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Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Kentucky Arts Council

Tom Musgrave

Four Master Artists Earn
Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 19, 2018) — Four Kentucky master artists have been awarded Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants from the Kentucky Arts Council.

The Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant provides $3,000 to a Kentucky master folk or traditional artist to teach skills, practices and culture to a less experienced artist from the same community during the course of a year.

The four recipients are folk or traditional artists who are considered masters within their community and who have identified an apprentice from the same community who has potential to become a master. Both master and apprentice must be Kentucky residents.

Among the recipients of the grant was Shuling Fister, who will teach Chinese folk dance to Angie Xiao, 17, of Fayette County, where Fister lives as well. Fister is a member of the arts council’s adjudicated Performing Artists Directory.

After studying with Fister for a few years beginning at age 7, Xiao returned to her teacher three years ago for regular lessons. One of their common goals for the apprenticeship is to start Xiao on the path toward becoming a master herself.

“She’s going to be a good teacher,” Fister said. “She has the potential and she’s very eager to learn the style and pass it on. It will help Angie greatly.”

Among Fister’s other goals is to demonstrate how Chinese traditional dance relates to American culture.

“We create a living culture of folk dance here, even though we’re far away from China,” Fister said.

The masters and apprentices who will receive funding include:

  • Carla Gover (Fayette), who will teach clogging and flatfoot dance to Susan Howell (Shelby);

  • Shuling Fister (Fayette), who will teach Chinese folk dance to Angie Xiao (Fayette);

  • Lewis Lamb (Garrard), who will teach Kentucky fiddle traditions to Sam Gleaves (Madison); and

  • Dan Estep (Knott), who will teach blacksmithing and toolmaking to Rodney Vanschoyck (Knott).

Visit the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant page of the arts council’s website for more information or contact Mark Brown, arts council folk and traditional arts director, at or 502-892-3115.

Shuling Fister

Shuling Fister of Lexington was one of four recipients of a Kentucky Arts Council Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. For the next year, Fister will teach apprentice Angie Xiao traditional Chinese folk dance.

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The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.