Wisconsin Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Collection, 1984-1996

Summary Information

Collection Summary

Title: Wisconsin Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Collection
Dates: 1984-1996

  • Wisconsin Arts Board
Unique Identifier: CSUMC0031-CG

Contents: Wisconsin Arts Board: 205 folders, 1,146 color slides, 4 black-and-white negatives

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
432 East Campus Mall, Room 332
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Web site: http://csumc.wisc.edu

Archival Location:
Wisconsin Arts Board (Map)

This collection contains color slides, applications, and award information for most of the c. 130 master artists who applied to the Wisconsin Arts Board for the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program during a twelve-year period, 1984-1996. The Program administered grants to master traditional artists to teach their skills to apprentices and focused primarily on members of Wisconsin's Woodland Indian nations--Ho-Chunks, Menominees, six bands of Ojibwas, Oneidas, Potawatomis, and Stockbridge-Munsees. Supported Woodland traditions included beadwork, quillwork, black ash or birchbark basketry, the making of dance regalia, drum or other instrument making, wood and metalworking, traditional singing and dancing, and storytelling. Awardees also included master-apprentice pairs representing other Wisconsin cultural traditions such as Arab and African drumming, Hmong-American qeej-playing, Czech- and Slovak-American wheat weaving, Mexican-American dance, Norwegian-American rosemaling and woodcarving, and Puerto Rican-American musical instrument making.

Language: The records are in English.

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-csumc-csumc0031cg
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Collection Concordance by Format
Quantity Physical Description Location
Manuscript Materials
205 folders Wisconsin Arts Board (FAP file drawer)
Graphic Materials
1,146 35 mm color slides Wisconsin Arts Board (red binders)
4 black-and-white negatives Wisconsin Arts Board (red binders)


The Wisconsin Arts Board's Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March developed and coordinated the grants program and master-apprentice pairs during site visits to monitor apprenticeship activity.

Project History

For twelve years the Wisconsin Arts Board administered the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, which awarded grants up to $2,000 per annual grant cycle, for supplies, travel, and an honorarium to master artists interested in teaching their skills to apprentices.

The Program, one of several initiatives sponsored by the Folk Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts, aimed to help sustain rare and endangered traditional art forms by pairing master folk artists with apprentices. This effort in “cultural conservation” attempted to ensure that distinctive traditional skills continue to be practiced in the cultural groups who have cultivated them. The Program helped recognize and engage hundreds of exceptional traditional artists, including Gerald Hawpetoss, a 1992 National Heritage Fellowship recipient honored for his Menominee and Potawatomi regalia making.

From 1985 through 1996, almost 200 apprenticeship awards were given, in sums from $500 to $2,000, thus doubling or tripling the number of traditional practitioners in Wisconsin. While open to applicants of all cultural backgrounds, the Program emphasized the teaching of Woodland Indian traditions. On average about 10 grants were awarded annually and at least 75 percent of the recipients represented Wisconsin's Indian nations: Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Potawatomi, the six bands of Ojibwas, Oneidas, Potawatomis, and Stockbridge-Munsees.

The Program ended in 1996 when drastic cuts at the National Endowment for the Arts altered grant funding formulas for state arts agencies. From 2000 to 2002, Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March reinstated the Program, with WAB awarding about fifteen $1,500 grants using state gaming compact funds. Records from this later phase of the Program are not present in this or other collections at the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains applications and award information for apprenticeship program funds as well as 35 mm color slides of master-apprentice awardees practicing their artistic traditions.

Apprenticeship application forms often contain traditional artists' personal written accounts of what meaning their art forms have in their lives and the lives of their community. Some accounts detail traditional techniques and explain the tradition and history behind the art form. The application files are arranged in reverse chronological order by year and within each year by master artist. Unsuccessful grant applications were not consistently kept. Occasionally folders contain submitted photographs.

Five binders hold 35 mm color slides of traditional artists taken by Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March during site visits. Slides in three of the binders are arranged alphabetically by artist, while two binders require further processing.

Permission forms from the applicants for educational, research, and publicity uses of the application contents are kept in a general permission forms binder at the Arts Board.

Related Materials

Gilmore, Janet C. and Richard March. “Woodland Ways: Folk Arts Apprenticeships Among Wisconsin Indians, 1983-1993.”

Hocak Wazijaci Artistic Traditions Project Collection (CSUMC0007-CG)

Wisconsin Arts Board Sesquicentennial Folklife Festivals Collection (CSUMC0019-CG)

Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Documentation Project Collection (CSUMC0006-CG)

Key Subjects
Groups (Ethnic, National, Cultural, Religious, etc.)

  • African-Americans
  • Arab Americans
  • Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin
  • Czech Americans
  • Dutch Americans
  • Fox Indians
  • Hmong Americans
  • Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin
  • Irish Americans
  • Japanese Americans
  • Jews
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
  • Menominee Indians
  • Meskwaki Indians
  • Mesquaki Indians
  • Mexican Americans
  • Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Mole Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Norwegian-Americans
  • Ojibwa Indians
  • Oneida Indians
  • Potawatomi Indians
  • Puerto Ricans
  • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
  • Slovak Americans
  • St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
  • Stockbridge and Munsee Tribe of Indians
  • Winnebago Indians


  • English language


  • Ashland County (Wis.)
  • Barron County (Wis.)
  • Bayfield County (Wis.)
  • Bowler (Wis.)
  • Brown County (Wis.)
  • Chippewa County (Wis.)
  • Crandon (Wis.)
  • Dane County (Wis.)
  • Eau Claire County (Wis.)
  • Forest County (Wis.)
  • Friendship (Wis.)
  • Green Bay (Wis.)
  • Iron County (Mich.)
  • Jackson County (Wis.)
  • Juneau County (Wis.)
  • Lac du Flambeau (Wis.)
  • Marathon County (Wis.)
  • Menominee County (Wis.)
  • Middle West
  • Milwaukee (Wis.)
  • Mille Lacs (Minn.)
  • Monroe County (Wis.)
  • Oneida County (Wis.)
  • Outagamie County (Wis.)
  • Polk County (Wis.)
  • Portage County (Wis.)
  • Rusk County (Wis.)
  • Sauk County (Wis.)
  • Sawyer County (Wis.)
  • Shawano County (Wis.)
  • Sheboygan County (Wis.)
  • Vilas County (Wis.)
  • Walworth County (Wis.)
  • Waukesha County (Wis.)
  • Winnebago County (Wis.)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Dells (Wis.)


  • Appliqué
  • Basket making
  • Beadwork
  • Birch bark baskets
  • Black ash splint basketry
  • Canoes and canoeing
  • Cantors (Church music)
  • Cornhusk craft
  • Cradleboards
  • Crocheting
  • Cuatro (Musical instrument)
  • Dance
  • Dance regalia
  • Deerskin tanning
  • Dollmaking
  • Dreamcatchers
  • Drum performance
  • Drum-making
  • Fish decoys
  • Food habits
  • Hindeloopen (Netherlands)
  • Ice fishing
  • Indian baskets
  • Indian beadwork
  • Indian blankets
  • Indian regalia
  • Lacrosse stick making
  • Maple sugaring
  • Moccasins
  • Narrative
  • Native American flute
  • Oneida sacred singing
  • Pipe making
  • Qeej playing
  • Quillwork
  • Ribbon work
  • Roach weaving
  • Rosemaling
  • Rug braiding
  • Sashes (Clothing)
  • Silver jewelry
  • Snowshoe making
  • Star quilts
  • Storytelling
  • Sweetgrass baskets
  • Straw work
  • Twining
  • Wedding ritual and songs
  • Wheat weaving
  • Wood-carving
  • Yarn bag making
  • Yarn doll making

Traditional Artists: Practitioners of Woodland Indian Art Forms

  • Ackley, Joe
  • Allard, Karen Anderson
  • Anderson, David
  • Bainbridge, Delores
  • Barber, Ricky
  • Bates, Mavie
  • Billyboy, Vergel
  • Blackdeer, Bertha
  • Bullet, Bobby
  • Burgess, Idell
  • Cadotte, Elizabeth
  • Chosa, Ben
  • Cleveland, Annette
  • Cloud, Gladys
  • Cloud, Paul
  • Cloud, Ruth
  • Cloud, Sharon
  • Connors, Charles
  • Danforth, Tina
  • Daniels, Billy
  • Daniels, Josephine
  • Daniels, Ned
  • Dearbin, Elizabeth
  • DeCora, Elvina
  • Decorah, Franceita
  • Deere, Elizabeth
  • DeFoe, Diane M.
  • DeFoe, Marvin F., Jr.
  • Doud, Josephine
  • Edwards, Mary
  • Elm, Carol
  • Frank, Delphine
  • Frechette, James, Jr.
  • Frog, Mary Jane
  • Funmaker, Kenneth, Sr.
  • Gokee, Alexander
  • Goslin, Genevieve
  • Graveen, Elmer
  • Green, Margaret
  • Greendeer, Elena
  • Gurnoe, Sam
  • Hart, Margaret
  • Hawpetoss, Gerald
  • Heeren, Rosette
  • Herrera, Cristina
  • Jackson, William
  • Johnston, Francis
  • Keewaydinoquay
  • LaMere, Viola
  • LaPointe, Leonard
  • LeMieux, Mary Lee (Prescott)
  • Little Wolf, Lauren
  • Little Wolf, Martin
  • Littleton, Josephine
  • Logan, Herman
  • Lonetree, Cecelia
  • Lonetree, Helen
  • Lowe, Annabelle
  • Lowe, Myron
  • Malliette, Anne
  • Manders, Priscilla
  • Mann, Gerald
  • Martin, Edwin
  • Maulson, Jerry
  • McGeshick, George
  • McGeshick, Mary
  • McLester, Caterina
  • McLester, Wendell
  • Miner, Alma
  • Montano, Frank
  • Montano, Mike
  • Mosay, Wayne
  • Musqua, Sam
  • Newago, Myrtle
  • Newago, Walter
  • O'Brien, Polly
  • Okerlund, Christine E.
  • Poler, Agnes
  • Poler, Emanuel
  • Powless, Dorothy
  • Prescott, Bonnie Jane
  • Razer, James
  • Rivard, Connie
  • Roach, Kevin
  • Roth, Kristi
  • Ryan, Mamie
  • Schreyer, Madeline
  • Schultz, Evelyn
  • Schwamp, Emily
  • Shegonee, Agnes
  • Skenandore, Bette
  • Smith, Elizabeth K. “Gena”
  • Smith, Leo
  • Smith, Leona
  • Smith, Marilyn
  • Smith, Sheila
  • Snow, John
  • Soldier, Correne
  • Soldier, Palmer
  • Springer, Bernice
  • Springer, Patti
  • St. Germaine, Robert B.
  • Tallmadge, Bernadine
  • Thunder, Mary
  • Thundercloud, Irene
  • Vetterneck, Elizabeth
  • Webster, Louis
  • Whitehorse, Harry
  • Whitewing, Violet
  • Williams, Ardetta

Traditional Artists: Other Practitioners, Varied Traditional Art Forms

  • Catto, Guy Scott
  • Colby, Henry
  • Cruz, Miguel
  • Eichaker, Ronald
  • Erickson, Bob
  • Finlayson, Reginald E.
  • Howard, Mark
  • Kochendorfer, Mona
  • Magraw, Dean
  • Metchar, Sachiko
  • Odden, Phillip
  • Ologboni, Tejumola
  • Palmer, Lee
  • Penn, Larry
  • Peterson, Dorothy
  • Pineda, German
  • Radke, Elma
  • Reyes, Manuel
  • Wadina-Lee, Sidonka
  • Wahid Badi, Hasan
  • Wenzel, Scott
  • Xiong, Chong Vang
  • Xiong, Joe Bee
  • Xiong, Nou
  • Yang, Nao Chay
  • Yang, Xay
  • Yost, Layne Fielding
Processing History

In 2005, CSUMC project assistant Joia O'Brien refoldered and arranged some of the application files and entered the documentation into WAB's Pearl database of Wisconsin traditional artists.


Contact the Wisconsin Arts Board for access information.

Wisconsin Arts Board
201 W. Washington Ave., 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 8690
Madison, Wisconsin 53708
Email: artsboard@wisconsin.gov
Phone: (608) 266-0190
Web site: http://artsboard.wisconsin.gov/

Consult the Wisconsin Arts Board for information on use restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Please consult the Wisconsin Arts Board for guidelines. We suggest the following citation form when using direct quotes from a person documented: [Name of person documented]. [Date]. [Tape/video/other]-recorded interview by [Fieldworker name]. [Place interviewed]. [Name of collection/project]. [Repository, city, state]. When using a specific image: [Identify subject matter/people in caption]. [Photo/image] by [Photographer/fieldworker name]. [Date]. Courtesy of [repository]. To quote fieldworker, follow bibliographical style.