2016 Apprenticeship Program Awards Announced

Sheree Scarborough
(512) 922-5483, sheree.scarborough@gmail.com


TEXAS FOLKLIFE ANNOUNCES “2016 Apprenticeships in the Folk & Traditional Arts” AWARDEES


Awards of up to $1,500 for Apprentices to train with Master Artists in the Folk and Traditional Arts of Texas

Ten Master and Apprentice Pairs Named



Austin, Texas – February 8, 2016 – Texas Folklife is pleased to announce this year’s awardees for the “Apprenticeships in the Folk & Traditional Arts” program. Since 1987, Texas Folklife has worked with over 70 master artist and apprentice pairs through this foundational folk arts program, helping to ensure the continuation of vital Texas traditions. As the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)-designated Folk & Traditional Arts organization for the state of Texas, Texas Folklife recently received a $35,000 NEA state partnership grant award in conjunction with the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) to revitalize the program last year. With this application process and these 2016 awards, Texas Folklife has brought this longstanding program back to life.


Apprentices were selected by an application process and vetted through a panel of esteemed professionals. Ten pairs of master artist and apprentices in a variety of disciplines were chosen. The awardees are:

Master Derrick T. Hulim and apprentice Tyrone Gray in the art of Mardi Gras Indian suit sewing;

Master Lee Miller and apprentice Dana Perrotti in the art of fitting custom cowboy boots;

Master John Dujka and apprentice Mason Nesvadba in the art of Czech polka and waltz on piano accordion;

Master Daniel Malik and apprentice Sydney Jon Hermann in the art of Czech polka and alto saxophone;

Master Brian Marshall and apprentice Michal Marshall in the art of Texas Polka fiddling;

Master Ed Poullard and apprentice Dan Chevalier in the art of the Creole fiddle;

Master Eva Ybarra and apprentice Iliana Vasquez in the art of conjunto accordion;

Master Valerie Ryals and apprentice Jessica Sell in the art of Texas fiddling;

Master Bob Suttie and apprentice Charlie Bubenik in the art of Czech polka accordion;

and Master Gus Escobar and apprentice Bradley Williams in the art of accordion tuning and repair.

Since the organization specializes in accordion-based musical traditions, special consideration was given to polka and Cajun/zydeco accordionist applicants.
Texas Folklife's Apprenticeships in the Folk Arts program encourages the continuation of Texas's traditional arts by providing support to master artists for the training of qualified apprentices. This award will compensate the master artist for his or her time and training; a specified amount may also be used to help offset the costs of travel and supplies. Awardees will participate in one public presentation of their traditional art form in consultation with Texas Folklife. Teaching an apprentice gives the master artist the opportunity to refine his or her craft and gives the apprentice a chance to learn an art form that they, in turn, can teach others. Apprenticeships breathe life into the traditional arts and foster the continuation of that art form. Traditional arts, also called the folk arts, are those art forms practiced by a group of people with a common learning and/or cultural experience. The folk arts are often learned informally and are often passed on from generation to generation.

A master artist is usually a person who has spent most of his life learning and practicing a traditional art form. Qualified apprentices are people who are somewhat skilled in the same art form. For centuries, skills and trades have been passed down from master craftsmen to apprentices who work under their supervision. By relegating the more basic tasks to the apprentice, the master craftsman could concentrate on further refining his or her art while increasing production. The apprentice learned not only the craft, but also how to teach it to his/her own apprentices. This time-honored system assures the perpetuation of these skills through successive generations and facilitates the longevity of cultural practices.


“We at Texas Folklife are exceedingly pleased to be getting back to our own roots with the Apprenticeship Program,” said Charlie Lockwood, Program and Development Director. “And we are honored to be working with the NEA and TCA to help promote and support Texas traditional artists from a wide variety of disciplines. This year the Apprenticeship Program will support an assortment of music performance, instrument tuning, and material craft traditions.”


This program is made possible in part from a State Partnership award from the National Endowment from the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, in partnership with the Texas Commission on the Arts.Additional support provided by the city of Austin Cultural Arts Division. 


About Texas Folklife

Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. For 31 years, Texas Folklife has honored cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.

1708 Houston St.

Austin, Texas 78756

T (512) 441-9255

F (844) 386-2091




Media information: Sheree Scarborough (512) 922-5483 / sheree.scarborough@gmail.com