Virginia Folklife Program

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

In Good Keeping

Virginia’s Folklife Apprenticeships

In Good Keeping tells the story of the first five years of the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship program.

Written by Jon Lohman, with 224 pages of evocative photographs of Virginia Master Folk artists and their apprentices, In Good Keeping celebrates a wide variety of folk traditions both old and new to Virginia.

Told in the voice of the Master Artists,  the striking photographs and reflective text combine to explain the significance of their craft, their motivations for maintaining and teaching it, the very concept of the tradition itself, and why it’s important to pass these traditions on. Richly illustrated with 180 black and white photographs by photographer Morgan Miller, the 10 x 10 book provides a visual banquet to be enjoyed by those who are familiar with Virginia’s traditional arts as well as newcomers.

Master artists are individuals who have achieved a high level of skill in a particular traditional art form and who want to ensure that the tradition will continue into the future.  The Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program pairs these Master Artists with apprentices who will learn the art, craft, or trade, and carry it on.

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Order Your copy of In Good Keeping From The VFH Store >> for a special web only price of $39.95 (+shipping)

Praise For In Good Keeping

“The attractive coffee-table book In Good Keeping provides an overview of the master artists and apprentices whom the Virginia Folklife Program supported during the first five years of the initiative. The result is an approachable and thoughtful framing of folklife in the communicative practices of master artists in communities. This work surpasses the brochures and pamphlets that traditionally accompany apprenticeship programs, and elevates the traditions presented.  I recommend this book for anyone interested in Virginia folklife or public folklore work.”
Jon Kay
Journal of Folklore Research
Indiana University


“Traditional arts and culture can only survive if people value, learn,and pass on those traditional cultural expressions to the next generation. This book celebrates the folk geniuses of Virginia and their dedicated proteges. It is a stunning record of the artistic heritage of Virginia and a celebration of the emerging folk artists of the future.”
Peggy Bulger
Director, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

“Virginia has long been famed for its landscapes and personages as centerpieces of American history. Now at last we have a glimpse into the real state of cultural life today including young masters who are playing fresh old-time country music, gospel beacons that create sacred space with their songs, steel drum makers from Trinidad who use their art and music to build a new cultural life from old parts. It’s exciting to see domestic crafts survive from mountain quilting to coastal boat-making, and the evolution of occupational aesthetics from horsemanship to hotrods. The Virginia Folklife Program has sought out these remarkable living practitioners of vernacular culture and their apprentices to help create a future for the state’s traditions and communities.”
Nick Spitzer
Host of public radio’s “American Routes”