What is the PCA Folk and Traditional Arts Program?

Folk and Traditional Arts are artistic traditions of specific communities — groups of people who share a common ethnicity, religion, language, occupation, or homeland. These arts are shaped and shared within families, neighborhoods, and communities. They are passed down from one generation to another through observation, practice, or apprenticeships with elders and masters, rather than through formal education.

The Pennsylvania Council On The Arts Folk and Traditional Arts Partnership program operates in 40 counties and works to investigate, document, present, sustain, and promote the folk and traditional art of Pennsylvania in order to celebrate our diverse heritage. This system of local and regional organizations forms a mutually supportive network and specializes in, or includes, a focus on folk and traditional arts. Current Partnership organizations collectively serve 40 counties by promoting the creation and documentation of folk art; engaging the public in understanding the quality, breadth, and diversity of folk and traditional arts across the state; conducting critical discovery fieldwork in under-represented communities; and providing technical assistance for folk and traditional artists through workshops and gatherings.

What constitutes the folk and traditional arts? 

  • Arts with a lineage or heritage 
  • Arts must have significant roots within community and embody the culture 
  • Art that interacts with beliefs and values 

The Everhart works to sustain cultural and artistic practices rooted in the histories, traditions, and everyday lives of people in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. We work to identify traditional artists in the NEPA region, assist those artists in keeping their traditions and create community access to folk arts through presentations, performances, workshops, and other programs.

Haitian-American painter and multi-instrumentalist
Bonga Jean Baptiste

Traditional Indian Painter Mona Pande

Frank Littlebear and the
Red Visions Native American Dance Team

Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship Program is no longer accepting applications for 2023. Stay tuned for the opening of the 2024 period in the spring of 2024.

Are you a skilled practitioner of a traditional art form interested in passing on your traditions? Do you know a skilled practitioner whose art you would like to learn? You may be eligible for an apprenticeship in a traditional art, supported by the PCA.

As a Folk Art Partner with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Everhart can help artists in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties apply for the apprenticeship program. Grants are up to $4,000 to cover time and supplies for a master artist working with a qualified apprentice. Please review the program guidelines and application. For more information, contact Camille Dantone at communityfamilyprograms@everhart-museum.org.

What are apprenticeship grants? 

  • Grants are up too $4,000 that support a master artists to work with a qualified apprentice over the course of a year to pass on skills and cultural knowledge of their art form.
  • There are about 20 grants funded per year. 
  • All grant applications are due April 17, 2023.
  • Grants will be reviewed in late June 2023 by a panel of scholars, folklorists, artists and consultants. They will then submit their decision to the council. The council will review the decisions of the panel in July 2023 and either approve or reject the application. 
  • Grant can begin September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2023. All contracts will be distributed in Fall of 2023. 

Eligibility of apprenticeship grant

  • Master and apprentice should apply for the grant and build a feasible work plan together. 
  • Master and apprentice should share a cultural background or a shared art form. 
  • Work should focus on a living art form that typical taught in a formal setting.
  • Apprentice must be located and working in Pennsylvania, while master doesn’t have to be in Pennsylvania.

For more information on applying for the apprenticeship program, view the following video.

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