Art Works Blog

Let's Celebrate Artists!

Washington, DC

The NEA has a proud tradition of honoring master artists in folk and traditional arts, jazz, and, more recently, opera.

In the budget proposal we have submitted for fiscal year 2012, we hope to be able to extend these honors and the accompanying support to the full range of American artists through NEA American Artists of the Year awards. This is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now as it simply seems correct to extend the NEA's honoring of artists to as full a spectrum as possible, including dancers, theater artists, other musicians, film makers, and visual artists.

While the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, National Heritage Fellowships, and Opera Honors will not continue as stand alone programs, our proposed NEA American Artists of the Year will still honor jazz, folk and traditional arts, and opera, including them as part of a fuller spectrum of American art forms and artists.

The NEA American Artists of the Year designations will include awards for the recipients, just as the various honors programs have done in the past. In addition to honoring artists for lifetime achievements, with this new award, we hope to also acknowledge the contributions that some artists are making while still in the middle of their careers.

This is a proposal to begin in fiscal year 2012, which means that we still have upcoming National Heritage Fellowships and Opera Honors celebrations being planned for fall 2011, and an NEA Jazz Masters celebration in January 2012. Stay tuned for more on those events.

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