The Folk Arts Program preserves and perpetuates traditional performing and visual art forms practiced in New Mexico. Folk Arts are the traditional, functional, and expressive arts passed down through word of mouth or by imitation within a specific cultural group such as family, community, occupational, ethnic, or religious. Folk Arts reflect the values and world-views of the groups that make them and are a rich and valuable heritage for all New Mexicans.
The program provides grants for folk arts projects and folk art apprenticeships; conducts fieldwork and documentation of the traditional arts in New Mexico and regionally; and presents workshops, lectures, panels, and events to further highlight traditional art forms in the region.
The Folk Arts Apprenticeship program contracts with master folk artists to teach their art forms to dedicated apprentices. The apprenticeship provides one-on-one intensive learning experiences for artist engaged in preserving traditional art forms. The master artist must demonstrate excellence in the traditional art form, and the apprentice must demonstrate a commitment to learning and carrying on the art form. Priority is given to artists who learned their folk art in a traditional manner within their cultural, familial, religious, or occupational groups.
Funded through the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk Arts Apprenticeships have specific guidelines and application process.