Statement on the Death of NEA National Heritage Fellow Walter Murray Chiesa

WAlter Murray Chiesa in a workshop.

2008 National Heritage Fellow Walter Murray Chiesa. Photo by Tom Pich

Contact NEA Public Affairs at 202-682-5570 for permission to use this image for media purposes.

It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of Walter Murray Chiesa, recipient of the 2008 Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship for his lifetime of work documenting and championing the traditional crafts of Puerto Rico.

In a 2008 interview, Chiesa discussed his work as an advocate: "Everyone was surprised that there would be someone looking out for the craftsmen. Most people call the craftsmen 'the humble artist.' He's not humble; he's very proud and full of dignity. I have done this with great pleasure presenting these master craftsmen to the people, especially in schools. I have gone to hundreds and hundreds of schools talking about crafts with my slides.... I myself say that the greatest movement in Puerto Rico in modern times has been the acceptance of craftsmen."

Visit the NEA's website for more information about Walter Murray Chiesa and to read the full interview.

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