(article) (2020 APPLICATIONS CLOSED) Apprenticeship in the Folk & Traditional Arts Program

Applications for the 2020 Apprenticeship Program are now closed. Thank you to all who submitted applciations this year!

Application and Additional Information Below


For Examples of Past Applications, Supporting Materials, & Answers to Common Questions, Please Click Here

2019 Program Guidelines and Application (Fillable PDF)

2019 Program Guidelines and Application (For Print)

2019 Bases de inscripción y Formulario (PDF Digital)

2019 Bases de inscripción y Formulario (Versión impresa)

View Previous Apprenticeship Program Participants

Program Overview:

Texas Folklife's Apprenticeships in the Folk Arts program encourages the continuation of Texas's traditional arts through support for master artists to train qualified apprentices. The apprenticeship program allows an apprentice to devote themselves to improve and refine their craft under the direction of an experienced master artist over a period of several months. This provides the opportunity for the apprentice to continue their craft at a higher level, which they can, in turn, teach to others.

Since 1987, the Apprenticeship Program has supported over 250 master artists and apprentices to pass on and refine their knowledge of their art form, continuing the diverse traditional art forms in Texas. 

Grant Amount:

Texas Folklife provides awards of up to $3,000 for master artists to train qualified apprentices. Awards are paid directly to the master artist. This award will compensate the master artist for their time and training; a specified amount may also be used to help offset the costs of travel and supplies.  

What Are the Traditional Arts? Who Can Apply?:

The traditional arts, commonly referred to as folklife, folklore, traditional culture, or simply tradition, are art forms practiced by a group of people who often share cultural values and/or heritage. The traditional arts are typically learned informally and are passed on from generation to generation. 

A master artist is someone who is recognized by his or her community as an exceptional practitioner of a particular traditional art form, with an ability to provide evidence of their mastery as well as pass on their knowledge to a student. An apprentice is someone who has experience with the traditional art form, and a strong commitment to improve their skills in order to carry on the tradition. The apprentice will study under the master artist.

Texas Folklife welcomes applications from all traditions in the Lone Star State. Master artists in Texas and the surrounding states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana are eligible to apply. Apprentices MUST reside in Texas to be considered. In the past Texas Folklife has awarded apprenticeships to a diverse selection of practices, including everything from conjunto accordion and custom saddlemaking to South Indian vocal music and West African dance.

To see a list of previous Apprenticeship awardees and their traditions, visit previous apprenticeships

How to Apply:

Applications are available in digital and physical formats above. Interested master artists and apprentices should apply as a team.  Before completing the application, participants should meet to discuss their ideas for the apprenticeship. Both the master artist and apprentice will need to agree on the following issues before completing the application: what material will be covered, how the sessions will be held, and how long the apprenticeship will last.  Further, we hope that both participants will discuss why participation in the apprenticeship program is valuable to each of them individually. Applicants will also be asked to provide audiovisual materials (video, audio recordings, photos, etc.) that demonstrate the master artist and apprentice’s experience in the traditional art form, as well as a maximum of three letters of recommendation from fellow artists, family, community members, or another individual that knows you and your work in the traditional art form.  

The master artist and apprentice must complete the application form. One page of the application is to be filled out by the master artist and a second by the apprentice. Both applicants should complete the rest of the application together. Applications can be handwritten. If needed, please contact Texas Folklife for application assistance.

Evaluation Criteria/Eligibility:

All completed applications will be reviewed by a panel according to the following criteria:

-Qualifications of the art form;

-Evaluation of master artist’s work;

-Apprentice’s experience with and ongoing commitment to the art form;

-Urgency, for endangered art forms;

-Feasibility of the proposed apprenticeship; 

-Commitment of the individuals to the apprenticeship and to continuing the tradition after the apprenticeship period.

This program will not fund:

-Recreations of historic artifacts or village folk traditions that attempt to reenact lifestyles from the distant past;

-Contemporary and individual studio art projects;

-2018-2019 Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program participants


2018 – 2019 Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program participants must wait a period of one year to apply again. 

Apprenticeship Process:

Awards will be distributed over three payments: the first at the signing of contracts; the second when the Program Coordinator comes to meet with artists and document the apprenticeship; and the third at the completion of the public presentation and submission of the final report to Texas Folklife. Successful applicants will participate in one public presentation of their traditional art form in consultation with Texas Folklife.

Application Deadline: November 19, 2019

For more information, please contact:

Ian Hallagan, Texas Folklife Programs & Grants Coordinator

(512) 441-9255

ihallagan@texasfolklife.org (link sends email)


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.