Three master artists awarded Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grants

Staff Report

FRANKFORT — Three 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 up to $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 three 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.

The masters and apprentices who will receive funding include the following individuals:

John Harrod (Owen County), who will teach central Kentucky fiddle traditions to Daniel Atkins (Franklin County);

Timothy Walden (Monroe County), who will teach south central Kentucky marble making to Ben Levi Walden (Monroe County);

John Haywood (Letcher County), who will teach eastern Kentucky banjo traditions to Montana Hobbs (Lee County).

Banjo player Montana Hobbs was inspired to pursue an apprenticeship with master John Haywood when her bandmate, Linda Jean Stokley, was studying with fiddler Jesse Wells through a Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant in 2015-16. Together, Hobbs and Stokley make up the traditional music duo The Local Honeys. They are also the first two female graduates of Morehead State University’s traditional music undergraduate program.

“Ever since I started playing this kind of music – around 2011 when I picked up banjo – I was listening to Jesse’s old band and to John Haywood. I respected John’s authenticity and how true he was to styles of eastern Kentucky banjo playing. There were little things he was doing that are specific to the way the old banjo players in eastern Kentucky were playing,” Hobbs said. “I’m itching to start learning from him one-on-one.”

Haywood himself has benefited from the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant in the past, as an apprentice of master George Gibson in 2010-11. Haywood is eager to begin working with Hobbs, who he had as a student in a classroom setting.

“She has a real desire and motivation. She has strong technique,” he said. “Her seriousness, wanting to take her talent to the next level and be professional, makes me feel good in giving this knowledge to a fellow Kentuckian. I feel I’m keeping this tradition alive in Kentucky.”

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 [email protected] or 502-564-8110, ext. 495.

Staff Report


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