The Idaho Commission on the Arts has awarded two master artists and their qualified apprentices $3,000 each as part of the annual Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program. The program is designed to facilitate learning partnerships between a recognized master artist and an apprentice to continue artistic traditions in a shared community.

For 37 years, the Arts Commission has safeguarded Idaho’s unique cultural legacy with over 500 Idaho native, folk, and immigrant master artists, and their apprentices, who carry on Idaho’s artistic and occupational traditions and skills. As a recognized mentor shares skills, techniques, and knowledge, the program helps to ensure cultural continuity for future generations of tradition bearers. These apprenticeship teams offer some of the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive creative expressions our state upholds, and we are proud to support the one-on-one learning opportunities this grant provides.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program:

SADDLEMAKING Justin Worton (American Falls) & Jasper Knight (Shelley)

“Leatherwork is an integral part of the cowboying community, most of the everyday gear of a cowboy or horse trainer was conceived in the local leather shop. By design, leatherwork is the connecting feature between horse and rider. Quality saddles and tack are always in demand and makers are well respected for their skills. I am hoping that this apprenticeship will act as a springboard for my aspirations to become a full-time saddle maker someday. I am excited to be able to have this opportunity with Justin as building a saddle is viewed as the pinnacle project for many leather workers. I acknowledge the many people who have helped me further my passion in the industry and am grateful for their advice.” – Jasper Knight

NORWEGIAN ROSEMALING Eva Hjorth (Meridian) & Deborah Jessee (Meridian)

“Norwegian rosemaling is both an art form and a historical marker. As an art form, its patterns reflect the Norwegian countryside. As a historical marker, rosemaling is like a family biography. Along with the designs, I have seen pieces that record the birth of a baby, a wedding day, the travel across an ocean, a poem or blessing for a home, and the death of a loved one. Rosemaling is more than just painting flowers and scrolls, it is the recording of countless human life experiences. I want to share in the history and culture of my ancestors with the hope of passing that rich heritage on to my children and community.” – Deborah Jessee