Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Passing on traditional knowledge



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The Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program fosters the sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills through the apprenticeship learning model of regular, intensive, one-on-one teaching by a master artist to a student/apprentice. The program pairs master artists from RI, MA, or CT with apprentices from one of the other states, as a way to knit together members of the same community or group across state lines. Teaching and learning traditional arts helps to sustain cultural expressions that are central to a community, while also strengthening festivals, arts activities and events when master/apprentice artists perform or demonstrate results of their cooperative learning to public audiences. The program has developed a wide regional network of excellent traditional and occupational artists who actively practice their art forms. The relationships they develop can be long-lasting, even developing into professional partnerships. In twenty years, 142 apprenticeships have taken place with more than 400 folk artists participating.  A full list of apprenticeships can be viewed here.

The Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the Connecticut Historical Society manages the program in collaboration with the Folk Arts Program at the Massachusetts Cultural Council and independent folklorist Winifred Lambrecht who has a deep knowledge of the folk arts landscape of Rhode Island. Primary funding for the program comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, along with the partner organizations. Watch here for the next open call for applications.