National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2023 NEA National Heritage Fellows

Folklorists in the News, News from the Field
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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced this year’s NEA National Heritage Fellows, recipients of the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. For more than 40 years, the NEA has annually presented these lifetime honors in recognition of the diverse cultural traditions that comprise their nation and the individuals whose dedication and artistry contribute to their preservation and growth. Each fellowship includes a $25,000 award.

“The 2023 National Heritage Fellows exemplify what it means to live an artful life,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Their rich and diverse art forms connect us to the past, strengthen our communities today, and give hope to future generations in ways that only the arts can. Our nation is strengthened through their meaningful practices, expressions, and preservation of traditional artistry.”

R.L. Boyce Photo credit Rustin Gudim; Ed Eugene Carriere Photo by Dale Croes; Michael A. Cummings Photo courtesy of artist; Joe DeLeon “Little Joe” Hernández Photo by Mark Del Castillo; Roen Hufford Photo credit credit Lynn Martin Graton; Elizabeth James-Perry Photo courtesy of Elizabeth James-Perry; Wu Man Photo by David Bazemore; Nick Spitzer Photo by Rusty Costanza, courtesy of Tulane University; Luis Tapia Photo © Jack Parsons Courtesy of Luis Tapia

The 2023 NEA National Heritage Fellows are:

  *   R.L. Boyce, Hill Country Blues Musician from Como, Mississippi

  *   Ed Eugene Carriere (Suquamish), Suquamish Basketmaker from Indianola, Washington

  *   Michael A. Cummings, African American Quilter from New York, New York

  *   Joe DeLeon “Little Joe” Hernández, Tejano Music Performer from Temple, Texas

  *   Roen Hufford, Kapa Maker from Waimea, Hawaiʻi

  *   Elizabeth James-Perry (Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Aquinnah), Wampum & Fiber Artist from Dartmouth, Massachusetts

  *   Luis Tapia, Santero from Santa Fe, New Mexico

  *   Wu Man, Pipa Player from Carlsbad, California

  *   Nick Spitzer, Folklife Presenter, Educator, and Radio Producer from New Orleans, Louisiana

The National Heritage Fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Including the 2023 class, the Arts Endowment has awarded 477 National Heritage Fellowships since 1982, recognizing artists working in more than 200 distinct art forms, including bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland, Japanese classical dancer Gertrude Yukie Tsutsumi, Haudenosaunee raised beadworker Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), oud player and composer Rahim AlHaj, and radio producer and radio network builder Hugo N. Morales. More information about the National Heritage Fellows is available on the Arts Endowment’s website.

Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in the folk and traditional arts. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the chair of the NEA, who makes the final decision. Visit the National Endowment for the Arts website for more information.

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

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