The Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program announced its 2018 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program awardees.

The program, in its second year, is designed to encourage the sustainability, continued development and proliferation of Tennessee’s diverse folklife traditions.

Folklife practices include traditional music, crafts, dance, foodways, clothing and adornment, and occupational skills passed down in communities that share family, ethnic, tribal, regional, occupational, or religious identity.

Nine teams of masters and apprentices have been selected to participate. Masters and apprentices will go through one-on-one training for six months.

Masters are selected by the Tennessee Arts Commission, and apprentices are selected by masters.

Each team will share their work in public performances, demonstrations, and in an exhibit at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in the spring of 2018.

Meet the pairs:

Willie Artison, a singer, musician, and manager for over forty years in a family and quartet Gospel music group, will mentor Kenneth Artison in the singing, playing, and technical aspects important to the city’s historical Gospel traditions.

Bluesman and drummer R.L. Boyce will guide Kesha Burton in the drumming and historical performing techniques of African American Fife and Drum Tradition. Boyce mastered these techniques as a member of Othar Turner’s Rising Star Fife and Drum Band.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Arts Commission

Malvina Carrera, a second generation seamstress, will teach Angela Webb the traditional complete method of Panamanian pollera making, or dress making.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Arts Commission

Micheal DeFosche will instruct Trenton Caruthers the fiddle tunes and styles distinct to the Cumberland Plateau region, including those of Leonard Rutherford and Clyde Davenport.

A third-generation luthier, Manuel Delgado will help Ava Delgado acquire the foundational skills and techniques used in the construction of several stringed instruments, including classical guitars, guitarrones, bajo sextos, vihuelas, and others.


Louis Frazor, a second generation square dance caller, will teach Daniel Rothwell his style of dance calling and instruction, as well as his collection of square dance figures and steps.

2017 NEA National Heritage Fellow Thomas Maupin will train Jack Fennell in a percussive and musical form of traditional flat foot buck dancing.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Arts Commission

Fifth generation chair maker Mark Newberry will teach Malika Schue the traditional design and construction elements that have been in his family chair-making business since before the Civil War.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Arts Commission

Sue Williams, one of only a few remaining white oak basket makers in Cannon County and Warren County, will teach Michelle Hennessee how to build a basket from scratch, including selecting and cutting down the tree, processing the splints, and learning the specific basket style.

For more information on the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife program, visit

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