Illinois Arts Council Agency Announces FY14 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Awards

Master Artist/Apprentice Relationship Preserves Illinois’ Cultural Heritage

The Illinois Arts Council Agency is pleased to announce the recipients of the fiscal year 2014 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program awards. Eleven Master Artists received awards of $3,000 each to instruct their chosen apprentices in their art form through intensive one-on-one sessions.

The Master Apprentice Program recognizes the need for structured opportunities to pass on traditional and classical ethnic arts as part of the preservation of Illinois’ cultural heritage. The program fosters this traditional teaching and learning relationship by providing a $3,000 award to the master artist.

“Illinois is exceptionally rich in cultural heritage,” says Shirley R. Madigan, Chair of the Illinois Arts Council Agency. “Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Grants help to foster this learning arrangement and sustain the diversity of these traditional art forms.”

Traditional ethnic and folk arts eligible for support include those artistic practices 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.

The Master Apprentice Program generally support 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 his or her 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.

For additional information about the Master Apprentice Program, contact Susan Dickson, IACA Director of Ethnic and Folk Arts, by email at or by phone at 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.

Awards are based on the recommendations of three jurors who are folklorists and cultural specialists: Susan Eleuterio, Highland, Indiana; Richard March, Madison, Wisconsin and Cecilia Salvatore, River Forest, Illinois. Clark “Bucky” Halker and Lisa R. Rathje, of Company of Folk, served as the in-state program consultants.


Master Artist





Tatsu Aoki

Oak Park

Shamisen, Japanese lute playing

Kiku Taura


Devaki Janakiraman


Bharathanatyam, Indian  classical dance

Ramyashree Lakshmanan


Carole Lanialoha Lee


Hula ‘Auana and ‘Oli, traditional Hawaiian dance and chant

Danielle Leilani Mendiola


Kazuhiro Masuda


Nihon Buyou, Japanese classical dance

Rika Lin


Carlos Mejia


Traditional Guatemalan marimba playing, regional Mayan styles and repertoire

Melissa Corado


Shoba Natarajan


Kuchipdui, East Indian classical dance

Srivani Vokkarane


Hema Rajagopalan


Bharathanatyam, Indian classical dance

Anu Karan


Asha Rao


Carnatic music, Southern Indian  vocal music training

Shilpa Pokkuluri


Roger W. “Bill” Robinson

St. Charles

Hammered dulcimer, playing, tuning, and performing

Katherine Moritz

Sugar Grove

Paul Tyler


Old Time dance fiddle , playing and song repertoire

Judy Higgins


Joe L. Yazzie


Navajo social dance songs, language and performing

David J. Spencer








About the Illinois Arts Council Agency: The Illinois Arts Council Agency was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1965 to survey and assess the needs of the arts throughout the state; identify existing legislation, policies, and program which affect the arts and evaluate their effectiveness; stimulate public understanding of the importance of cultural institutions; promote an encouraging atmosphere for creative artists in Illinois; and encourage the use of local resources to develop and support the arts.

Funding for the Illinois Arts Council Agency and its programs is provided by the State of Illinois, and the Governor, through the appropriation of General Revenue Funds, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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