National Endowment for the Arts Announces Free Events September 26 & 28, 2018 in Honor of National Heritage Fellows

Headshots of nine individuals with next saying 2018 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships
Photo credits clockwise from top left: Barbara Lynn (photo by Keisha Sims), Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (photo by Jen Dougherty), Manuel Cuevas (photo by Yuri Figueroa), Ethel Raim (photo by Tom Pich), Ofelia Esparza (photo courtesy of Craft in America, photo by Mark Markley), Marion Coleman (photo by Tom Pich), Don and Cindy Roy (photo by Molly Haley), Eddie Bond (photo by Susi Lawson Photography), Kelly Church (photo by Richard Church, Ottawa and Pottawatomi).
Washington, DC—This September, the National Endowment for the Arts will host two free events to celebrate the recipients of our nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, the NEA National Heritage Fellows. The awards ceremony on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 is an opportunity to hear remarks by the 2018 Fellows and meet them at a post-event reception. On Friday, September 28, a free concert will showcase the Heritage Fellows on stage through performances, demonstrations, and the stories behind these traditions and artists. The concert will also be available through a live webcast at The 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows are:
  • Palestinian embroiderer Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim from Milwaukie, OR
  • Appalachian old-time fiddler Eddie Bond from Fries, VA
  • Anishinabe (Gun Lake Band) black ash basketmaker Kelly Church from Allegan, MI
  • African-American quilter Marion Coleman from Castro Valley, CA
  • Rodeo tailor Manuel Cuevas from Nashville, TN
  • Chicana altarista (Day of the Dead altar maker) Ofelia Esparza from Los Angeles, CA
  • R&B musician Barbara Lynn from Beaumont, TX
  • Franco-American musicians Don & Cindy Roy from Gorham, ME
  • Traditional music and dance advocate Ethel Raim from New York, NY (Raim is the recipient of the 2018 Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship in recognition of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.)
NEA National Heritage Fellowships Awards Ceremony WHAT: NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter and members of Congress will honor the 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows at an awards ceremony, which will include a presentation of medals and short remarks by the recipients. The ceremony will open with a performance by Cajun fiddler, composer, bandleader, and 2005 NEA National Heritage Fellow Michael Doucet, and will be followed by a reception. WHEN: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from 5:30–6:30 p.m. WHERE: Library of Congress's Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, DC. TICKETS: This event is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert WHAT: Hosted by Martha Gonzalez of the Grammy Award-winning band Quetzal, the concert will feature music, demonstrations, and conversations with the 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows and other special guests. WHEN: Friday, September 28, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET WHERE: Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW in Washington, DC and streamed live at TICKETS: Free tickets to the concert can be reserved via Shakespeare Theatre Company’s website, either online, by phone at 202-547-1122, or in person at Sidney Harman Hall at 610 F Street NW in Washington, DC. PLEASE NOTE: Ticket-holders should arrive by 7:45 p.m. At that time, all unclaimed tickets will be released to those in the stand-by line. WEBCAST: The concert will be live streamed at and archived after the event. Viewers can join the celebration on Twitter using the hashtag #NEAHeritage18. MEDIA RSVP: To secure admission and camera locations, crews must RSVP for the ceremony by Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 12 p.m. and for the concert by Friday, Sept. 28 at 12 p.m. Interview requests for the artists or photo requests should be emailed to

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Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim

2018 National Heritage Fellow Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim is an embroiderer whose journey as an artist started in her birthplace of Safad, and she is dedicated to teaching and mentoring younger generations.

Eddie Bond

Old-time fiddling thrives in Grayson County, Virginia, and it is from here that one of the greatest living old-time fiddlers, 2018 National Heritage Fellow Eddie Bond, hails.

Kelly Church

2018 National Heritage Fellow Kelly Church is Ottawa/Pottawatomi, descended from the Gun Lake and Grand Traverse Bands, is preserving the traditional Anishinabe process of creating a black ash basket.


Liz Auclair,, 202-682-5744