NASAA Notes: October 2018

October 10, 2018

Maine: Dynamic Apprenticeship Programs

Master blacksmith Douglas E. Wilson with Craft Apprentice James Crawford in Wilson’s forge in Little Deer Isle, Maine. Photo by Michael Wilson

Many state arts agencies support cultural traditions and the artists who propagate them through an apprenticeship program. Such programs, as the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) demonstrates, can be adapted effectively to better respond to a state’s changing demographics and growing creative economy. For example, the new Craft Apprenticeship Program, which MAC manages in partnership with the nonprofit Maine Crafts Association, fosters the artistic and entrepreneurial development of contemporary craft artists working in diverse media and processes, including weaving, jewelry making, and fused and blown glass. Over seven months, apprentices work one-on-one for a total of 100 hours with a master artist to cultivate their conceptual vision and craftsmanship as well as the entrepreneurial skills necessary for adapting to the evolving craft marketplace.

Acadian master carver Tom Cote (left) with Traditional Arts apprentices Ellyzabeth Bencivenga (center) and Jessica Stackhouse. Photo courtesy of Peter Dembski

Meanwhile, MAC has expanded its long-standing Traditional Arts Apprenticeship to sustain the cultural heritage of Maine’s new immigrants, such as Somali Bantu textiles and Rwandan dance.

Master artists participating in either program receive a $3,000 honorarium, and apprentices in the Craft Apprenticeship Program receive $1,000. Participants of both programs, which receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, also benefit from MAC’s Biennial Apprenticeship Gathering. Contact MAC Visual Arts Director Julie Horn for more information about the Craft Apprenticeship Program and MAC Traditional Arts Contractor Kathleen Mundell about the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship.

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From the President and CEO

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

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Research on Demand

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