The Idaho Commission on the Arts has awarded three 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. The 2022 TAAP grants awardees include practitioners in saddlemaking and Mexican dancing.

For 37 years, the Arts Commission has safeguarded Idaho’s unique cultural legacy with nearly 400 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:

Norma Pintar (Meridian) & Maria Fernanda Avila (Meridian)

Mexican Dancing

“I first got interested in my culture because of the stories my parents would tell us of their dance events at school. My mom would talk about the parades that were in Michoacán, which is where she is from. My dad, who is from Mexico City, would tell me how he was in a dance group with my grandma and some of his neighbors. They would often travel to Texas for some dance presentations. They would talk about the costumes they would wear and take care of. They would describe how everyone would have their own racks and steamers and would steam their clothes before their performances…Dancing is something that brings many memories to those who live in the United States now.” –Maria Fernanda Avila

Terry Rekow (Emmett) & Richie Lyon (Emmett)


“I have been building saddles since 1972. I learned from Bob Kelly who worked in the well-known Ray Holes saddle shop in Grangevile, Idaho. Bob had built over 3,000 saddles. I learned from Ben Tarrell who worked for Ray Holes, Hamley’s, and on his own. Ben had built over 4,000 saddles in his career. I have also worked for Hamley’s saddle shop and learned while there… It is important to pass the traditional knowledge on to the next generation to preserve it as it was passed down to me.” –Terry Rekow

Chase Carter (Pingree) & Lewis Kendell (Rexburg)


“Some of my family settled in East Idaho where they started farming and ranching and ran 600 head of mother cows. One of my great uncles was locally known to be a great cowboy and horseman and some have said that he was the first to bring registered Quarter Horses into East Idaho in the 1940’s. Additionally, my great-great-great-grandfather helped settle Uintah, Utah where he homesteaded, and the farm was worked with teams of horses until the 1950’s. When my father was sixteen years-old, he was given a quality set of my great-grandfather’s harnesses as he had a desire to train draft horse teams. My father has taken exceptional care of the harness set and they are still his favorite set to use. Growing up, seeing my father’s love and appreciation for quality harnesses and horse tack instilled in me a desire to own, and someday build, quality saddles and tack for myself and others. Fortunately, one year ago, I was able to build my first saddle. It is my hope to be able to improve my skill so that what I build can be passed on to future generations, just like my great-grandfather did with his harnesses.” –Lewis Kendell