Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program


Overview and Eligibility:

FY2025 Application Deadline: June 5, 2024
Project Dates: July 1, 2024-June 15, 2025

The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is an initiative created to sustain our state’s diverse folklife traditions and support its traditional artists. Funding is awarded to eligible master artists and apprentices committed to preserving, typically through one-on-one, in-person instruction, a folklife tradition or traditional art form deeply rooted in their community and cultural heritage. The program cycle is one year; project proposals must be designed and described by the artists in an application.

A master artist is someone recognized by other artists, community members, and cultural leaders as exceptionally skilled and devoted to perpetuating a traditional art form. Master artists who apply should demonstrate expertise and excellence, teaching ability, and extensive cultural knowledge of the art form. An apprentice, who is selected by and applies with the master artist, should be a talented student who desires to deepen her or his skills in a traditional art form. A strong apprentice should not be a complete beginner. He or she should demonstrate enough experience and/or skill to benefit from this opportunity.

In Tennessee, folklife traditions encompass older cultural practices that have been here for decades and centuries, as well as arts and customs brought or developed here more recently. Folklife includes traditional music, visual art, crafts, dance, foodways, calendar and life-cycle customs, and occupational skills. Traditional art forms are those learned and passed informally by imitation, word of mouth, performance, or observation in communities that share cultural identity. The strongest applications involve a master artist and apprentice who are members of the same ethnic, racial, tribal, regional, occupational, or religious group. Master artists and apprentices can be family members.

This is a competitive, panel-reviewed grant category. Only some applications will be funded. Ineligible art forms and activities include historical recreations, the work of professional teachers or contemporary studio craft artists, and revivals of traditions from outside of the originating cultural community. Applicants must be citizens or legal residents of the United States. The master artist is preferred to be from Tennessee. The apprentice must be a Tennessee resident.

Note: If you would like to complete the application narrative verbally, please contact the folklife staff to make arrangements.

Apply here.