Grants for Traditional Southwest Artists and Apprentices

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Esteban Osuna, Traditional Boot Maker - SOUTHWEST FOLKLIFE ALLIANCE
  • SouthWest Folklife Alliance
  • Esteban Osuna, Traditional Boot Maker

What truly defines a city? Its economy, its landscape, its businesses? It is all those things, but it's people that make a city home. It is the blend of cultures present that reveal its personal history through art.

The Southwest Folklife Alliance, a nonprofit organization of the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, serve as historians of Tucson. The group documents the cultural heritage of local ethnic and folk communities and works to educate and plan ways to increase opportunities for these communities.

One of Tucson’s largest events, Tucson Meet Yourself, is the product of the Southwest Folklife Alliance and they are now unveiling a new program to serve individuals in the community who are expressing their heritage through art.

Their Master-Apprentice Grant Award Program, announced May 29, works to “support and encourage the preservation and perpetuation of traditional art forms present and thriving in Arizona.” This grant program is the first of its kind in the state, joining 20 states nationwide with similar programs.

Grants will be awarded to three local, traditional artists who have proven themselves to be masters at their craft. To fulfill the mission of this program, spreading community based traditions through one-on-one teaching, each master artist will identify an apprentice (or apprentices). The grant will award each artist $2500 and $500 to their apprentice.

The funds are meant to expand the horizons of its awardees and may be used for compensation, travel expenses and materials and supplies.

To be considered, an applicant must work in a traditional, cultural art form such as, basket making, leather working, story-telling, dance or ritual objects

The submissions of master artists will be evaluated by artistic excellence, community connection and their teaching plan for the apprentice. Apprentices must have intermediate experience in their art form, demonstrate potential and show commitment to the program.

Eligible applicants must be at least 18, United States citizens or legally allowed to work in the U.S. and must live in Arizona for the duration of the grant. The application, available online at southwestfolklife.org, must be submitted by the July 10 deadline with submitted samples of work.

SFA has two orientations scheduled for interested parties and additional sessions will be available per the request of groups of three or more.

The first orientation will be held on June 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. The second will take place in Phoenix at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, 417 Roosevelt St., Phoenix on June 15 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The SFA plans to increase the number of grants, supported by the National Endowment of the Arts: State Arts Partnership and local donors, given out each year.

For more information visit southwestfolklife.org or contact Program Manager Leia Maahs at 621- 4046 or leiamaahs@email.arizona.edu. 

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