Sixteen Artists to Receive 2003 NEA National Heritage Fellowships

Sixteen Artists to Receive 2003 NEA National Heritage Fellowships

National Endowment For The Arts Announces the 2003 Recipients of the Nation’s Highest Honor in the Folk and Traditional Arts

Washington, D.C. – The National Endowment for the Arts today announced the 2003 recipients of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships, the country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Eleven fellowships are presented to honorees from nine states and one special jurisdiction. Sixteen awardees were chosen for their artistic excellence, authenticity, and contributions to their field.

“We are proud to honor these master artists whose compelling work demonstrates the extraordinary diversity and depth of our nation’s cultural wealth,” said Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “These talented individuals are not only renowned practitioners of their art forms but also teachers and preservers of artistic heritages, passing on their skills and passions to future generations.”

As in years past, this group of awardees illustrates the importance of family in the folk and traditional arts. In addition, many of the awardees’ work represent the union of artistic creation and occupational craft, combining beauty and utility, form and function.

2003 National Heritage Fellowship Recipients:
• Rosa Elena Egipciaco, Mundillo (Puerto Rican bobbin lace) (New York, NY)
• Agnes “Oshanee” Kenmille, Salish beadworker and regalia maker (Ronan, MT)
• Norman Kennedy, Weaver, singer, storyteller (Marshfield, VT)
• Roberto and Lorenzo Martinez, Hispanic musicians (Albuquerque, NM)
• Norma Miller, African American dancer, choreographer (Las Vegas, NV)
• Ron Poast, Hardanger fiddle maker (Black Earth, WI)
• Felipe I. and Joseph K. Ruak, Carolinian stick dance leaders
(Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
• Manoochehr Sadeghi, Persian santur player, (Sherman Oaks, CA)
• Nicholas Toth, Diving helmet designer/builder, (Tarpon Springs, FL)

Basque (Bertsolari) Poets
• Jesus Arriada (San Francisco, CA)
• Johnny Curutchet (South San Francisco, CA)
• Martin Goicoechea (Rock Springs, WY)
• Jesus Goni (Reno, NV)

Information about the National Endowment For The Arts, the ceremony and concert.
In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts initiated the National Heritage Fellowships to give national recognition to the contributions of outstanding folk and traditional artists across the nation. These fellowships represent the highest form of federal recognition of folk and traditional artists. Artists are nominated by fellow citizens and are recommended by a panel of cultural experts using as criteria for selection artistic excellence and the individual’s contribution to our nation’s cultural heritage. As a master traditional artist you represent the very highest standards of excellence in your particular art form and that you have been selected for national recognition. Although a National Heritage Fellowship is offered only once to any particular artist, you will be glad to know that each year another group of similar artists will be so honored.

We hope to give out the fellowships during several days of events here in Washington, D.C., over the periods of September 16-19, 2003. Each artist or group receiving a fellowship will be invited to come to Washington D.C. at our expense.

To help make things a bit more comfortable for you, you may bring one family member (or friend) to Washington with you at our expense also. The National Council for the Traditional Arts, through a contractual arrangement with the National Endowment for the Arts, is responsible for making the travel arrangements and for producing the celebratory events related to the National Heritage Fellowships.

While you are in Washington D.C., in September, there will be a formal presentation of certificates to you on Capitol Hill. In addition, you and family members accompanying you will be invited to a banquet at the Library of Congress, and you will be participating in a gala evening concert.


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