Folklife Apprenticeship Program
The Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program provides an opportunity for master folk artists to share technical skills and cultural knowledge with apprentices to maintain their art as a vital part of their heritage. Master artists should be among the finest practitioners of the tradition in their communities. Apprentices must have some experience in the tradition they wish to study and must make a commitment to learn it thoroughly. Since we intend apprenticeships to reinforce traditional life and values within a community, we give preference to apprentices who wish to study traditions within their own culture group.
We welcome applications for apprenticeships in all forms of Florida traditional culture. Past apprenticeships have included such arts as Glades skiff making, saltwater fly tying, Afro-Caribbean percussion, African American gospel steel guitar, Greek bouzouki, Nicaraguan festival arts, old-time fiddling, Japanese flower arranging, Seminole basket making, and Cuban guajiro singing.
Florida Folklife Apprenticeship awards are available for eight-, six-, or three-month apprenticeships. Qualified master artists will be provided with a modest honorarium, while selected apprentices are given a small honorarium to cover supplies or travel expenses.
Most apprenticeships will start in September and end by May, and will include two site visits from a program representative to explain the program and document the progress of the apprenticeship. Apprenticeship teams are invited to demonstrate their skills at the annual Florida Folk Festival—the nation's oldest state-sponsored folk festival.
Interested masters and apprentices must apply as a team by submitting the joint application. Although applications are accepted throughout the year, the annual deadline is May 15. Before completing the application, the master artist and apprentice should discuss their ideas for the project. In this way, we hope that they will come to a shared understanding of what will take place and why. Prospective apprentices and masters should discuss the potential apprenticeship—including the pre-requisite level of skill, frequency and location of meetings, and goals—and should agree on training expectations.
The Florida Folklife Council will review the applications and recommend apprenticeship teams. Their recommendations will be forwarded to the Secretary of State for approval. Final decisions should be announced by August.
Selection criteria are described in the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program Guidelines and Application. They include the traditional nature and quality of the master's work, relevance of the tradition to the cultural history of Florida, and the apprentice's commitment to the tradition and involvement in the community that supports the tradition. Apprentices must be permanent Florida residents, and it is preferred that masters and apprentices belong to the same folk group.