Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) FY22 Applications Open

From Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife

Master Folk Sculptor Héctor Saldivar and apprentice Ariel Dickman, Lenoir City, 2021

The Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program is now accepting applications for the FY2022 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Entering its sixth year, the program is designed to encourage the passing on and proliferation of our state’s diverse folklife traditions, especially those that are rare or endangered. Funding will be awarded to eligible teams of master artists and apprentices committed to preserving, typically through one-on-one training, a traditional art form deeply rooted in their community and cultural heritage. This is a competitive, panel-reviewed grant category. As a result, only some of the applications will be funded.

A master artist is a tradition bearer who fellow artists and community members recognize as exceptionally skilled and committed to perpetuating a traditional art form based on their cultural heritage. Master artists who apply must demonstrate expertise and excellence, teaching ability, and deep cultural knowledge of the art form. An apprentice, who is selected by and applies with the master artist, should be a talented and committed student who desires to sharpen his or her skills in a traditional art. The apprentice should not be a complete beginner. They should demonstrate enough experience in a traditional art to benefit from this training. Apprentices should also express an intention to train others in the art form in the future. The strongest applications are those in which the master and apprentice are members of the same ethnic, religious, or occupational group.

The master and apprentice teams must demonstrate a commitment to training in a community-based folk or traditional art. Such practices include traditional music, visual art, crafts, dance, foodways, calendar and life-cycle customs, and occupational skills. Traditional art forms are those learned and passed down informally by imitation, word of mouth, performance, or observation in cultural communities that share family, ethnic, tribal, regional, occupational, or religious identity. Since 2016, the Folklife Program has supported fifty-three apprenticeship projects across the state. For more information on previous artists and projects, visit Apprenticeship Teams.

As part of the application, the master and apprentice will develop a detailed outline of their work plan (where, when, how often, subjects to be taught, etc.). In FY2022, projects can start no sooner than November 1, 2021, and end no later than June 15, 2022. The due date for applications is September 27, 2021. For more information and application guidelines, visit the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program site, or contact Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife, at or 615-532-9795.