Wisconsin Arts Board Announces FY25 Folk Arts Apprenticeship Award Recipients

MADISON, WI (July 1, 2024) – The Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) is pleased to announce this year's eleven 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 passing their skills and knowledge on to committed apprentices. The award provides $3,500 to each of the 11 Wisconsin-based tradition bearers to support their mentoring work with this year's emerging-artist apprentices. 

The FY25 (2024-2025) Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program grant awardees include: 

  • ​Raka Bandyo (Madison) and apprentices Preeti Ojha (Madison), Arkadipta Bakshi (Madison), Haritha Bhairavabhatla (Madison), and Emily Altkorn (Madison) for Odissi Dance;

  • Koffi Zoe Dogbevi (Madison) and apprentice Komla Kalley (Madison) for African Drumming (Bobobo);

  • Sue Hulsether (Viroqua) and apprentice Mary Kay McDermott (Cuba City) for Traditional Folk Dance Calling; 

  • Estela Alejandra Jimenez (Milwaukee) and apprentice Laura Medina (Milwaukee) in Aztec Dance; 

  • Jennifer Jordan (Green Bay) and apprentice Sadie Cheyenne Wilson (Oneida) for Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork;

  • Claudia Gabriela Jimenez Marvan (Viroqua) and apprentices María Navarrete (Deforest) and Ireri Andrea Muñiz Ortega (Madison) for traditional Mexican Cartonería (sculpture with paper and paste);

  • SeonJoo Oh (Shorewood) and apprentice Ryoungki Kim (New Berlin) for Korean Folk Paper Crafts;

  • Linda Serna (Milwaukee) and apprentice Paula Lovo (Milwaukee) for Son Jarocho and Fandango traditions;

  • Lavanyaa Surendar (Brookfield) and apprentices Anvita Sista (Sussex), Sanjivani Swaminathan (Greenville), and Mahati Shivkumar Iyer (Brookfield) for Bharatanatyam (South Indian Classical Dance);

  • Vanitha Suresh (Middleton) and apprentices Shreya Ramesh (Madison) and Yadhavi Sunderesan (Brookfield) for Carnatic Music (South Indian Traditional/Classical Music); and

  • Kaying Xiong (Eau Claire) and apprentice Tiffany Xiong (Sheboygan) for Hmong Song Poetry (kwv txhiaj).

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's work; the demonstrated commitment and skill of the apprentice(s); the shared membership of the Mentor and apprentice in a cultural community; the feasibility of the proposed work plan; and the urgency of the proposed apprenticeship. The panel recommended the 11 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 184 apprenticeship grants to exemplary traditional artists and tradition bearers 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.