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2012 Michigan Heritage Award, Apprenticeship Recipients Announced

The Michigan State University Museum announces honorees in two programs celebrating and sustaining traditional arts practices in the state: the 2012 Michigan Heritage Awards (MHA), and the 2012 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (MTAAP) recipients.

The Michigan Heritage Award is the state's highest distinction to honor individuals who continue their family community and cultural traditions with excellence and devotion.

"The Michigan Heritage Awards are presented each year to honor master practitioners in Michigan who continue the folk traditions of their families and communities through practice and teaching," explains LuAnne Kozma, assistant curator of folk arts at the MSU Museum and coordinator of the MHA program.

Receiving a 2012 Michigan Heritage Award for their achievements are: Johnnie Bassett, of Oak Park (Oakland County), for Blues guitar and vocals; Paulette Brockington, of Highland Park (Wayne County), for Swing dance and Lindy Hop; The Ship’s Company, Friends Good Will, of South Haven (Van Buren County), for marlinespike seamanship; and Rene Meave and Guillermo Martinez of Plainwell (Allegan County) and Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo County), for Tejano music (Michigan style). Later this year, the recipients of the 2012 Michigan Heritage Awards will be recognized at a public ceremony at the Great Lakes Folk Festival, produced Aug. 10-12 by the MSU Museum in downtown East Lansing.

Since, 1987 the MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has supported the teaching and passing on of Michigan's folk traditions by sponsoring master-artist apprentices. In this program, a master artist works with an apprentice artist for a period of eight months. Past apprenticeships have helped sustain traditions in diverse art forms such as fiddle playing, 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 specialized area of traditional arts.

The 2012 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program's master artists and their apprentices, respectively, are:

-James Anderson of Gladwin, (Gladwin County) and Christain Horendo of Holbrook, NY and Gladwin, for stone carving;

-Rachaneeboon “Rachel” Ball of East Lansing (Ingham County) and Radit “Michie” Nimsombun of East Lansing, for Thai foodways;

-Jennie Brown of Shelbyville (Allegan County) and Josiah Brown of Shelbyville, for black ash basketry;

-Kelly Church of Hopkins (Allegan County) and Gegek, Tobias, and Waasamoo Pamp of Mt. Pleasant (Isabella County), for black ash basketry; and

-Ron Paquin of Cheboygan (Cheboygan County) and Nathan Wright of Petoskey (Emmet County), for birch containers.

The Michigan Heritage Awards and Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program are supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The awards were based on review by a statewide panel of folklife scholars and educators who consider all the nominations and look for depth of experience, outreach, and authenticity of the tradition and the tradition-bearer when determining the merit of each award. Learn more here: http://museum.msu.edu/s-program/mtap or by contacting LuAnne Kozma, coordinator for MHA and MTAAP: kozma@msu.edu or 517-353-5526. ####