Grants for Apprenticeship Program

Grant Program Mission

Established in 2019 and funded by an anonymous donor, Studio Potter’s Grants for Apprenticeships program supports emerging artists who want to become full-time studio potters and, conversely, mentor-potters who wish to take on an apprentice. This grant program honors the mission of Studio Potter and the legacy of its founder, Gerry Williams, by fostering individual careers in studio pottery, contributing to the life and future of ceramics, ensuring the continuity of a centuries-old tradition in non-academic education, and, most broadly, upholding humanitarian values.

Studio Apprenticeship Defined

Studio-based apprenticeship is a form of person-to-person training that places work above theory and emphasizes intimacy and immersion. In the West, people commonly associate the history of apprenticeship with craft and trade practices in Europe during the Middle Ages, but traditions of lineage-learning have endured for centuries around the world. Apprenticeship continues today as a means of passing down knowledge from generation to generation and as a way for aspiring artisans to build professional communities and prepare for careers as studio artists.

Why Apprenticeships?

Pedagogy in craft disciplines has changed dramatically in the last century because of technological advances and the rise of a modern education industry. In this context, apprenticeship offers an alternative to academic educational structures through one-on-one relationships in an established studio. Apprentices learn by participating in the daily lives of their mentor, learning their skills, and being exposed to their values. Operating at the intersection of folk culture and professional development, apprenticeships contribute to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage and the advancement of individuals.

Application Basics

The Grants for Apprenticeships program offers annual grants of up to $10,000 to support apprenticeships in studio pottery. Both apprentices and their mentor-potters may apply, one as applicant and the other as co-applicant; both parties must be legal residents of the United States and eighteen years or older. Apprentices cannot be enrolled in any institution of higher learning during their proposed apprenticeship period. The apprenticeship must occur in the United States. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The application period opens April 1 and closes June 1 of every year, with notification of award by July 1 for apprenticeships beginning within one year of notification (before July 1 of the following year).

Download the application: PDF icon Apprenticeship-Application-2019.pdf


To preview the documents grantees must submit to complete the award process, see: PDF icon Required Docs Preview 2019.pdfFor more information about application requirements email

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Grants for Apprenticeships program offers one grant of up to $10,000 per application
  • Applications are submitted by either the mentor or apprentice but represent the shared interests and joint planning of both parties
  • Grant monies can be used to help meet the legitimate needs of the mentor and/or apprentice in carrying out the apprenticeship. Expenses such as moving costs, wages, housing, and capital improvements are eligible for funding.
  • If you do not have a mentor or apprentice as a partner at the time of application, you are unlikely to receive funding
  • Studio Potter cannot currently assist in locating a potential mentor or apprentice. Please check for a list of potters who regularly host apprentices
  • Studio Potter cares deeply about people and apprenticeship, applications that consider the liabilities, responsibilities, necessities, and possibilities of apprenticeship will be favored

More Background

The Grants for Apprenticeships program is inspired, in part, by the dedication of Studio Potter’s founder, Gerry Williams, to supporting mentorship and hands-on learning throughout his life. Indeed, the very first issue of Studio Potter, published in 1972, featured content related to apprenticeships and included ads for apprentices and apprenticeships. In the nearly five decades of issues since then, Studio Potter has published numerous articles on apprenticeship, and, in 1981, it published the book Apprenticeship in Craft, edited by Williams. This book, a testament to Williams’s passion and advocacy, is available as a free download here.

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