Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet the Maine Arts Commission's 2010 Traditional Arts Masters

The Maine Arts Commission today announced (in a press release)the 2010 Traditional Arts Masters. Greg Boardman, a fiddler from Auburn, Thomas Côté, an Acadian woodcarver from Limestone, Normand Gagnon, a Quebecois accordionist from Rumford, Susan Barrett Merrill, a weaver and spinner from Brooksville, and Paula Thorne, a Penobscot basketmaker from Exeter will each teach their traditional arts to apprentices during the next 12 months.

Every community has cultural traditions worth preserving. Many times those cultural traditions are preserved by someone in the community who has mastered and practices a traditional art. Each year the Maine Arts Commission offers stipends to master traditional artists who are willing to teach an apprentice over a period of 8 to 12 months. The apprenticeships have been used by basket makers, fiddle players, step dancers, ox yoke makers, snowshoe makers, and ballad singers, just to name a few. For their work teaching, the master artist receives a $4000 stipend which is funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts program.

This year’s Traditional Arts Masters will be on stage during a free night of entertainment at the Strand Theatre in Rockland on October 23. Here they will perform and demonstrate their art forms as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship Showcase. For information about this event, or any of the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts programs, visit www.MaineArts.com.

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