NEA Announces 2022 National Heritage Fellows

News from the Field
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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the winners of its 2022 NEA National Heritage Fellowships this week.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the program, the United States’ highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Each fellowship includes a $25,000 award and all of the recipients will be featured in a film that will premiere in November 2022 on Through the film, viewers will have the opportunity to visit the homes and communities where the fellows live and work, providing a connection to the distinct art forms and traditions these artists practice. 

The 2022 NEA National Heritage Fellows are: 

Grammy award-winning fiddler Michael Cleveland has inspired audiences with his talent and improvisational skills within the bluegrass tradition. In addition to touring with his band, Flamekeeper, he has played with a legendary list of bluegrass greats. 

Born into a family of flamenco dancers and artists, Eva Enciñias carries out the tradition through her teaching and performing, and through the National Institute of Flamenco which she founded in 1982, and where she continues to direct artistic programming.

The Excelsior Band is a Black brass marching band that has, for generations, embodied the culture of the city of Mobile and its beloved Mardi Gras celebration. It dates back to 1883 and membership in the band is considered the highest achievement among Mobile area musicians.

  • Stanley Jacobs, Quelbe Flutist and Bandleader from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Playing the official music of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jacobs and his band carry on the traditional sounds of quelbe by performing for the community and teaching the young people of St. Croix their music, dance, and cultural heritage.

“Mama” Maggie Ingram taught her five children to perform alongside her and formed the Legendary Ingramettes. They have connected with audiences through gospel music for more than six decades and are known as Richmond’s “First Family of Gospel.”

Dedicated to revitalizing the traditional Hawaiian art form of building thatched houses called hale, Sinenci leads the construction of countless new architectural structures and is training the next generation of practitioners to carry on the practice.

Inspired by the singing and dancing of her elders, Tsering Wangmo Satho co-founded Chaksam-pa, a Tibetan dance and opera company committed to sharing and preserving Tibet’s artistic traditions.  

Founder of Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the percussive dance form called stepping, Williams preserves and promotes the art of stepping through performances and educational experiences to tens of thousands of students each year.

  • Shaka Zulu, Black Masking Craftsman, Stilt Dancer, and Musician from New Orleans, Louisiana

A master of New Orleans Black Masking, drumming, and stilt dancing, Shaka Zulu passes down the traditions as a teacher and culture bearer whose talents are celebrated nationally and internationally.

Inspired by her grandmother’s wool and carding tool, Naataanii’s curiosity to learn to weave inspired a life-long love for the art. Naataanii is also recognized as a gifted and prolific mentor and teacher of holistic Diné weaving practice—from farming sheep to harvesting and dyeing wool, and through the complex techniques of developing and weaving textiles on a loom. 

Naataanii is the 2022 recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship, presented in recognition of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.

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