MSU's Michigan Traditional Arts Program Seeks 2022 Heritage Award Nominations, Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Applications

December 8, 2021

Honoring individuals who carry on traditions with excellence is the focus of two annual programs coordinated by the Michigan Traditional Arts Program (MTAP) of Michigan State University: the Michigan Heritage Awards, and the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeships.

Nominations for 2022 Heritage Awards and applications for the apprenticeships are due Monday, January 3, 2021. Heritage Award nomination forms and apprenticeship application forms are available online at Anyone considering putting together an application for either program should contact Micah Ling, at or

Support for the 2022 Michigan Heritage Awards and the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and generous contributions from individuals.

More about the 2022 Michigan Heritage Awards:

Since 1985, the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program has, through its Michigan Heritage Awards, honored the achievements and dedication of Michigan’s traditional artists and traditional arts advocates. The awards recognize these practitioners in the areas of performance, material culture, and community leadership.

The 2021 awardees were: 

Anny Hubbard of Sault Ste. Marie (Chippewa County), for birch bark cut out work

Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard of Detroit (Wayne County) for African American gospel music radio presenting, documentation, and community leadership

“The attention and honor extended to these artists through the Michigan Heritage Awards are important not only to them but to all of us who cherish the state’s cultural heritage,” explains Marsha MacDowell, director of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. “We seek nominations from all over the state so that the awards continue to reflect the great diversity of skills, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds of Michiganders,” she adds.

More about the 2022 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program:

The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program supports the continuation of traditional arts practiced in Michigan that are learned informally from one another in small groups and families. These range from decoy duck carving to storytelling, mehndi (henna) art application to Irish step dance, and

tamale making to Finnish kantele playing. A master artist works with an apprentice artist, passing on the skills and knowledge about a particular traditional art for. The apprenticeship program awards a $2000 stipend in support of the instruction time the master artist spends with the apprentice. A gallery of past awardees is available online. In 2022, the program will be able to award 6 apprenticeships.

“Like its natural resources, Michigan’s cultural traditions are a treasured resource to be nurtured for future generations, which is why the apprenticeship program provides incentives to traditional artists to pursue their art and pass on these skills on to others,” says Micah Ling, coordinator of the apprenticeship program. “Many master and apprentice teams tell us that their apprenticeship was one of the most meaningful times of their lives, providing the opportunity and the means to pass on a living tradition to someone who will continue the tradition as well.”

More about the Michigan Traditional Arts Program:

The Michigan Traditional Arts Program is a statewide program that advances cross-cultural understanding in a diverse society through the documentation, preservation, and presentation of the traditional arts, folklife, and everyday culture in Michigan.

This statewide program is based at the MSU Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and is supported by partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts, MSU University Outreach and Engagement, the MSU Museum, and MSU’s Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences.