Panel Review Criteria

Folklife Program staff will examine all applications for completeness and compliance with eligibility criteria. An independent review panel will evaluate applications based on several criteria including:

  • The practice to be taught qualifies as a traditional art form.
  • The master artist demonstrates a strong traditional background, cultural expertise, and teaching ability.
  • The apprentice has more than beginner skill level and shows a commitment to learning and perpetuating the traditional art form.
  • The study plan and budget are suited to the tradition and reflect a viable schedule for both participants, with an appropriate amount of training time allotted to significantly improve the skill level of the apprentice.

In making the final selections, panelists and staff are instructed to:

  • Give priority to traditions that are endangered or have few practitioners in Tennessee.
  • Give priority to highly qualified first-time applicants who practice an underserved tradition.
  • Give priority to masters and apprentices who share the same cultural or ethnic background. Family members are allowed to work together as master and apprentice.
  • Give priority to teams who have clearly drawn plans to document and share their work together in a public venue.
  • Consider the ethnic and regional diversity of the overall slate of awarded applicants.


Following the panel review, applicants will receive notification of the award. Both the master and apprentice in the selected teams will be required to sign and submit a letter of agreement detailing the expectations of the project. Selected teams can then commence working together and request partial funding up front for supplies and mileage. The honoraria will be paid upon completion of the project term.