NEA National Heritage Fellowships

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Headshots of the 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellows
Washington, DC—One of the strengths of our nation is our constantly evolving artistic landscape. Each year the National Endowment for the Arts celebrates master folk and traditional artists that embody this strength and diversity of culture. The recipients of this year’s NEA...
headshot of dulcimer player smiling
Washington, DC —It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2002 National Heritage Fellow Jean Ritchie. A musician and songwriter, Ritchie was also a cultural activist and chronicler of her home region. She received the Bess...
Headshot of Joe Wilson
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of folklorist, advocate and presenter Joe Wilson , the 2001 recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. While he was a...
B.B. King on guitar
"…Welcome the world's greatest blues singer, the king of the blues, B.B. King!" That was most people's introduction to King (and often to the blues itself), from his 1965 album Live at the Regal , one of the most popular blues albums ever and a selection for permanent...
Head shot of fiddler player Johnny Gimble
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 1994 National Heritage Fellow Johnny Gimble, a Western Swing fiddler from Dripping Springs, Texas. Gimble influenced the sound and rhythm of Western swing, especially during his years...
A woman with blond hair presents a large framed certificate to a man in glasses wearing a lei.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 1996 National Heritage Fellow Joaquin Flores Lujan, a blacksmith who helped to preserve Guam's blacksmithing past, an aspect of the island's Chamorro culture that combines Spanish...
A man in a brown cowboy hat and best sits on a stool, holding a guitar.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 1985 National Heritage Fellow Glenn Ohrlin, a cowboy singer, storyteller, and illustrator from Mountain View, Arkansas. Ohrlin began singing cowboy songs at the age of five, and...
A man in an elaborate blue, white, and silver headress and suit.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2011 National Heritage Fellow Theodore Emile "Bo" Dollis, a leader of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe the Wild Magnolias. Widely believed to have started in the late 1800s as a way of...
A man in a brightly colored red and yellow outfit plays a large drum with his hands.
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2010 National Heritage Fellow Yacub Addy, Ghanaian drum master from Latham, New York. A master of traditional music of the Ga ethnic group, a creator of new works rooted in tradition,...
drummer and vocalist Willy Popsy Dixon playing on stage
It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of Willy "Popsy" Dixon, drummer and vocalist with the Holmes Brothers, recipients of a 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellowship. In the early 1970s, Wendell Holmes met and performed with...

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