- 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 U.S.
- All applicants must have been full-time residents of Arizona for a minimum of one full year prior to applying and must remain residents of Arizona for the duration of the award year.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Apprentices must be at least 16 years of age, unless they are the applicant's immediate family member.
Practitioners are generally part of the same cultural community, with a focus on informally taught traditions rather than formal instruction or institutional education. The 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. The goal of this award is 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. 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.
- March 1, 2023 – Nominations open
- April 15 – Nomination deadline
- May 1 – Invitation to Full Application
- July 1 - Full Application Deadline
- August 31 – Award Notification
- October 31 - Award disbursement
- 2024 - SFA staff site visits
Artists are first nominated by a peer within their community, cultural institutions, apprentices, or by self-nomination. We only need one nomination completed per artist, with two letters of support (please see details below). SFA then invites nominees to apply based on their mastery of the art form, their ability to describe how that form has been recognized by their cultural community, and their ability to share traditional knowledge.
What type of artist and art forms do we consider traditional?
Applicants include a wide variety of artists, including 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
Please 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, 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.
Other Eligibility Requirements
- 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 (see definitions below).
- 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.
- Apprentices must be at intermediate level in the artform. They must be at least 16 years of age, unless they are immediate family members of the applicant.
Multiple-year artist awards
We recognize that artists’ lives change and evolve, and that some are teaching continuously and building up their tradition over longer spans.
- An artist is eligible to receive a maximum of three (3) awards over a fifteen-year span, terminally.
- The apprentice should be different from the one that was previously awarded.
- Repeat awards emphasize the preservation and/or evolution of the tradition and if one master artist is able to work with different emerging artists (over time) who are all within the cultural community and carrying that tradition forward as culture bearers or as traditional artists then we justify giving multiple awards.
Restrictions Regarding Award Funds
Southwest Folklife Alliance award funds may be used for any form of expression that advances the transmission of cultural knowledge such as:
- Compensation for the Master Artist and Apprentice(s)
- Travel expenses
- Materials, regalia and purchase of equipment
- Funds may NOT be used for presenting/touring or artistic project work that does not clearly articulate the apprentices’ educational component.
Traditional arts: Folk arts, or traditional 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.
Cultural communities: Communities that are culturally bonded through region, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, age, or occupation, and share customary and artistic expressions within such communities.
Master Artist/ Apprentice Artist: Master Artists are highly skilled practitioners who have learned through traditional means and are recognized as masters by their peers and their community. Apprentices are practitioners at an intermediate level in the proposed art form and a desire to advance through one-on-one mentorship. They show a serious commitment to sustaining the art form and its informal practices.
Need help? Questions?
For more information, questions or assistance with the online application process contact: Denise Uyehara at (520) 230-2807, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips and help completing nomination form:
Please read this entire Guidelines document before beginning your application.
- Please complete the online by the deadline.
- SFA has to ensure that applications meet all the standards and guidelines.
- Staff can help clarify guidelines and criteria and help you upload it to this online platform.
- Please complete the entire application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
- When responding to the questions, we highly recommend you use as much of the word count allotment as possible.
Please see our Guidelines on our website for details about the full application process, and artist and apprentice details.