Atlanta, GA – South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, is now accepting applications for the inaugural Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships. As part of their new In These Mountains initiative, South Arts will support nine folk and traditional artists with $9,000 each across Appalachia Regional Commission counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Applications are due January 15, 2019.

“The South is home to an abundance of folk and traditional art forms,” said program director Teresa Hollingsworth. “Master artists are standard-bearers of cultures and traditions that have been passed down through generations of Appalachians. As decades pass and the region changes, some traditional arts transform dramatically. Others remain the same. Whether it is quiltmaking or blacksmithing or gospel-singing, however, the traditional arts of Appalachian reflects its peoples’ belief that adapting to their present and staying rooted in their past are one in the same.”

For the purposes of this program, South Arts considers the folk and traditional arts of Central Appalachia to include music, crafts, occupational techniques, foodways, dance, and oral traditions such as storytelling. Folk and traditional arts are learned orally, or by observation and imitation, often through a master artist instructing an apprentice. They are usually maintained without formal instruction or academic training.

“These fellowships allow master artists to continue their lifelong journey of learning,” continued Hollingsworth. “Applicants can determine what their learning opportunity entails, but it could include anything from a visit to Dublin’s Trinity College to explore the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library to attendance at the Appalachian Food Summit to meet with other master chefs. The application is open-ended, and we look forward to reviewing the possibilities suggested by applicants.”

During the application process, applicants are required to submit works samples, explain their traditional art practice, and the lifelong opportunity they would pursue. “Equity is on our mind,” continued Hollingsworth. “The application is hosted on our website, but we know that many traditional artists may prefer a more traditional method. If you want paper copies of our application to mail in, give us a ring at 404.201.7938.”

Applications and full guidelines for the 2019 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships as well as a list of eligible counties across Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee are available at or by calling the South Arts office. Submissions are due by January 15, 2019. Applicants will be reviewed by a panel based on the published criteria, and selected folk and traditional artists will be notified in February 2019.