Folk & Traditional Arts

Folk & Traditional Arts

The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice.

Folk and Traditional Arts Fact Sheet | Folk and Traditional Arts Motion Graphic


Folk & Traditional Arts Director, Acting Director Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works

Clifford Murphy
Clifford Murphy was appointed the director of Folk & Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts in August...


Bill Mansfield
Folk & Traditional Arts Specialist,
Cheryl Schiele
Folk & Traditional Arts Specialist,

Recent Grants

Recent Grants

An online grant search is available to find information on NEA grants from 2000 to the present.

Lifetime Honors

NEA National Heritage Fellowships

National Heritage Fellowships

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.

Medal of Arts

National Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government and is awarded by the President of the United States.


Close Listening: A National Case for the Value & Impact of Folk & Traditional Arts

From October 30-November 1, 2018, the National Endowment for the Arts convened 120 people from 46 states, 2 territories, and several indigenous communities to showcase the breadth of Folk & Traditional Arts programs in the United States, and to articulate our collective value and impact.


This first-ever analysis of the Arts Endowment’s Folk & Traditional Arts awards portfolio explores the program’s geographic reach, its capacity to address historically underserved populations, and the activities and achievements...
The 2019 NEA Guide provides details on the programs and activities that the NEA supports, as well as funding deadlines for our various grants. Included is information on Grants for...


Headshot of a man.
2019 National Heritage Fellow Basque musician and tradition bearer