Nominations for our annual Master-Apprentice Artist Award are now open!
These awards 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. Read more about the program and past awardees here.
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.
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. 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, iron workers, 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.
Applicant nominees 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.
- Master Artists must be at least 18 years of age. Apprentices must be at least 16 years of age.
- Recipients must remain residents of Arizona for the duration of the award year.
Nomination: Artists are first nominated by peers within their community, cultural institutions, apprentices, or by self-nomination. Once a nomination has been made, SFA will invite nominees to apply. 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.
Nominees will be invited to apply by SFA Staff based on the above criteria.
NOMINATIONS can be made online here through SUBMITTABLE.
Please set up an account to submit your nomination. It is free and can be deleted by you at any time. If you have any questions or concerns about the nomination process please do not hesitate to call: Nelda Ruiz, Program Coordinator @ 520-621-4046.
Application: Once invited to complete an application artists will be paired with SFA staff who will answer any questions you may have about the program and offer technical assistance with submission of a full application on the Submittable portal.
Applications are reviewed by a panel of community experts and final recommendations for awards are made by SFA’s board of directors.
- May 1, 2021: Nomination Deadline
- May 15, 2021: Application Notification
- July 31, 2021: Application Deadline
- September 30, 2021: Award Notification
- October 31, 2021: Award disbursement
- TBA-SFA staff site visit