Each year, Southwest Folklife Alliance provides direct support for master traditional artists living in Arizona to pass on art, culture, and heritage practices to apprentice learners through the annual SFA Master-Apprentice Award. The award is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Arizona Commission on the Arts.

The nomination period has been extended through May 30, 2024.

The award supports a master artist or tradition bearer who has identified a qualified apprentice (or group of apprentices) to engage in a teaching-learning relationship that includes one-on-one mentorship and hands-on experience. Our highest priority is to support apprentices to learn from master artists within their own cultural traditions. Funds can be used to help cover artist fees, offset costs of raw materials, and support any travel essential to the exchange. Traditional artists & culture bearers receive $5,000; apprentices receive $500.

Artists are first nominated by peers within their community, cultural institutions, apprentices, or by self-nomination. SFA then invites nominees to apply based on their mastery of artform, their ability to describe how that form has been recognized by their cultural community, and their ability to share traditional knowledge. Applicants include a wide variety of artists, including those working in traditions including, but not limited to:

  • Handcrafts: weavers; basket makers; jewelers; makers of masks, ritual objects, textiles
  • Occupational folklife:¬†adobe makers, leather workers, ironworkers, foodways workers
  • Oral¬†traditions:¬†storytellers, poets
  • Performing arts:¬†dancers, vocalists, musicians

2024 Nominations are now open! Due May 30.

Please read and download the 2024 Guidelines (before nominating) here: 2024 Master Apprentice Artist Award Guidelines

Access the Nomination Form here.

Program Timeline for 2024  

  • March 30: Nomination form opens
  • May 30: Nominations Deadline¬†
  • July 15: Full Application Deadline¬†
  • September 30: Award notification, Award announcements¬†
  • October-November: Artist paperwork and portraits taken¬†
  • November-December: Award distribution¬†
  • SFA staff site visits in 2025¬†

Banner photos (left to right): Jing Xia, Porfirio ‚ÄúPilo‚ÄĚ Mora, and Ancliff ‚ÄúAnsel‚ÄĚ Joseph. All photos by Stephen Meckler, courtesy of Southwest Folklife Alliance.


Organization/Company: Southwest Folklife Alliance
Location: Arizona
Deadline: May 30, 2024 (updated)
How to Apply: