Wyoming Arts Council

Wyoming Arts Council Announces Folk Art Mentoring Grant Recipients

The Wyoming Arts Council is pleased to announce the 5 recipients of the fiscal year 2024 Folk & Traditional Arts Mentoring Project Grants. The recipients are: 

  • Kalen SunRhodes (Northern Arapaho), teaching Colton SunRhodes (Northern Arapaho), both of Ethete, the art of Prairie Chicken Dance Regalia Making
  • Amanda Fraker, teaching Ryelene Mespelt, both of Moorcroft, the art of Western Leatherwork.
  • Aloysious (Luke) Bell, Jr. (Northern Arapaho)  teaching Kane BigLake (Northern Arapaho), both of Riverton, the art of Northern Arapaho Drum Making. 
  • Justine Nelson-Graham, of Weston, teaching Carson Martinson, of Gillette, the art of Rawhide Braiding. 
  • John Blair, of Greybull, teaching Matt Avery, of Rozet, the art of Western Saddlemaking.

Folk Art Mentoring Grants are designed to support the continuation of Wyoming’s folk and traditional arts through the process of in-person, hands-on instruction. A master artist works with a dedicated apprentice from their community to mentor over the course of the project in order to advance the skills of the apprentice in their traditional art form. Projects will run from July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024. This year, the grant amount has been increased to $5,000. 

“Folk and traditional arts are typically learned through informal processes such as observation, imitation, and one-on-one apprenticeships,” said Josh Chrysler of the Wyoming Arts Council. “The Folk Art Mentoring Project Grant is designed to create opportunities for those grassroots learning experiences where these art forms are best learned and maintained by the communities from which they come.”  

Applications are made jointly between master and apprentice, and reviewed by a panel of experts. This year, the panelists were Rose Pecos-SunRhodes (clay artist, previous mentor artist); Crystal C’Bearing (Deputy Director, Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office); Violeta Martin (Outreach and Grants Manager, Center for Washington Cultural Traditions); and Andrea Graham (Folklife Specialist, American Studies, University of Wyoming).

For more information contact Josh Chrysler at joshua.chrysler@wyo.gov or 307-256-2010, or visit the grants tab at wyomingartscouncil.org.

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