NEA National Heritage Fellowships

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Five men wearing red suits stand outside wearing sunglasses
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of gospel singer Clarence Fountain , recipient with his band, the Blind Boys of Alabama, of a 1994 NEA National Heritage Fellowship—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional...
A man works on building a stringed instrument with others behind him watching.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of Puerto Rican instrument maker Julio Negrón-Rivera , recipient of a 1985 NEA National Heritage Fellowship—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Julio Negrón-Rivera...
Two men on a stage playing ukuleles and singing.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of Hawaiian singer Richard Ho'opi'i, recipient with his brother, Solomon, of a 1996 NEA National Heritage Fellowship—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The Ho'opi'i...
A woman sits in front of a drum set
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of klezmer musician Elaine Hoffman Watts from Ardmore, Pennsylvania, recipient of a 2007 NEA National Heritage Fellowship—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Elaine...
Photo collage of male and female traditional artists
Washington, DC—This September, the National Endowment for the Arts will continue its 35-year tradition of celebrating our nation’s master folk and traditional artists, in what has become an annual anticipated event and an opportunity to learn more about our country’s many...
Man holding carved decoy of a duck.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of master decoy carver Harry V. Shourds , recipient of a 1989 NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. He was the first New Jersey...
Country singer with guitar sitting
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of Cajun musician/songwriter Doris Leon "D.L." Menard . Menard was the recipient of a 1994 NEA National Heritage Fellowship – the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. D...
headshots of artists in two rows with graphic of a medal on either side
Washington, DC — Across the United States there are traditional art forms that shape our culture and make our communities distinct, whether it’s conjunto music in Texas, old-time buckdancing in Tennessee, or Chilkat weaving in Alaska. For the past 35 years, the National...
Hugh McGraw 1982. Photo by Tom Pich
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of shape note singer Hugh McGraw . McGraw was in the first class of recipients of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship -– the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts -– in...
Peter Kyvelos 2001. Photo by Tom Pich
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the death of Peter Kyvelos , an oud maker from Bedford, Massachusetts, and recipient of a 2001 NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Kyvelos...

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