We build more equitable and vibrant communities by celebrating the everyday expressions of culture, heritage, and diversity in the Greater Southwest. 

--Deadline extended to Thursday, June 30, 2pm, AZ Time--

Virtual Information Session

Co-hosted by Denise Uyehara and Nelda Ruiz, Southwest Folklife Alliance

  • Watch the video:   https://youtu.be/G-212zdC9EY
  • Or view slide presentation only:  https://tinyurl.com/2p8znesk
  • Full Guidelines for the Award process: https://tinyurl.com/czbabmz6

Have Questions? Need Assistance?

If you have any questions  assistance completing this nomination form, please contact Denise Uyehara at duyehara@arizona.edu, or (520) 230-2807

Details - please read

The Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA) Master-Apprentice Artist Award provides direct support for master traditional artists living in Arizona to pass on art, culture, and heritage practices to apprentice learners. This award aims to strengthen the transmission of community-based traditions throughout the Southwestern United States. The Master-Apprentice Artist supports a master artist or tradition bearer to work with a qualified apprentice (or group of apprentices) to engage in a teaching-learning relationship that includes one-on-one mentorship and hands-on experience. 

Apprentice should be at an intermediate level in the art form and have a commitment to the proposed apprenticeship. Our highest priority is to support apprentices to learn from master artists within their own cultural traditions. Funds can be used to help cover artist fees, offset costs of raw materials, and support any travel essential to the exchange. Traditional artists & culture bearers receive a $5,000; apprentices receive $500.

How are traditional arts defined? Traditional arts, or folk arts, are forms that are informally learned and passed through a cultural community, rather than in a formal educational setting. Such forms of art reflect community values, experiences, and worldview, and can include such things as crafts, music, and storytelling.

What type of artists could I nominate? There are a wide variety of artists that are a good match for the Master-Apprentice Artist Award, such as those working in traditions including, but not limited to:

  • Handcrafts: weavers, basket makers, jewelers, makers of masks, ritual objects, textiles
  • Occupational folklife: adobe makers, leather workers, ironworkers, foodways workers
  • Oral traditions: storytellers, poets
  • Performing arts: dancers, vocalists, musicians

*Note: Several art forms straddle the line between academic artistic disciplines, decorative arts, contemporary arts, and the traditional arts. Some examples of these hybrid practices may include various types of crafts, choreography, fashion, and painting. While we recognize that blurred lines of definition can exist and applications will be accepted in blurred genres, please know that the SFA Master-Apprentice Award program aims to support those art forms that orient primarily to the transmission and preservation of traditional, heritage-based practices learned informally and most importantly, that are embedded and are reflective of a group/community’s identity and cultural expression repertoire.


  • Applicants (master artists and apprentices) must reside in Arizona.
  • The art form must be traditional in nature, as per SFA's definition of traditional art 
  • Applicants must be United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, or have permission from the U.S. Department of Immigration to work in the United States. Full-time residents of Arizona for a minimum of one full year, and at least 18 years of age. Recipients must remain residents of Arizona for the duration of the grant year.
  • Practitioners are generally part of the same cultural community, with a focus on informally taught traditions rather than formal instruction or institutional education.


PART I: Nomination

Artists are first nominated by peers within their community, cultural institutions, apprentices, or by self-nomination. SFA then invite nominees to apply based on their mastery of artform, their ability to describe how that form has been recognized by their cultural community, and their ability to share traditional knowledge. The nomination selection process is based on these three components:

  • Mastery of artform.
  • Nominees ability to describe how the mastery of this art form has been recognized by the artists cultural community and that the artists is able to share traditional knowledge.
  • Nominator/Master Artist is rooted in a cultural art form or geographic area in the State of Arizona.

Preference is given to artforms or cultural communities not currently being supported by SFA.

Part II: Full application

The SFA staff will review nominations.

Those artists that are invited to submit a complete application will be paired with SFA staff who will answer any questions you may have about the program and offer technical assistance.  Artists will submit a full application on this Submittable portal. 

Part III: Application Review & Awards

Applications are reviewed by a panel of community experts and final recommendations for awards are made by SFA’s board of directors.

SFA will contact awardees by email or phone.

Program Timeline – note the are new due dates

  • June 30, 2022: Nomination Deadline
  • July 15, 2022: Notification Invitation to Full Application
  • September 21, 2022: Application Deadline
  • November 15, 2022: Award Notification
  • December 15, 2022: Award disbursement
  • TBA-SFA staff site visit

How to nominate an artist

Nominations are made through this online portal, Submittable (see below). 

Sign in to Submittable, or set up a free account. 

You will need the need following information.  We strongly suggest that you compose your Description and any pertinent information on your computer first, and then cut and paste it into the online application.  You can also save your information and complete it later t before the deadline.

  • Nominee contact information
  • Description of their artform and contributions to folk and traditional arts (150 words)
  • Nominee’s bio and work samples
  • Letters of support (may come from the nominator and/or another community member familiar with the artist’s work – this doesn’t need to be fancy; something simple is perfect!)
  • Nominator contact information
Southwest Folklife Alliance Inc.