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2017 Michigan Heritage Awards, Apprenticeship Recipients Announced

High honors for heritage
The Michigan Traditional Arts Program of the Michigan State University Museum announces honorees in two programs celebrating cultural heritage in Michigan: the 2017 Michigan Heritage Awards (MHA) and the 2017 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (MTAAP) recipients.
The Michigan Heritage Award (MHA) is the state's highest distinction to honor individuals who continue their family, community, or cultural traditions with excellence and devotion.

"The Michigan Heritage Awards are presented each year to honor master tradition bearers in Michigan who continue the folk traditions of their families and communities through practice and teaching," explains Marsha MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts at the MSU Museum and Director of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program.
Receiving a 2017 Michigan Heritage award for their traditional arts achievements are:

  • Bruce Bauman of Remus (Mecosta County) for community leadership in old time music and dance
  • Dan Gorno [posthumous award] (Antrim County) for percussive and waltz dance and square dance calling
  • Anshu Varma of Okemos (Ingham County) for menhdi and Indian American cultural traditions

The recipients of the 2017 Michigan Heritage Awards will be recognized at a public ceremony at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, produced Aug. 11-13 by the MSU Museum in downtown East Lansing.
Since 1987, the MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (MTAAP) has supported the teaching and passing on of Michigan's cultural traditions by awarding grants to master artists and their apprentices. As part of this program, a master artist works with an apprentice for a period of seven months. Past apprenticeships have helped sustain traditions in diverse art forms such as fiddling, quill box making, storytelling, blacksmithing, tamale making and rag rug weaving.  MTAAP master artists receive a monetary stipend for working with the apprentices in their traditional art form.
The 2017 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program's master artists and apprentices, respectively, are:


David Dutcher and Katelyn Frantz of Hessel (Mackinac County) for Native beadwork
  • Nic Gareiss of Lansing (Ingham County) and Emily Doebler of Mount Pleasant (Isabella County) for traditional percussive dance
  • Sheila Graziano of Chelsea, Emily Evans of Ann Arbor, and Aimee Pelletier-Turner of Ypsilanti (Washtenaw County) for traditional percussive dance
  • Lynn Hershberger and Annette Tanner of Lansing (Ingham County) for stranded colorwork knitting
  • Christine Ingabire and Grace Johnson of Grand Rapids (Kent County) for Rwandan dance
  • Cindi John and Ruby John of Northport (Leelanau County) for smoked fish preparation
  • Allison Murad of East Lansing and Magdalene Callender of Lansing (Ingham County) for Scottish Highland dance
  • Ron Paquin of Moran (Mackinac County) and Adam Avery of Mount Pleasant (Isabella County) for birch bark container making
  • Meghan Scott of Williamston, Sarah Horan of Okemos, and Catherine Russell of Williamston (Ingham County) for traditional Irish hard shoe dance
  • Roger Simpson of Hopkins (Allegan County) and Bethany Tanis of Caledonia (Kent County) for square dance calling
  • Celeste Smith of Highland Park and Marva Brown of Detroit (Wayne County) for millinery
  • Gary Tassier and Scott Barr of Cedarville (Mackinac County) for boat building and restoration

Performances and demonstrations by the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship master artists and their apprentices will take place at the Great Lakes Folk Festival this year, Aug. 11-13, in downtown East Lansing. greatlakesfolkfest.net
The Michigan Heritage Awards and Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program are supported this year primarily by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with additional support from the Marsha MacDowell and C. Kurt Dewhurst Traditional Artists Endowment. The awards were given out following a thorough review by a panel of folklife scholars and educators. The nominations and applications were considered based on depth of experience, community engagement, representation of the tradition, samples of work, and the relationship between tradition-bearer and apprentice when determining the merit of each award. 
Learn more here: http://museum.msu.edu/s-program/mtap or by contacting the Michigan Traditional Arts Program at msum.mtap@gmail.com or (517) 353-5526. ####