A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Arts Council accepting applications for folk and traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant

The Kentucky Arts Council is accepting applications until Feb. 15 for the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. This $3,000 grant helps master folk artists teach the skills, practices and culture of Kentucky’s living traditional arts to less experienced artists who are part of the same community.

Master artists and apprentices must apply together and both be residents of Kentucky. A master artist can practice any traditional art form (music, dance, craft, ceremonial art, storytelling, etc.) learned in his or her community.

In 2017-18, Vasundhara Bhaskar has been studying the Indian classical dance style Bharatanatyam under master Lakshmi Sriraman. Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in India, originating around 200 B.C.

“The apprenticeship has been an enriching and exploratory experience,” Bhaskar said. “The apprenticeship has enabled us, together, to create a structure and plan for systematic learning of advanced concepts. Our sessions incorporate demonstrations and discussions that are collaborative and interactive.”

This apprenticeship has been important to Bhaskar because the availability of master teachers in Bharatanatyam is limited.

“A lot of the intrinsic techniques, style and concepts can only be passed on through direct, one-on-one learning from a master to a dedicated apprentice,” Bhaskar said. “If a master artist like Lakshmi wasn’t close by, one would have to find a master artist in a larger metropolitan area like New York City or Atlanta.”

Master artists and tradition-bearers are exemplary representatives of a folk group’s art forms. Their “master” status is determined by other members of the group. The master artist must excel in the art form and demonstrate an effective teaching plan. The apprentice must possess skill in the art form and the potential to share, teach and continue the art form.

As an apprentice who was looking for a master, Bhasker said the arts council’s grant was a great avenue for masters and apprentices to find each other.

“There are many talented and skilled artists in Kentucky in the folk and traditional arts who have much to offer to their students and the larger community, but they may not have the necessary platform to do so,” she said. “This grant provides the opportunity for master artists not only to encourage and enable their students to reach the next level, but also to bring their art form to the forefront of our wonderful bluegrass region.”

For more information or to apply for the grant, visit the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant page of the arts council’s website for more information or contact Mark Brown, arts council folk and traditional arts director, at mark.brown@ky.gov or 502-892-3115.

From Kentucky Arts Council

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