Folk and Traditional Artists pursue an art form or activity that is rooted within their community, family, and/or heritage. This form of artistic expression is often learned over time through repeated experience and purposeful or informal teaching. These one-on-one or apprentice-style relationships are how traditional arts thrive over generations. Apprenticeship Grants through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) are one of the foundational tools in the field of folklore and folk arts in New York State. Through this program, “master” artists take on one or more apprentices to pass on their skills and knowledge. Apprentices can be other community members or a member of their own family.
Another avenue of support via the New York State Council on the Arts are grants for artists to pursue their own projects and initiatives. This category was new in 2022 for the Folk and Traditional Arts Category of NYSCA. Folk and Traditional artist grants are allowing artists to execute programs, pieces, performances, workshops, etc. on their own.
Following New York State’s $105 million investment in the arts for FY2022, NYSCA has awarded more than $80 million in arts grants to organizations and individual artists since June 2021. Of that over $250,000 has been awarded directly to folk and traditional artists via Individual Artist and Apprenticeship Grants. Over 30 Folk and Traditional Artists in New York State received an apprenticeship or Individual Artist grant for 2022.
Recipients and art forms are various and include:
Luis Cordero, Rosa and Felix Reyes and Edy Cordero, Bachata and Merengue via Long Island Traditions
Juan José Gutiérrez and Juan Gerena, Bomba y Plena via LOS PLENEROS DE LA 21
Clarence “Bucky” Geter and John Walton, Gospel Music via The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes
Richard Koski with Michael Ludgate and Katrina Mackey, Finnish American Dance Music via the The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes
Hayden Haynes and Darelyn Spruce, Seneca Bone Carving via The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes
Victor Manuel Garcia Gonzalez AKA Dindy and Gomany Norales, drum making via HEDco; Bronx Music Heritage Center
Tashi Sharzur (Techung) with Mia and Jasmin Eames, Tibetan music and dance via New York Folklore
Muhammad Ismail Durdi with Muhammad Yousaf and Muhammad Ayoob, Turkmen rug weaving via New York Folklore
Peniel Guerrier with Kayenne Charles-Pierre, Haitian traditional dance via the Center for Traditional Music and Dance
Salieu Suso with Fode Diop, kora West African harp via the Center for Traditional Music and Dance
Individual Artist Grants include the following:
Beareather Reddy for In My Soul
Bonnie Gale for Exploring Willow Casket Making
Altin Stoja for Shining a Light, A Public Art Project in Greek Orthodox iconography.
Nada Odeh for Arabic Calligraphy Workshop and Mural
Melvis Santa for Women Akpwon: Afro-Cuban Percussion and Song Workshops and Performances
Gretchen Koehler for Fiddling with Tradition
Esraa Warda for Rani Mrida Music and Dance Initiative
This is just a sampling of the many traditional arts activities and artists supported in 2022 through the New York State Council on the Arts.