Master storyteller Charity Bagatsing Doyl (right) will teach apprentice Joellen Doyl (left) the oral storytelling tradition of the Philippine Ifugao Tribe. Back To All Blog Posts

Announcing the 2021-2022 Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Pairs

The sixteen teams of artists and craftspeople, chosen by the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions, will help preserve traditional skills.

  • July 22, 2021
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  • News & Notes
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  • By Humanities Washington staff

From Coast Salish art and storytelling to Afro-Brazilian martial arts, Indian classical dance, Laotian cooking and more, The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is excited to announce selections for the 2021-2022 Washington State Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program.  

Created to encourage people to learn a traditional trade, craft, or skill, the Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program conserves and helps carry on cultural traditions important to Washington’s communities. Program participants may teach or study music, visual art, occupational arts, dance, culinary traditions, storytelling and other verbal arts, and much more.  

Through the program, a skilled and experienced master artist mentors an apprentice, spending at least 100 hours of one-on-one time during the program year. The master artist will teach skills related to a tradition in their community, conserving that tradition and allowing it to thrive in future generations. 

Washington State is home to a rich collection of cultural traditions carried on by members of its many communities—from the Indigenous peoples in whose homelands this program takes place, to its most recent immigrants. Practitioners of these traditions enliven and enrich the cultural heritage of both their specific communities and Washington State more broadly. 

Folk and traditional arts and practices provide meaningful ways for individuals to connect with their past, and to build bridges to others and their surroundings in the present. Yet, because these practices are often learned informally in a one-on-one setting, many traditions are at risk of being lost. 

Now going into its fourth year, over 60 people have participated in the program. Many who have been part of it were able to use their experience to create businesses centered on their traditional products, or better establish themselves as teaching artists or paid entertainers. In addition to both preserving traditional skills and generating income for the practitioners, the program also helps apprentices develop important leadership skills that will help them advocate for their communities.  

The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program will culminate in a free event to introduce the public to these unique cultural traditions. 

Check out information about participants, their traditions, and their progress throughout the year at  

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is a program of Humanities Washington, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program is generously supported by funding received from ArtsWA, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Washington State Legislature. 


Meet the 16 teams of artists and culture bearers chosen to help preserve traditional skills across Washington State: 


Master:  Charity Bagatsing Doyl (Spokane Valley) 

Apprentice:  Joellen Doyl (Spokane) 

Tradition:  Oral tradition is an important aspect of many cultures, and this is no less true for the Philippine Ifugao Tribe. The tribe’s history has been passed down for millennia using the Ifugao art of storytelling, which includes valuable lessons from elders on love, life, family, and more.  


Master:  Janice Anne Whitefoot (Harrah) 

Apprentice:  Lisa Whitefoot (Yakima) 

Tradition:  Yakama Native American cultural skills, including identifying and repairing Plateau beaded bags, repurposing broken Salish baskets, working with rawhide, and more.  


Master:  Aaron Paul Whitefoot (Harrah) 

Apprentice:  Robert Olney Jr. (White Swan) 

Tradition:  The passing of the knife is a Yakama Native American tradition that focuses on the cutting and processing of an animal or fish to eat and share with family. Other traditions that will be explored include hunting, tying nets, and fishing.  


Master:  Kazuko Kaya Yamazaki (Tracyton) 

Apprentice:  Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor (Seattle) 

Tradition:  Kagura is a sacred Japanese dance that is performed during Shinto ceremonies and rituals. Today, Kagura is performed at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America in Granite Falls, Washington – the only Shinto shrine in the mainland United States. 


Master:  Srivani Jade (Kirkland) 

Apprentice:  Vibhuti Kavishwar (Redmond) 

Tradition:  North Indian regional folk music consists of songs celebrating nature, love, festivals, and celebrations of life. These songs date back to the early 18th century and are in spoken dialects of the Hindi language.  


Master:  Sandhya Kandadai Rajagopal (Sammamish) 

Apprentice:  Dhanshika Vijayaraj (Sammamish) 

Tradition:  Originating in South India, Bharatanatyam is the oldest form of Indian classical dance. It connects the mind, body, and soul through three main aspects: rhythmic dance movements (Nritta), expressive storytelling (Nritya), and a combination of the two (Natya).  


Master:  Roger Fernandes (Seattle) 

Apprentice:  Gabriel Port (Seattle) 

Tradition: Coast Salish art and storytelling are powerful means of retaining and sharing traditional stories, philosophies, and creative skills. In keeping legends and myths alive through art, the deepest Samish history and philosophies will in turn be kept alive.   


Master:  Silvio Dos Reis (Seattle) 

Apprentice:  Sandra Amolo (Seattle) 

Tradition:  Capoeira Angola is an Afro-Brazilian martial art originally used by enslaved Africans to combat colonial oppression. Capoeira weaves together intricate movements, spirituality, fight, philosophy, and discipline into an art form for liberation.  


Master:  Sally Barret (Anacortes) 

Apprentice:  Brittany Rose Schoch (Mount Vernon) 

Tradition:  Coast Salish cedar weaving is an integral part of Samish culture. The life of the cedar tree is a story of resilience, much like the history of the Samish. Woven cedar art pieces – such as baskets, jewelry, and masks – hold value for future generations to have and to hold.  


Master:  Hai viet Hong (Bothell) 

Apprentice:  Mina Ky (Mukilteo)

Tradition:  Tai Tu music consists of South Vietnamese traditional folk melodies and instruments such as the dan tranh. This art form flourished in the early 19th century and is now recognized as one of Vietnam’s national treasures.  


Master:  Sinae Joy Cheh (Seattle) 

Apprentice:  Siyeon Park (Lynnwood) 

Tradition: The traditional gayageum instrument was created in the small Korean Kingdom of Kaya with 12 strings. Now made with 25 strings, the instrument has a greater musical range that can be applied to contemporary music.   


Master:  Jacinthe Demmert (Shoreline) 

Apprentice:  Jelyna Brown (Seattle) 

Tradition:  Haida cedar bark weaving is a traditional art form passed down from generation to generation. This art form, like many of the Haida cultural arts, fosters a deeper bond to the natural world by connecting the maker to their materials.  


Master:  Deepti Agrawal (Bothell) 

Apprentice:  Harini Thiagarajan (Bothell) 

Tradition:  Madhubani painting is among the most ancient visual art styles known to mankind. It originated in the prehistoric kingdom of Mithila, India, where women would use the art form to tell the stories of their culture and people.  


Master:  Melba Mitchell Ayco (Seattle) 

Apprentice:  Monique Franklin (Seattle) 

Tradition:  The role of the Griot is one of leadership rooted in West African culture. The Griot serves as historian, storyteller, poet, and musician and is connected to spiritual, social, and political powers. These powers are crucial in fostering deeper understanding and acceptance. 


Master:  Mary Lee Jones (Harrah) 

Apprentice:  Joelle Jones (Harrah) 

Tradition:  The Yakama tradition of food gathering highlights the cultural significance of the natural world. The true elders are the plants and animals who feed, clothe, and provide tools for survival. This link fosters stewardship, kindness, and generosity in those who gather. 


Master:  Phoukham Kelly Bounkeua (Renton) 

Apprentice:  Kitana Ludwig (Renton) 

Tradition:  Lao foodways are a vital part of preserving Lao culture and building a positive relationship with one’s heritage. Traditional recipes are handed down to younger generations through observation of their elders, forging intergenerational family and community bonds. 

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is an arts and heritage program set up to survey, study, and support cultural traditions, tradition bearers, and traditional communities throughout Washington State. The Center is housed at Humanities Washington and presented in partnership with ArtsWA/the Washington State Arts Commission. Check out more on the the Center’s website.

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