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Contact: Meredith Beatrice,

Secretary of State Announces the Selection of Five Master Folk Artists

Tallahassee –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today the selection of five folk artists to serve as masters in the 2015-2016 Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program. The chosen artists are Jamal Jones, a veteran Hiphop artist who uses freestyle rapping and turntablism to promote literacy and positive messages among youth in Jacksonville; Ku Mu Paw, a master backstrap weaver from the Burmese Karen community in Jacksonville; Romeo Ragbir, a Trinidadian Tassa drummer based in Plantation; George Robinson, a craftsman of balsa wood surfboards and former competitive surfer from Melbourne; and Michael Usina, a Minorcan cast net maker and cultural advocate from St. Augustine.

“These five master folk artists exemplify Florida’s unique and diverse traditional arts,” said Secretary Detzner. “Through the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program, we ensure that these traditions will continue to flourish as the cultural treasures of this state.”

The Department of State’s Folklife Apprenticeship Program fosters the continuation of Florida folk arts by supporting masters who teach selected apprentices. Under the program, each master artist works intensively with one or more apprentices during a period of up to eight months. Program support consists of honoraria to the masters and apprentices to cover expenses for lessons and supplies.

To apply for the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program, master artists should be known in their community as expert practitioners of a valued, traditional art form. Each apprentice must have demonstrated an aptitude for and a commitment to the art form he or she wishes to study and an involvement with the community that sustains the tradition. The next deadline for applications to the Folklife Apprenticeship Program is May 15, 2016.

The Florida Folklife Program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Program. For further information about the department’s Folklife Apprenticeship Program, visit our website, or write to the Florida Folklife Program, Division of Historical Resources, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250, or call 850.245.6427 or 1.800.847.PAST.


About the Florida Department of State’s Florida Folklife Program

The Florida Folklife Program, a component of the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources, documents and presents Florida’s folklife, folklore and folk arts. The program coordinates a wide range of activities and projects designed to increase the awareness of Floridians and visitors alike about Florida’s traditional culture. Established in 1979 by the legislature to document and present Florida folklife, the program is one of the oldest state folk arts programs in the nation. For more information visit