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BorderLore, September 2015 
The People Are the Masters
In the hands of traditional artists, there is greatness in the everyday

On our final approach to the 42nd annual Tucson Meet Yourself, the enduring standard of showcasing cultural practice is palpable, as hundreds of performers, dancers, musicians, folk artists, food vendors and community groups ready themselves to honor artistic tradition and folklife.
Within the rollicking popup city that TMY generates downtown, more than entertainment and good food are bestowed. For the first time in TMY history, folk art fellowships will be awarded to many participating artists, and an inaugural Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Awards Program has been announced. These special salutes to living tradition will provide artists who achieve excellence in their crafts with modest stipends for specially curated TMY performances and for support of the master-apprentice coaching process.
This BorderLore edition turns our attention to these masters of traditional arts, who mostly began by learning from family members or elders within their community. As we honor them for skill in their art form, we also thank them for welcoming others to appreciate these skills through TMY's curated performances and SFA:
TMY folklorist & SFA director Dr. Maribel Alvarez readies us for the ethnographic exploration of artistic identity deeply rooted in family-taught ethics and heritage to come at TMY, here

We present two of our four 2015 SFA Master-Apprentice Award designees:
  • Master Potter Ron Carlos of the Salt River Community transforms clay in a purity imparted to his cultural objects, in ways that challenge perceptions about beauty; and
  • Master Sensei (teacher) Mari Kaneta uses the body of traditional Japanese dance to insert a magical sense of culture into our imagination.

We learn more about the uniqueness and universality of three of our eight 2015 TMY Artistic Fellowship Awards for Performance:

The treasures of southern comfort food are acknowledged in this year's Foodways Fellowship designee, Daddy's Girl Home Cooking.

The September News Roundup is here
End Notes... 
A folklife festival is a passage into the definition of community. Beware the powerful inclination to dismiss TMY festival as tasty entertainment! There is mastery of living culture at work, an experimentation that integrates many disciplines of tradition and contemporary form, in all the nooks and crannies that elude strict definition.

The SFA awards and TMY fellowships give us new ways to open up the meaning of folklife, new ways to explore its enduring power. These programs hold a mirror to our artists, audiences, our world... and, ultimately, ourselves.
"...There is nothing special in their training that permits us to characterize these artists, but their genius -- if such it be -- is inherent in who they are. Part of the value of these works is linked to the characteristics of the artists and the stories that the objects call forth. The works are authentic because of the biographical contours of their creators..."

Introduction, pages 4-6
By Ethnographer and Social Science writer Gary Alan Fine
2015, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the monthly e-news magazine of Southwest Folklife Alliance. The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people's viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona. 
Managing Editor:   Monica Surfaro-Spigelman 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We welcome your feedback, commentary and any suggestions or ideas. Write to us at:  swfolklife@gmail.com

Previous issues of BorderLore Newsletter are archived  here and here.