Texas Folklife's Apprenticeship in the Folk & Traditional Arts breathes life into art forms and traditions that might otherwise be lost, preserving and celebrating the diversity of cultural communities across Texas.
The annual program provides $3,000 awards to approximately eight artist mentors, ensuring the opportunity for them to equitably offer one-on-one training in art, cultural, or heritage practices to dedicated apprentices over the course of 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.
Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Interest Form
Meet the 2021 Artist Teams
The 2021 Apprenticeship Program features an impressive roster of mentors and apprentices all deeply committed to keeping their communities and art forms creatively resilient.
Application and Guidelines
The application for the 2021 program is now closed. Check back late summer / early fall of 2021 for the 2022 Apprenticeship Program.
- Program Overview
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 the 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
Priority will be given to traditions that are primarily transmitted and preserved outside institutional structures. Above all, the Apprenticeship Program aims to support artist mentors and apprentices who share membership in the same cultural community.
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?
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. 2020-2021 Texas Folklife Program participants must wait a period of one year to apply again.
The artist mentor and apprentice apply together. Before completing the application, the artist mentor and apprentice not only should agree upon what material will be covered, where and how the sessions will be held, and how long the apprenticeship will last but discuss why participation in the program is valuable to each of them individually and their shared cultural community.
- Evaluation Criteria
A panel of traditional arts specialists, community leaders, and past program participants will review complete applications and make recommendations for approval according to the following criteria:
- Artistic strength of the artist mentor's work according to the standards of the cultural community
- Established skill and demonstrated commitment of the apprentice
- Role of the artist and significance of the tradition in community life
- Shared membership of the artist mentor and apprentice in a cultural community
- Feasibility of the proposed work plan and the likelihood of successful collaboration between the artist mentor and apprentice
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
- 2020-2021 Texas Folklife Program Participants
- Program Timeline
- October 12, 2020: 2021 Program Application Available
- December 1, 2020: Postmark Deadline for Applications
- December 2020: Review Panel
- January 2021: Award Notifications
- January - February 2021: First Artist Payment
- March-August 2021: Site Visits/ Interviews / Second Artist Payment
- August 30, 2021: Final Reports Due / Final Artist Payment
For more information, please contact:
Pete Breithaupt, Apprenticeship Program Coordinator
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. Additional support was provided by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.