Southern New England Arts Apprenticeship Program
September 2021-June 2022

The Southern New England Apprenticeship Program in traditional arts is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by the Connecticut Historical Society and the Mass Cultural Council.

I am extremely grateful for this grant that has allowed eight of us to spend nine months exploring non-European illumination techniques and manuscript traditions across cultures.

We explored cave art and manuscripts that originated from Ethiopia, China, the Islamic and Mayan worlds. Illumination has traditionally been Euro-centric and has excluded the beautiful manuscripts from Africa, the Middle East and even South America. For me, one of our biggest lessons from this chaotic past couple of years, is the critical need to look beyond the European traditions and explore the brilliance and diversity of other cultures. We used this apprenticeship journey to practice our illumination skills by studying non-European manuscripts and techniques. 

It was an honor to mentor this inquisitive, committed and diverse group of women during this mind-expanding journey!

Front row (L to R): Maria Adams (in gray), Debby Reelitz, Asa Etienne-Modeste. Back row (L to R): Amelia Kearney (in blue), Lavell Thompson, Merri Klar, Aisha Edwards, Sue Lavoie.