2021 Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Artist Mentors
Clockwise from upper left: Mona Wilson, Sonny Mehta, Eva Ybarra, Dan Shores, Mario Ramirez, Sreedhara Akkihebbalu, Ed Poullard, and Max Baca
TEXAS FOLKLIFE ANNOUNCES 2021 APPRENTICESHIPS IN THE FOLK AND TRADITIONAL ARTS AWARDEES
Eight Mentor-and-Apprentice Artist Teams Awarded $3,000
AUSTIN (FEB. 2021) – Texas Folklife announces the 2021 Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts Program awardees. The Apprenticeship Program fosters the continuity of Texas’s traditional arts through mentorship, artist development, and organizational support. Mentors and apprentices from across the region were chosen from a record number of highly qualified applicants through a rigorous panel review process. From qawwali and danza Azteca, Cajun/Creole accordion building, and cowboy metal arts, to zydeco dance and bharatanatyam, the selected artist teams represent a diverse range of folk art traditions that have been brought to, taken root in, or are indigenous to Texas.
Since 1987, Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts Program has supported hundreds of folk and traditional artists’ training statewide. Traditional arts, or folk arts, are those art forms practiced by a group of people with a shared learning experience. Both the artist mentor and the apprentice are awarded the time and resources necessary to devote themselves to their craft, thus ensuring that these vital traditional arts are passed on to new generations of Texans.
This year, Texas Folklife will award eight mentor-and apprentice artist teams $3,000. Alongside conducting virtual site visits/interviews, Texas Folklife will work with the artists to document their apprenticeship, supporting them as they capture their work together through photography, video recording, and other means of creative virtual documentation. This (self-)documentation will be shared on Texas Folklife’s digital channels throughout the year. The artist teams will also participate in public showcases of their work across the state in late summer 2021. Embracing adaptive approaches to passing on their craft and sharing their work during a public health crisis, these showcases will take various forms beyond face-to-face performances, demonstrations, or workshops.
“The uncertainty of this challenging time has underscored the importance of the folk and traditional arts in not only reflecting the values and aesthetic ideals but directly contributing to the health and well-being of communities across Texas,” says Apprenticeship Program Coordinator Pete Breithaupt. “From distilling individual and collective experiences of the pandemic, providing public health information in a culturally nuanced manner, serving as a space for emotional catharsis, to acting as a platform to earn money, the folk and traditional arts engage and shape the creative resilience of individual artists and their communities. Texas Folklife’s 2021 Apprenticeship Program awardees are key instigators of this resiliency.”
From NEA National Heritage Fellows and Grammy Award-winning artists to makers with deep generational ties to their communities and established young artists dedicated to thoughtfully furthering their respective art forms, the 2021 Apprenticeship Program features an impressive roster of mentors and apprentices committed to keeping their communities and art forms creatively resilient.
2021 Texas Folklife Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts Awardees
- Mentor Dr. Sreedhara Akkihebbalu (Shavano Park) and apprentice Aruna Kharod (Schertz) in the art of bharatanatyam
- Mentor Sonny Mehta (Houston) and apprentice Danish Parbtani (Rosenberg) in the art of qawwali
- Mentor Mario Ramirez (San Marcos) and apprentice José Dominguez-Leal (San Marcos) in the art of danza Azteca
- Mentor Mona Wilson (Houston) and apprentice Lindsay Gary (Houston) in the art of zydeco dance
- Mentor Max Baca (San Antonio) and apprentice Hunter Chavez (Schertz) in the art of conjunto bajo sexto
- Mentor Dan Shores (Wichita Falls) and apprentice Joshua Bradley (Wichita Falls) in the art of cowboy metal working
- Mentor Eva Ybarra (San Antonio) and apprentice Iliana Vasquez (Rio Grande City) in the art of conjunto bajo sexto
- Mentor Ed Poullard (Beaumont) and apprentice Craig Jones (Houston) in the art of Cajun/Creole accordion building
See an interactive map representing the locations of Apprenticeship Program participants since 2016 here.
The Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program is made possible by a State Partnership Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Texas Commission on the Arts and support from the board and members of Texas Folklife. Additional support is provided by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, Indigenous Cultures Institute, Culturingua, and Arts Council Wichita Falls.
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. The National Endowment for the Arts designates Texas Folklife as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, Texas Folklife has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable and accessible for all generations. For more information, visit texasfolklife.org.