Masters of Traditional Arts: Education Guide

by Alan B. Govenar, Paddy Bowman, and Betty Carter


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Published: 2002, by ABC-CLIO, Inc. Produced by Documentary Arts, Inc: ISBN 1-57607-962-7
Details: Spiral Bound, 70 pages, Black and White, 8.5"x11", Includes the MOTA DVD-Rom

Website (Online Guide)


Teachers across the country face mounting pressure to help students achieve state and national standards. With expectations continually increasing, these teachers are searching for strategies that incorporate new curriculum standards in creative, meaningful, and purposeful ways. As I listen to requests from teachers and librarians in my district and throughout the nation, I hear them ask for materials that help accomplish these goals. while the curriculum-the what-is set by local, state, and national standards, the delivery-the how-is left to the classroom teacher. For our educational system to work, it is vital to teach content with a thematic approach that employs authentic material designed to excite and to stimulate the student. The MASTERS OF TRADITIONAL ARTS EDUCATION GUIDE is a dynamic interdisciplinary tool for just such an approach.

This pioneering multimedia guide engages students in active learning in two vital ways. Not only do students meet diverse real people telling their stories, performing their music, and demonstrating their richly varied crafts, they also explore the traditions and cultural heritage of their own families and communities through easily adaptable activities and lessons that teach important literacy skills. The most effective learning occurs when students develop an in-depth understanding of knowledge that they can use in school and in life. To develop this kind of understanding, learners must extend and refine the knowledge that they initially acquire in a way that helps them to make new connections, discover or rediscover meanings, gain insights, and clarify misconceptions. The MASTERS OF TRADITIONAL ARTS EDUCATION GUIDE lays out the process for such meaningful instruction by offering creative methodologies and multi-layered,. authentic content in several media forms.

Educators, students, and parents can use this guide to discover many people, ideas, art forms, and ways to link youths with their elders, families, neighborhoods, other cultural groups, and the larger community.

Caroline Kienzle
Director of Library and Media Services
Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas
2000 ALA National School Library Media Program of the Year



From VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) August 2002
Review of Masters of Traditional Arts: Biographical Dictionary, Alan Govenar, Ed.

This extraordinary two-volume edition, twenty years in the making, is an impressive, well-crafted documentation of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship Program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. It gives a brief but comprehensive look at the interesting lives and outstanding achievements of its award-winning Fellows. More than two hundred and fifty folk artists are profiled – men and women superbly skilled in a particular art or craft whose natural talent, deep love for their work, and passionate dedication have made them all true masters in their fields. Most come from humble beginnings and even now lead modest lives. Few have acquired much wealth or fame, and several have overcome serious obstacles to pursue their calling. Americans all, they come from states across the nation, and from countries around the world. Their fields of expertise reflect this great diversity – an African American musician; an Asian American (Japanese) kabuki dancer; an Appalachian blacksmith; an Irish American singer; a Native American (Navajo) basket maker; a Puerto Rican hammock weaver; a Jewish klezmer musician, a Cajun fiddler; an Ukranian American egg decorator; a German American bobbin lace maker. Storytellers are noted alongside metalsmiths, boatbuilders, wood carvers, potters, quilters and more.

The entries, each less than two pages long, are well written, easy to read, and contain photographs of the artists. For teens and readers of all ages, this fine compendium is an excellent, informative, and entertaining resource. It is also an inspirational testimonial to the resilience, determination, and proud spirit of those artists who have triumphed over often inauspicious beginnings and adverse circumstances to express themselves through their art. By celebrating their artistic heritage and preserving their centuries-old traditions they leave a priceless legacy for future generations.
Copyright VOYA © 2002