A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Honoring individuals who continue traditions with excellence is the focus of two annual programs coordinated by the Michigan State University Museum: the Michigan Heritage Awards (MHA) Program, and the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (MTAAP).
Nominations for 2013 awards and applications for the apprenticeship grants are due Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.
2013 Michigan Heritage Awards:
Since 1985, the MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program has -- through its Michigan Heritage Awards -- honored the achievements of Michigan artists for traditions in family and community. The awards recognize these traditions in the areas of performance, material culture and community leadership. Previous awardees receiving the 2012 MHA awards were: Johnnie Bassett (deceased), formerly of Oak Park (Oakland County), for Blues guitar and vocals; Paulette Brockington, of Highland Park (Wayne County), for Swing dance and Lindy Hop; The Ship’s Company, Friends Good Will, of South Haven (Van Buren County), for marlinespike seamanship; and Rene Meave and Guillermo Martinez of Plainwell (Allegan County) and Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo County), for Tejano music (Michigan style).
“The traditional cultural resources of the State of Michigan are rich and deep and the individuals who are dedicated to learning and perpetuating these resources are rarely acknowledged outside of their immediate circles of friends, families, and neighbors. The Michigan Heritage Awards program provides a unique opportunity to call wider public attention to and honor the tremendous contributions these citizens have made,” explains Marsha MacDowell, coordinator of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership program of the Michigan State University Museum and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs."We seek nominations from all over the state so that the award program continues to reflect the exceptional skills and knowledge of individuals that are critical to diverse communities of Michiganders," she adds.
2013 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program:
The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program supports the continuation of traditional folk arts practiced in Michigan that are learned informally from one another in small groups and families -- ranging from decoy duck carving and birch bark canoe making to storytelling, mehendi (henna) art application, and regional and ethnic foodways. A master artist works with an apprentice artist in the same community, passing on the skills and knowledge about a particular traditional art. The Apprenticeship Program awards a stipend in support of the instruction time the master artist spends with the apprentice.
"Like its natural resources, Michigan's cultural traditions are a treasured resource to be nurtured for future generations, which is why the Apprenticeship program is so successful in providing incentives to traditional artists to pursue their art and pass on these skills to others," says MacDowell. "Many master and apprentice teams tell us that their apprenticeship was one of the most meaningful times of their lives, providing the opportunity and the means to pass on a living tradition to someone who will continue the tradition as well," she adds.
The National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and MSU Museum fund these traditional arts programs. MacDowell encourages anyone considering putting together an application for either program to please contact her with any questions to ensure the strongest application possible. Contact MacDowell at the MSU Museum, (517) 353-5526 or macdowel@msu.edu . Heritage Award nomination forms and apprenticeship application forms are available online.
A gallery of past awardees is online. Heritage Award winners and MTAAP masters and apprenticeships are featured in a special exhibition at the MSU Museum, "Michigan Artists: Passing on Traditions," and are recognized at the MSU Museum's annual Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing each August. Many of these tradition-bearers also demonstrate their skills and/or perform at the festival in workshops and showcases.
The MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program promotes cross-cultural understanding in a diverse society through documentation, preservation and presentation of the state's folk arts and folk life. The MSU Museum is located at 409 West Circle Drive, next to Beaumont Tower on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, and is the state's first Smithsonian Institution affiliate.