A capoeirista, a Navajo weaver, a horse hair and agave fiber rope maker, a mariachi folk violinist, a steel pan craftsman, a paper flower maker, an O’odham silversmith, an ancestral foodways chef, glass blower, and a folk musician are the 2020 recipients of the annual Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA) Master-Apprentice Award. The recipients were nominated by community members and selected by a panel of cultural leaders and peers. Artists/tradition bearers receive $5,000 each and emerging-artist mentees receive $500 to support the transmission of traditional knowledge and work together for one year.
The 2020 awardees are:
Bryan Castle, Capoeirista
Bryan Castle has been a practitioner of the Brazilian martial artform of capoeira for 22 years, studying throughout North America and Brazil with teachers such as the late Contramestre Dondi “Enxu” in Tucson. He will work with apprentice, Malik Arceneaux.
Velma Kee Craig, Diné (Navajo) Textile Weaver
Velma Kee Craig was an apprentice in weaving to Barbara Teller Ornelas (2019 SFA Master-Apprentice Artist Awardee) and Lynda Teller Pete, both master Diné weavers in Two Grey Hills tradition. She will work with Wayne Parkhurst, a beginning weaver and graphic artist.
Jesus Garcia, Horsehair and Agave Fiber Rope Making
Jesus Garcia learned horsehair and agave fiber rope “reata” from his father in Sonora, Mexico and has shared. The form through his work as an educator of natural and cultural history of the Sonoran Desert, for the past 20 years. He will work with Maegan Lopez of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
David Gill, Mariachi Folk Violinist
David Gill grew up in the barrios of Tucson where his mother always encouraged singing and music. He has performed with Tucson groups and Mariachi Sol de Mexico in Los Angeles and now teaches in Tucson and Phoenix. He will work apprentice, Rigoberto Ramos.
Ansel Joseph, Steel Pan Craftsman
Ansel Joseph early steel bands growing up in Trinidad and Tobago. He later became a protégé of the legendary steel pan innovator Elliot “Ellie” Mannette and now builds, tunes, teaches, arranges, and performs steel pan drums from his home in Phoenix. He will work with apprentice, Charlene Lusk.
Josefina P. Lizarraga, Paper Flower Maker
Raised in Nayarit, Mexico, amidst rich vegetation and colorful flowers, Josefina Lizarraga has demonstrated her paper flower making at the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Festival for decades and will work with long-time apprentice, Jean Ramirez.
Rick Manuel, O’odham Silversmith
Rick Manuel and has over 48 years of experience as a silversmith, an artform he learned from teachers and his own experimentation, applying skills he learned in other trades, particularly carpentry. He will work with his son, Jacob Manuel.
Maria del Carmen Parra, Ancestral Foodways
Maria del Carmen Parra is a Xicana Indigena who “grew up” in the kitchen with her mother, a traditional womb worker and healer. Later trained as a chef, she now works to educate her community in Phoenix how to decolonize their diet and use ancestral foods for healing. She will work with her husband, Brian Cano.
Paul Anders Stout, Glass Blower
Paul Anders Stout started glass blowing at 19, when he went to assist the renowned glassblower, Tom Philabaum in his Tucson studio. After traveling and studying worldwide, he now makes his own Southwest-inspired innovations. He will work with apprentice, Skyler Blood-Raiter.
Ted Warmbrand, Folk Musician
Ted Warmbrand is a folk musician grew up in an Ashkenazi Jewish family in New York City, where he learned to sing old country songs from his parents. He uses songs to build community, protest injustice, and bring joy to those around him, and will work with apprentice, Jay Landon.
This year’s awards were supported in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Arizona Commission on the Arts and matched by individual gifts from local donors.
To learn more about the program and this year’s and past year’s awardees, visit: www.southwestfolklife.org/master-apprentice-program/