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SC Arts Commission Grants for Individual Artists
How to Apply
If you would like to be considered for an apprenticeship project, please review all of the information below and then contact Laura Marcus Green (803-734-8764), South Carolina Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director. If it is determined that your project meets the guideline requirements, the program director will work with you to schedule a meeting where the Master Artist and Apprentice will be interviewed. Following the interview, the program director will create a report containing the information you shared during your meeting. With your approval, this report will be submitted as the application to the grants panel for review.
To be considered for this grant, you must contact the Arts Commission by February 15. The application process must be completed by April 5.
Traditional arts are expressions of shared identity that are learned as a part of the cultural life of a particular group. This shared identity may be rooted in family, geographic, tribal, occupational, religious or ethnic connections. As expressions of a living culture, traditional arts have been handed down from one generation to the next and reflect the shared experience, aesthetics and values of a group.
The purpose of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative is twofold: it is meant to support Master Artists who seek to pass their artistic and cultural knowledge to qualified Apprentices and to provide Apprentices with an opportunity to advance their artistic and cultural knowledge to a higher level so that they may continue to pursue the art form beyond the life of the apprenticeship.
The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative assists with the communication and strengthening of cultural skills and knowledge by providing funds for a Master Artist's time and assisting an Apprentice with the cost of travel and necessary materials.
All documentation conducted by the program director during the apprenticeship will be deposited in the Folklife Resource Center at McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.
The Master Artist and the Apprentice are required to:
- Work with the program director to ensure that deadlines for all paperwork are met
- Work with the program director to establish and adhere to a lesson schedule
- Notify the program director of any significant changes to the lesson schedule
- Make themselves available to the program director for interviews and documentation of the project
Award funds of $2,500 will be distributed in the following manner:
- The Master Artist will receive $2,000 as compensation for his/her time.
- The Apprentice will receive $500 to assist with travel and supplies.
- 75% of the award will be given at the beginning of the project.
- The remaining 25% will be given after the final interview and report are submitted to the S.C. Arts Commission and approved by the program director and grants department.
Apprenticeships may last a maximum of 10 months. All activities must occur between July 1 of the year the application is submitted and May 1 of the following year, leaving time for completion, submission and approval of the final report.
Documentation from the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative will be deposited in the Folklife Resource Center at McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina. It will be made available for historical and other academic research and public distribution. Public use of documentation extends only to educational and non-profit uses. We will seek your permission before using your image for any commercial/for profit purpose.
Applicants must be residents of South Carolina and reside in the state during the apprenticeship period.
A Master Artist should:
- Be held in high regard for his or her skill, knowledge and cultural practice by his or her community through formal or informal recognition.
- Have attained excellence within his or her artistic tradition as defined by his or her cultural community.
- Be able to express in the application a sincere interest and commitment to teaching the tradition to the proposed apprentice.
An Apprentice Artist should:
- Demonstrate interest and basic competency in the art form prior to the apprenticeship (generally at least one year of relevant experience).
- Be at least 12 years old and have parental approval to apply if younger than 18. (If an Apprentice is under 18 years of age, the contract will be made on the behalf of the apprentice through a parent or legal guardian).
- Be able to express in the application a sincere interest and commitment to sharing with others the knowledge learned after the completion of the Apprenticeship.
- Modern interpretations of traditional art and revivals of traditions that have ceased to exist within the originating culture will not be funded.
- This program does not support beginning-level students.
- Priority for funding is given to projects focusing on traditional arts considered to be endangered.
- Apprentice must belong to the same community/folk group as the Master Artist.
- Priority for funding is given to applicants who have not been funded through the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in previous years. However, previously awarded Master Artists and Apprentices are eligible to re-apply to the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.
Review Process & Criteria
A panel composed of professionals representing the field of folk and traditional arts will review and rate the apprenticeship applications on the basis of specific criteria listed in the guidelines. Staff will develop funding recommendations based on results of the panel review. Final funding decisions are approved by the S.C. Arts Commission's Board of Commissioners.
The review panel will review each Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative application using the review criteria provided. While the narrative questions are based on the review criteria, please be sure to read the criteria and make certain that your application provides the information the panel needs to make an informed decision.
The program director will ask the following questions when meeting with the potential Master and Apprentice team. Please note, while the program director will interview the Master and Apprentice, it is important that you review the questions below so that you are prepared for the interview.
Contact information must be supplied for both Master and Apprentice.
- How, where, when, and from whom did you learn the traditional art form you wish to teach? How long have you been a practitioner of this art form?
- What role does this art form play your life? (I practice it when I can, as much as possible, etc.)
- Are you a member of the community/folk group within which the traditional art is practiced?
- Describe the current significance of the traditional art form in your folk group or cultural community and any threats to its continued practice.
- Since learning the traditional art, have you continually practiced it? Please explain if there have been interruptions in your practice.
- When and for whom do you perform or practice this tradition?
- Have you previously taught the art form? When? How long? To whom?
- What do you hope to achieve by teaching your traditional art?
- Why do you believe the person whom you plan to teach will make a good Apprentice?
- What evidence is there to demonstrate you possess the knowledge and experience needed to learn this traditional art form? (i.e., I am already learning, I assist the Master Artist, members of my family practice/have practiced the art form, etc.)
- What is the relationship between you and the Master Artist?
- What is the relationship between you and the community/folk group within which the traditional art is practiced?
- What do you hope to achieve through this project?
- The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative is intended to help the Apprentice build a solid foundation so that you may continue the study of the art form beyond the life of the apprenticeship. How do you plan to pursue the study and practice of the art form once the apprenticeship is completed?
- Skills – List the skills and techniques that will be taught over the course of the apprenticeship. (For example, what styles will the Apprentice learn, what objects will you make, etc.?)
- Goals – What goals have the Master Artist and Apprentice agreed to achieve?
- Schedule – Please provide the schedule you intend to follow for the length of the apprenticeship. How many days a month, how long each lesson, etc.
Support materials reinforce the information you have provided in your narrative and help the review panel to assess your skills, commitment to the art form, and your community involvement. Support materials will be collected during first interview by the program director, who can also help create these materials if they are not available.
Support materials are a vital part of the application. Panelists will not be able to review applications without them. You may submit up to twenty items, total, as support materials. Items include videos, audio recordings, photographs, newspaper or magazine articles or other documentation, and letters of support. Please be selective when choosing support materials, prioritizing quality over quantity – less can be more! Below are guidelines for submitting support materials.
Please limit your support materials to no more than the quantities specified below, for the Master Artist and Apprentice, combined.
- Video: 2
- Audio: 3
- Images: 10
- Documents: 3
- Websites: 2
- Recordings (audio and/or video), if available
- Photographs of the artist's work or of the Master Artist performing, if available
- Letters of support should be mailed or emailed directly to SCAC program director. Letters of support assist the panel in understanding the Master’s skill level, the likelihood that he or she will be a successful teacher, and his or her involvement in the community.
- Samples of any media coverage (i.e., newspaper articles)
- Recordings (audio and/or video), if available
- Photographs of the Apprentice's work or of the Apprentice performing, if available
- Letters of support should be mailed to SCAC program director. Letters of support assist the panel in understanding the Artist's skill level, the likelihood that he or she will be a successful student, and his or her involvement in the community.
- Samples of any media coverage (i.e., newspaper articles)
The Master Artist and Apprentice are encouraged, but not required, to participate in or present an event to which the general public is invited. The purpose of the public component is to introduce the traditional art form to the larger community. Funds awarded by the S.C. Arts Commission may be used to help create the public event. While the public component is not required, inclusion may result in a stronger application. The public component does not have to be elaborate. As an example, a Master Artist teaching the Apprentice blues guitar may perform at a local venue or festival. Basket makers may display the work created during the apprenticeship at a local museum or festival. Applicants should consider what type of public program might be appropriate. Please provide a brief description of any public component planned.
Review Criteria (100 total points)
Applicants: Please carefully review this information and keep it in mind as you discuss your work with the program director. The Review Criteria will be used by panel members to review the application and determine the appropriateness of your project.
- Artistry Indicators (40 points)
- The artist is truly a master, recognized as highly skilled within the identified community/folk group and among his/her peers.
- The artist's work is of high quality, as demonstrated by support materials.
- The Master Artist has gained their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a traditional manner.
- The Master Artist is appropriately matched with the Apprentice.
- Managerial Capacity Indicators (10 points)
- There is evidence that the Master Artist is capable of effectively teaching his/her art form.
- Artistry Indicators (20 points)
- The Apprentice has the skills that will allow him/her to benefit from the proposed apprenticeship.
- The Apprentice has shown that he or she is interested in and capable of continuing the practice of the traditional art beyond the period of this apprenticeship.
- Managerial Capacity Indicators (20 points)
- Both applicants have shown a commitment to working together to successfully complete this project.
- The lesson schedule is feasible and will ensure that the Apprentice will have a significant amount of time with the Master Artist.
- The art form being featured in this application is an acknowledged traditional art form authentic to a particular cultural community/folk group.
- The project involves and impacts members of the identified community/folk group.
- There is a demonstrated need for the project; the traditional art may be considered endangered.
Three-quarters (75%) of the award will be paid upon receipt of all required paperwork (signed contracts, signed payment requests, all W-9 forms, etc.). The remaining 25% balance of the award will be paid upon receipt and approval of the final report.
At the end of the apprenticeship period, the program director will again meet with both the Master and the Apprentice to review what has been accomplished. A final report will be created based on the discussion and documentation of the work completed (photos, video) will be conducted. The Final Report Due Date is printed on your contract. The program director will work with you to complete the report approximately one month prior to the report due date. Failure to meet with the program director will result in cancellation of the grant award, at which time any funds received must be repaid to the S.C. Arts Commission. The S.C. Arts Commission will not fund applicants who have outstanding final reports.
In addition to this page, you must read the following for complete guideline information:
- Before You Apply
- Completing the Application
- Terms & Definitions
- Support Materials
- After the Grant Award
- General Information
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