Power of Culture Blog
Reflections of a state folklorist
Mass Cultural Council is delighted to announce the opening of a new cycle of grants in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. These two-year grants provide funding for highly-skilled craftspeople and performing artists to mentor apprentices in one-on-one learning experiences. In addition to supporting individual artists and their cultural communities, apprenticeships are intended to make a positive impact on the continued vitality and sustainability of traditional music, craft, and dance in Massachusetts.
The opportunity to learn from someone with embodied knowledge and skill is invaluable. Sarah Guerin is currently mentoring Diana Wagner in boot-making – the nearly lost craft tradition of hand-made footwear that was almost eradicated by mechanization.
“The apprenticeship is truly the only way to impart this vernacular tradition and craft from one person to another; a structured plan of action fostered by a cultural institution will indeed help keep this knowledge alive in Massachusetts,” Guerin said.
The most recent apprenticeships provided learning experiences in Arabic calligraphy, Wooden boat restoration, Khmer ornaments, North Indian tabla playing, the design and making of wooden ship wheels, bird taxidermy, bespoke western boot-making, Wampanoag wampum art, Irish step and set dance, music of Epirus, Nepalese sarangi playing, needlework embroidery, and Ottoman/Turkish makam.