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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program


Like its natural resources, Michigan's cultural traditions are a treasured resource to be nurtured for future generations. The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program encourages cultural preservation, pride, and respect through grants of $2,000.00 made to master artists to teach their skills, techniques, and knowledge to others in their communities.

The intent of this program is to recognize those master artists who maintain their traditions with excellence and according to the needs and aesthetics of their communities and to encourage and facilitate the learning and transmission of valued traditions.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a designated period of one-on-one training during which a student (the apprentice) learns a tradition through practical, hands-on experience under the guidance and instruction of a respected, accomplished traditional artist (the master). Apprenticeships usually last seven months, from February - August.

[Click here to see list and information of participants]

Who is eligible to apply?

Apprenticeships may incorporate a wide range of ethnic, regional, and occupational traditions. Both master artist and apprentice should be residents of Michigan. Apprentices should have some experience in the tradition; they should not be beginners. Master artists should be among the finest practitioners of the tradition within their community.

Although cross-cultural apprenticeships are possible, review panels generally give preference to funding apprenticeships where both the master and the student are from the same cultural group or community.

Applicants are eligible to be awarded for up to two awards in a three-year period.

How can I apply?

Applicants must complete an MTAAP form including the portion to be filled out by the master artist and a separate portion to be filled out by the apprentice(s). The application package must also include samples of the master and apprentice's work; depending on the type of tradition, this might be photographs, objects, and/or audio tapes of performances. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MTAAP Coordinator [see contact info below] to discuss the application prior to submitting it.

Applications, including supporting materials must be hand-delivered or postmarked by December 1 each year.

[Click here for a MTAAP application form]
[Click here for a MTAAP application form (word version)]

Who selects the awardees and what do they look for?

A panel of invited specialists reviews the applications in early January. They look for strong evidence of excellence of mastery of art form (including recognition of the artist within his/her community), a description of the tradition and whether the cultural feature in question is traditional, evidence of the commitment of the master artist and apprentice to the apprenticeship, appropriateness of the plan of work, and what the prospective apprentice's motivations and intentions are in undertaking this joint effort.

Review panel meetings are open to the public.

Click here to view the list of Review Panelists

When are the awards given?

Announcements of the awardees are made in February. All apprenticeships must be completed by August 15 of the year in which they were awarded.

For more information about the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Contact by phone (517-353-5526 or 517-355-2370), or write:
Michigan Traditional Arts Program
Michigan State University Museum
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan  48824-1045

The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is administered by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program. It was established with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and is sustained through a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Review Panelists List
Brassieur, Ray, 1992, 1991, 1990
Cadaval, Olivia, 1992
Calcaterra, Mary 2012
Cardona, Ana, 2003
Chiarappa, Michael, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Church, William, 1989, 1988
Cicala, Alan, 1989, 1988
Crampton, Anna, 1994, 1993, 1992
Everts, Dana, 1995, 1994, 1993
Galvan, Deborah, 2002, 2001, 2000
Gibson, Gloria, 1988
Gilmore, Janet, 1992
Johnson, William, 2011, 2010, 2009
Julian, Sue, 1989
Kalumbu, Isaac, 2003, 2002, 2001
Keyes, Cheryl, 1993
Kienitz, Betty, 1992
Kozma, LuAnne, 1985
Langlois, Janet, 1988
Largey, Michael, 1997, 1996, 1995
Livengood, Mark, 2004
Lloyd, Tim, 1994, 1993, 1992
Long, Lucy, 2010, 2009, 1991, 1990, 1989
March, Richard, 1990, 1989, 1988
Martin, Shannon, 2008, 2007, 2006
May-Machunda, Phyllis, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989
Melendez, Theresa, 2006, 2005, 2004
Nusbaum, Phil, 1992, 1991
Olson, Ruth, 2003, 2002
Plamondon, Larry, 2005, 2004, 2003
Pollard, Deborah Smith, 1999, 1998, 1997
Robinson, Yvette, 2013
Roraback, Eileen, 2012, 2011, 2010
Rhoades, Loretta, 1993
Roth, Erin, 2003
Scales, Christopher, 2013, 2012, 2011
Shen, Sin Yan, 1993
Singer, Elliott, 1985
Skillman, Amy, 1998, 1997, 1996
Sommers, Laurie K., 2006, 2000, 1999, 1998
Stephens, Ronald, 2002, 2001, 2000
Stillman, Amy, 2008
Syndergaard, Larry, 2007, 2006, 2005
Teske, Bob, 1995, 1994, 1993
VanDeCar, Kathy, 1997, 1996, 1995
Wabanimkee, Minnie, 1999, 1998
White, Marilyn, 1996, 1995, 1994
Wilcox, Candy Wesaw, 1991, 1990
Williams, Steve, 2009, 2008, 2007
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