Past Apprenticeship Projects:
Indigenous Storytelling
Artisanal Fishing Lures
Texan Swing Guitar
Indian Classical Dance
Conjunto Accordion
Hindustani Sitar
Boot Making
Trail Riding

Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeship in the Folk & Traditional Arts Program proudly supports art forms and traditions that might otherwise might be lost, preserving and celebrating the diversity of cultural communities across Texas. Whether it is an art form that is uniquely Texan or is something that is practiced in an international culture in diaspora, we support the artistic production of any culture, as long as it is practiced in Texas.

The annual program provide awards up to $4,500 to approximately eight artist mentors, ensuring the opportunity for them to equitably offer one-on-one training in art, cultural, or heritage practices to dedicated apprentices for six to eight months.
By refining artist mentors’ approaches to their crafts, broadening apprentices’ skills, and encouraging the transmission of knowledge within and between cultural communities, the Apprenticeship Program fosters the continuity of Texas’s folk and traditional arts.

Since 1987 Launch
• Supported 403 artist mentors and apprentices
• Represented 98 cities and towns
• Championed over 70 traditional art forms
• Involved 3 NEA National Heritage Fellows and 1 Grammy Award winner

Since 2015 Re-launch
• Awarded over $135,000 directly to artists
• Reached over 40,000 members of the public

Our interactive map shows participants since 2015, with successive growth, extending from the cities of Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Amarillo to more rural regions throughout the state.

Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Map

2024 Application Information

What are the Folk & Traditional Arts?

Folk and traditional arts are transmitted, engaged, and reinvigorated within communities whose members share a common heritage, language, religion, occupation, or region. The folk and traditional arts not only are rooted in and reflective of but actively shape a community’s values, aesthetic ideals, and life experiences. Expressing this common ethos, these artistic traditions are typically passed on from one generation to the next, or from one community member to another, through extended periods of hands-on experience.

Folk and traditional arts encompass many forms including, but not limited to:

  • Handworked Crafts
  • Verbal Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Foodways


An artist mentor is someone who is recognized by their community and peers for expertise in a particular traditional art form. As someone who studies under an artist mentor, an apprentice demonstrates an intention to enhance their established skills and cultural understanding of the art form as well as a long-term commitment to carrying the tradition forward.

If awarded an apprenticeship, the artist mentor and apprentice (the “artist team”) receive direct support to spend six to eight months closely studying their art form through one-on-one mentorship. Typically meeting eight to twelve hours each month, the artist team implements the self-designed work plan proposed in their application. Texas Folklife staff will offer assistance and help the artist team progress through the program.

Near the halfway mark, Texas Folklife will schedule a site visit to conduct an interview with the artist team and document the apprenticeship through photography and video recording. To showcase the results of their apprenticeship, the artist team will organize a final public presentation in consultation with Texas Folklife. The artist team will also submit a final written report that reflects on their experiences throughout the program.


December 15, 2023: Postmark and Online Submission Deadline for ALL Application Materials – Printed or Online Artist Team Application and 2 Letters of Recommendation (1 for each member of the artist team)
February 2024: Awardees Announced

*Dates subject to change


Mail Applications to Texas Folklife at:

7301 Ranch Road 620 N Suite 155 #329

Austin, Texas 78726


14001 Goldmark Drive #225-A

Dallas, TX 75240

Additional Information

Residency Requirements:

  • Apprentice: Must be a Texas resident, ensuring the program directly benefits individuals within the state.
  • Mentor: Can be a resident of Texas or a surrounding state, allowing for a wider range of experienced professionals to participate.

Skill Level Expectations:

  • Apprentice: Should possess a moderate level of skill and knowledge in the relevant field. Ideal candidates are those who are beyond the beginner stage but not yet experts, seeking to further refine their abilities.

Program Goals:

  • The program focuses on skill enhancement, aiming to elevate the proficiency of apprentices who already have a foundational understanding of their field.

Financial Information and Requirements:

  • Accepted participants must provide a W-9 tax form and bank account details for direct deposit purposes. This ensures efficient financial transactions and distribution of any program-related benefits.

The program will NOT fund:

Recreations of historic artifacts or staged productions of village folk traditions that attempt to reenact lifestyles from the distant past
Contemporary and individual studio art projects
Ongoing classes where an artist mentor instructs in a classroom situation
International apprenticeships

Payment Process

Awards will be distributed over three payments: the first at the signing of contracts, the second when the Program Coordinator meets with the artist team and documents the apprenticeship, and the third at the completion of the public presentation and submission of the final report to Texas Folklife.

Meet the 2023 Apprenticeship Program Artists

Please join us in congratulating the 2023 Apprenticeship Program Awardees!

Learn about eight artist teams fostering the continuity of the folk and traditional arts across the state in Texas Folklife’s Awardee Announcement.

For more information, please contact:
Marco Guarino, Apprenticeship Program Coordinator
(512) 441-9255

This program is made possible in part by the board and members of Texas Folklife and from a State Partnership award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art, in partnership with the Texas Commission on the Arts.