NEA Arts Magazine

2006 NEA Fellows on Capitol Hill

NEA National Heritage Fellows feted at banquet and awards ceremony

Nancy Sweezy receives her award from U.S. Representative Ed Markey   Diomedes Matos receives his award from U.S. Representative Tom Feeney
     

Presentation of 2006 NEA National Heritage Fellowship awards at a September 14 ceremony in Washington, DC, clockwise from top left: Nancy Sweezy receives her award from U.S. Representative Ed Markey; Diomedes Matos receives his award from U.S. Representative Tom Feeney (right); Esther Martinez receives her award from National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia (right) and U.S. Representative Tom Udall (left).  Photos by Tom Pich

  Esther Martinez receives her award from National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia and U.S. Representative Tom Udall

On September 13, the celebration of the 2006 NEA National Heritage Fellows kicked off in the nation's capital with a banquet in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress co-hosted by the NEA and the American Folklife Center. NEA Director of Folk and Traditional Arts Barry Bergey emceed the event, which included an address by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia and remarks by Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, and Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. U.S. Representatives Ed Case (Hawaii–2nd District) and William L. Jenkins (Tennessee–1st District) and former NEA General Counsel Catherine Stevens also attended the dinner.

On the morning of September 14, Members of Congress, representatives from the folk arts field, and the family and friends of the new Fellows gathered in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill for an awards ceremony. NEA Chairman Dana Gioia recited each fellow's list of accomplishments in the field of folk and traditional arts as each fellow stepped forward to receive a framed copy of the citation emblazoned with the title "Master Artist".

U.S. Representative Thomas Udall (New Mexico–3rd District) attended the ceremony in support of the two National Heritage Fellows from New Mexico -- Native American linguist and storyteller Esther Martinez and santero Charles Carillo. While congratulating Martinez and Carillo, Udall said, "Arts bring to us the civility we seek, the peacefulness we seek, and we need a lot more of that in the world." Congressman Udall also applauded the NEA Folk Arts program for reaching out to the nations communities and allowing the American people to nominate their master artists for the award.

U.S. Representatives Brian Baird (Washington–3rd District), William Jefferson (Louisiana–2nd District), Ed Markey (Massachusetts–7th District), Tom Feeney (Florida–24th District), and William L. Jenkins also participated in the awards ceremony.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships program is made possible through the support of the Darden Restaurants Foundation and the Darden family of restaurants -- Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill.