The Makings of a Master: Kentucky Folk Art Apprenticeships


June 27, 2019 through September 2, 2019
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The Makings of a Master: Kentucky Folk Art Apprenticeships is a traveling exhibit that explores relationships between master folk artists and their apprentices. Every day, folk communities across Kentucky practice living traditions that are vitally important to their cultural identity. Whether they are musicians, dancers, storytellers or craft artists, all communities have their masters — those who are considered the most excellent representatives of their folk art.

Master folk artists embody the aesthetics and values of their cultural group, whether it is a family, regional, ethnic, occupational, or recreational group. During an apprenticeship, a master teaches skills, values and stories to an apprentice from their community. The apprentice works toward mastery through active learning and immersion in the culture. The result is a sharing of knowledge which strengthens the traditional art form, helping it to continue and take on new life.

This exhibit is based on field research and interviews from over 20 years of recipients of the Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant, collected by the arts council and archived by the Kentucky Folklife Program. It includes videos and interpretive panels with photos and quotes from the masters and apprentices. It has appeared in museums, libraries, galleries and special events across Kentucky.