National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellows

NEA National Heritage Fellows to be Honored in Washington, DC September 18 & 20, 2019
Photos of the 2019 National Heritage Fellows with text reading 2019 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows.
2019 NEA National Heritage Fellows: (clockwise from top left) Dan Ansotegui (photo by Gregg Mizuta), Grant Bulltail (photo by Gary Wortman, EveryMan Productions LLC), Bob Fulcher (photo by Sarah Terpstra Hanson), Linda Goss (photo by Edwin Remsberg), James F. Jackson (photo by Adam Jahiel), Las Tesoros de San Antonio—(l-r) Blanquita “Blanca Rosa” Rodríguez and Beatriz “La Paloma del Norte” Llamas (photo courtesy of Esperanza Peace & Justice Center), Rich Smoker (photo by Edwin Remsberg), Josephine Lobato (photo by Carol S. Dass), and Balla Kouyaté (photo by Brendan Mercure Photography).
Washington, DC—Today the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellows, recipients of the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The 2019 recipients are masters of a wide range of folk and traditional art forms: Tejano singing, Basque music, and balafon playing; Spanish colcha embroidery, decoy carving, and leatherworking, as well as storytelling. Each fellowship includes an award of $25,000 and the recipients will be honored at two public events on September 18 and 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellows are: Fulcher is the recipient of the 2019 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. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to recognize these artists and the important role they play in our nation’s vibrant cultural landscape,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Whether it’s through storytelling, mentoring, or performance, these Heritage Fellows are committed to sharing their art forms with others.” 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Events The National Endowment for the Arts will collaborate with the National Council for the Traditional Arts on two events in celebration of the National Heritage Fellows, both of which are free and open to the public to attend:
  • The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Awards Ceremony will take place at the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.
  • The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will take place at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall at 610 F Street NW in Washington, DC on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. The concert will also be webcast live at More concert details and ticket information will be available later this summer.
About the NEA National Heritage Fellowships The National Heritage Fellowships—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts—recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to the country’s traditional arts heritage. Including the 2019 class, the Arts Endowment has awarded 440 NEA National Heritage Fellowships, recognizing artists working in more than 200 distinct art forms, including bluesman B.B. King, Cajun fiddler and composer Michael Doucet, sweetgrass basketweaver Mary Jackson, cowboy poet Wally McRae, Kathak dancer and choreographer Chitresh Das, and gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples. More information about the NEA National Heritage Fellows is available on the NEA’s website. Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in the folk and traditional arts. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the Arts Endowment chairman, who makes the final decision. The deadline to submit a nomination for the 2020 class of NEA National Heritage Fellows is July 30, 2019. Visit the National Endowment for the Arts website for more information and to submit a nomination. About the National Endowment for the Arts Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more.

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Dan Ansotegui

2019 National Heritage Fellow Dan Ansotegui's exposure to the traditions of the Basque Country prepared him for a life of immersive study, commitment to preservation, and a talent for performance.

Grant Bulltail

2019 National Heritage Fellow Grant Bulltail comes from one of the last of the traditional storytelling families of the Apsáalooke or Crow people and was a member of the Crow Culture Commission at Crow Agency, Montana.

Bob Fulcher

2019 National Heritage Fellow Bob Fulcher has spent four decades engaged in relentless folklife fieldwork and programming, ardently supporting traditional artists and providing inspirational mentoring to young culture workers.


Liz Auclair,, 202-682-5744