Apprenticeship Program

The Folklife Apprenticeship Program pairs an experienced master artist with an eager apprentice for a one-on-one, nine month learning experience, in order to help ensure that a particular art form is passed on in ways that are conscious of history and faithful to tradition. Since 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has provided funding to support more than 100 pairs of masters and apprentices in all forms of Virginia’s traditional, expressive culture—from decoy carving to fiddle making, from boat building to quilt making, from country ham curing to old-time banjo playing, from African Merican gospel singing to Mexican folk dancing.

More about the Apprenticeship Program and how to apply »

Apprenticeship Teams

Mike Seeger and Seth Swingle

Mike Seeger has devoted his life to singing, playing, studying, teaching, and documenting the old-time music of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Over the years, Mike has absorbed a wide range… Read More»

Patrick and Aaron Olwell

The flute has long held a prominent place in traditional Irish music, but the practice of making flutes specifically for Irish music is relatively new. For many years, Irish musicians… Read More»

Ofosuwa Abiola-Tamba and Monica James

While there is now a greater understanding and appreciation of the African origins of much of Virginia’s expressive culture, these roots were long ignored, misunderstood, or held in diminished regard… Read More»

Clyde Jenkins and Sam Cave

The traditional skill of making baskets from white oaks is hundreds of years old, involving an in-depth study of the grain structure of the tree. Each white oak tree behaves… Read More»

Norman Amos and John Buck

The art of snake cane carving is practiced throughout the world, and has a rich history in southern Appalachia. The process begins when a vine wraps itself around a tree… Read More»

Brenda and Shannon Joyce

Flatfooting, an old-time dance style closely associated with traditional string band music, is quite distinct from its closest cousin, clogging, in that the dancer’s feet barely leave the floor. Distinct… Read More»

Broto Roy and Sunil Chugh

Broto Roy is a master of the 5,000-year-old tradition of tabla drumming of India. The tabla is composed of two drums, one made of wood and the other of metal.… Read More»

Spencer Moore and Ben Moore Jr.

When the late folklorist Alan Lomax set out on one of his legendary “Southern Journeys” in 1959, he stopped in Chilhowie, Virginia, to record a tobacco farmer named Spencer Moore… Read More»

Buddy Pendleton and Montana Young

Buddy Pendleton of Patrick County has lived a life in bluegrass music. Buddy is one the most beloved fiddlers in Southwest Virginia, and a common fixture on the leader board… Read More»