Folk & Traditional Arts Grants


photo credit: Denise Miyahana


In 1985, support for advanced learning of cultural arts that are practiced in the state of Hawai‘i was initiated with Apprentice Mentoring Grants (formerly known as Apprenticeship Grants) that funded Teacher-Student paired teams. In 2012, the first Culture Learning Grant was funded to support inter-generational cultural learning. Some of the cultural communities that have benefitted from these Folk & Traditional Arts Grants include Burmese, Cantonese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Okinawan, and Tokelauan.

Applicants must reside in the state of Hawai‘i and grants projects that are proposed or funded must take place in the state of Hawai‘i. Applicants must successfully complete the first year of the funded grant in order to receive the second year’s grant. Successful completion for each of the two years includes a written final report and a public presentation representative of the grant project.

Grant applications must be submitted by the postmarked deadline and applicants must be eligible. Complete and eligible applications are reviewed by a grants panel and recommendations are submitted to the HSFCA Board of Commissioners for funding approval, pending availability of funds.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Funding for these grants is on a state biennium schedule. The next cycle will be Fiscal Biennium (two years) 2018/2019 (FY One is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 and FY Two is July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019). The deadline has passed and applications are now closed.
  • Postmarked DEADLINE was Thursday March 2, 2017 – 11:59 pm HST. Applications are now closed.
  • Grant application instructions and forms are available for download below.

Folk & Traditional Arts Grant do not fund:

  • Contemporary arts such as contemporary visual or performing arts, filmmaking, popular arts, fusion practices.
  • Occupational “folklife” or “folkways” such as massage therapy, healing and medicinal practices, cooking, farming and fishing are not eligible, unless the application focuses on an aesthetic aspect (for example the traditional making of tools/implements or traditional festive ceremonies related to the occupation).
  • Festivals, community events, concerts, competitions.
  • School programs, projects or residencies (refer to HSFCA Artists-in-the-Schools arts residency grants).
  • Arts and culture grants to organizations (refer to HSFCA Biennium Grants).
  • Conferences, symposia, lectures, workshops and classes, continuing education courses, and similar activities.
  • Out-of-state projects or collaborations.

Cost items that the HSFCA does not fund:

  • Building, renovation, maintenance of facilities, or other capital expenditures
  • Activities completed prior to the project period
  • Fellowships, scholarships, theses, dissertations, tuition
  • Fund raising
  • Grant writing, grant management fees or indirect cost rates
  • Commissions for visual artists to execute professional works of art
  • Costs for food and/or refreshments
  • Perquisites (non-salary compensation or other employee benefits)
  • Equipment purchases and/or long-term equipment rentals
  • Enduring assets such as musical instruments, musical scores, books, costumes, and props
  • Foreign travel
  • Subgrants or regrants
  • Interest payments, insurance, or similar finance cost; audits
  • Utilities and communications costs (e.g. water, electricity, telephone)
  • Un-itemized miscellaneous
  • Maintenance or repair costs
  • Technology-related expenses, including but not limited to computer hardware or software,
  • Internet, website, or E-mail, or contracted assistance to design or maintain such services

Apprentice Mentoring Grant

A group of Burmese performers doing thangyat, a traditional music form

Burmese Thangyat (Burmese Festival Song), An Apprenticeship Project

  • The purpose of the Apprentice Mentoring Grant is to help masterful teachers of a traditional art in the state of Hawai‘i preserve their legacy. The apprenticeship project is an intensive, sustained learning program of at least 80 instructional hours per year.
  • Apprentice Mentoring Grant applicants must be skilled in a folk or traditional art that is actively practiced in a cultural community in the state of Hawai‘i.
  • Teachers must be exceptionally skilled cultural artists/practitioners, recognized in their cultural communities as experts, and have experience with teaching and public outreach.
  • Apprentices must have proven experience in the folk or traditional art to be studied, and be able to demonstrate commitment to actively sharing the knowledge learned.
  • An apprentice must be at least 16 years old. Apprentices who are 16 to 18 years old must receive approval from a parent or guardian to participate in the program.

Culture Learning Grant

A group of students in a Tokelau language and culture class

Tokelau Language and Culture Class, A Culture Learning Project

  • The purpose of the Culture Learning Grant is to support the perpetuation of Hawai‘i’s folk and traditional arts through inter-generational cultural learning.
  • The applicant must be a nonprofit organization, designated as exempt from federal income tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and have at least one year’s experience with the type of project proposed.
  • Cultural arts in Hawai‘i with low participation in HSFCA programs are a priority.

Staff Contact

Applicants are advised to contact Staff to discuss their applications while writing them. This helps ensure that the application conforms to the program guidelines, and that all of the requirements in the application form are being properly addressed.

Draft applications – It is also useful to submit your application for review ahead of the deadline, so that Staff can review it. This will give you time to make any needed changes before you submit your application.

Denise Miyahana, Arts Program Specialist
Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Phone: 808-586-0771


Related Resources

Administration for Native Americans (ANA)
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
American Folklore Society
First Nations Development Institute
First Peoples Fund
Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture Program
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Network for Folk Arts in Education
Native Arts & Culture Foundation
Office of Hawaiian Affairs/Community Grants
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage