IACA Announces 2019 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Award Recipients

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the fiscal year 2019 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program (MAP.) Twelve master artists are recognized with awards of $3,000 each to instruct their chosen apprentices through intensive one-on-one sessions. MAP acknowledges the need for structured opportunities to pass on traditional, folk, and classical ethnic arts as part of the preservation of Illinois’ cultural heritage. MAP is made possible with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Illinois has an exceptionally rich cultural heritage,” says Shirley R. Madigan, Chair of the Illinois Arts Council Agency. “The Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program fosters traditional teaching and learning relationships and sustains the diversity of art forms.”

Traditional ethnic and folk arts eligible for support include those which have a community or family base, express that community’s aesthetic, heritage and tradition, and have endured through several generations.  These art forms are expressions of the particular culture of the regional, national, ethnic, tribal, or language group from which they originate.

MAP generally supports art forms found in informal rather than institutional settings.  A master artist is an individual recognized within his or her community as an exemplary practitioner of their traditional or classical ethnic art form.  An apprentice is an individual with some experience in a traditional, folk, or classical ethnic art form and who is committed to attaining mastery of that art form.

Awards are based on the recommendations of three jurors who are folklorists and cultural specialists: Patricia Atkinson, Nevada; Marcus L. Cederstrom, Wisconsin; Matthew “Mateo” Mulcahy, Illinois; and Michelle Stefano, Washington, D.C. Clark “Bucky” Halker, of Company of Folk, serves as program consultant to the IACA Ethnic & Folk Arts Program. IACA Board member Lisa Dent Flesner served as the Panel Chair.


Mater Artist


Apprentice and Art Form

Edith Armstrong


with Dolores Gordon in storytelling in the oral tradition

Dilnea Costa


with Keishonda Sims in Afro Samba dance, drumming, and song

Genevieve Koester


with Mareva Lindo in fiddle and vocal music

Carole Lanialoha Lee


with Joenell Dietmeyer in Hula ‘auana

Ronnie Malley


with Alejandro Farha in Middle Eastern oud and maqam

Kazuhiro Masuda


with Miyumi Aoki in Fujima style Japanese classical dance

Carlos Mejia


with Elizabeth Aviles in Guatemalan marimba

Subhadra Natarajan


with Ramya Srinivasan in Indian Carnatic music

Pranita Jain Nayar


with Ashwaty Chennat in Abhinaya, the expressive component of Bharatanatyam dance

Victor Pichardo


with Karen Ochoa in Mexican fiddle

Hema Rajagopalan

Oak Brook

with Sindhu  Konkapaka in Bharatanatyam, Indian Classical Dance

Roger W. “Bill” Robinson

St. Charles

with Katherine Moritz in hammered dulcimer


For additional information about the Master/Apprentice Program, contact Susan Dickson, at Susan.Dickson@illinois.gov or 312/814-6740 or 800/237-6994 (toll free within Illinois).  Individuals who are deaf or have hearing or voice impairments can call 312/814-4831 TTY.


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