Illinois Arts Council Announces Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Awards


Master Artist/Apprentice Relationship Preserves Illinois’ Cultural Heritage

The Illinois Arts Council is pleased to announce the recipients of the fiscal year 2012 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program awards.  Six 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 honorarium to the master artist.

“Illinois is exceptionally rich in cultural heritage,” says Shirley R. Madigan, Chair of the Illinois Arts Council. “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, IAC 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 recommendation of three out-of-state jurors and one in-state juror who are cultural specialists: Juan Dies, Chicago, Illinois; Andrea Graham, Laramie, Wyoming; Nicole Saylor, Davenport, Iowa; and Paschal D. Younge, Athens, Ohio.   Clark “Bucky” Halker and Lisa R. Rathje, of Company of Folk, served as the in-state program consultants.

FY12 Master/Apprentice Recipients

Master Artist





Mahendra Deshmukh

Hanover Park

Tabla, Indian Classical Drums

Sonali Srivastava

Green Oaks

Patrick Gregory


Waterfowl Decoy Carving

Bill Brown


Chris Latawiec


Polish Highlander Music & Dance

Maciej Latawiec


Carole Lanialoha Lee-Sumberg


Hula Kahiko and ‘Oli, Hawaiian Dance and Chant

Leilani Mokihana Pao


Hema Rajagopalan

Oak Brook

Bharata Natyam, Indian Classical Dance

Mitali Shah


Joe L. Yazzie


Navajo Social Dance Songs

David J. Spencer


These awards were made possible by a Folk Arts Infrastructure Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Illinois Arts Council: The Illinois Arts Council 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 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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