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Folklife Apprenticeship

Folklife Apprenticeship


Past Folklife Apprenticeship team Phil Wiggins (left, master) and Junious Brickhouse studied Piedmont blues harmonica. Photo by Edwin Remsberg Photographs. Past Folklife Apprenticeship team Anna Pasqualucci (left, master) and Lisa Penn studied Baltimore screen painting. Photo by Edwin Remsberg Photographs.


COVID-19 Program Updates and Resources

In response to COVID-19, the Maryland State Arts Council convened on March 25, 2020 and approved the following changes for FY20 Folklife Apprenticeship Grants:

  1. Use of FY20 funds may be extended until November 30, 2020 by submitting a request to

Find all other MSAC COVID-19 information here. 


Call for Panelists Closes January 22, 2021

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is seeking panelists to review Folklife Apprenticeship grants for the 2022 fiscal year. Offered annually, Folklife Apprenticeship grants fund the teaching of skills from a master to a learner artist in the traditional arts. During the study period, a master artist passes down her or his knowledge to a learner artist in an effort to support the vitality of traditional arts in Maryland.

Panelist work is at the heart of MSAC’s service. This work enlists members of Maryland’s arts sector to make the funding recommendations that MSAC uses in its grantmaking. Panelist service is a way to ensure that the needs of your community are represented on the state level.

Selected Folklife Apprenticeship panelists serve for a six-week term, which includes preparation for and participation in one panel of approximately three hours. To be eligible, applicants must be Maryland residents. It is recommended that panelists have access to a computer with an internet connection to participate. If this is not possible, alternate methods for participation can be made available. 

Folklife Apprenticeship panelists are paid $350.00 for their service, which includes the responsibilities listed below. MSAC staff provide support throughout the process. Please note that, currently, all panelist activities are held virtually. All panelists:

  • Attend a 90-minute panelist orientation, which includes a focus on uncovering implicit bias.

  • Independently read and score grant applications by the established deadlines. Scores and comments are submitted online.

  • Attend one panel of approximately two to four hours, depending on the number of applications received.

Download the Panelist Rubric to learn more. MSAC encourages panelist applications from historically-resilient communities, including but not limited to communities comprising Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as people with disabilities. 

Apply to be a panelist:

  • Navigate to SmartSimple, MSAC’s grants management software, to log in or create a free account; be sure to log in as an individual rather than an organization, as organization-based accounts do not have access to panelist applications. If you do not have an individual account, you may create one for free by registering as an “Independent Artist.”

  • Under Funding Opportunities, select "Public Call."

  • Fill out the information in the "Contact Information" tab.

  • Select the "Narrative" tab.

  • From the dropdown menu labeled "I am applying as a," select "Panelist Call," and click "Save Draft" to populate the application.

  • Select “Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship” as the Grant Program, and fill in the remainder of the form.

  • Click “Submit.”

If you are interested in serving as a panelist but have questions about the application process, please contact State Folklorist Chad Buterbaugh at If you require any accommodations to access the application, contact Accessibility Coordinator Precious Blake at


Folklife Apprenticeship Application Period Closes January 15, 2021

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is pleased to announce that applications are open for 2021 Maryland Folklife Apprenticeships. Applications are due Friday, January 15, at 5 p.m. Review the Folklife Apprenticeship guidelines and evaluation criteria here.

Begin an application using MSAC’s application system, SmartSimple. Log in to SmartSimple or create a free account at



Folklife Apprenticeship grants fund the teaching of skills from a master to a learner artist in folklife, or living cultural traditions. During the study period, a master folklife artist passes down her or his knowledge to a learner in an effort to support the vitality of folklife in Maryland. Grants are $5,000 each, with $4,000 disbursed to the master artist and $1,000 to the learner.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 (July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022), MSAC will accept applications to support as many as ten Folklife Apprenticeship teams in Maryland. Read the Folklife Apprenticeship guidelines here.

All Folklife Apprenticeship applications must be made in the SmartSimple online grants management system. Log in or create a free account at

Folklife Apprenticeships support living cultural traditions and are distinct from registered apprenticeships offered through the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Program (MATP), which supports workforce development. For more information on MATP, visit

Members of the public are invited to observe the FY 2022 Folklife Apprenticeship panel, which will be hosted virtually on Tuesday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Access the meeting on that date and time by navigating to or dialing +1 515-884-8185‬ and entering the following‬ PIN: ‪968 054 633‬#.



Schedules occur on the MSC fiscal year, which begins in July and ends in June:

  • Applications

    • Application publication: December 1

    • Application deadline: January 15

  • Panelist evaluation

    • Call for panelists opening: January 8

    • Call for panelists closing: January 22

    • Review of applications: March

  • Grant processing

    • Applicants notified of status: July

    • Funds processed for successful grantees: July

  • Final reports

    • Final report instructions released: June

    • Final reports due: July


Past Grantees

Folklife Apprenticeships have been given annually by MSAC since 2004 in direct support of individuals participating in living cultural traditions in Maryland. MSAC documents Folklife Apprenticeship teams in an effort to amplify the stories and advance the careers of folklife artists. The links below illustrate the work of some past Folklife Apprenticeship teams.