Skip to main content

2019 Apprenticeship Program Awards Announced

Clockwise, from left: 2019 apprentice Jesse Lege (photo courtesy of David Dodd); 2019 Master Artist Steve Dabbs (photo courtesy of Texas Folklife);
2019 Master Artist Nestor Topchy (photo courtesy of Nestor Topchy); and 2019 Apprentice Lashime Brown (photo courtesy of Derrick Hulin).
Eleven Master and Apprentice Pairs Awarded Up to $2,500 
An Array of Traditional Art Forms Represented – from Pingelap Stick Dancing to Conjunto Accordion Playing 

AUSTIN (JAN. 2019) – Texas Folklife announces the 2019 Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts program awardees. The prestigious apprenticeship program supports the continuation of Texas traditional arts through mentorship, artist development and organizational support. Master artists and apprentices from across the region were chosen through a rigorous peer panel process and the pairs represent a broad range of arts – from western saddlemaking to Pingelap stick dance. 
This year, each artist will be awarded up to $2,500. Each apprenticeship pair will be documented through audio interviews, photography, and video. Documentation will be shared on the Texas Folklife digital channels throughout the year. The selected artists will also participate in a public showcase of their work across the state in late 2019. 
The 2019 apprenticeship program features an array of art forms that have not been previously represented including, Pysanky (a Ukranian tradition of decorating eggs with folk designs), custom broom making, luthiery, Pingelap stick dance, custom cowboy hat making, Esto’k G’na drumming and singing, and Afro-Cuban folkloric dance and percussion. 

Additional program highlights include: 
  • Master artist, Sepir Yakana, who will be teaching his daughter, Sabrina Yakana, the art of Pingelap stick dance, carrying on a family tradition.
  • Ed Poullard, previously a master in Creole fiddling and a 2003-2005 apprentice in Cajun accordion building under Jude Moreau, is now himself teaching the craft, supporting continued growth of Cajun accordion builders in the state.
Since 1987, the Texas Folklife Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts program has supported the training of hundreds of folk and traditional artists statewide. Traditional arts, or folk arts, are those art forms practiced by a group of people with a shared learning experience. Both the master artist 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. 
“The Apprenticeship Program is crucial to our mission at Texas Folklife,” says Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “This is one of the primary ways we help maintain the transmission of traditional arts across our state and across generations. We are thrilled to support these artists from diverse geographic regions of the state this year, including several from the Houston area, east Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, and west Texas.  Thanks to our partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, local arts organizations, community groups and community-based small businesses across Texas, we were able to share this opportunity with a wide array of artists who illustrate mastery in a variety of traditions.”

2019 Texas Folklife Apprenticeships in the Folk and Traditional Arts Awardees
  • Master Ed Poullard (Beaumont) and apprentice Jesse Lege (Austin) in the art of Cajun accordion building
  • Master Nestor Topchy (Houston) and apprentice Adrian Jimenez (Houston) in the art of Pysanky 
  • Master Shawn Hoefer (Mountain View, AR) and apprentice Sheryl Hartz (Nacogdoches) in the art of custom broom making
  • Master Steve Dabbs (Marathon) and apprentice Rance Peebles (Alpine) in the art of custom western saddlemaking
  • Master Steve Hartz (Nacogdoches) and apprentice Tony Jurek (Chireno) in the art of luthiery
  • Master Derrick Hulin (Humble) and apprentice Lashime Brown (Houston) in the art of Mardi Gras Indian suits
  • Master Juan Longoria Jr. (Brownsville) and apprentice Barbara Canales (Los Fresnos) in the art of Conjunto accordion
  • Master Sepir Yakana (San Antonio) and apprentice Sabrina Yakana (San Antonio) in the art of Pingelap stick dance
  • Master John Davis (Fort Davis) and apprentice Felicia Locke (Fort Davis) in the art of custom cowboy hats
  • Master Juan Mancias (Floresville) and apprentice Eddie Garcia (Houston) in the art of Esto'k G'na drumming and singing traditions
  • Master Ricardo Izquierdo (Houston) and apprentice Maria Avellaneda (Houston) in the art of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance and percussion
A statewide interactive map representing the locations of each 2019 artist is here. A map showing each of the artists represented since 2016, can be found here
High-res photos are available 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 City of Austin the Cultural Arts Division. 
Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state.  Since 1984, the TXF 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

Krissi Reeves / High Kick PR / / 512-659-1385
# # # 
High Kick Public Relations
Krissi Reeves | Owner