Indian brown ash basket. 
Photo by Cedric Chatterley, courtesy Maine Arts Commission 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 

This report was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment 
for the Arts Folk and Traditional Arts Program to The Fund for Folk Culture. For 
additional copies, please contact: 

Director, Folk & Traditional Arts Program 

National Endowment for the Arts 

The Nancy Hanks Center 

1100 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Room 720 

Washington, D.C. 20506 

Many thanks to the following for their generous assistance: Barry Bergey, Joey 
Brackner, Jon Ching, Jennie Chinn, Keith Donohue, Dana Everts-Boehm, Troyd 
Geist, Anne Hatch, Bess Hawes, Theresa Hoffman, Pat Jasper, Jill Linzee, Terry 
Liu, Christine Marasigan, Richard March, Lynn Martin, Peter Mattair, Judy 
McCulloh, Gordon McKann, Kathleen Mundell, Nancy Nusz, Betsy Peterson, 
Sanford Rikoon, Ronna Lee Sharpe, Dan Sheehy, Amy Skillman, and all the pro- 
gram coordinators who responded to the survey. 

State Apprenticeship Programs in Folk and Traditional Arts, 1995 

Plus U.S. districts and territories: 

American Samoa 


Puerto Rico Y//A 

Washington, D.C 



Note: New England Foundation for the Arts supports apprenticeships in the six New 
England states. 


Y//A Active program 

\'///i Active self-supporting program 

Discontinued or on hiatus 

No history of apprenticeship program 

Quilt by master artist Betty Roberts of 
the Utah Folk Arts Apprenticeship 

Photo by Anne F. Hatch, 
courtesy Utah Arts Council 

with the positive attention they bring to little-known, often 
languishing traditions and the promise they offer to recon- 
nect the generations through cultural hentage. From 
lauhala weaving in Hawan to Abenaki traditional dancing in 
Vermont, a number of folk arts that might otherwise have 
been lost have been handed down to new practitioners. 
These partnerships appeal strongly to the American imagi- 
nation, especially when they pair an aging master with an 
eager young learner. From small towns to inner cities, they 
generate "good news" stories in the local media and 
tremendous goodwill for folk arts programs. 

Folklonsts who run apprenticeship programs are generally 
gratified by the built-in advantages the partnerships offer 
artists and communities. Because participants appreciate 
the programs, coordinators gain entree for further field- 
work and outreach, building a pool of high quality tradi- 
tional artists for other projects. Politically, the programs 
have become important to sponsoring agencies as a way to 
serve diverse artists in widely dispersed areas at modest 
expense. But fundamentally, coordinators value appren- 
ticeships because they promote the transmission of tradi- 

tional arts in context, as opposed to simply documenting or 
presenting them in public programs. When people learn 
the whole process of a craft, from collecting the natural 
materials to creating the finished product, observes one 
coordinator, "it guarantees the continuation of an art in a 
stronger way." 

After a dozen years, traditional arts apprenticeships appear 
to be in good hands among both artists and the program 
coordinators who work with them. Apprenticeship pro- 
grams heighten awareness of the need to pass on traditions 
from one knowledgeable person to the next, face-to-face 
and side-by-side, as it has always been done. Participation 
in a formal, publicized program seems to make both mas- 
ters and apprentices more conscious of the delicate 
process of transmission. For many, the experience deep- 
ens their commitment to the tradition. "The art is no 
longer practiced on my reservation, and since I have an 
opportunity to leam, I feel a responsibility to do so, so that 
it doesn't die out," writes a young apprentice in Ojibway 
fish decoy carving in Wisconsin. "When my time comes I 
can teach my children and my nieces and nephews." 
Apprenticeship programs may well be the most potent 
tool folk arts programs have for cultural conservation — the 
systematic preservation and encouragement of cultural 

The importance of apprenticeships to folk arts program- 
ming nationwide is evident in the results of a 1995 survey 
of 35 out of 38 active apprenticeship programs. Four-fifths 
of respondents report that apprenticeship programs are 
either essential to or among the three most important 
aspects of their folk arts programming; over one-third say 

Table of Contents 

I. Overview ' 

II. Program Scope 6 

Focus on North Dakota 8 

III. History and Funding II 

IV The Apprenticeship Concept ' 3 

V Impact on Artists: Recognition ' 8 

Focus on Missouri 2 

VI. Impact on Artists: Legacy and Opportunity 23 

Focus on Howai'i 2 6 

VII. Impact on Art Forms and Communities 30 

Focus on Maine 32 

VIII. Impact on Folk Arts Programs and Sponsor Agencies 35 

Focus on Alabama -38 

IX. Administrative Issues 4 1 

X. Barriers to Participation 50 

XI. Prospects for Future Support 51 

XII. Conclusion 52 

Appendix A: How the Survey Was Conducted 53 

Appendix B: Survey Questions and Results 54 

Appendix C: Sample State Maps 59 

that the programs are a centerpiece of their oper- 
ations. For most, the value of apprenticeship pro- 
grams has increased over time and had a wholly 
positive impact in their state. 

Despite these benefits, the future of state folk arts 
apprenticeship programs is uncertain. In 1995, 
86% of them depended on the NEA for partial 
support. Late that year, the NEA budget was cut 
by 40% and its many programs reorganized into 
four thematic divisions. Organizations seeking 
NEA grants will be competing on a broader field 
for fewer grants under new restrictions. 
Apprenticeship programs will need to diversify 
their funding sources if they are to continue their 

This report, commissioned by the former NEA 
Folk & Traditional Arts Program through a grant to 
the Fund for Folk Culture, is based on the 1 995 
survey of 35 program coordinators, site visits to 
30 teams of artists in five states, and a review of 
the literature from a dozen years of state appren- 
ticeship programs. 

Master artist Bonnie Chatavong (standing) 
teaches Laotian ikat weaving to apprentice 
Line Saysamondouangdy (right) in Waianae, 

Plioto oy Lynn Martin. 
courtesy State Foundation on Culture and the Arts 

and try to make everything perfect," she insists. She makes 
the entire saddle by hand, using the sewing machine only 
for repairs. It's just one of the old-fashioned techniques 
she prefers for making saddles that she feels look better 
and last longer. 

Langley still gets together with Cook to ride, talk shop, and 
joke about their differences. She finds hand-sewing relax- 
ing and therapeutic; Cook considers it a waste of time. She 
favors long strings for tying gear onto the saddle; Cook likes 
them short. While Langley develops her own style and fol- 
lows her own perfectionist standards, she defers to Cook 
on the basics. "Rex just sticks his swivel knife in the leather 
and it flows," says Langley of his freehand leather tooling. 
"I'm not there yet, but at least I've got something to look 
forward to when I'm older." 

In 1995, Langley applied to the apprenticeship program as 
a master to teach Brenda Howard, who she met through 
4-H activities. An avid horsewoman, Howard, too, wants 
to make her own saddles and expand her abilities as a 
crafter. "I like a challenge," she says. "I can't wait to get 

are deceptive given variations in the states' population dis- 
tribution and county configurations (from very few in the 
Northeast to scores in other regions). Apprenticeships are 
often widely scattered across a state, reaching into remote 
areas that are rarely served by state arts programs (see 
Appendix C). Patterns of grant distribution are one of the 
distinguishing marks of each program, as in Alabama's suc- 
cess in engaging rural artists, Maine's concentration on the 
state's Indian communities, and Hawaii's promotion of 
inter-island artistic exchange. 

Many coordinators strive to continually expand their pro- 
gram's reach, as in launching fieldwork in underrepresent- 
ed regions like the Bootheel in southeastern Missouri. 
Program heads agree that there is no optimum geograph- 
ic distribution of apprenticeships within states since master 
artists and traditional communities are not evenly spread in 
all areas. The Alabama staff and panel are typical in seek- 
ing out "the best master artists" wherever they may be. 

Figure 2: Apprenticeships by Genre, 1983-1995 











Kitson's experience reflects some of the unique traits of the 
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program of the North 
Dakota Council on the Arts. The program gives prionty to 
apprenticeships in rare, endangered art forms that might 
otherwise vanish with their last practitioner. It recognizes 
that before many applications come in, "a really rigorous 
selection process has already taken place informally within 
the community," according to program coordinator Troyd 
Geist. And it respects the rules of protocol among the 
people it serves, such as those surrounding the custom of 
purchasing nghts to teach an art form. "Flexibility is the 
key," says Geist. 

His philosophy appears to be working well. The state has 
supported nearly 1 00 apprenticeships since 1986, expand- 
ing from mostly occupational traditions in the western 
region to a varied roster from throughout the state. In 
supporting a growing variety of genres, the program has 
helped broaden the public understanding of folk arts to 
encompass traditions such as Ukrainian ntual breadmaking. 

"The apprenticeship program has a great impact on a rural 
state like this," says Council member, panelist, and story- 
telling master Mary Louise Defender-Wilson (Dakota- 
Hidatsa). "We've done a lot to recognize the art forms of 
the diversity of North Dakota people, many of whom 
were never recognized before." Geist finds that the pro- 
gram frts well with the state's independent, populist spirit 
and dispersed, isolated communities that often lack an arts 
infrastructure: "The money goes right to the people, it's 
one-on-one, they do it themselves. You give them guid- 
ance, but you don't put all these hoops in the way to make 
them jump through." 

increased demand for the elaborately decorated breads. 
One of the town's masters of pysanky (ritually decorated 
eggs) keeps her own chickens to supply quality eggs to the 
many practitioners in the area. Another local pysanky mas- 
ter has traveled to the Ukraine to help revive the art in its 

Geist believes that funding apprenticeships is a wise, long- 
term investment in cultural conservation compared to 
other types of programming. "We're looking at a lifetime 
of benefits," he explains. "When it's one-to-one, your 
money is very well spent because that tradition will keep 
on going and become part of someone's life, versus just 
two hours of enjoyment for some audience members." 
By contrast, classes in the traditional arts lack the time to 
expose students to "the real beauty of an object, its deep- 
er meaning" through the stories, lore, and language associ- 
ated with it. 

Just as he believes traditions must be part of people's daily 
lives to thrive, Geist thinks apprenticeships should be inte- 
grated with other folk arts projects for maximum benefit. 
Masters such as Peggy Langley of Sheyenne and Kitson of 
Bismarck have been brought into the Folk Artist-in- 
Residence program, enjoying the chance to teach leather- 
work to schoolchildren or beadwork to Indian hospital 
patients. Armenian metal bas relief worker Norik 
Astvatsaturov of Wapeton and Kurdish lute player Luqman 
Maii of Fargo have been guest speakers at the annual Folk 
Arts Institute, introducing North Dakota teachers to the 
new cultures in their midst. Master artists are also high- 
lighted in the state's recent exhibit and accompanying book 
"Faces of Identity, Hands of Skill." 

The program has left its imprint in places like Dickinson, 
which has a strong Ukrainian communrty. "Things have just 
ignited here, partly with the help of the apprenticeship 
program." says Agnes Palanuk, director of the Ukrainian 
Cultural Institute. A performing group was able to embroi- 
der regional costumes after sessions with a master artist 
from Canada; a ritual breadmaking apprenticeship sparked 

Their connections with the apprenticeship program have 
been a milestone m the lives of some artists. Langley saved 
the tape from her answering machine on which Geist first 
left a message suggesting an apprenticeship. New immi- 
grants like Astvatsaturov are grateful for the interest the arts 
council takes in them and their culture. "We feel we are 
not alone," he says. "I will never forget that." Similarly, 

History & Funding 

One of the country's oldest programs, 
Alabama has long supported old-time 
fiddling apprenticeships like that of 
master Arlin Moon and granddaughter 
Tina Ray. 

Photo by Joey Brackner, 

courtesy Alabama State 

Council on the Arts 

Although the NEA began funding individual apprenticeship 
pairs in 1978 and three states (Alaska, Louisiana, and 
Illinois) started their own folk arts apprenticeship programs 
in the early 1980s, it was the NEA Folk Arts Program's 
pilot project in I 983 that prompted the growth of state 
apprenticeship programs around the country. NEA sup- 
port spread from an initial three states (Florida, Mississippi, 
New York) to I 5 states and territories in 1 985 up to a peak 
of 30 in 1991. 

Most current apprenticeship programs were begun in the 
1 980's, especially between 1985 and 1989. 
is the states with the oldest programs that have supported 
the most apprenticeships. The top-ranking five states with 
over 1 30 apprenticeships each are, in order from the high- 
est, Missouri, Kansas, Alaska, Alabama, and Wisconsin. 

The basic mission of apprenticeship programs has held 

steady over the years: to support intimate, informal coach- 
ing in the traditional arts by an experienced master work- 
ing with a less experienced apprentice. Consensus around 
this mission has grown with the spawning of each new 
state program. The main benefits of apprenticeship pro- 
grams were as evident to coordinators ten years ago as 
they are today. A 1985 report cited cost effectiveness, 
direct support for artists, broad geographic and ethnic cov- 
erage, potential for preserving tradition, and flexibility in 
administration as key advantages. 

With time, further benefits have become apparent. The 
longer an apprenticeship program has been in place, the 
more likely artists are to gain recognition, the more likely 
communities are to feel the impact, and the more folk arts 
programs tend to create spin-off projects. Over time, the 
roster of program participants also tends to get more 

Longer experience administering apprenticeships does not 
necessarily mean fewer problems. In 1985, 1991, and 
again in 1 995, coordinators noted problems that appear to 
be inherent to this sort of program. These include labor- 
intensive administration, lack of time for fieldwork or site 
visits, and the challenges of dealing with inappropriate 
applicants and ensuring the necessary state funding (see IX. 
Administrative Issues). 

Over the years, coordinators have shared a remarkable 
basic consensus around how the programs should be run, 
in spite of variations in program structure and priorities. 
For example, the 1985 report noted that apprenticeships 
work better if they are solicited through fieldwork and 
extend upon a prior relationship between master and 
apprentice — observations echoed by many today. 

Another striking continuity in a dozen years of state 
apprenticeship programs is in funding levels — a sign that 

1 1 

The Apprenticeship 

Apprenticing oneself to a master is a time-honored way to 
learn many crafts and trades. Current folk arts apprentice- 
ships in shop trades such as blacksmithing, instrument 
building, pottery, and glassblowing are a reminder of this 
tradition. Yet most folk arts apprenticeships are not so for- 
mal, intensive, and long-term as those of the preindustnal 
era, nor are they mainly intended to initiate someone into 
a livelihood. 

Folk arts apprenticeships "repre- 
sent a particular kind of creative 
marriage," wrote folklorists Bess 
Lomax Hawes and Barry Bergey 
in 1993, "a joining together of the 
experienced hand and the eager 
learner to ensure that the tradi- 
tion is maintained as accurately as 
can be and that the old ideas get 
a respectful hearing." No mere 
lessons, apprenticeships are ide- 
ally personal and cultural relation- 

These pairings seek to pass on 
not only skills but the sense of 
style and meaning that sustain the 
quality of a tradition. A black- 
smith learns the communication 

system of taps on the anvil, just as an Amencan Indian artist 
learns the ceremony required before cutting a tree for use 
in a basket. "Ola Belle shared her banjo style, her incredi- 
ble repertoire, her life history and her family history, her 
political and religious outlooks and her recipes, her famous 
chicken soup, and her strength of mountain-bred charac- 
ter," writes apprentice Judy Marti of Pennsylvania. It is this 

Detail of Palestinian embroidery by 
master artist Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim and apprentices 

Wafa and Fida Ghnaim. 

P/iofn by Eliza Buck. 

rtnirh'sij Onyan Folk Arts Prufjrum 

l :3 

style, going far beyond what can be learned in a class. 
The master-apprentice pair is still the most common 
arrangement. But most states also allow group appren- 
ticeships, especially in group traditions such as gospel quar- 
tet singing. 

The two essential ingredients in a successful apprenticeship 
are a highly skilled traditional master artist willing to teach 
and an apprentice willing to learn — what Hawes and 
Bergey call "a timely convergence of aptitude and attitude." 
Saddlemaker Martin Bergin of Missouri offers a definition of 
the term "master artist": "Basically what it comes down to 
is acceptance of the quality of your work by your peers and 
by those that use your saddles that know what a good sad- 
dle is." Another distinguishing trait of master artists who 
become involved in apprenticeships is their generosity of 
spirit and eagerness to pass on their knowledge. "It gives 
me much satisfaction when I have created something 
beautiful, durable, and useful," says quilter Mary Ann 
Norton of Mississippi, "and even more satisfaction and 
pleasure when I have helped someone else to learn how." 

Paired with such artists are others, often younger people, 
who have taken a special interest in a tradition or pro- 
gressed to an intermediate stage. They may be hesitant at 
first, like Harriet Allen who used to be intimidated watch- 
ing her grandmother make cradleboards on the 
Shoshone/Paiute reservation in Nevada, but later became 
determined "to learn to do this while there are still people 
around to teach it." 

What exactly gets accomplished in an apprenticeship? The 
answer vanes with each partnership and program. In West 
Virginia, master weaver Leota Davy and granddaughter 
Susan McDonald "wove on a bam frame loom with old- 
style threaded hettles that has been used by the family for 
1 50 years, and in 60 hours covered all the steps necessary 
to produce traditional rag rugs." In Florida, an old-time fid- 
dling apprentice learned 30 new tunes and now accompa- 
nies her teacher at performances. In American Samoa, 
several apprenticeship teams constructed a traditional 

'As far back as we can trace, they made 
[white oak] baskets in our family, " says 
Marjorie Westfall Prewitz of Missouri. "All 
of us children had to learn to make bas- 
kets. When we got big enough to hold 
one on our knees, then we started to 
work on them. And I think all of them 
felt like I did. I thought when I grew up 
and married and moved away, I would 
never make another basket. " but 25 
years later, she found herself enlisting her 
brother to help collect basketry materials 
and sitting down again to do the weaving. 
Prewitt took on her nephew as an 
apprentice, and he, in turn, plans to 
teach his son the family tradition. 

1 S 

The ripple effect of the programs reaches more people as 
artists find new outlets for their work and folk arts pro- 
grams create spin-off projects like exhibits. Perhaps most 
importantly, many traditional art forms that might have died 
with their last practitioners are passed on to the next 

Apprentices often bring together 

seasoned masters like African 

American tap dancing legend Edith 

"Baby Edwards" Hunt (left) and 

enthusiastic younger apprentices like 

Germain Ingram. 

Photo by .lane Leuine. 

courtesy Pcnnsyluaniu Heritage. Affairs 


A certain community of taste is affirmed in 
the bend in a note, the blend of a harmo- 
ny, the beat of a tune, or in the texture of 
a surface, the tint of a fiber, or the tight- 
ness of a form. These subtle cultural val- 
ues and the artistic skills associated with 

them are still best taught 
one-on-one. This represents the core of 
the apprenticeship concept. 

— Barry bergey, 
The Masters: 
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program 
Missouri. 1 984- 1 986 

shops as part of the Utah Opera's education program or 
Cambodian American classical dancers are invited to per- 
form amidst modern dancers at Jacob's Pillow in 
Massachusetts, traditional artists gain crucial new audi- 
ences. Likewise, when Hmong American embroiderers in 
Rhode Island sell their work to the International Museum 
of Folk Art in Santa Fe and when a Wasco Indian sallie bag 
maker from Oregon is invited to an Indigenous Arts 
Conference in New Zealand, important boundaries are 

Still another form of recognition, cited as important by 
three-quarters of respondents, is apprentices' promotion 
to the level of master artist within the program. Geronimo 
Olivas of Colorado apprenticed himself to master santero 
Ruben Jaramillo in 1990. Five years later, he had created a 
santero class at a vocational school, become a master him- 
self (taking on the program's first female apprentice in this 
art form), and become "an articulate spokesman in the San 
Luis Valley about the value of the traditional arts in pro- 
moting self-esteem in adults and children," according to the 
program coordinator. 

It's become a real status thing for Native 
Hawaiians to be part of the apprentice- 
ship program. People took the master 
artists for granted before; now they look 
up to them. It's done wonders for their 

Nathan Napoka, 


State Foundation on Culture 

and the Arts, Hawai'i 

1 O 

were in a homemade wooden johnboat," says Cecil 
Murray, a third-generation craftsman who has built more 
than forty boats. Though aluminum boats have since taken 
over, Steve Cookson, a high school teacher who grew up 
in the Current River area, cherishes a love for the old boats 
and has "fooled around" during summers as a boatmaking 
demonstrator for the National Park Service. "I knew I 
could learn a lot from a master craftsman," Cookson says. 
"I also wanted to learn more about the history and lore of 
the Current River and pick up fishing tips and techniques." 

received state arts awards. But the real sign of the success 
of an apprenticeship, Everts-Boehm suggests, is whether 
the relationship — and the tradition — continue after the 
end of the grant. As johnboat apprentice Steve Cookson 
says, "I'll always be coming back to help Cecil build boats, 
or if I can't find another reason, just to pester him." 

Cookson had to be persistent to convince Murray to take 
him on as an apprentice, but once approved, it became 
Cookson's job to keep up with Murray. Without the 
apprenticeship, the men agree, they would not have been 
motivated to set up a regular schedule for visits and take on 
a long-term project. Nor would Cookson have been 
exposed to the changes in tools and design that Murray has 
adapted to modem needs in this living tradition. 

Every year, Everts-Boehm documents one program team 
in the essay series "Missouri Masters and Their Traditional 
Arts." The attractive 12-page booklets educate people 
around the state about the deep connections between 
artists and their communities. They are illustrated portraits 
not only of a master's life and work but of the local histo- 
ry, group customs, and artistic tradition from which they 
spring. A 1993 essay on Mexican American manachi trum- 
peter Beto Lopez takes a wide sweep, from Mexican 
traders on the Santa Fe Trail to contemporary barrio 
murals on Kansas City's Westside. "By choosing to become 
a mariachi musician — a choice that he made over other 
styles of music at which he is equally adept — Mr. Lopez is 
satisfying a personal as well as a community need," writes 
Everts-Boehm Lopez' teenage apprentice Antonio Sierra, 
Jr. may be choosing a similar path as he takes time out from 
a Latino pop band to learn sones and rancheras. 

Apprenticeships have brought unprecedented recognition 
to traditional artists around the state, including six masters 
who received National Heritage Fellowships and two who 

Handmade johnboats were almost 
extinct on Ozark streams until 
revived by apprenticeships like 
that of master boatbuilder Cecil 
Murray (left) and apprentice Jon 

Photo by Dana Euerts-Bnehm. 

courtesy Missouri Traditional Arts 

Apprenticeship Program 

Impact on Artists: 
Legacy & 


Artists are eloquent about how apprenticeships have made 
an impact on their lives and work. In letters, interviews, 
evaluation meetings, and final reports, they testify to the 
legacies they have given and received. "I've been search- 
ing for a teacher for years and she is the one," says Donna 
Lee Cockett of her master in a Hawaiian lauhala weaving 
apprenticeship. "Aunty Jane believes that if you have a gift, 
you must pass it on." 

"I have to give these secrets away," African American mas- 
ter gardener Blanche Epps of Pennsylvania declares. 
"Otherwise, who's going to keep doing it after I am gone?" 
Even masters initially skeptical about taking on an appren- 
tice seem to become more aware of the part they play in 
sustaining a tradition. Tex-Mex accordionist Cruz Rangel in 
Washington state finally decided, "Why not? Other people 
passed rt on to me when I was a young child, and if I don't 
[do the same], there might not be anyone else." The 
young members of El Grupo Sueho now practice at 
Rangel's house and get frequent bookings that include their 
teacher. In Wisconsin, some American Indian artists have 
used their involvement in the program as a way to official- 
ly designate a successor. 

Both masters and 
apprentices speak 
of the strong per- 
sonal bonds that 
emerge from the 
experience. "Of 
all the things I 
learned," writes 
one typical 

apprentice, "I 
mostly treasure 
gaining a friend 
like my teacher." 
Says Francis 

Whitaker, an 87- 
year-old master blacksmith in Colorado, "Gordon has pro- 
vided me with a rare opportunity to pass my skills on to 
someone who will use them the rest of his life. He has 
mastered every assignment given to him." Says his 
apprentice, Gordon Stonington, "The apprenticeship has 
been a wonderful opportunity for me, as a teacher, to be 
a student. . [Francis] has been gracious, helpful, demand- 
ing, and many other things. He has become my friend." 


Master Cleo Salazar (left) 
weaves Rio Grande cultur- 
al history and lore into 
apprenticeship with 
daughter Maxine Jacquez. 

Photo by Claude Stephenson. 

courtesy New Mexico Arts 


other islands in Hawai'i to teach or learn. Though job train- 
ing is not the primary purpose of apprenticeships, it can be 
a much-appreciated benefit that makes the difference in 
whether others are able to sustain their involvement with 
a tradition. 

Apprenticeships are living testimony to the value of lifelong 
learning. Masters at the top of their field find challenges in 
teaching. Mississippi fiddler Charlie Smith, for one, is grate- 
ful to an apprenticeship for "shaking me out of my rut. 
It gave me back some things I'd almost forgotten because 
nobody had asked me about it for so long," he says. 
Apprentices of varied ages discover their natural talents 
while rediscovering their cultural roots, especially in middle 
age. "People in my area have seen what an ordinary 
housewife has been able to 
learn and do without having to 
leave home," observes Helen 
Cole, a Pennsylvania weaving 

Apprenticeships have also 
done much for the self-esteem 
of participants and the regard 
in which they are held by oth- 
ers. A blind Hawaiian musician 
who has Hansen's disease was 
inspired with the confidence to 
begin a professional storytelling 
career, drawing on his own 
family history of growing up in 
the leper colony on Molokai. 
Ukrainian American embroi- 
derer Claudia Kropywiansky 
had almost abandoned her art 
when she became a master in 
the Colorado program; her 
dubious neighbors and hus- 
band were impressed. Some 
masters are surprised at how 
others value what they have to 

offer, like a Franco American fiddler in New Hampshire 
who felt shy about teaching a lawyer or a Mexican 
American harpist in Colorado who plays by ear and was 
wary of taking on an apprentice who reads music. 

For some master artists, apprenticeships offer a way to 
instill key cultural values in youth, especially those who 
seem adrift and in need of a caring mentor. In Wisconsin, 
Jim Razer (Ojibwa) immersed his three young apprentices 
in the preparation of powwow regalia by taking them with 
him to gather materials, visit elders, and attend powwows.- 
Razer hoped to "turn one young man's life just enough" to 
ensure his continued cultural involvement. The same con- 
cerns drive master Cambodian dancer Chamroeun Yin in 
Pennsylvania. "I want the children born here in the U.S. to 

learn about their own culture 
and ways of respect and disci- 
pline," he say of his young stu- 
dents. "I believe this can keep 
them away from bad influences 
such as drugs and cnme." 

Detail of Nez Perce cornhusk bag by 
master artist Rose Frank of Idaho. 

Photo by Bluntot) Owen, 
courtesy Idaho Commission or, the Arts 

potential of the arts of her heritage, her teacher was grati- 
fied that Shiroma's extensive training prepared her to take 
on the challenges of the dance theater form. 

Like Shiroma, guitarist Harry Koizumi was versatile in sev- 
eral styles before he began studying Hawaiian slack key gui- 
tar with master Raymond Kane in Waianae. "I never paid 
attention to Hawaiian music before; I thought it was all 
Waikiki [commercial] stuff," Koizumi says. "When I heard 
slack key, it blew me away, because it's more difficult than 
you would have imagined." He appreciated the chance to 
learn directly from one of the most important authentic 
sources of the tradition. 

"The apprenticeship gave me purpose," Koizumi says, "it 
just brought me back home. I want to teach the locals 
about this music because a lot of them don't know." Kane 
is proud that his students are teaching others and encour- 
ages them to take all opportunities to perform and com- 
pose the sweet, relaxing finger-picking style. "If you can't 
give it from the heart, don't give it at all," he advises. 

Slack key guitar, steel guitar, and Hawaiian chant are regu- 
lars on the program roster, thanks in part to support from 
the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts. So are lauhala 
weaving and other traditional Hawaiian crafts. About 80% 
of the program's 106 apprenticeships in the past ten years 
have been in Native Hawaiian art forms. Program director 
Lynn Martin says this is a reflection of who applies to the 

program, which is shaped, in turn, by the well-organized 
network of Hawaiian civic clubs that spread the word and 
strong awareness of the need for Native Hawaiian cultural 

Panelist Napoka has seen the impact of the program in 
places like Ni'ihau, where the Hawaiian language is still reg- 
ularly spoken. "It's become a real status thing to be part of 
the apprenticeship program," he observes. "People took 
the master artists for granted before; now they look up to 
them. It's done wonders for their spirit." Similarly, on the 
Big Island, where many Native Hawaiian artists live and 
where the program has spawned a renaissance in lauhala 
weaving, people are waiting in line for the chance to work 
with masters. And the program's commitment to provid- 
ing vouchers for inter-island travel has helped ensure a 
level of quality work on islands less steeped in a particular 

One who has shared her knowledge in several appren- 
ticeships is Minnie Ka'awaloa, a wise and gentle lauhala 
weaver of 73 . Her students gather in her open-air garage 
in Puna around good food, coils of lauhala (pandanus 
leaves), and hat molds. "You weave slowly," says appren- 
tice Irene Perry, "so you can hear more stories." 

Auntie Minnie takes her apprentices through the arduous 
process of harvesting and preparing the fiber long before 
she shows them how to start the piko (navel/center) for a 

Hawaiian lauhala weaving master 
Minnie Ka'awaloa (second from right) 
flanked by apprentices (from left) 
Loretta Hera, Irene Perry, and Noelani 
Ng, modeling lauhala hats. 

Photo by Lynn Martin, 
courtesy Slaw Foundation on Culture and 

the Arts 

:^T r 

a renewed appreciation for the art form while it has 
brought his apprentice. Randall Ho, a new discipline in his 
life and work. 

With its impressive variety of genres and inter-island scope, 
the Hawai'i program has become increasingly visible over 
the years. Five masters have been awarded the National 
Heritage Fellowship, and many were featured in the 
restaging of the Hawai'i portion of the Smithsonian Folklrfe 
Festival in 1 990. Coordinator Lynn Martin can rely on her 
informal "deputies in the field," including former partici- 
pants, to help new applicants through the process. As a 
result, she says, "I no longer have to sit in people's kitchens 
filling out applications." This growth and stability have led 
Martin to try to organize a gathering of program partici- 
pants to discuss mutual concerns and enjoy visits to muse- 
ums and botanical gardens. Meanwhile, she and her com- 
mittee seek to continually refine the program, disqualifying 
some genres that proved too controversial, imposing a 
minimum age on apprentices ( 1 6) and a maximum limit on 
repeat apprenticeships (three years). 

Will apprentices in Hawai'i pass it on, as the program 

intends 7 The prospects look good: Agnes Chan wants to 
train more young people in Cantonese opera; Loretta 
Hera has led a group of young Native Hawaiians in the 
production of hand-woven baskets for the reinterment of 
ancestral bones; Harry Koizumi is working on an instruc- 
tional video for slack key guitar. Martin concedes that a few 
less successful apprenticeships are "leaps of faith. We take 
the risk," she explains, "because once you lose something 
entirely and it has to be resurrected, so much gets lost. 
Apprenticeships are a quiet, steady way to continue stab- 
bing away at making sure that something makes it from one 
generation to the next." 

Back in Kalena Silva's house in Hilo, Lehua Matsuoka 
descnbes her first lesson in Hawaiian chant as "intense." 
But she is keen to go on, having heard from a previous 
apprentice that after the experience, "I will sound different, 
chant different, and feel different." Silva hopes that his 
apprentices, like their ancestors, will find a place for chant 
in occasions like greeting a long-lost friend. "If a tradition is 
just up on a stage, it's not strong," he believes. "I think it's 
possible to retrieve it and revive it for everyday life.' Then 
it will seem natural for the next generation of kids." 




(right), at 

her first 

lesson in 


chant with 




Photo by 
Lynn Martin. 




on Culture 
and the Arts 


apprenticeship projects stimulate cultural pride, as with the 
revived Abenaki Adult Dance Group that is now in great 
demand for performances in Vermont. Among the other 
endangered Indian art forms that might have been lost 
without apprenticeships are Wasco sallie bag full-turn twin- 
ing (Oregon), Winnebago finger beadwork (Wisconsin), 
Goshute basketweaving (Utah), Hidatsa bird quillwork 
(North Dakota), and Kiowa hymn singing (Oklahoma). 

One Oklahoma apprenticeship 

mushroomed when passersby 

overheard Ralph Kotay and 

Richard Tsartsah working 

on Kiowa hymns every week 

before church. 

At first, the others would just listen 

or suggest songs; gradually, 

they joined in. 

"By the end of the apprenticeship," 

the coordinator reports, "Mr. Kotay 

had a class full of students. 

When we attended 

a practice session, many of those 

attending came up to tell me what 

an impact the 

program had had on their little church 

group. One lady said that she had 

always sung the words but had 

never had the songs translated for her. " 

3. 1 


Master Clara Neptune Keezer (left) from a 
renowned Passamaquoddy family of 
basketmakers, works with son Rocky 

-! ;r i9 

Pifev ^^sssfH 

Keezer, now a full-time professional. 


Photo by Cedric Chatterly. 
councsy Maine Arts Commission 


"If basketmaking isn't done in the household, then a kid 
can't learn any time he wants to," notes Richard Silliboy 
(Micmac), who has worked with the program as a master 
artist and panelist. "That's what I didn't understand about 
our traditions being passed down orally. I'm afraid the 
brown ash basket is going to fall right down the same line 
as language and many other things." Silliboy taught his 
nephew how to select, harvest, and prepare the ash in a 
1 994 apprenticeship, getting lots of help with tree hauling 
in the process. 

The Neptune family, which has been especially active in 
the program, is notable for its fancy baskets in the 
Passamaquoddy style. Clara Neptune Keezer did an 
apprenticeship with her 40-year-old son Rocky, who 
intends to teach his daughter "every step, from scraping to 
splitting, gauging, how to cut the standards . . . everything. 
That's how it should be," he says. Rocky Keezer makes 
baskets full-time, averaging two a day and attracting the 
interest of out-of-state collectors. With greater recognition 
for Indian baskets has come an inflated market, with bas- 
kets selling for $50- 1 50 or more. 

The ripple effect of the apprenticeship program and the 
Alliance continues to swirl around Indian artists and com- 
munities in Maine. Spin-off projects such as the traveling 
exhibit "Basket Trees/Basket Makers" have brought atten- 
tion to the sorry state of brown ash trees and the flourish- 

ing state of the art. Recognition for artists has expanded 
with the awarding of a National Heritage Fellowship to 
Mary Gabriel and a Maine Arts Commission Individual 
Artist Fellowship to Clara Keezer, as well as a lavish article 
on the Neptune family in Native Peoples magazine. 
Basketmaking workshops have become a popular feature 
of the intertribal Wabanaki Confederacy gathering. 

As program coordinator Mundell looks back on five years 
of success, she also looks forward to a day when 'basket- 
making apprenticeships might be run by the Alliance or 
partially funded by tribal councils. Indian art forms, partic- 
ularly basketmaking, have accounted for 70% of Maine's 
apprenticeships, and Mundell thinks it may be time for the 
program to evolve in new directions. She is especially 
interested in making more contacts in the Franco American 
community, where the program has supported appren- 
ticeships in fiddling and Acadian home songs. 

Meanwhile, the Maine program helps beginners get start- 
ed and helps masters keep going in a basketmaking tradi- 
tion that appears to be in no danger of a "dieback." "It's a 
little thing that keeps them going," says Rocky Keezer, 
speaking of the program's effect on Indian artists. "All it 
takes is a little nudge." 


Impact on Folk 

Arts Programs k 
Sponsor Agencies 

Several coordinators call apprenticeships the "foundation" 
or "cornerstone" of their state folk arts program. "You 
cement a relationship much better with apprenticeship 
program participants than you do with your typical slash- 
and-burn folk arts survey," observes Bob Stone of the 
Florida Folklife Program. "The artists come back year after 
year at the festival and do other presentations. They 
become our allies." Apprenticeship programs give coordi- 
nators the chance for deeper friendship with and advocacy 

The annual Traditional Arts 
Apprenticeship Program exhibit 
at the Oregon History Center 
displays work made by 

Photo by Eliza Buck, 
courtesy Oregon Folk Arts Program 

for artists while building archives and a roster of quality par- 
ticipants for other projects. Apprenticeships pave the way 
for further fieldwork with families and communities that 
have benefited from the program. 

Two of the most popular spin-offs of apprenticeship pro- 
grams are showcase events at state capitols and traveling 
exhibits. "We have found that artists particularly like the 
opportunity to come to the capitol, meet the Lieutenant 

"Tricks of the Trade: Apprenticeships in the Traditional Arts, " 
curated by Amy Skjllman for the Pennsylvania Council on the 
Arts and the Pennsylvania Hentage Affairs Commission as 
part of a I Oth Anniversary Celebration, is one of the most 
recent and intriguing exhibits to emerge from an apprentice- 
ship program. The traveling exhibit uses documentary photos 
and quote-laden text to profile 19 master/apprentice pairs 
out of the more than 1 00 that have passed through the pro- 
gram. A survey of participating artists and sponsoring organi- 
zations suggested the exhibit's organizational themes 
("Learning Together, " "Sharing Secrets, " "Mastering the 
Tncks, " and "Passing It On"). 

Tricks of the Trade 

The exhibit is unusual for its aim to engage the interest of chil- 
dren, whose support it views as crucial for the future of tradi- 
tional arts. (A few children were even part of the advisory 
committee!) Children are drawn in through simple text 
addressed directly to them; hands-on 'Can You Do This?' 
activities, such as practicing a strenuous Asian Indian classi- 
cal dance posture before a mirror, and a focus on learmng- 
by-doing that children can grasp from their own experience. 
"Have you ever had a teacher that became a good friend?" 
asks one exhibit panel, and another, "Did you ever make a 
drum out of things you found around your neighborhood?" An 
accompanying "Treasure Hunt Guide" has child viewers iden- 
tify the parts of a musical instrument, draw 
a Hmong textile pattern, and explain why 
certain techniques take so long to learn. At 
the end, viewers are invited to wnte in 
something they would like to learn or teach 
through a method like an apprenticeship. 

A "Rhymes and Rhythms" concert tour 
extends apprenticeship concepts to per- 
forming arts and artists. Winning rave 
reviews in its travels so far, the exhibit's 
organizers hope it will bnng in more appren- 
ticeship applications. 

Exhibit images of Bharathanatyam classical Indian 

dance lessons with master Shoba Sharma (center) 

urged young visitors to mirror the movements. 

Photo by Jane Lcuinti. 

courtesy Pennsylvania Hcritanc. Affairs Commission 

and sing all day, and then get back home." To accommo- 
date modem work schedules, Deason now holds schools 
on five consecutive evenings and ends early, with a culmi- 
nating community sing and social time as well as a final 
summer sing for all his schools together. Churches that 
have invited Deason to hold a school often go on to spon- 
sor their own singings. Without support from the appren- 
ticeship program, coordinator Brackner believes, Alabama 
would not have the more than 300 singings it has today, 
and masters like Deason would be less able to publish 
hymnals, publicize schools, travel to other counties, and 
train new leaders. 




Organization & Operations 

Apprenticeship programs operate within broadly similar 
lines in a variety of administrative structures. By far the 
most common arrangement, as with folk arts programs in 
general, is to be housed within a state arts agency or other 
public institution such as a historical society (Kansas), muse- 
um (Michigan), or university (Missouri). In Colorado, the 
state arts council provides most of the support for three 
regional coordinators in a unique public-private partnership 
(see page 42). A few apprenticeship programs are run by 
private nonprofit organizations. 

The organizational profile of each apprenticeship program 
is shaped by local conditions as well as the limitations and 
opportunities of their host institution. In keeping with gen- 
eral arts council guidelines, for example, the Pennsylvania 
and New York programs allow only organizations (rather 
than individuals) to apply for apprenticeships, and the New 
England Foundation for the Arts program encourages 
regional partnerships that cross state lines. To maximize its 
resources, the New Hampshire program collaborates with 
the state Fish and Game Department, which helps publi- 
cize and document apprenticeships in the "outdoor arts." 
Targeted programs have evolved distinctive policies and 
procedures. For instance, Wisconsin asks masters (often 
elders) to initiate the applications. Idaho solicits represen- 
tatives from each tribe for its panel, and Oklahoma has an 
unusual community evaluation (see page 47). The adapt- 

The New Hampshire program's 
partnership with the state Fish & 
Game Department promotes 
apprenticeships like that of mas- 
ter Fred Dolan (left) and Shawn 
Gillis in duck decoy carving. 

Photo by Jill Linzee. 

courtesy New Hampshire State 

Council on the Arts 

ability of apprenticeship programs to distinctive needs and 
populations is often cited as one of their strengths. 

Despite variation in the structure and operations of 
apprenticeship programs, they share a number of basic 
administrative characteristics. Typically, state apprenticeship 
programs award 5- 1 or 10-15 apprenticeships a year for 
periods of 6- 1 2 months. About half specify the amount 
that should go to the master artist as a lump sum. a per- 
centage of the total award, or an hourly rate; only one- 
quarter require a minimum number of meetings or hours. 

-4- 1 

Apprentice Norma Mendoza watches 
master Maria Guadalupe Barajas sew a 
charro hat, one result of the Oregon 
program's outreach to Mexican 

Photo by Eliza Buck, 
courresy Oregon Folk Arts Program 

same for apprentices with a prior working relationship with 
the master. Other selection criteria include relevance of 
the art form to the state's cultural heritage (Florida), repre- 
sentative balance of program needs (Missouri), and the 
potential of the apprenticeship to strengthen a sponsoring 
organization's presenting capabilities (Pennsylvania). 

Coordinators express regret about having to reject quali- 
fied applicants due to lack of funds. "The artists take it hard 
and they often don't apply again," says Lynn Martin of 
Hawai'i. "They don't have the same buffer for rejection as 
a nonprofit organization." Kathleen Mundell of Maine 
agrees that making apprenticeships competitive "defeats 
the original purpose" and seeks participant ideas on how to 
most fairly distribute limited funds. 

Eligibility Issues 

There is greater variety among programs when it comes to 
the fine print of who is eligible for apprenticeships and who 
ultimately gets selected. 

Because art forms often cross state or even national bor- 
ders, most programs allow study with out-of-state master 
artists; others prohibit these arrangements due to state law. 
Masters from Guam have coached Chamorro apprentices 

in California, Ukrainian American embroiderers have 
worked with teachers from Canada, and several American 
apprentices in Asian Indian dance have studied with 
internationally-known masters overseas. In each case, 
apprenticeships brought distant sources of a tradition clos- 
er to students who might otherwise not have had access 
to them. 

Many programs have struggled with the question of 
apprenticeships among family members. On the one 
hand, folklorists want to support the traditional transmis- 
sion of art forms through families. With the dispersion and 
economic pressures of contemporary family life, family 
members often need an incentive to take the time away 
from jobs and daily chores to concentrate on an art form. 
On the other hand, if family members are likely to learn 
the tradition anyway, why have a grant? The consensus 
seems to be that the benefits outweigh the risks. Virtually 
all programs allow apprenticeships within families, and the 
Utah program considers such teams among the most suc- 
cessful. As a precaution, some programs impose restric- 
tions on apprenticeships with immediate or co-resident 
family members, such as requiring an additional unrelated 
apprentice (Wisconsin) or limiting support to expenses 
rather than honoraria (Florida). 

Similar caution prevails in programs that allow group 
apprenticeships (89%), repeat apprenticeships (91%), and 
apprentices under age 1 8 (89%). Apprenticeships are 


master status? Varying levels of mastery are inevitable 
among different art forms and cultures, suggests panelist 
Nathan Napoka of Hawai'i. Members tend to rely on 
those who know the most about a given tradition or com- 
munity to reach consensus. The cntical factors seem to be 
whether the person is recognized as a master, is ready to 
teach, and has freely chosen to work with a given appren- 
tice. Most programs have witnessed the appropnation of 
the term "master artist" by participants on their business 
cards and promotional literature, and at least one program 
has turned down the request to issue certificates of mas- 
tery to artists. 

Presentations and Evaluation 

About one-third of programs require or strongly encour- 
age a final public presentation by participants. Such events 
give apprentices a goal to work towards while affording 
both artists greater recognition and helping administrators 
to assess the team's success, a Utah coordinator suggests. 

The most common way to monitor the progress of 
apprenticeships is through site visits (9 I %), generally one 
per year by staff. A small number of programs manage two 
visits per year or contract with outside experts. Such visits 
are important not only for evaluation purposes but for 
cementing relationships and documenting the program. "I 
used to think the visit was something of an intrusion," notes 
one coordinator. "But most people welcome site visits and 
want to have the opportunity to show the progress they 
have made." 

About two-thirds of programs require a final report from 
participants, some making payment contingent on this. 
Others encourage apprentices to keep a log or journal of 
their learning experience and request copies for program 
files. The few states that have sponsored reunions or 
meetings for the purposes of group evaluation have found 
these gatherings helpful. 

Cross-Cultural Apprenticeships? 

Should apprenticeships between artists of 
different cultural backgrounds be allowed or 
encouraged in ethnic traditional arts? The 
NEA and most state apprenticeship pro- 
grams give pnohty to artists from within the 
same culture since their mission is mainly 
cultural conservation. 

A notable exception is the state-funded 
Pennsylvania program, in which a Romanian 
fddler taught a non-Romanian fiddle afi- 
cionado and an African American gardener 
passed on her skills to a recent Vietnamese 
immigrant. Such working relationships can 
be just as intense and fruitful as apprentice- 
ships within the same culture, advocates 
believe, especially when there are no inter- 
ested learners within a community. Cross- 
cultural apprenticeships can also make sense 
in a "chop suey, " racially mixed society like 

that of Hawai'i, where a dedicated 

Portuguese-Hawaiian master jokes about 

teaching Japanese mmgei pottery to his 

Chinese American apprentice. 

Some programs have been pleased to see 

spin-offs that enhance the cross-cultural 

awareness of apprenticeship participants, like 

jam sessions between African and Japanese 

American taiko drumming teams in Nevada 

or joint performances of Irish American step 

dancers and African American tap dancers in 

Missouri. But cross-cultural learning is not 

the point of apprenticeships, critics argue, 

and can be pursued more effectively through 

other projects. 

state match for federal funds. Half of all programs have 
also had problems dealing with inappropriate or ineligible 
applicants, such as the team that wanted to airbrush 
American Indian images onto T-shirts. Only a handful of 
the more than 2,500 apprenticeships awarded over the 

Site visits allow program staff to see com- 
pleted apprentice work like these Alaska 
Native mukluks by Beverly Cloud. 

Photo by Beverly Cloud, 

courtesy Alaska State Council 

on the Arts 

years have involved misuse of funds, according to the sur- 
vey. Other problems cited include justifying support for 
religious traditions (from American Indian ceremonial 
objects to Hmong shamanistic ritual); justifying the pres- 
ence of cultural specialists on panels; and paying artists who 
live out of state or who are on public assistance. When 

A Community Evaluation 

In Oklahoma, where most apprenticeships 
involve Amehcan Indians, teams choose a 
venue to present their work as part of a 
community evaluation. "Because many of 
the traditional artists do not engage in 'per- 
formances' outside of their communities, the 
evaluation process has proved to be one of 
the most interesting aspects of the appren- 
ticeship process," writes Dayna Lee of the 
State Arts Council of Oklahoma. 

"Last year, Jimmy Lee Sanders and Lewis 
Johnson, his apprentice, demonstrated hide- 
tanning at Mr. Sanders' home. It was 
almost like a family reunion. Mr. Sanders 
and Mr. Johnson are distantly related, and 
members of both of their families brought 
sandwiches, gathered their lawn chairs, and 
watched while Mr. Johnson talked about 
what he had learned and took us through 
the process of tanning deer hides. The 
observers even engaged in the evaluation 
process, pointing out that hide used for cer- 
tain ceremonial items must be handled dif- 
ferently than hide used for secular materials. 
They also contnbuted ideas about dying 
hides by using different types of smokes or 
smudges. " 


Tricks of the Me tor Coordinators 

Some tips from past and present coordinators on successful administrative practices are listed below. These are not 
models but suggestions that may or may not be adaptable for use in other programs. 


• Utilize regional coordinators to expand program's reach 

• Collaborate with other state agencies to get more mileage 
out of the program (New Hampshire). 

• Offer technical assistance funding to past participants 
who plug program at their public presentations (Flonda). 

• Cultivate close working relationship with tribal leaders or 
heads of tribal cultural programs (Idaho, Maine, Wisconsin). 

• Tap into state 4-H and senior citizen networks for refer- 
rals, and publish postcards of teams at work (West Virginia). 

• Do annual targeted fieldwork or regional surveys to broad- 
en base of applicants (Vermont). 

• Arrange participants in database sorted by zip code; send 
press releases and/or clippings to local media and politicians 
around state (Washington). 

• Feature photo illustration of traditional artist at work on 
cover of program brochure or application form to attract 
attention in traditional communities (Alaska). 


• Keep it clear and simple (various). 

• Show artists a sample application (Kansas). 

• Offer short- and long-term options (e.g., 3-month v. 8- 
month apprenticeships) to attract different types of projects 
(Florida, New Mexico). 

• Require support material, including letters of support and 
audio-visual documentation, from both masters and appren- 
tices and assist applicants in preparing such materials (vari- 

• Document artists' work for them to level out quality of 
applications (Alabama). 

• Convene annual meeting to discuss new issues and poten- 
tial guideline changes (Hawai'i). 


• Pay in two installments, with payments dependent on 
receipt of reports (vanous). 

• Pay awards as honorana to masters to use at their discre- 
tion, including giving some to apprentices (Michigan). 

• Set standard award amounts for all apprenticeships 
(Illinois, Wisconsin). 

• Use customized software ("Hobie") to streamline paper- 
work and payments (Hawai'i). 


• Involve panelists in eliciting applications and evaluating 
existing apprenticeships; brief them on program pnonties to 
ensure representative roster of participants (Missoun). 

• Have folklonst present applications to panel (Colorado). 

• Retain a core of expenenced pane! members to ensure 
consistency in selection (vanous). 


• Have apprentices keep and submit a log of all meetings 

• Contract with documentation assistant (Hawai'i) or cul- 
tural specialists in specific genres (Michigan) for quality site 

• Encourage apprentices to keep a journal by giving them a 
sample form to jot down stories and terms to remember, 
questions to ask, and plans for the next session (Hawai'i). 

• Sponsor reunions or gathenngs of participants for group 
evaluation and fellowship (Maine, Kansas). 


Prospects for 
Future Support 

For 12 years, the National Endowment for the Arts, 
through its Folk & Traditional Arts Program, has given cru- 
cial support to state folk arts apprenticeship programs. 
Recent changes at the NEA have profound implications for 
the future of these programs. 

In late 1995, the NEA budget was cut by 40%, severely 
reducing both grant monies and staff. Discipline-specific 
programs such as Folk & Traditional Arts were eliminated 
and the agency was reorganized into four theme areas: 
Heritage & Preservation, Creation & Presentation, Planning 
& Stabilization, and Education & Access. State agencies and 
other organizations are still eligible to apply for grants to 
support folk arts apprenticeship programs. However, 
applicants must compete on a broader field for fewer 
grants, with less staff time available to deal with requests. 
New restrictions apply, such as a limit of one NEA grant 
request per agency or organization per year. Requests 

may have to be framed in terms of special projects rather 
than ongoing programs and positions. Additional NEA 
funds may become available through state arts council 
monies set aside for underserved populations. (For further 
details, see the NEA Grants to Organizations Application 
Guidelines or contact the Folk and Traditional Arts Specialist 
at 202- 682-5428.) 

Apprenticeship programs have a record of high artistic 
quality, public popularity, and cost-effective productivity. 
State folk arts programs face the challenge of publicizing this 
success and making a case for increased state support of 
apprenticeships in tough economic times. NEA staff 
encourage organizations to explore innovative public/pri- 
vate partnerships and seek funding from a wide variety of 
sources to ensure the continued success of apprenticeship 

The Hawai'i Academy of Recording 

Arts supports apprenticeships like 

those of Hawaiian slack key guitar 

legend Raymond Kane (center) with 

Bobby Moderow, Jr. (left) and Harry 

Koizumi (right). More such 

partnerships are necessary to 

sustain state programs. 

Photo by Lynn Martin. 

courtesy State Foundation on Culture. 

the Arts 


Appendix A 

How the Survey Was Conducted 

The survey was conducted by Susan Auerbach, a freelance writer 
and arts consultant who was formerly Folk Arts Coordinator for the 
City of Los Angeles, on behalf of the former NEA Folk & Traditional 
Arts Program through a grant to The Fund for Folk Culture. After 
reviewing two previous reports on state apprenticeship programs 
and NEA apprenticeship grant application files and literature, 
Auerbach designed a five-page questionnaire to elicit comparable 
quantitative information from each state on the impact and admin- 
istration of apprenticeships. Questionnaires and county outline 
maps were sent to approximately 40 states and territories with 
folk arts apprenticeship programs in April, 1995, with a 92% 
response rate (35 out of 38 active programs). All statistics in this 
report were compiled from 1995 survey results. Other sources of 
information include site visits to five states (Alabama, Hawai'i, 
Maine, Missouri, North Dakota), including interviews with more than 
30 artist teams by Auerbach as well as Jill Linzee of New 
Hampshire and Sanford Rikoon of Missouri; telephone interviews 
with selected program coordinators; state program literature such 
as booklets, guidelines, newsletters, and reports; and supporting 
materials such as letters from artists and news clippings. 

Do you require a minimum number of meet- 
ings? NO, 74% 

If so, how many? 50-130 hours; 12-25 meet- 

Total amount your program granted for 
apprenticeships in most recent fiscal year: 

less than $10,000 








Is your program currently supported by: 

NEA Folk & Traditional Arts Program 

plus state funds 86% 

State or local funds 9% 

Other 6% 


What percentage of a staff person's time 
is spent coordinating the apprenticeship 

80-100% time 6% 

50-79% time 17% 

30-49% time 43% 

less than 30% time 31% 

varies, depends 

on year 3% 

Has the program targeted for participation 

special populations (e.g., 

Native Americans, refugees) 35% 

cities, counties or regions 15% 

art forms (e.g., basketmaking, fiddling) 21% 

percentages of programs that have targeted each of 


What are your most effective forms of out- 

media press releases/advertising 46% 
specialized mailings 43% 

fieldwork/personal visits 91% 

orientation meetings/workshops 29% 
publications/events 40% 

other: word of mouth 20% 

percentages of programs that ranked these as one of 

their top 3 

Size of selection panel: N=34 

3 or less 9% 

3-5 members 47% 

6-8 members 32% 

9-12 members 12% 

Panel generally includes: 

cultural specialists 100% 

folk artists 74% 

arts administrators 60% 

out-of-state members 54% 


How central is the apprenticeship program 
to your folk/traditional arts programming? 

37% essential, centerpiece of 

47% among 3 most important 
9% among 5 or more most important 

6% other: "all programs of equal 

Since its founding, has your apprentice- 
ship program's value generally: N=32 

53% increased a great deal for artists, 
communities, and sponsor 
34% increased somewhat 
9% stayed about the same, but still 

3% lessened somewhat 

What kinds of recognition have partici- 
pants received during/after apprentice- 
ships? N=34 

97% media coverage 
76% honors within community 
62% state honors or awards 
50% national honors or awards: 
(41% National Heritage Fellowship) 
97% invitations to present work 
publically in exhibition, 
performance, workshop 
79% apprentices' elevation to master 

How important do you think the appren- 
ticeship was in prompting such recogni- 

54% essential 

34% somewhat influential, gave 

6% artists would have been honored 


6% depends on artists 

Please list 2 notable specific examples of 
recognition for your program participants: 

see Impact on Artists: Recognition 

What kinds of spin-off events or programs 
have resulted from the apprenticeships? 

77% festival participation 

74% performances 

83% exhibits/demonstrations 

57% public workshops/classes 

60% artists-in-education projects 

54% directories/rosters/referrals 

57% publications 

51% media documentaries 

49% state/local awards programs 

Please list 2 notable specific examples of 

see Impact on Folk Arts Programs 
and Sponsor Agencies 

How have the apprenticeships made a dif- 
ference for individuals and communities? 

91% enhanced cultural pride and 

85% raised awareness of folk arts 
83% brought significant new 

recognition to artists 
74% stimulated broader interest in 

learning a traditional art 
77% revived or helped preserve a 

particularly endangered 

traditional art 
91% passed on tradition to younger 

83% enhanced existing learning 

process within a family or 
71% led to the development of more 

master artists 
see Impact on Artists, 
Impact on Art Forms and 

Appendix C 

Sample State Maps* 

Alabama: Distribution of Apprenticeships by 
County, 1985-1995 

10 70 30 40 SO 

1 I I 1 =fc=d 

* Note: Most maps show distribution by location of mas- 
ter artist. Some programs have had inactive years during 
the time span documented; others have been discontin- 
ued since 1995. A complete set of state maps showing 
the distribution of apprenticeships by county for active 
programs as of Spring 1995 is available on request from 
the NEA Heritage & Preservation Division. 


Nevada: Distribution of Apprenticeships by County, 

'0 20 30 «> 50 60 

•Note An additional six apprenticeships involved artists from out of state 

O 1 

New Hampshire: Distribution of Apprenticeships 
by County, 1994-1995