Arts Council
Kentucky Arts Council announces Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant recipients

Press Release Date:  Thursday, July 30, 2015  
Contact Information:  Tom Musgrave
Communications Director
502-564-3757, ext. 489

FRANKFORT, Ky. — 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 are:

  • Banjo player Cynthia Sue Massek, of Willisburg, who will teach John Paul Wright, of Louisville;
  • Chair maker Barbara Church, of Cumberland, who will teach Damon Sumpter, of Partridge; and
  • Fiddler Jesse Wells, of Morehead, who will teach Linda Jean Stokley, of Versailles.
Stokley recently graduated from Morehead State University’s folk and traditional music program, where Wells teaches and directs the program. She is looking forward to continuing her studies under him without the pressure of also completing a university degree.

“Jesse is a master purveyor of this beautifully distinctive art form. The apprenticeship grants me the possibility to continue my education with one of Kentucky’s most sought-after master musicians, and for this I am uncompromisingly grateful,” she said. “I anticipate gaining the confidence necessary to ensure that I am bearing the tradition as it is meant to pass along. I want to do right by the art form and by the numerous Kentucky fiddlers and banjo players who left their stories, songs and tunes for us.”

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 or 502-564-8110, ext. 495.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The arts council, along with the NEA, is celebrating 50 years of service in 2015, which the arts council is recognizing as the Year of the Arts in Kentucky.

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