IACA Announces FY20 Ethnic & Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Awardees

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the fiscal year 2020 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 regional, national, ethnic, or tribal culture, 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 were based on the recommendations of three jurors who are folklorists and cultural specialists. The jurors serving on the panel this year were: Marcus Cederstrom, Madison, Wisconsin; Matthew Meacham, Edwardsville, Illinois; and Edna Patterson-Petty, East St. Louis, Illinois. Clark “Bucky” Halker and John Gardner of Company of Folk, serve as program consultant to the IACA Ethnic & Folk Arts Program. IACA Board member Gary Matts served as the Panel Chair.


Master Artist


Apprentice and Art Form

Ipsita Mahapatra


Sabrina Khuntia, Odissi Indian Classical dance

Genevieve Koester


Mareva Lindo, Old-time fiddle tunes, songs of Illinois

Kazuhiro Masuda


Rika Lin, Japanese Classical dance

Hema Rajagopalan

Oak Brook

Shreya Sriram, Bharatanatyam

Vanitha Veeravalli


Vidya Babu, Bharatanatyam

Ronnie Malley


Anita Darwish, Arabic Folk Music/Maqam Theory

Tatsu Aoki

Oak Brook

Shamisen, Japanese lute

Carlos Mejia


Vanessa Elias, Guatemalan marimba

Kioto Aoki

Oak Park

Helen Nagata, Japanese Taiko

Byoung Sug Kim


Seunghyeong Kang, Korean Pungmul

Angela Tam


Judy Liu, Chinese Classical dance

Vincent Davis


Julian Otis, Great Black Music and Styles


Contact Information