National Heritage Fellowship

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National Heritage Fellowship
Awarded for Lifetime achievement in folk or traditional arts
Location Washington, D.C.
Country United States
Presented by National Endowment for the Arts
Reward(s) $25,000
First awarded 1982
Last awarded present

The National Heritage Fellowship is a lifetime honor presented to master folk and traditional artists by the National Endowment for the Arts. Similar to Japan's Living National Treasure award,[1] the Fellowship is the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.[2][3] It is a one-time only award and fellows must be living citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Each year, fellowships are presented to between nine and fifteen artists or groups at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Fellows are nominated by individual citizens, with an average of over 200 nominations per year. From that pool of candidates, recommendations are made by a rotating panel of specialists, including one layperson, as well as folklorists and others with a variety of forms of cultural expertise. The recommendations are then reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, with the final decisions made by the chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts.[4] As of 2017, 422 artists in a wide variety of fields have received Fellowships.[5]

History[edit]

The program was officially founded in 1982 by Bess Lomax Hawes, the first director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the NEA,[6] following a five-year period of development.[4] In 1982, the monetary award associated with the Fellowship was $5,000;[1] in 1993, it was increased to $10,000 and since 2009, the award amount is $25,000, which is considered "enough to make a difference, but not enough to go to anyone's head".[4] Each recipient receives a certificate of honor, the monetary award, and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.

The annual recognition events are held in the Fall and consist of an awards ceremony, a banquet, and a concert that is open to the public. Over the years, the awards ceremony has been held at different locations in the US capitol city, including the NEA headquarters, Ford's Theatre, George Washington University,[1] the Library of Congress,[5] and for the first time at the White House in 1995.[7] Since 2000, the banquet has been held in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress.[4] The concert features musical performances, craft demonstrations, and interviews with the honorees.[5] Masters of ceremonies at the concerts have included folksinger Pete Seeger, actress Ruby Dee, author Studs Terkel, journalist Charles Kuralt, and since 1997 Nick Spitzer, the host of public radio program American Routes.[4] Beginning in 2010, the Fellowship concerts have been streamed live on the NEA website and archived on YouTube.

In 2000, the NEA instituted the Bess Lomax Hawes Award in conjunction with the Fellowships, "given to an individual for achievements in fostering excellence, ensuring vitality, and promoting public appreciation of the folk and traditional arts".[5] The Hawes Award has been given annually since 2000 to recognize "artists whose contributions, primarily through teaching, advocacy, and organizing and preserving important repertoires, have greatly benefited their artistic tradition. It also recognizes individuals, such as producers and activists, who have comprehensively increased opportunities for and public visibility of traditional artists."[4]

Publications[edit]

  • A companion volume titled American Folk Masters: The National Heritage Fellows was published in 1992 to accompany a traveling exhibition (1991-1994) called "America's Living Folk Traditions" that featured the artistry of 36 Fellowship recipients.[1][8]
  • A two-volume biographical dictionary of the award winners from the first 20 years was published in 2001, titled Masters of Traditional Arts.[9]
  • A young readers book featuring five of the National Heritage Fellows entitled Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts was published in 2006.[10]

Winners[edit]

Awardees have included Native American basket weavers, African American blues musicians, traditional fiddlers, Mexican American accordionists, and all manner of traditional artisans and performers of numerous ethnic backgrounds.


1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990

1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000

2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

National Heritage Fellowship winners are:

1982[edit]

1983[edit]

1984[edit]

1985[edit]

1986[edit]

1987[edit]

1988[edit]

1989[edit]

1990[edit]

1991[edit]

1992[edit]

1993[edit]

1994[edit]

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

1997[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2000[edit]

2001[edit]

2002[edit]

2003[edit]

2004[edit]

2005[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

2008[edit]

2009[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

2014[edit]

[21]

2015[edit]

[22]

2016[edit]

2017[edit]

2018[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Siporin, Steve (1992). "Introduction". American Folk Masters: The National Heritage Fellows. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in association with The Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM. pp. 14–21. ISBN 0810919176. OCLC 24699109. 
  2. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Recipients". US Fed News Service. Washington, DC. June 6, 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  3. ^ Lane, Sarah (September 24, 2015). "Daniel Sheehy Named National Heritage Fellow". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. p. Metro section, T23. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "National Heritage Fellowships 30th Anniversary" (PDF). www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d "NEA National Heritage Fellows Fact Sheet" (PDF). www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. September 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (December 2, 2009). "Bess Lomax Hawes, 88; folklorist, performer, NEA official". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (September 28, 1995). "First Lady Defends NEA: Art Fellowships Presented at the White House". The Washington Post. p. Style section, C03. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Meg (July 3, 1992). "Keeping Traditional Crafts Alive". Daily News of Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. p. L.A. Life Section, L45. 
  9. ^ Govenar, Alan (2001). Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. ISBN 1576072401. 
  10. ^ Govenar, Alan B. (2006). Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. ISBN 9780763620479. 
  11. ^ 1989 NEA National Heritage Fellow: Chesley Goseyun Wilson Archived 2008-10-05 at the Wayback Machine., National Endowment for the Arts (USA)
  12. ^ Colker, David (2014-10-04). "Musician Nati Cano dies at 81; leader of Mariachi los Camperos". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Jerry Brown". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  14. ^ Broadfoot, Jan. "Twentieth-Century Tar Heels," Broadfoot's of Wendell, 2004.
  15. ^ "Fatima Kuinova". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  16. ^ Jason Ankeny. "Elder Roma Wilson". Allmusic.com. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Lifetime Honors: Bruce Caesar." National Endowment for the Arts. (retrieved 6 Aug 2011)
  18. ^ "News | NEA". Nea.gov. 2014-02-05. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  19. ^ "Big Joe Duskin; Bluesman who flourished in later life - obituary by Tony Russell". London: Guardian.co.uk. June 19, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ "About Ka'upena Wong". Coconutinfo.com. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  21. ^ "NEA Announces Lifetime Honors Recipients". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. June 25, 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  22. ^ "NEA Announces Recipients of Nation's Highest Award in the Folk and Traditional Arts". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. June 9, 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  23. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts Statement on the Death of Clarissa Rizal, 2016 National Heritage Fellow". National Endowment for the Arts. NEA. Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2018 National Heritage Fellows". National Endowment for the Arts. 20 June 2018. 

External links[edit]