Since 1999, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts’ (ACTA’s) Apprenticeship Program has supported California’s cultural traditions with 348 contracts to outstanding folk and traditional artists and practitioners. Now entering its 19th 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. Contracts of $3,000 are made with California-based master artists to cover master artist’s fees, supplies and travel. Participants work closely with ACTA staff to develop and document the apprenticeships, culminating in opportunities to publicly share results of their work.
The 2019 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 60s to a 15-year old apprentice, spanning from San Diego to Humboldt Counties. These apprenticeships continue thriving traditions, including indigenous California cultural practices that include Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa basketry. Others celebrate traditions which have taken root in California, and originally hail from Peru, Africa, Bolivia, India, Iran, Armenia, China, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam.
ACTA is pleased to announce the 17 statewide artist pairs contracted in the 2019 Apprenticeship Program:
Mehrdad Arabifard + Negin Fadaee, Tarzana and Woodland Hills
Mehrdad Arabifard will be teaching Negin Fadaee techniques of the percussive Persian Tombak.
Hari Asuri + Brinda Asuri, Irvine
Master vocalist Hari Asuri will be working with his daughter and apprentice Brinda Asuri in sankeertanam, a south Indian musical tradition.
Zarouhi “Zee” Bedrossian + Julianne Burk, Fresno
Zarouhi “Zee” Bedrossian will be sharing traditions of Armenian home cooking with her apprentice, Julianne Burk. Follow along with their blog, The Stranger in Your Kitchen, where they will be documenting Zee’s recipes.
Swapan Chaudhuri (2016) comes back to the program to work with Rohan Krishnamurthy on North Indian tabla forms (Krishnamurthy was also a 2017 master artist in Mridangam Carnatic music).
Bernard Barros Ellorin + Kimberly Kalanduyan, San Diego
Master artist Bernard Barros Ellorin will train his apprentice Kimberly Kalanduyan in Kulintang music of the Southern Philippines.
DaEun Jung + Melody Hyun-Jeong Shim, Los Angeles
Apprentice Melody Hyun-Jeong Shim will be mentored by master artist DaEun Jung in Korean folk dance.
Youngmin Lee + Stephanie Rue, Pleasanton and Sacramento
Master artist Youngmin Lee with share the crafting of bojagi, or Korean wrapping cloths, with apprentice Stephanie Rue.
Gaudencia Lopez + Francisco Gomez Padilla, Reedley
Apprentice Francisco Gomez Padilla will learn the art of Cambalache, a kind of open-work embroidery, from his wife, master artist Gaudencia Lopez.
Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong + Bo Shannon Chappel, Oakland
Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong (2014, 2016) will be working with her apprentice Bo Shannon Chappel in Japanese Koto music.
Pierr Padilla + Carmen Román, Oakland
Master dancer Pierr Padilla will train his wife and apprentice Carmen Román in the Afro-Peruvian dance form Marinera Limeña.
Dorothy Sylvia + Sonia Franzi, Hoopa
Master weaver Dorothy Sylvia (Yurok/Karuk) will teach apprentice Sonia Franzi (Yurok/Karuk) how to make infant cradle baskets in the Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa tradition.
Eva Tam + Teresa Luk, San Francisco
Cantonese Opera performer Eva Tam will train apprentice Teresa Luk in the Chinese art form.
Soumya Tilak + Vibha Raju, San Jose and Fremont
Apprentice Vibha Raju will train under master artist Soumya Tilak in the South Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam.
Luis Torres + Arthur Torres, Panorama City
Master artist Luis Torres will work with his son and apprentice Arthur Torres in the tradition of Andean music from Bolivia.
Jayashree Varadarajan + Kaushik Shivakumar, Sunnyvale
Master artist Jayashree Varadarajan (2010, 2015) returns to take on apprentice Kaushik Shivakumar in South Indian Carnatic classical music.
Snigdha Venkataramani + Anagaa Nathan, Cupertino
Master dancer Snigdha Venkataramani will train her apprentice Anagaa Nathan in the Bharatanatyam dance.
Van-Anh “Vanessa” Vo + Thu Vu, Fremont
Van-Anh “Vanessa” Vo (2010, 2013, 2016) returns to the program to work with Thu Vu to deepen her practice in the Vietnamese Dan Tranh.
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 Surdna Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.