A skilled, experienced master artist mentors an apprentice over at least 100 hours of one-on-one time during the program year, teaching the novice skills tied to a tradition in their community, saving that tradition and allowing it to thrive for future generations.
That’s how the Washington State Heritage Apprenticeship Arts Program program works, and it has tapped two Auburn residents to be among 15 such pairings to work together as master artist-apprentice in this statewide program, which celebrates and supports traditional arts.
The Auburnites are:
Master: Dara Vann (Auburn)
Apprentice: Vichet Benjamin Ros (Burien)
Tradition: Khmer traditional music.
Vichet will learn a traditional Khmer stringed instrument called the “Kemp,” which hits the strings with thin, flexible bamboo sticks to create a bright, high-pitched sound. This instrument is often playedat wedding ceremonies, new years gatherings and other communal celebrations.
Master: Kammy Savann Ra (Auburn)
Apprentice: Allina Sokha Srey (Seattle)
Tradition: Robam—Royal Ballet.
Robam is known as Royal Ballet, in which four hand gestures express the cycle of life: a tree, a leaf, a flower, and a fruit. Robam is related to everyday life events such as love, working, celebration, happiness, and blessings. The ballet welcomes the kings and queens into the temple and pays its respects to everyone.
The program culminates in a free event to introduce the public to these unique cultural traditions.
To date, 46 people have participated in the program, which is now in its third year. Program participants may teach or study music, visual art, occupational arts, dance, culinary traditions, storytelling and other verbal arts, and much more.
The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is a program of Humanities Washington, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA).
The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program is generously supported by funding received from ArtsWA, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Washington State Legislature.
For more about the Center, visit waculture.org. ArtsWA is the Washington State Arts Commission, the state’s arts agency. It was established by the legislature in 1961. Its mission is to collaborate with and support artists and arts organizations statewide to conserve, promote, and develop artistic resources. For more information about ArtsWA, visit arts.wa.gov.