Since 1999, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts’ (ACTA’s) Apprenticeship Program has supported California’s cultural traditions with 331 contracts to outstanding folk and traditional artists and practitioners. Now entering its 18th cycle, ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program encourages the continuity of the state’s living cultural heritage by contracting exemplary master artists to offer intensive training and mentorship to qualified apprentices.
The 2018 Apprenticeship Program cohort of 34 artists (17 pairs) represents California’s breadth of cultural diversity and intergenerational learning. The pairs range from master artists in their 70s to a 14-year old apprentice, spanning from Los Angeles to Humboldt Counties. These apprenticeships reflect thriving traditions, including indigenous California cultural practices that include Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa basketry. Others celebrate traditions which have taken root in California, and originally hail from Africa, India, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Iran, China, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
ACTA is pleased to announce the 17 statewide artist pairs contracted in the 2018 Apprenticeship Program:
Jorge Alabe Bezerra + Robert Lopez, Oakland
Returning master drummer Jorge Alabe Bezerra (2010) comes back to the program to work with apprentice Robert Lopez in the Candomblé drumming tradition of the African Diaspora in Brazil.
Nzingha Camara + Amber Tell, Los Angeles
Nzingha Camara will provide knowledge and expertise to her apprentice Amber Tell in the traditional folk dances of the Bambara people of Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.
Rubén Guzmán Campos + Vanina Doce-Mood, Oakland
Returning master artist Rubén Guzmán Campos (2001 + 2004) will be working with apprentice Vanina Doce-Mood in cartonería, a Mexican tradition of figurative papier mâché sculpture.
Peter Deguzman + Jasmine Orpilla, Newhall + Los Angeles
Peter Deguzman will be working with his apprentice, Jasmine Orpilla, to enrich her understanding of the Amilbangsa Method of Philippine Pangalay dance.
Naomi Diouf + Nikka Maynard, Castro Valley + San Leandro
Returning master artist Naomi Diouf (2003), an expert in West African dance, history, costume, song, and culture, will be working with her apprentice Nikka Maynard in multi-disciplinary African folklore performance and art.
Yuriko Doi + Nick Ishimaru, Sausalito + San Francisco
Master artist Yuriko Doi (2008) returns to the program to deepen the knowledge of apprentice Nick Ishimaru in Kyogen, a form of traditional Japanese comic theater.
Sue Hee Ko + Katherine Ko, Los Angeles
Apprentice Katherine Ko will be mentored by her mother, master Korean dancer Sue Hee Ko, in the tradition of Kyobang Tagomu, or Korean Big Drum dance.
Abbos Kosimov + Akhror Kosimov, Sacramento
Returning to the program is master drummer Abbos Kosimov (2009) who will be working with his son, apprentice Akhror Kosimov, to further develop his skills in Uzbek doira frame drum.
Jesus Martinez + Mary Alfaro, Los Angeles + San Fernando
One of our younger master artists, Jesus Martinez, will mentor his musical collaborator, apprentice Mary Alfaro, in the techniques and repertoire of the requinto romántico, a soprano melodic guitar played in trio romántico, a form of bolero music rooted in Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
Margaret Peters + Nelia Marshall, Willow Creek + Hoopa
Master basket weaver Margaret Peters (2014; Yurok) returns to the program to deepen the knowledge of her apprentice Nelia Marshall (Hupa) in the Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa cultural practice of making traditional baby baskets.
Farah Yasmeen Shaikh + Sreoshi Sarkar, Menlo Park + Los Altos
Master dancer Farah Yasmeen Shaikh (2007), previously an ACTA apprentice to the late Chitresh Das, returns to the Apprenticeship Program this year to mentor apprentice Sreoshi Sarkar in North Indian Kathak dance.
Dixie Rogers + Julia McCovey, West Sacramento + Hoopa
Dixie Rogers (Karuk), former apprentice in basket weaving to master artists Kathy Wallace (2003) and Wilverna Reece (2014, 2016) will be working with her cousin, apprentice Julia McCovey (Yurok, Karuk) in the techniques and cultural frameworks of making traditional Karuk baby baskets.
Rumen Shopov + Jesse Kiril Stremski-Andrews, Berkeley + Oakland
Master Balkan Romani musician Rumen Shopov (2012) returns to train his apprentice Jesse Kiril Stremski-Andrews in the repertoire and form of Svatbarska Musika, or Bulgarian and Romani wedding music.
Wilfried Souly + Aaron Kwesi Mason, Los Angeles
Master dancer and choreographer Wilfried Souly takes on apprentice Aaron Kwesi Mason in deepening the movements and knowledge of the traditional dance forms of the Mande region of West Africa.
Tobaji Stewart + Acacia Woods-Chan, Oakland
A previous ACTA master artist in batá drumming, Tobaji Stewart (2013, 2016), will share with his apprentice Acacia Woods-Chan the expressions and form of the sung liturgy of call-and-response Lucumí sacred songs.
Mahsa Vahdat + Adrienne Shamszad, Oakland
Apprentice Adrienne Shamszad will be mentored by master musician Mahsa Vahdat in traditional Persian singing, exploring the musical modes, melodies, and peoms rooted in the spiritual texts and literature of Iran.
Baoshan Wang + Jon Wai-keung Lowe, Hayward + Berkeley
Master artist Baoshan Wang will further mentor his apprentice Jon Wai-keung Lowe in the intricacies and styles of Jingju, or Beijing opera – a form of Classical Chinese drama.
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts’ Apprenticeship Program is supported with generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with additional support from the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and individual contributors supporting one or more apprenticeships.