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Auburn Residents Selected for Washington State Heritage Apprenticeship Arts Program


From West African drumming to Nordic boat building, Hebrew calligraphy to Mexican folk music, and more, The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is excited to announce selections for the 2020-2021 Washington State Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Created to encourage people to learn a traditional trade, craft, or skill, the Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program preserves and helps carry on cultural traditions important to Washington’s communities. Program participants may teach or study music, visual art, occupational arts, dance, culinary traditions, storytelling and other verbal arts, and much more.


Through the program, a skilled and experienced master artist mentors an apprentice, spending at least 100 hours of one-on-one time during the program year. The master artist will teach skills related to a tradition in their community, conserving that tradition and allowing it to thrive in future generations.

Washington State is home to a rich collection of cultural traditions carried on by members of its many communities—from the Indigenous peoples in whose homelands this program takes place, to its most recent immigrants. Folk and traditional arts and practices provide meaningful ways for individuals to connect with their past, and to build bridges to others and their surroundings in the present. Yet, because these practices are often learned informally in a one-on-one setting, many traditions are at risk of being lost.

Now going into its third year, 46 people have participated in the Heritage Arts Apprenticeship program. Many who have been part of it were able to use their experience to create businesses centered on their traditional products, or better establish themselves as teaching artists or paid entertainers. In addition to both preserving traditional skills and generating income for the practitioners, the program also helps apprentices develop important leadership skills that will help them advocate for their communities.

The Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program will culminate in a free event to introduce the public to these unique cultural traditions.


Two of the 15 Teams Include Auburn Residents

MasterDara Vann (Auburn)
ApprenticeVichet Benjamin Ros (Burien) 
TraditionKhmer traditional music. Vichet will be learning a traditional Khmer instrument called the “Kemp.” It is used to play in wedding ceremonies, new years gatherings, and other communal celebrations. It is an instrument that uses strings hit with thin, flexible bamboo sticks to create a bright, high-pitched sound.

romba, cambodian dancer
A dancer performing in full traditional costume in Siem Reap, Cambodia

MasterKammy Savann Ra (Auburn)
ApprenticeAllina Sokha Srey (Seattle) 



Royal Ballet. Robam is known as Royal Ballet, in which the cycle of life is expressed through four hand gestures: 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.

Check out information about the additional participants, their traditions, and their progress throughout the year at

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. 

About The Center For Washington Cultural Traditions
The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is a program of Humanities Washington, presented in partnership with ArtsWA. In collaboration with communities statewide, the Center conducts research and programming to support and advance understanding of the living cultural heritage of Washington State. For more about the Center, visit

About Humanities Washington
Humanities Washington opens minds and bridges divides by creating spaces to explore different perspectives. As Washington State’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we hold hundreds of free events around the state each year on everything from history to current social issues. For more about Humanities Washington, visit

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

The above is a press release from Humanities Washington. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. 



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