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Various details from Massachusetts traditions. Images by Maggie Holtzberg.
A time-honored method by which an individual learns skills, techniques and artistry under the guidance of a recognized master.

Master artists are individuals recognized within their communities as exemplary practitioners of traditional art forms. Apprentices - individuals who learn under the guidance of master artists - typically have prior experience in the traditional art form, significant promise, and a serious long-term commitment to practicing the art.

One of the goals of the Apprenticeship Program is to help communities preserve their own cultural heritage. The strongest applications tend to be those that include the pairing of masters and apprentices who are members of the same ethnic, religious, or occupational group. A master artist and an apprentice must apply together.

Visit the online exhibition.

Experience the traditions of Mass Cultural Council Apprenticeship winners:

Music & Song
Cape Breton & Scottish fiddle
Malian balafon playing
South Indian mridangam
Irish uilleann pipe playing
South Indian Carnatic vocal music
Irish traditional music on concertina
South Indian Carnatic violin
Conga hand percussion
Irish traditional fiddling
Great Highland Bagpipe, Piobaireachd
South Indian mridangam
North Indian tabla
Chinese guzheng playing
Carnatic violin
Armenian oud playing
Cape Breton style fiddling
Irish sean nos singing
County Clare fiddle style
Chinese guzheng and gu-qin playing
Portuguese Fado

Wooden ship steering wheels
Wooden boatbuilding and restoration
Cambodian traditional ornamentation
North Indian Mithila art
North Indian Madhubani painting
Sign painting and gold leaf
Ornamental and architectural wood carving
Bow maker
Cambodian Ornaments: Molding, Carving, and Casting
Puerto Rican Doll making
Tiple and Bordonua Making
Monotype typecasting and letterpress printing
Puerto Rican carnival mask making
Luthier: bouzouki making
Nantucket lightship basketry
Russian iconography
Wooden boat building (schooner)
Wooden boat building (skiff)
Chinese seal carving and calligraphy
Native regalia making
Turkish ebrû marbled paper with calligraphy
Armenian Marash embroidery

West African dance & drumming
Cape Breton step dance
Traditional Irish Dance
Cambodian dance
Irish dance
Bharatanatyam dance
Rhythm tap dance
Albanian folk dance

Apprenticeships are awarded every other year to a limited number of master artists. Priority is given to rare or endangered traditions. Funds (up to $10,000 per apprenticeship) are provided to compensate the master artist for teaching time. However, supplies, materials, and travel expenses may also be included in the application.

These Traditional Arts Apprenticeships are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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© Mass Cultural Council 2018