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Masters Program


Guam Masters Award 

Created through Public Law 30-139 in 2010, the Guam Masters Award was established to recognize master practitioners of Guam’s Traditional and Folk Arts.  The award gives due recognition to these master practitioners for their artistry and craftsmanship, and their continuing efforts to preserve Guam’s rich history and cultural traditions through the practice and perpetuation of their arts. The award acknowledges artists whose contributions, primarily through teaching, advocacy, organizing and preserving important repertoires, have greatly benefited their artistic tradition; and whose efforts have significantly increased opportunities for and public visibility of traditional and folk arts. The award guarantees the continuity of our cultural traditions, leaving the children of Guam a vested legacy.

Initially, the Masters Program came about from a 1996 CAHA grant to artist Ron Castro that documented the life traditions of many of Guam’s folk and traditional practitioners.  CAHA recognized the need and importance of documenting existing traditions that were an essential part of Guam’s people and their way of life, that were literally passing away before us.

CAHA memorialized these individuals by bestowing them the title of “Master” in the tradition they excelled in.   They were memorialized through the production of “A Tribute to the Masters of Chamorro Tradition” Poster Series (56 posters) initiated in 1997; the “Path of Chamorro Traditions” which further paid tribute to these Masters with bronze lattes embedded into the sidewalks surrounding Skinner Plaza; and a coffee table book entitled “A Journey with the Masters of Chamorro Tradition produced in 2000.  

For many years, no other cultural practitioners were presented the title of “Master”.  Of the masters who were officially recognized in the initial poster series and coffee table book, only a dozen of those “living treasures” remain with us today. Throughout the years Guam CAHA, other government agencies and cultural nonprofit organizations have continued to perpetuate and promote the Chamorro culture and traditions.  In 2010, Guam CAHA’s Board decided to resurrect the Masters Program.   The Board realized its intrinsic value and that the transmission of these practices from generation to generation was imperative to ensure the preservation of our Chamorro traditions.  The depository of the Chamorro heritage is in the minds of these cultural practitioners whose bodies are the vehicles in which the knowledge and skills of that tradition are manifested and performed.  The intent to reinstate the Masters program was to give due recognition to those practitioners and to safeguard/support the knowledge and skill related with traditional artistry through the continued practice of the craft within the community.  As a result, Public Law 30-139 was enacted in 2010.  The award guarantees the continuity of our cultural traditions, leaving the children of Guam a vested legacy.

Since the establishment of the Guam Masters Award in 2010, CAHA has bestowed the award to eight cultural practitioners:  Josefa “Tan Pai” C. Certeza, Sainan Suruhana (Master Healer); Francisco C. Lizama, Sainan Hereru (Master Blacksmith); Eileen Meno, Sainan Bailan Chamorro (Master of Chamorro Dance); Greg Pangelinan, Sainan Lalasgue (Master Carver); Leonard Iriarte, Sainan Minenhalom Manlålai Chamorro (Master of Chamorro Chant); Julie “Jill” Benavente, Sainan Minenhalom Manlasgue - Adotnon I Tatåotao (Master Carver – Body Ornamentation); Vincent Reyes, Sainan Minenhalom Bumailan Chamorro Master of Chamorro Dance and Peter Onedera Sainan Minenhalom Sinangan Ginen i Hila’ (Master Storyteller).  The next round of nominations for the Guam Masters Award will be April 2019.  

Click to view: 

Public Law No. 30-139

Nomination Packet Masters listing 




Percent for the Arts


Art in Public Buildings and Facilities a.k.a. Percent for the Arts 

OVERVIEW:  Enacted in 1979 through Public Law 15-50, the Art in Public Places Program also known as the Percent for the Arts was strengthened through amendments made in 1989 through Public Law 20-27 (1989), Public Law 31-118 (2011) and again in 2017 through Public Law 33-235.  Guam’s Percent for the Arts Program targets both Public and Non-Public Development Projects supported by either federal or Government of Guam funds, as well as, those administered through Qualifying Certificates (QC) tax rebates, incentives, loans guarantees, bond financing or other subsidy arrangement.

The purpose of the program is to foster culture, arts and the development of local artists and that a portion of appropriations for capital expenditures be set aside for the acquisition of works of art for public and non-public buildings and facilities. Public Law 31-118 expanded the program to include the nurturing and development of young children through the arts and included a clause pertaining to the Government of Guam buildings/structures that it must contain elements of Guam History or Chamorro Artistry, while Public Law 33-325 further expanded the program to include other artistic disciplines other than visual arts.



P.L. 15-50 mandated that public buildings and facilities where total cost of construction, remodeling or renovation, exceeds the sum of $250,000 must set aside one percent (1%) of the total cost of overall construction, remodeling or renovation for the acquisition of works of art.  

P. L. 20-27 amended Public Law 15-50 to include non-public buildings support by either the Government of Guam through tax abatements, rebates, loans, and loan guarantees, bond financing or by Federal funds administered by the Government of Guam. P.L. 20-27 also lowered the threshold from $250,000 to $100,000. Buildings and facilities where total cost of construction, remodeling or renovation, exceeds the sum of $100,000 must set aside one percent (1%) of the total cost of the overall construction, remodeling or renovation for the acquisition of works of art.

P.L. 31-118 expanded the program to include the nurturing and development of young children through the arts. It also mandated that all government of Guam buildings and structures including leased spaces must contain elements of either Guam History or of Chamorro artistry costing up to a maximum of three percent (3%) or the aggregate of the architectural and engineering, the construction of the renovation budgets. Such elements may be made part of the internal or physical structure of the building or structure; or within the main part of the building or structure or separated from the main part. Exceptions to Applicability - Buildings and structures constructed for the use as shelters for utility facilities or utility operations. 

P. L. 33-235amended §850 to  853 of Article 2, Chapter 8 of Title 1, Guam Code Annotated, Relative to Arts in Buildings and Facilities and further expanded the program to include other disciplines: Literature, Media Arts, Performing Arts, Traditional Arts (i.e. canoe and navigation; fishing and hunting traditions; culinary—hotnu, chahan and other forms; Healing Arts; Weaving/Plaiting;  Wood, Stone, Shell and Bone Carving;  Blacksmithing; Performing Arts—Traditional Music and making of musical instruments i.e. bilembaotuyan, dance, chant and poetry i.e. Kantan Chamorrita and other forms of traditional/ folk arts; and Visual Arts. 



Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities (CAHA) established the rules and regulation for the selection of art works and ensures that open competition of awarding any art contract and the disposition of funds meet the purpose of fostering culture and arts for the development of local artists, children and the community; identifies public buildings in non-compliance; ensures compliance of established rules and regulations; and provides to the Dept. of Revenue & Taxation a list of QC recipients who fail to comply. 

Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) provides to CAHA a list of past and current QC recipients and ensures that current Qualifying Certificate (QC) program beneficiaries are in compliance. 

Department of Public Works (DPW) ensures that no construction, remodeling or renovating of a public building, or building supported by government of Guam funds, is granted an occupancy permit until the owner of the building receives clearance from CAHA confirming compliance. 

Furthermore, relative to 1.G.C.A. Section 853(a)(2),  the Director of Public Works is also ordered to ensure that no building permit or an occupancy permit (as the case requires ) for a government building or government leased space is issued until there has been compliance with Section 853 of the Law. 
Department of Revenue and Taxations (DRT) shall refuse to grant renewal of business licenses for current and past QC recipients in noncompliance, until the CAHA Director issues a written confirmation of compliance.



Set aside one percent (1%) of the total cost of overall construction, remodeling or renovation of the building for the acquisition of works of art; OR  

Have the monies deposited into a fund established and administered by the Guam CAHA. The fund will be used specifically for grants to individuals and organizations for programs geared towards the development of arts that would benefit the community, especially young children and young adults. 

For further information regarding the Percent for the Arts Program please contact Angie Taitague, Program Coordinator III at 300-1207 or via email at or Jackie Balbas, Program Coordinator IV at 300-1205 or via email at

Click to view:  

Procedures and Guidelines


Public Laws - Click the names below to view: