Wisconsin Arts Board Announces FY23 Folk Arts Apprenticeship Award Recipients

MADISON, WI (June 14, 2022) –​ From Black Ash basketry to Norwegian Rosemaling to South Indian classical dance to Slovakian wheat weaving, and beyond, the Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) is pleased to announce the ten 2022-2023 Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program grant awardees. 

Folk Arts Apprenticeships are designed to strengthen and encourage the continuity of Wisconsin's diverse cultural traditions by supporting distinguished traditional artists and tradition bearers in pass​ing their skills and knowledge on to committed and talented apprentices. The award provides $3,500 to each Wisconsin-based artist/tradition bearer to support their work with the emerging-artist mentee(s) this year. 

The FY23 (2022-2023) FAAP grant awardees include: Kripa Baskaran, mentor (Brookfield), and apprentices Navya Francis, Reva Hegde, and Anushka Guru (Brookfield) for Bharatnatyam (South Indian Classical Dance); Nels Diller, mentor (Madison), and apprentice Lauren Newby (Madison) for Traditional Norwegian Architecture; Andrea Herkert, mentor (Belleville), and apprentice Lisa Anderson (Nelsonville) for Norwegian Rosemaling; Steve Meisner, mentor (Whitewater), and apprentice Theodore Ceplina (Madison) for Piano Accordion (Polka band leadership); Nancy Odalen, mentor (Stoughton), and apprentice Ella Beckler (Edgerton) for Norwegian Rosemaling; Pamela Rucinski, mentor (Oshkosh), and apprentice Heather Clark (Sparta) for Norwegian Rosemaling; April Stone, mentor (Odanah), and apprentice Rae Skenandore (Green Bay) for Black Ash Basketry; Lavanyaa Surendar, mentor (Brookfield), and apprentices Nivedha Nandhagopalan (Brookfield), Sanjana Vasireddy (Mequon), and Joshitha Senthil (Brookfield) for Bharatanatyam; Vanitha Suresh, mentor (Middleton), and apprentices Sujit Jasty and Kaushal Yelgapuri (Middleton) for Carnatic (South Indian Classical) music; and Sidonka Wadina, mentor (Lyons), and apprentice Elizabeth Beunaiche (Genoa City) for Slovakian Straw Plaiting.​​

Awards were determined by a panel of cultural leaders and peers, based on the following criteria: the traditionality of the art form; the artistic quality of the mentor artist's work; the demonstrated commitme​nt and skill of the apprentice(s); the shared membership of the instructing artist and apprentice in a cultural community; the feasibility of the proposed work plan; and the urgency of the proposed apprenticeship. The panel recommended the 10 applicants to the WAB board for final approval.

Wisconsin is home to a rich array of cultural traditions carried on by members of its diverse communities – ​​from the Indigenous peoples on whose homelands the program takes place, to its most recent immigrants. Since 2008, WAB has awarded 161 apprenticeship grants to exemplary artists and practitioners to teach one or more apprentices from their community, encouraging the continued vitality of important traditional art forms.

The Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program is supported with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the program, visit https://artsboard.wisconsin.gov/Pages/Community/FAA.aspx.

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency which nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage. For more information on the Wisconsin Arts Board, please visit artsboard.wisconsin.gov​.