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Program: Apprenticeships

Since 1987, Texas Folklife's Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts Program has supported 369 folk and traditional artists pass on and learn a diverse range of art forms practiced in cultural communities across Texas.

The Apprenticeship Program provides awards of up to $3,000 for artist mentors to 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 the folk and traditional arts in Texas.

Learn More About the Program's Impact

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to Support Apprenticeships

Meet the 2023 Apprenticeship Program Artists


Please join us in congratulating the 2023 Apprenticeship Program Awardees!

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

Read Here

How to Participate in the Program

*Please note that the guidelines below are for the 2023 Program Application. Updated materials will be shared later this year for the 2024 Program Application*

Interested in participating in Texas Folklife's Apprenticeship Program? We accept applications for artist teams once a year (typically in October-December). Please review the Program Guidelines and Application Materials below to learn more about the program and application process.


Complete the Program Interest Form to Learn More


Program Guidelines


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.

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.

Who Can Apply?

Texas Folklife welcomes applications from tradition and culture bearers of all folk arts. From conjunto accordion, horse saddlery, and chair caning to Micronesian stick dance, qawwali, and Native American healing arts, the Apprenticeship Program has awarded apprenticeships to a diverse selection of traditions.

Priority will be given to traditions where the artist mentor primarily practices their art in community settings and/or has been trained in their art from outside of institutional structures. Above all, the Apprenticeship Program aims to support artist mentors and apprentices who share membership in the same community. 

Award Amount

Typical apprenticeship awards range from $2,500 to $3,000. The award covers artist mentor fees, supplies/materials, and travel. Specified amounts may also be used to support apprentice supplies/materials and travel costs.


Applicants who are NOT selected to receive a 2023 Apprenticeship Award are eligible to receive a stipend for completing their application.

How to Apply

Interested artist mentors and apprentices apply together. Before completing the application, the artist mentors and apprentices should meet to discuss their ideas for the apprenticeship. Both the artist mentor and apprentice must agree on the following details: what material will be covered, where and how the sessions will be held, how long the apprenticeship will last, and how the budget will be allocated. Further, the artist mentor and apprentice should discuss why participation in the apprenticeship program is valuable to each of them individually and their shared community more broadly. The narrative questions included in the application reflect these points.

The artist mentor and apprentice must complete the application form in full. The artist mentor must answer the questions listed under "Artist Mentor Information" (see Section C, Questions 1-4), and the apprentice must respond to the questions listed under "Apprentice Information" (see Section D, Questions 1-4). Both applicants should complete the rest f the application together. Along with the application form, the artist mentors and apprentices are both required to submit samples of their work and letters of support (see Section F). Applications can be handwritten.

All applicants are welcome to contact Texas Folklife to discuss their proposals and work samples. Direct application assistance and draft review will be available.

Evaluation Criteria/Eligibility

Moderated by Texas Folklife staff, a panel of folk and traditional arts specialists and past program participants will review completed applications on a competitive basis and make recommendations for approval according to the following criteria:


  • Artistic strength of the artist mentor's work according to the standards of the traditional community
  • Established skill and demonstrated commitment of the apprentice

FEASIBILITY (15 points)

  • Feasibility of the proposed work plan, appropriateness of the budget, and the likelihood of successful collaboration between the artist mentor and apprentice

IMPACT (25 points)

  • Role and significance of the tradition in community life
  • Potential impact of the apprenticeship on the continuity of the tradition

Evidence of meeting the evaluation criteria must be found in the application's narrative descriptions, apprenticeship work plan, public presentation proposal, budget, and supporting materials

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
  • 2021-2022 Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Participants

Artist mentors residing in Texas or the four surrounding states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico are eligible to apply. Apprentices MUST reside in Texas to be considered. There are no age requirements for an artist mentor or apprentice to apply. 2021-2022 Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program participants must wait a period of one year to apply again.

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.


October 28, 2022: Applications and Recommendation Forms for 2023 Program Year Available

November 13, 2022: Pre-Application Webinar (Optional but Recommended)

December 2, 2022: Deadlines got Application Assitance/Draft Review (Optional)

December 9, 2022: Application Postmark Deadline

December 16, 2022: 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)

Early January 2023: Review Panel Meets to Evaluate Applicants

Mid-Late January 2023: Applicants Notified of Awards

February 2023: First Payments Made to Artist Teams

March-August 2023: Site Visits/Interviews for Apprenticeship Documentation

August 30, 2023: Final Reports Due and Final Payments made to Artist Teams


*Dates subject to change



Mail-in Application Materials

View the 2023 program application materials below. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for the 2023 cohort, but will share updated ,materials for 2024 later in the year.

2023 Program Guidelines and Application (Fillable PDF)

2023 Program Guidelines and Application (For print)

2023 Program Budget Form (Fillable PDF)

2023 Pauta y Aplicación (Versión impresa)

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.

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