Master-Apprentice Awardees

We provide direct support for master traditional artists living in Arizona to pass on art, culture, and heritage practices to apprentice learners through the annual SFA Master-Apprentice Award. The award is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Arizona Commission on the Arts.

The award supports a master artist or tradition bearer who has identified 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 $5,000; apprentices receive $500.

Artists are first nominated by peers within their community, cultural institutions, apprentices, or by self-nomination. SFA then invites 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. 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

Deadline for 2023 nominations has passed. 2024 nominations will open in the spring.


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