Master batá drummer Juan Carlos Blanco Riera (R) and his 2010 apprentice Menelike Turner (L). Photo: Sherwood Chen/ACTA.

Apprenticeship Program

Encouraging the continuity of California’s traditional arts and cultures

PROGRAM CONTACT

Jennifer Joy Jameson (Los Angeles), Program Manager + Media Director, jjameson@actaonline.org, 760-805-8002

jjameson@actaonline.org

For over 20 years, ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program has supported California’s cultural traditions with 348 contracts made to outstanding traditional artists and practitioners. 

The Apprenticeship Program encourages the continuity of the state’s thriving traditional arts and cultures by contracting mentor artists to offer intensive, one-on-one training to qualified apprentices.

Each $3,000 contract will support a period of concentrated learning, from 6 mos. to a year, for apprentices who demonstrate a committed engagement with, and a talent for, a specific traditional art form or cultural practice.


2021 Cycle Now Open!

VIEW GUIDELINES + Apply ONLINE today via Submittable
ve las INStrucCiones PARA SolicitaR + SOLICITA en línea hoY por medio de submittable

in English + Spanish | en inglés y español

submit

Deadline/Fecha límite: October 19, 2020 @ 11:59 PM (PST)

Please use our online application via Submittable to apply.
To apply with a hard copy paper application, please find downloadable PDFs at the bottom of this page.

Por favor usa nuestra solicitud en línea por medio de Submittable para solicitar.
Para solicitar por correo tradicional, por medio de una solicitud física, por favor encuentra la solicitud descargable en formato PDF al final de esta página web.


 

Register for an Upcoming Info Session

Regístrese para una próxima sesión de información.

Join us for an online info session about the Apprenticeship Program, the upcoming Living Cultures Program grant, and other relevant funding opportunities!

>> Register for the Zoom meeting on Aug. 21 here.

¡Acompáñanos a una sesión informativa en línea sobre el Programa de Aprendices, el próximo Programa de Apoyo Financiero para las Culturas Vivas y otras oportunidades relevantes de financiamiento!

>> Inscríbete aquí para una sesión de Zoom para el 28 de agosto.

 

Join us for an online info session about the Apprenticeship Program, the upcoming Living Cultures Program grant, and other relevant funding opportunities!

¡Acompáñanos a una sesión informativa en línea sobre el Programa de Aprendices, el próximo Programa de Apoyo Financiero para las Culturas Vivas y otras oportunidades relevantes de financiamiento!

>> Register for the Zoom meeting on Sept. 17 here / Inscríbete aquí para una sesión de Zoom para el 17 de septiembre.

 


Program Description

Eva Tam and her apprentice 2019 Teresa Luk practice a Cantonese Opera pose at Eva’s Chinatown studio and opera club in San Francisco. Photo: Jennifer Joy Jameson/ACTA, 2019.

If selected for an Apprenticeship, ACTA enters into a contract with the mentor artist and apprentice to implement the work plan proposed in the application. The apprenticeship program period may last between six months to one year, in which ACTA staff will work closely with the apprenticeship pair to gauge and document progress and offer assistance and support.

Upon agreeing to the contract the apprenticeship pair will be required to go through an orientation. Near the mid-point of the apprenticeship period, a site visit will be scheduled in which ACTA staff documents the apprenticeship sharing through video recording and photography. The resulting materials become part of ACTA’s permanent archival collections, with many materials accessible to the public for educational purposes.

Each apprenticeship team will be required to organize a public presentation (performance, exhibit, lecture demonstration, etc.) in consultation with ACTA staff in order to share the results of their intensive learning cycle. We ask that each apprenticeship pair implement a survey at their public sharing, which ACTA will provide. Finally, submitting written evaluations of the mentor and apprentice’s experiences completes the requirements of the Apprenticeship Program contract.

Mahsa Vahdat (R), master Persian singer, and her 2018 apprentice Adrienne Shamszad in Berkeley. Photo: Jennifer Jameson/ACTA.

2007 apprentice Yafonne Chen (L) studies traditional Chinese wushu (sword dance) with mentor Ling Mei Zhang (R) in San Francisco. Photo: Sherwood Chen/ACTA.

Khmer classical dancer Prumsodun Ok perfects the posture of his sister and 2009 apprentice Khannia Ok in Long Beach. Photo: Russell Rodriguez/ACTA.

Master of Bulgarian/Romani wedding music (svatbarska muzika), Rumen Shopov (R), with his 2018 apprentice Jesse Stremski-Andrews in Berkeley. Photo: Shweta Saraswat/ACTA.

2010 apprentice Lance Zazueta studied leatherworking under his grandfather and master saddlemaker Gaylerd Thissell in Cottonwood. Photo: Sherwood Chen/ACTA.

2018 apprentice Nelia Marshall (R; Hupa) with master basketweaver Margaret Peters (L; Yurok, Karuk) after foraging for roots to use in the production of Karuk/Yurok baby baskets near the coast of Humboldt Bay. Photo: Shweta Saraswat/ACTA.

Mentor artist Gilbert “Magu” Lujan (L) and 2008 apprentice in lowrider vehicle construction and lowrider sculpture, Mario Trillo (R) in Los Angeles. Photo: Sherwood Chen/ACTA.

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Timeline

Application Period

Apprenticeship applications typically open annually in the spring and close late summer (for 2021, they opened late summer, and will close in the fall). Specific dates are announced on our website once application is open. ACTA staff will also offer informational webinars during the application period and be available to answer questions by phone or email. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for the most up to date info.
Note: Applications for 2021 opened on Aug. 7, 2020 and will close on Oct. 19, 2020.

Review Period

ACTA staff review submitted applications for eligibility in the summer and early fall. Eligible applications go forward to an external review panel in the fall. Applications recommended for funding are approved by ACTA’s Board in the late fall.

Notification

All applicants will be notified if they received the Apprenticeship by January.


Who is a mentor artist?  Who is an apprentice?

Apprentice Panuncio Gutiérrez with a recently finished Danza de los Apaches mask and master artist Luis Morales Ortiz holding a recently finished diablo mask in San Diego. Photo: Amy Kitchener/ACTA, 2016.

A mentor artist is someone who is recognized as an exemplary practitioner of a traditional art form by their community and peers.

An apprentice is someone who learns from a mentor artist. Prospective apprentices should demonstrate an intention to enhance their established skills and cultural understanding of the art form by working with a master. The mentor artist and apprentice must apply together with a mutual desire to work with each other.

What are traditional arts?

Traditional arts are those art forms that are transmitted and engaged as part of the cultural life of a group of people whose members share a common heritage, language, religion, occupation, or region. These expressions are deeply rooted in and reflective of a community’s shared standards of beauty, values, or life experiences. Traditional arts are often passed on from one generation to the next, or from one community member to another, and express a collective wisdom, rather than only a unique personal aesthetic.

Mentor artist Nzingha Camara teaches apprentice Amber Tell West African dance forms of the Bambara people in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Photo: Jennifer Joy Jameson/ACTA, 2018.

Some traditional arts have been brought to California from other countries or regions and have taken root here to become interwoven with the state’s cultural landscape and identity, while others have prospered on the more than 130 tribal reservations and rancherias in this state. Japanese bonsai; Cowboy poetry; Hmong reverse appliqué embroidery; Mexican corridos (ballads) and mariachi music; African American quilts; Native American basketry, ceremonial regalia construction and ritual music/dance; South Indian Bharata Natyam dance; Western saddle making; Chinese qin instrumental music; Portuguese fado singing; Native Hawaiian kahiko hula chant and dance; and Pilipino rondalla music ensembles are but a few of the many hundreds of distinctive forms found in this tremendously diverse and culturally rich state.

Review Criteria

A panel of traditional arts specialists (artists, cultural workers, scholars, organizers, and advocates) will review applications and make recommendations for approval by the ACTA Board of Directors, according to the following criteria:

    • Traditionality of the art form
    • Artistic quality of the mentor artist’s work
    • Demonstrated commitment and developed skill of the apprentice
    • Shared membership of the mentor artist and apprentice in a cultural community (family, heritage, occupation, tribe, religion, etc.)
    • Feasibility of the proposed work plan and timetable
    • Urgency (for endangered art forms)

Downloadable Hard Copy (Paper) Application

Please first consider applying online via Submittable. If you feel more comfortable applying by mail with a downloadable print application, you may access the application in English or Spanish below.

Solicitud Física Descargable en Español

Por favor considera solicitar en línea por medio de Submittable. Si te sientes más cómodx solicitando por correo tradicional por medio de una solicitud que puedas descargar e imprimir, puedes acceder a ella y descargarla abajo en inglés o español.

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Learn about the 2020 Apprenticeship Cohort

The 2020 Apprenticeship Program cohort of 32 artists (16 pairs) represents California’s breadth of cultural diversity and intergenerational learning.


Resources

    • Watch a webinar about applying to the Apprenticeship + Living Cultures funding opportunities.
    • Browse former Apprenticeship mentor artists.

Funders

The Apprenticeship Program is a program of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture

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