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Traditional Arts Apprenticeship

This program helps communities sustain their own cultural heritage by providing an opportunity for master traditional artists to pass on their skills to a qualified apprentice. Based on their experience and commitment to the traditional art form they practice, masters and apprentices apply to work together on a one-on-one instructional basis. Passed down from one generation to the next, traditional arts are learned informally, usually through observation and example, rather than through formal academic instruction.  Now celebrating its 24 year, the program acts as a kind of cultural aquifer, honoring elders and encouraging new artists to pass on their skills to future generations.


  • Deadline: May 5, 2015
  • Maximum grant amount: $4,000


Up to $4,000 is available for the master artist’s teaching fee, supplies and travel costs.The master artist and apprentice must submit one joint application.  Preference will be given to selecting apprentices who are members of the same ethnic, religious, occupational, tribal or familial group as the master artist. Grant recipients are eligible to reapply after skipping one application cycle every three years.

One additional award is available in Hancock and Washington Counties in 2014 to support an apprenticeship in traditional craft. This award is made possible through a partnership with the Maine Community Foundation is funded through the generous support of the Belvedere Fund.


Eligibility Requirements

A Master artist is recognized by their community for their expertise in a particular traditional art form and has developed his/her skills within a traditional context rather than through classes, books or other means of formal instruction may apply. 

An Apprentice must demonstrate competency in the art form prior to the apprenticeship and show serious commitment to learning the tradition.

Both master artists and apprentice must be full-time residents of Maine at the time of the application and not enrolled as a full-time student in a field related to the application.

All applicants must have completed and filed all final reports required for previous Maine Arts Commission grants. 


Review Process

Applications are reviewed by a committee of public members who are selected for their expertise in the traditional arts.


Grant recommendations will be presented at the annual meeting of the Maine Arts Commission. The approval of the review process, making the grant official, takes place at that time. Notifications are sent to all applicants following that meeting.


The review process and delivery of funds may take up to four months. This means that grant funds may be used to reimburse costs incurred for the project after the grant has been approved. Please plan accordingly.  


Review Criteria

Grant proposals are reviewed on a competitive basis using the following criteria:

  • Artistic quality of master work according to the standards of the traditional community.
  • Role of the artist and art form in community life.
  • Significance of tradition.
  • Skill and commitment of apprentice.
  • Feasibility of work plan.
  • Likelihood of a successful collaboration between master and apprentice.
  • Potential impact of apprenticeship on continued vitality of traditional art.


How to Apply

Applicants are encouraged to speak with the following staff member about the proposal before submitting an application.

Traditional Arts: Kathleen Mundell, Creative Aging and Traditional Arts Director, 207/287-6746,

For general questions about the application or review process please contact Kathy Ann Shaw, Senior Director for Grants and Arts Accessibility, at 207/287-2750,

Applicants may send in a draft of their proposal for a brief review to the email above no later than two weeks before the application deadline.

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 pm, on the date of the application deadline. The agency will not accept late or incomplete applications under any circumstance.

Your application will consist of two steps. The first is the completion of the electronic application which will include contact information. The second part of your application will require the upload of the narrative portion of your application and application attachments.

Please review the following required materials carefully in preparing your application. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in disqualification of your application. Only complete applications will be accepted. Make copies of all application materials for your records prior to submitting them.  


Required Attachments

Please click on eGRANT to start your application. You may want to complete your narrative (see link) for upload before you begin.

  1. eGRANT Application. 
  2. Application Narrative.
  3. Letters of support. Submit up to three letters of support by a community member stating the qualifications of both the master artist and selected apprentice.
  4. Work Samples. See guidelines below.
  5. Work Sample Description Sheet. 
  6. Vendor Form. To be provided by a first time applicant, or those whose contact information has changed. This is information used by the Treasury to generate a check if the grant is awarded. Applicants should be sure to indicate the address the check should be sent to


Work Sample Submission Guidelines

Work samples are a crucial aspect of your application and it is essential that they are of professional quality and are appropriate representations of your current abilities. Samples are uploaded through the electronic submission system. Each upload will prompt the applicant to provide a description of the work sample. More instructions are provided within the electronic application system.

Represented work must be current; preferably within the past three years. Failure to submit samples in the formats outlined below will disqualify the application.




Preferred format PDF, but WORD documents will also be accepted. Manuscripts should include works of prose, not to exceed 20 pages, or up to five poems. Script and playwriting applicants should include one act or scene. Selections from a longer script or work of prose may be accompanied by a synopsis of the complete work. All materials must be legible in 12-point or larger type and double spaced.


Preferred format JPEG, but PDF images will also be accepted. Five samples total may be submitted. Optimal image size is 1920 pixels on the longest side (to accommodate HD viewing) at a resolution of 96 dpi and a file size under 5mb. Images can be a digital photograph or a digital scan.


Audio and Video submissions will be accepted. Five samples total may be submitted.Optimal work samples will be under five minutes in length. If the file is longer than five minutes listening/viewing points should be indicated in the description of the piece. This must explain how to view or listen to the work sample(s). The reviewer will not be expected to listen/view a larger piece in its entirety.

The Maine Arts Commission reserves the right to use submitted materials in the promotion of the artist and/or Maine Arts Commission programs. The material will be used in a promotional manner only and will not be used for commercial purposes.

We recommend that contributors consider licensing their media files under a Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share-Alike license.



Grant information is available in large print format by request. All Maine Arts Commission programs are accessible to people with disabilities.